I am 42 years old and a career fitness professional. I began my affair with the fitness industry in 1999 as a 19-year-old certified personal trainer. My passion for fitness exploded when I earned my first cert. Like most young men, I spent my 20’s focused only on aesthetics, so strength training and bodybuilding naturally made up the bulk of my workouts. My goals changed in my 30’s when my wife and I married and decided to grow our family. I became less focused on how I looked, and I decided to prioritize my health and performance, deciding that an “all show, no go” philosophy was selfish and irresponsible. My ultimate goal was to make sure that this suit I was wearing was as dynamic, functional, and performance-optimized as I could make it. I diversified my fitness programming and began trying new and sometimes bizarre things. This was an awakening, of sorts, and down the rabbit hole, I went, never to return. Since then, I’ve devoted my time to following my own curiosities, studying and researching, continually learning more and exciting things about how our bodies adapt and respond to the stresses of our environment – both our external and internal environments.
Since taking this road-less-travelled, I’ve found myself in some interesting places (literally and figuratively). I have found great value and utility in practices that include meditation, breathwork, high-intensity breath-holding, high-endurance training, ultra-marathons, and cold water exposure, to name a few.
United States of America
Personal Trainer, Coach, Consultant, Mentor
Is weight loss more of a fitness issue or a health issue, in your opinion, and why?
Well, that would depend on whether the weight loss was justifiable. Is it intended to improve the overall health, irrespective of performance? Or to improve performance ignorant to the overall health?
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: 0
- Health level: 100.
This isn’t a chicken-or-the-egg thing. Biologically speaking, the fitness of an organism is proportional to its overall health. You cannot be fit unless you are healthy.
Thoughts on HIIT, Powerlifting, TRX, Yoga, bodybuilding, others?
Each is a piece to the same puzzle.
Focus on what matters.
I’ve been on an interval-training kick lately. Typically, I don’t know what I’m going to do for any particular workout until it’s already happening. I give myself a three to the four-hour window each day to complete my workout for the day. On the days that I feel not good, I go as hard as I can and look for a wall to crash into. I have a saying – “if you can’t make it long, make it suck.” I might crush a 10k sprint on the rower, as hard and fast as I can, followed by a 5k sprint. Rinse, repeat, then spend the remaining hour or so doing breathwork. More frequently and on the days I feel 100%, I break my endurance work into some fashion of intervals. Run 2 miles, 200 deadlifts, run 2 miles, 300 kettlebell swings, run 2 miles, 400 tire sledges, and so on over the course of a few hours. I always make sure to do at least 40-minutes of deliberate breathwork at the end of my workouts, so add that to the end regardless. Coldwater exposure is a staple in my lifestyle and a staple in my recovery—cold showers daily, ice baths a few times each week.
I do the best I can to keep my gut microbiome as happy as I’m able. I’m a meat-eater, I vary my fruits and vegetables widely and often, I drink only water and the occasional glass of wine. I’ve found a reasonable balance between eating what I want to and eating what I need to. Though I don’t have a formal plan, I don’t think it’s necessary either. Variety is critical. Eat when I’m hungry, stop when I’m full.
Do you prefer to take and recommend all natural (no sugar, no artificial colors/flavors/sweeteners) supplements or supplements with artificial flavors and sweeteners? And Why?
Absolutely. How successful we are at eating real, raw, unadulterated foods will determine our ability to optimize the biology dependent on our food. Period.
What separates Status from other fitness magazines?
Status is responsible for putting the pulse back into the fitness publication space. The state of the fitness industry is such that inaccurate and downright false if not dangerous information is ubiquitous in each of our lives. Status curates stories and information that appeal to the growing number of fitness enthusiasts and professionals on a level not seen since the Golden Days of the fitness industry.
Describe your coaches and the impact they have on you?
My coaches are true blessings, as most coaches are. I wouldn’t be here without them.
If you could ask Status Fitness Magazine Editor in Chief Rodney Jang any industry question, what would that be?
The same organizations that fought for the legitimacy of the fitness industry 25 years ago are now the same organizations responsible for systematically delegitimizing our beloved profession. As we near a time when there’s a certification for almost everything, and more than half of the practising personal trainers in the USA are charlatans masquerading as credentialled fits, what can we do to:
Rebuild the public’s trust?
Reestablish professional accountability?
Reform the system of checks and balances and avoid a looming public health crisis?
And restore a golden standard of practice within one of the nation’s fastest-growing (and fastest dying) industries?
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?
To say that I’m stoked would be an understatement.
Future fitness goals and plans?
My only plan is to continue to find more and interesting ways to challenge myself, push my limits, and explore my potential.
For my wife to live the life she dreamed she would when she was my daughter’s age.
Things people don’t know about you?
- I’m ambidextrous.
- I’m a romantic at heart.
- I read more than many people watch TV.
- I’m an eternal optimist.
5 lessons you have learned?
- Wherever we think is rock bottom is never even close.
- God doesn’t do favours. He only works in miracles.
- What we think is what we see.
- We can change anything if we were to simply change our minds.
- The biggest lie ever told is – “It’s not that simple.”
5 most important attributes you see in a person?
Empathy, Morality, Honor, Service, Self-Sacrifice.
If you could inspire one person, who would that be? And why?
My children, because they inspire me.
Who inspires you? And why?
I can confidently say that I’ve never had a conversation with someone who didn’t inspire me. Each of us has a million stories to tell, and each story is a lesson. I enjoy listening when people talk.
Your transformation story?
Every single one of my workouts is a transformation story in and of itself. The person I am when I begin my workouts is never the same person when I finish. I usually feel an anxious, nervous feeling as I get into my warm-up, but just after I’ve finished my last rep I always feel a little primal. Part animal. Part savage.
“Look for the good in everyone you meet”.
“Nobody owes you anything”.
“Be not afraid of growing slowly, be only afraid of standing still”.