What led you to have a passion for bodybuilding/fitness?
I started off with dreams of becoming an Olympic 100m sprinter after watching Linford Christie win the 1992 Barcelona Olympic 100m. Weight training became part of the training process and it soon became my passion.
Have you had struggles with bodybuilding/fitness, or struggles that bodybuilding/fitness has helped you with?
The very nature of bodybuilding at a competitive level delves right into the psyche. For me it has been a double edged sword. I’ve often lost contact with the bigger picture (life, friends, etc) just to win a trophy at nationals. On the flip side the routine and mindset necessary to compete has helped my focus and increased my self esteem beyond my wildest dreams. The work ethic from bodybuilding has been the most humbling of life experiences. It allowed me to be objective and pragmatic – casting some needed light in the darker periods of my life.
How is your mindset different from regular training to contest prep mode?
I’d say intensity and focus ramps up a few levels when in prep mode. I know this should be the same all year around but this isn’t realistic for me. It’s still my goal to be as consistent both on and off season.
How did you feel going into your first bodybuilding contest?
Like a total rookie. My goal was to look like part of the line up as a ‘bodybuilder’ and not to be laughed off of the stage. Of course the sprinter in me wanted to win. But they couldn’t be further apart terms of sport. Carrying that competitive mindset over really helped me though.
How does that compare to your most recent bodybuilding contest?
My confidence has definitely grown with each contest. Than said, experience doesn’t mean nerves don’t kick but I have a more professional way of dealing with it. I’ll focus purely on small details, posing correctly, standing tall or even just smiling at the judges to keep focused on the right things. In contrast to the first time I just remember my eyes being dazzled by the stage lights and being overawed by the cheering audience.
Are there any recent life changes, realizations, struggles, or obstacles that you have had to overcome recently that might offer inspiration to others?
I would say dealing with my own depression and some external circumstances is an on going process and battle. I honestly thought that my bodybuilding days were over and after deciding to compete again in 2016 I reclaimed top three in nationals (under 80kg) and it made me realise that with the right mind set and support you can achieve the impossible. This my proudest moment in the sense of overcoming mental obstacles with the process of training/prepping as my form of therapy.
Do you have any words of wisdom to offer to anyone who aspires to a career in the fitness industry?
Keep educating yourself and find the best sources of information out there. I subscribe to T-nation as well as choosing two or three of my favourite coaching educators to follow, keeping up to date with current trends. Try and find time each week to read an article or engage in learning even if from your laptop. Podcasts, YouTube, social media, etc make this so easy now.