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GIBS SOMAL

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I started as a sprinter in my early teens at the age of 13. I was the fastest runner in my school and my dad got me a coach as he saw something unique in me. I used to compete in 100m, 200m, and relay. This is where my coach taught me tunnel vision. You look down the 100m track and get to that finish line fast as possible by blocking out all distractions. Staying focused with laser-sharp eyes on the finish line whilst nothing else existed. The exhilarating effect from the speed that the body produces is quite something.

After I moved on from my sprinting days, I began watching a lot of movies about martial arts. Specifically, I watched a movie with Jean-Claude Van Damme and saw how gracious in his art form he was. I emulated his perfect physique. At this point, I became obsessed with my body and martial arts. I started taking part in Karate and Kickboxing. I loved the adrenaline and endorphins it produced. There is no other sport that makes you sweat like combat sports and gives you a head rush at the same time. I was getting high every day that I could fly. Martial arts taught me how to be patient and have composure. It will make you humble and disciplined at the same time. The camaraderie with people was fun and it was meditation for me in a movement form as it requires a lot of focus. This is where I learned to breathe correctly. I started work as a fitness instructor at a local community centre gym where they had me teaching Circuit and Kickboxing classes. It was a decent size facility with a big size swimming pool so I got my lifeguard qualification. I patrolled the pool and worked in the gym where I instructed individuals on how to use exercise machines and provided general fitness advice. These individuals started asking me to train them one on one and I was able to combine my sprint training and martial arts experience together with my gym experience. This is how I got into the personal training business and never looked back.

City, State/Province:
Vancouver, BC

Country:
Canada

Occupation?
Personal Trainer/Coach

In your opinion, is weight loss more of a fitness issue or a health issue and why?
Weight loss is both. A lot of the time we give ourselves excuses for getting out of doing stuff. This leads to self-sabotage and putting things on the back burner. Accountability is what keeps us committed to doing something routinely. We are designed to move every day and the body loves a challenge. This is what gets the body excited and it can be simple as a walk in the woods. Couple that with a simplistic eating plan which includes portion control and choosing your nutrients carefully, and you are on the right track. It is very easy to overeat as there is access to food everywhere we look. With a little discipline comes a little reward of treating yourself to the food you enjoy. I find this formula will go a long way and is more of a lifestyle choice without missing out on too much.

If you have 100 tokens in total and you could apply them to the following categories, how many would you apply to each?

  • Fitness level: 50
  • Health level: 50

Thoughts on HIIT, Powerlifting, TRX, Yoga, bodybuilding, others?
I am a fan of Functional Strength training because it replicates movements used in everyday life from push/pull/lift/carry and is very compound based. This is my personal style of working out. I also like HIIT training as it covers a lot of major muscle groups simultaneously and is more of a fuller workout and gets the lungs pumping. Bodybuilding is great for aesthetics and confidence but it will only get you so far especially if you have recreational sports you want to enjoy. There is a different set of muscles you need to tap into for that. Cross fit has its uses when done right but not everybody should be doing it. Everyone needs yoga in their life or just a quick stretch routine. You will not get far without it in sports or lifestyle. Personally, I try to stretch twice a day. Most importantly, try doing an activity you like best as everybody is made differently and uniquely.

How did your passion for fitness start? And what was the biggest challenge you have faced on your journey?
My dad took me to the gym for the first time when I was 6 years old and I used to just watch him workout. I did not know this back then but I was already doing visual learning by just being in that gym atmosphere. I was a very active kid and could never sit still. For my 12th birthday, my dad asked me what I wanted and I replied by saying I want a Joe Weider workout bench with a barbell and dumbbell set. I was pumping iron at a very young age (maybe too young). Especially after seeing my idol Jean Claude Van Damme’s body, I became obsessed with building a great-looking body like his and he also was a Kickboxer (double whammy!) So I was doing Martial arts training and sprint training with my coach as well as working out in my home garage with weights. At this point, my testosterone levels were through the roof. The challenges I felt were that it takes a lot of discipline to work out regularly, and it is very easy to get lazy and procrastinate. You have to stay motivated by giving yourself small goals or small hurdles to get over each day. It is worth it!

Share your unique training/coaching methods?
Always listen to your client. Take out your ego. Focus on serving your client. Never stop learning.

Trainer Philosophy:
Work hard in silence and let success make the noise. I am a fan of visualization and laws of attraction. If you channel all your energy into something it is inevitable to happen.

Please describe the importance of mental health?
Well, we are still amidst Covid and working out for your mental health is now more important than ever above weight loss and muscle gain. Everyone’s routines and schedules are not the same anymore and everything is in mumbo jumbo at the moment. Unfortunately, sitting still for too long has its downsides so get out there and chase something, get hungry! Exercise has a direct impact on our circadian rhythm for sleep patterns and life functionality. This is your time for yourself to recharge your mind and release those important healthy hormones the body requires. Go after what makes you feel good and makes you feel happy which could be a hobby. Chase those good feelings and not necessarily always body results.

Take us through a typical day in life for you?
Wake up and make my bed. Cold shower (to charge my brain). Sit still on the floor to clear the mind for 10 mins focusing on breathing. Stretch. Train clients. Midday workout. Train clients. Stretch in front of Netflix or read a book to unwind. I try not to look at the phone after 8 pm.

What separates Status from other fitness magazines?
Quality. Positivity. Health-based. Great stories and people.

Status Fitness Magazine runs model searches across North America including the largest one at the Arnold Classic for the Status cover. As part of the Status family, you will receive a special participation invite. How excited are you for this opportunity?
That would be fantastic!

Describe your coaches and the impact they have on you?
Without a coach, I would not have reached this far. It is important to learn from a master and remain humble whilst doing so. If you are not learning you are getting stale.

Things people don’t know about you?

  • I used to lifeguard a naturist swimming pool in my twenties.
  • I have travelled to nearly 30 cities around the globe.
  • I have a Black belt in Kickboxing/Karate.
  • I met my idol Jean Claude Van Damme on a personal level. We had a few great conversations.

What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned?
Listen to people and take out your ego. I try to give off positive energy to everybody I meet and if you are happy notify your face.

5 most important attributes you see in a person?
Energy, Humour, Humble, Passion, True to themselves

What is your number one tip for people on their fitness journey?
Tunnel vision until you hit your destination. It is okay to fall down but get back up! Also, do not start celebrating too early. Wait until you are at your finish line.

What is your favourite quote to live by?
My tattoo on my inside bicep reads “Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see the shadows” By Helen Keller.

Connect with Gibson: IG

I am a content and talent manager of Status Fitness Magazine. If you are looking to share your story or get featured in Status, contact me.

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