Like many kids, I grew up with superheroes being a big portion of my childhood. Saturday morning cartoons, action figures, marvel cards. I would spend hours drawing my favourite characters, and even making up my own. I can always remember drawing them with fantastic muscled physiques. I didn’t put that element and my passion for the body and muscle building together, until a few years ago. As many know, we are heavily influenced by who we are today as our experiences in our childhood.
I was bullied in school from grade 1 until about grade 9. And my first bully used to be my best friend in elementary. That one hurt, bothered me for a long time, but also spurred my quest to get bigger and stronger so that no one would bully me. I remember in grade 6 gym class, we had an old school universal from the ‘70s we got to train on. It was when I experienced my first workout with weights, having the boys challenging each other to see who could do the most pull-ups. To which surprisingly I beat everyone.
When I moved schools in grade 9, I decided I needed to be bigger and stronger, so I dedicated myself to training before class in the weight room gym we had in our high school. Like many, Arnold’s Encyclopedia of bodybuilding was the book that took everything to the next level for me. I remember asking my mom for the book at a superstore. I read every page from front to back several times, that eventually the pages started falling out. I figured this was the key I needed to get the body I wanted. I was the skinny kid in school and even graduated at only 140lbs. However, I had bicep veins, and 6-pack abs, and was one of the only kids that could press the 85lb DBs for working sets.
After high school, I continued to put on more weight each year, but it was a struggle until I saw the first bodybuilding show that I decided I wanted to give it a try. I competed the following year at 21. It was when I learned a lot more about what it took to get to that level. Ever since, I have competed in approx 10 shows, the most prestigious being in the World qualifier in Perth Australia, and the First Arnold Classic Australia in 2015.
I became a trainer right after my first show at Golds Gym 130th ave. I used to read every article I could get my hands on, and have worked with some of the best in the industry over the years. Now I take what I have learned from them, added my own flavour, and combine them into the most efficient and effective methods possible, backed by science, logic, and experience. I decided as a career goal, I wanted to provide a higher level of service to my clients. I wanted to be a One-Stop-Shop able to train, diet, and treat my clients so that they can get the quickest and best results, as well as know everything that is going on with their bodies to keep them healthy, injury-free, and making progress. I moved to Australia to pursue schooling to be eligible to take Active Release Therapy courses. I ended up doing my first year of massage instead to speed up the path to taking ART courses but didn’t want to do massage full time because I wasn’t a fan of the energy exchange.
In 2016, I was prepping for the very first Winter Classic, right before moving back to Canada from Australia, but started suffering from Sciatica after training legs with Shawn Rhoden. I exhausted all of my options in Australia with treatments, chiro, massage, dry needling, active release, you name it, I had my therapist who worked on AFL players, Cricket, and champion fighters, work on me for weeks. But nothing seemed to stick. So I texted Shawn Rhoden, and he connected with me Derek Farnsworth, who as many know treats a vast amount of IFBB pros, including several Mr. Olympias like Jay Cutler. I stopped in San Diego for a week on my move home to Canada, and he worked wonders! Changed my body massively, but the sciatica relief itself didn’t last more than a few weeks. I kept training and prepping as many stubborn competitors would, but when the pain got too much I had to pull out of that show. I didn’t want to risk being debilitated for a trophy until I was healed and knew more. It’s the only show I have ever pulled out of, and I still regret it to this day, because I know with how I looked 6 weeks out, I would have done extremely well. So that’s never happening again! But in that time, I discovered this modality called Muscle Activation Techniques. Not only did I get my Chiro/ART clinic Active Sports Therapy in Calgary to send me for MRIs, and work on me, but that’s where I did my first MAT session with Sarah. I heard about Muscle Activation Therapy before I moved to Australia, but it was this weird 10-month internship in the states that no one really knew about. I gave it a shot, and I didn’t have ANY pain or issue for 2 solid weeks.
Then after my 2nd session, 4 weeks I had no pain! I felt activation, soreness, and huge pumps in parts of my muscles I hadn’t felt in YEARS. So I was hooked! I made her do my whole body, my clients, my friends, everyone. And everyone confirmed the same…. its Voodoo. So I decided to save up and take the course. By far, it’s the best decision I made in my career, and also often the most rewarding. You can see the likes of Dorian Hamilton and their crew out at Pure Muscle & Fitness in eastern Canada are now working with Eric Siefert, one of the MAT Teachers/Practitioners, and getting next-level workouts and results. Peyton Manning, the Denver Broncos, Brian Shaw, and Bryson Dechambeau are all getting MAT treatments to play at the best, become their best, and even in their comebacks set all-time career achievements. If you have run out of options, or simply want the best, no matter what your level, I highly recommend getting in contact with a MAT practitioner! I am all about finding the best in the world and combining it to bring it to my clients so they can have the best methods possible available to them.
Currently Puerto Vallarta Mexico.
Online Coach, MAT Specialist
In your opinion, is weight loss more of a fitness issue or a health issue and why?
Weight loss is a health issue. I believe this because it’s not just someone being unfit that causes weight gain, but it’s unhealthy habits that get them there. There are lots of people that have never squatted in their life that are not overweight. Ones that are, likely to have self-sabotaging habits that accumulated over time. Extra weight takes a toll on the body in many ways. The gut being our second brain, can control our cravings, moods, and even mental health based on the condition of our microbiome. With unhealthy habits and possibly just simply not having the education on proper nutrition most don’t even know the connection that is working against them. This is even amplified in the marketing plans of many food products! Extra fat also secretes hormones such as estrogen, which can cause health conditions & issues for many, and visceral fat crams our organs, which is the most toxic for our bodies. Most men over 30 who have that hard belly, yeah that’s visceral fat, the worst kind and it could be causing a series of health conditions for you.
Our bodies were not designed or evolved for a lot of today’s societal stresses, both physically (being more sedentary) and mentally (dealing with today’s stresses, social media, etc) we need to address the body as a whole, and health’s definition as a whole.
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: 30
- Health level:70
Thoughts on HIIT, Powerlifting, TRX, Yoga, bodybuilding, and others?
I can appreciate the benefits of all of these modalities. I believe that whatever you find, you have passion for or get the most happiness out of. You want ANY kind of training to resonate with you and be a positive experience in your life. The point is to challenge yourself physically and mentally so that you can refine, and strengthen yourself.
All of these require a strong will, execution, discipline, habit building, and of course enjoyment/passion. I love yoga, especially 26/2 for the challenge it brings, and the mental silence after the intense session. However, at heart, I am a bodybuilder. I love learning about the body and creating/designing masterpieces throughout the process. There are so many life lessons that you can learn about discipline, effort vs reward, consistency, time management, habit building, etc. It’s a sport that never turns off when you are preparing for a show. It requires more than just workouts and protein shakes and it’s more than just the 2-3 hours you spend in the gym, it’s about the other 22 hours of your day as well. You have to add an element of creativity to it, not just in posing, but also in designing your body. Just like a sculptor adds clay and then refines his masterpiece, so must the bodybuilder. I think that is kind of lost on lots of competitors nowadays because everyone is always looking for bigger and more shredded. But how many physiques actually look appealing? How many are actually proportional and WORK on improving their proportions? Not enough.
Lastly, how do you express yourself in your posing routine with the masterpiece you have developed? That is part of bodybuilding, and expression, it’s how you connect with your peers and audience.
How did your passion for fitness start? And what was the biggest challenge you have faced on your journey?
My passion for fitness took off at the beginning of high school but really started with my love for superheroes as a kid.
The biggest challenge in my journey was overcoming self-doubt, being introverted, self-acceptance, and attaining unshakeable confidence in myself and my abilities. When I started bodybuilding, it was not a trendy or mainstream thing. We were outcasts, black sheep, misfits, or outliers. I was a bit shy and didn’t like being the center of attention, so getting on stage, in a tiny set of posing trunks, and flexing my muscles in front of a big crowd was definitely out of my comfort zone. But pushing past uncomfortable both physically and mentally has been a skill that bodybuilding has helped me sharpen and hone over the years. I will always be grateful for the challenges I have faced.
Can you tell us about the MAT clinic space and grow my “Muscle Mechanic”?
MAT is a modality that addresses muscle dysfunction. MAT recognizes that inflammation can create neurological weakness. Stress, trauma, overuse, and the resultant inflammation can alter the communication between the nervous system and the muscle system. Once muscles lose their ability to contract efficiently, where they can no longer contract on demand, in order to stabilize joints and protect the body. The goal of MAT is to “activate” muscles through treatment, providing stability to the body again, so your body will give you mobility back. How many times have you gone in for a massage for tight muscles? How long did it last? Chances are lots are saying “not long”. Well, what if I told you the problem isn’t the tight muscles, that’s the symptom? The problem is usually an opposing muscle that is no longer communicating with the brain effectively. Turn that back on, and then your tightness will subside because we treated the root cause of the problem, not the symptom. Instead of undoing your body’s protective mechanisms, we are providing communication and information into your neuromuscular system, working with the body, rather than against it. The best thing about it? Results are right on the table, and the ability to increase the threshold tolerance of those muscles across a few sessions so it’s going to take more for that inflammation response to cause a disconnect. Now you aren’t spinning your wheels each session trying to “loosen” the same tight muscle that is trying to protect you from injury in the first place.
Right now, I am currently treating in Puerto Vallarta and whenever I can when I travel. MAT is growing in awareness as more and more people begin to discover the power and effectiveness it truly has. My plan to grow the “Muscle Mechanic” is to bring more awareness of MAT to help those who like me, exhausted all options, or simply want to go straight to one of the best methods available. I am always looking to help new people fix or improve their bodies. It is one of my true callings and passions as I not only love learning about the body but love to improve people’s quality of life, in and out of the gym.
Share your unique training/coaching methods?
I learned from Ben Pakulski, Vince Del monte, Milos Sarcev, the Late Charles Poliquin, the Late John meadows, Layne Norton, Jordan Peters, and many more. My approach is now a strong combination of what I have found to be the most effective methods from them, while staying injury-free, the ability to still have a social life, and keep making progress. I use what I call “Progressive Performance” combined with Reverse Dieting, the best tactics to manage inflammation, stress, and healing to maximize body recomposition. I utilize Wim Hof, Tim Ferris, James Clear, Dr. Gabor Mate, and other world’s elites to provide as much value as possible to my clients.
The body and mind are not separate, and what happens mentally, can and DOES manifest physically. Breathing, cold exposure, and inner child/shadow work all have a place in your fitness journey. You just may not know it yet. Lastly, I flip the script on the methodology. If you are 25% body fat, and we for generalization’s sake, say the other 75% of you is a muscle, bone etc. Then when someone says they want to lose 15% body fat, what do you immediately picture? Hours of tedious (and unnecessary) cardio, chicken & broccoli, etc. Doesn’t sound very exciting, does it? But what if I said, we are going to focus on GAINING 15% muscle quality, not necessarily size, but quality tissue. That sounds like a lot more fun. If you focus on changing what you are actually made of, not only is it a more positive, gaining experience associated with the process but it’s actually more effective. The body fat will take care of itself with the right comp method as you shift the proportions.
The Revenge Body & Revenge Booty programs are designed to combine all of these concepts and more, to Re-invent you inside & out. Bullying, Breakups, Addictions, whatever your Revenge Story might be, you have a home here with us.
I build up to being able to consistently use “Progressive Performance”, with largely push pull leg routines with both an A series and B series. A series is a heavier significant time under tension and performance-based, B series is more for metabolic stress and hyperemia, and 2 Leg & booty days for my female clients. I have them track all working sets, reps, and weights to push for personal bests, and adjust all nutrition etc based on your performances. Training builds the body. This way all muscle fibres get hit, and the energy systems. I always prescribe short, lengthened, and mid-range exercises to fully develop the muscles. Plus, I break down the basic anatomy & function of the muscles to make execution and good form just that easy. We focus on maximizing recovery between workouts, and training with progressive performance and high-quality execution to prevent injuries so you can continue full steam ahead to your goals.
I’m an advocate for Reverse Dieting. Standardizing your foods will help you to figure out what’s actually working for change if you eat the same foods in the same amounts for a week. Based on the outcome, I make small incremental changes, that allow for your body to adjust. 9/10 times my clients are telling me, “Please stop giving me more food (carbs)” They get leaner, have more muscle, and faster metabolism, which means they can actually live a social life, have cake at the party, dinner on date nights, etc because their regular carb intake is much higher. I’ve had clients who every time I dropped their carbs and/or increased their cardio, actually got worse! Meal prep is important, at least to have a couple of backup meals in the freezer, for more than just “being prepared”. I have my clients create backups so they can be as consistent as possible, and not fall victim to being unprepared, or decision exhaustion and loss of willpower. We cover willpower, the marshmallow test and more in the Revenge Programs. Lastly, I time nutrients to best support training and optimize the hormone response from foods, and if we are getting fancy, we talk about choosing the right food types with your ancestry and location.
Above all what matters first in ANY diet is that you are consistent. If you are all over the place, and you got some changes, how are you going to know what worked? And as I’ve described above, if you keep making cuts, and you aren’t getting the results, why would you keep going the same direction? Go the other way and notice instant results and changes again!
Basics like Eaas, Creatine, citrulline, protein and carb powder/source are my keys for training. Omega-3 fish oils, Vitamin D3, and greens powder for overall health. I also utilize some other specific supplements when the program calls for it, and often only the best products & ingredients that actually work.
Do you prefer to take and recommend all-natural (no sugar, no artificial colours/flavours/sweeteners) supplements or supplements with artificial flavours and sweeteners? And Why?
I always believe that you cannot out-do nature. The closer to nature is always better. I recommend being as close to natural products as possible for all my clients, as well as myself. I know Bio-edge has come out with amazing 3rd party tested products, that are All-Natural, with the right ingredients at the right dosages! There is no need for anyone to have their citrus aminos be an orange colour just for the sake of being orange. These are starting to cause a lot more digestion and gut microbiome issues that can become hurdles or variables in your fitness journey.
Please describe the importance of mental health?
I think in the last 3 years, we have drastically seen just how important mental health is, and how much it impacts how and who we are on so many levels. I personally have had and witnessed so many correlations between the mind and body, which is why it is a huge component in my Revenge programs. We cannot treat them separately because they aren’t separate! How you handle and deal with stress, trauma, and life deeply affects not only you mentally, but it manifests physically.
With the methods I use in my programs, not only have I seen vast improvements in conditions, but sometimes it’s been the only thing that works. Breathwork & cold exposure were the only thing that worked for endometriosis. I’ve witnessed someone’s body rapidly change per hour after a retreat that helps deal with stress, trauma and mental health. I tore the long head of my bicep last year, and the root cause of that was my stress level and my mental health. I wasn’t eating properly, drinking enough water, sleeping properly, managing stress properly , and during the peak of my stress level, I tore my arm. There was nothing in my approach or that I did any different than I had in the past, but my body’s ability to handle it just wasn’t there. There are direct correlations now between stress level and trauma and how it can manifest physically. Treating and improving mental health have healed, reversed or even prevented many conditions where pharmacology and other methods have failed them. Dr. Gabor Mate speaks often about this and has several books and resources in his correlations. Again these are key components that are addressed in the Revenge Programs because they have such a huge impact on our health & body. You can’t be the best version of yourself without a strong healthy mind. We do have the capacity to heal, in many ways, but this requires us to re-establishing our connection with the power of our mind. Our bodies and minds have not evolved as fast as our world and society has, and we have new stresses that affect us in many ways, that are only now being discovered.
Take us through a typical day in your life for you?
A typical day for me starts around 9-10 am. I’ve never been a morning person. As with most, it starts with a coffee. When I’m in my element after the coffee is about 4 rounds of Wim Hof breathwork or a guided meditation. Then it’s breakfast of either 5-6 egg omelette or french toast with peanut butter. I read for 20 mins, and 20 min of Spanish (or Spanish lessons on some days of the week) before I focus on work. The rest of the day consists of client updates, content creation, client sessions a few days a week, and then getting ready for the 25min walk down to the gym. After training and getting home, I often hit our common area pool or do a quick 2 min cool shower. I hate the cold so it’s been a journey to love it. Soon it will be ice baths. Then it’s post-workout meal time- THE MOST IMPORTANT MEAL OF THE DAY. The rest of the day is usually resting, decompressing, visiting with friends, date night, or sometimes heading to the beach or watching the sunset from our veranda.
Most of my creative moments and flow are late at night, when I jot down ideas, research new elements for my programs and clients, or design new programs.
What separates Status from other fitness magazines?
What I love about Status is that they are conscious about working with the right brands, products and people that align with health, wellness, fitness, and strong morals and values to provide only the best. No matter what you are looking for, Status always has something in it for you, and the best part is, that it’s coming from REAL people, in the industry who have worked their way up to the top.
If you could ask Status Fitness Magazine Editor in Chief Rodney Jang any industry question, what would that be?
Where do you see the fitness industry going and evolving in the next 3 years, and what has been the most critical advancement of our industry in the last 5 years?
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 is a fantastic opportunity that I would love to be a part of. This has been something I’ve wanted to achieve since i started in this industry 17 years ago, and I feel like it has been a long time in the making. I think it’s important to reach as many people as possible so I can help as many as possible make massive transformations and Re-Invent themselves.
Describe your coaches and the impact they have on you?
Working with the coaches I have in the past has been priceless in so many ways. Beyond advancing my own knowledge and experience, I gained the ability to adapt, and to understand more about when to be precise and rigid in your approach, and what doesn’t need to be as intense to still get the same results. I got to learn a lot about some of my heroes and people I looked up to while learning and adapting their coaching approach as well. I have to say the most impactful was probably John Meadows, in his training, but also in his coaching and just being a good human being to everyone. We need more Johns in this industry.
Do you have a sponsor? List them and what they mean to you?
I have had sponsors in the past, and although I don’t have any officially at the moment, I am working with BioEdge because they are doing amazing things with their products, using high-quality ingredients, with the right dosages. I don’t recommend something I won’t take myself.
Sponsors are always important because it helps to connect us to more of the fitness family and be able to reach more people to share in their journey, as well as provide any value we can along the way.
Can you share with us your goals for fitness and life?
My fitness goal used to be getting an IFBB Pro card. However, right now my focus is to get back to the body I want to have first, then decide if and when to compete with it again. In the meantime, I am focused on advancing my skills in the MAT realm, and refining the Revenge programs to hopefully expand into something bigger like Revengebody Retreats. My final goal is to have my own space for a clinic and gym. So I can fix people’s bodies, and help them live a higher quality of life, pain and condition free while expanding my online coaching services for everyone who can’t see me in person.
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned?
Life is going to work out how it is supposed to in the end. So be patient, learn to go with the flow, practise gratitude and try to learn the lessons you are meant to be taught. So you don’t have to have them repeated too many times. The second is that you can have everything you want in life, just not always at the same time, and it just might not look like how you thought it was going to.
5 most important attributes you see in a person?
Loyalty, Sense of Humour, Willingness to grow/learn, Compassion, Positivity.
If you could inspire one person, who would that be? And why?
It would be the person who has gone through trials and tribulations and is needing a massive Re-Invention. There is no better time to invest in yourself, love yourself, and evolve into the person you absolutely can be. So stop putting it off, stop doubting yourself, stop self-sabotaging and just take 1 action to set you on that course. Just like walking, it’s always 1 step at a time. We are here to help you along your journey.
Who inspires you? And why?
The people that inspire me are not just the best in the world, who have dedicated their lives to their crafts, like Dr. Gabor Mate, Wim Hof, Tim Ferris, etc. But the ones who have come from nothing, who have stood tall after all the challenges they have faced. I love the underdogs, and the redemption stories, that’s why I want to work with everyone who has a Revenge Story!
What is your number one tip for people on their fitness journey?
Success loves speed. Unless you want to spend 10 years trialling and error figuring stuff out to transform yourself, hire a coach. Every coach once had a coach. You are literally learning in 12 weeks to a year which took me over a decade. I, along with many coaches can put you light years ahead of anyone else in the gym just by working together and giving you what you need to know, so you don’t get swooned by all the bollocks in this industry.
What does success look like for you?
I think each person needs to define what success means to them. However, success for me is living out your purpose in life, once you’ve discovered it. Getting to freely enjoy your passion, if it isn’t the same thing as your purpose. And taking those and sharing them with the world. Waking up each morning, not dreading your life, and being able to remain grateful, and attain satisfaction as you navigate the journey is what I call a successful life.
You can have all the money in the world, lots of people do, but they are miserable. There is always a trade-off of some kind that you may not know about.
What is your favourite quote to live by?
You cannot succeed without experiencing failure. In fact, just like in training, all the results come AFTER FAILURE- Nick Horvath.