“Running – you either like it or you don’t.” This is the view of Caroline, who is running her first 10K in Victoria this April. Caroline is running the TC10K in memory of her daughter, Ashley, who would have been 32 in March. Getting involved with the TC10K was an interesting fit–Caroline saw the Cystic Fibrosis Society of Canada connection and thought she’d sign up and fundraise at the same time.
Caroline’s connection to Cystic Fibrosis Canada goes back to 1985, to when her daughter was born. After years of struggling, her daughter, Ashley received a double-lung transplant. “For a brief period after Ashley’s transplant, she would use the gym in our building to help rebuild her strength in the long post recovery period. She would run on the treadmill and tell me how she’d have to stop because her legs would give out. She’d never run out of breath, for the first time in her life.”
Caroline’s relationship with running sprung from the freedom of the activity itself. ”I like that I can just go–run. I like how I can just run my own pace.” With little to no equipment needed to run, Caroline just replaces her shoes at least twice a year. “I want to be one of those old ladies, like who’s 80, who’s putting on my shoes and running… I want to be able to do it for a long time.”
With a lot of friends and former colleagues that are very connected to this genetic disease, Caroline knows that they are closer to finding a cure than they ever have been. “I’m running for her because she could never run anywhere without running out of breath. I’m running for all the Ashley’s who can’t.”
Tell a little about Alistair Vigier?
I just turned 27 years old and I was born in Toronto, Ontario. I moved to Victoria BC when I was nine years old and joined the military when I turned 17. During my high school years I excelled in running and was MVP at Lambrick Park High School for two years in a row.
When I was 16 years old I ran the Mill Bay 10k in 37:55. The same year I ran the Cedar 12k in a time of 45:25.
After leaving the military I started raising money from private investors in order for the companies to expand. I now work for a law firm (HART Legal) and a retail store that is franchising (Bon Macaron.) It’s a lot of fun!
Did your time in the military increase your love for running and athletics?
I was wounded in 2009 in the military and I had to take a few years off running. I got back into running in 2014 but I was never as good as I was before the injury. When I was an excellent runner I weighed around 160 pounds. In the 5 years I stopped running I spent a lot of time weight lifting and eating more than before, and went up to 205 pounds. I am back below 200 pounds now and my goal is to get to 180 pounds so that I can start running longer distances again. An extra 40 pounds is a lot of extra weight to carry over 10K.
You are an entrepreneur and marketer but also continue to train. How do you balance your athletic and professional interests?
It’s really hard. I set aside at least an hour a day to exercise. This doesn’t always have to be running. I also enjoy weight lifting and ju-jitsu.
It can be hard when I am travelling to places such as Los Angeles or Toronto for HART Legal to maintain a proper exercise plan. When I was in Edmonton and it was -25 degrees outside, I had to settle for running on a treadmill. Likewise, when I was in Las Vegas last summer, it was 45 degrees. It would have been hard to run for longer than 5 minutes in that heat without going down from heatstroke.
I also try and watch what I eat while I travel. Instead of eating fast food, I will make my way to a grocery store to stay consistent with my diet. If I can’t get to a grocery store, I will settle with going to healthier fast food options. My three favorites are Subway, Jugo Juice and Booster Juice.
Do you have any future races you are planning for?
I am hoping I can be in town for the Oak Bay Half Marathon on May 28th. I ran it in 2015 in 1:28:36. I messed up in the race by not training properly. During the race, I was on track to come in around 1:26 until the 18K mark. I hadn’t run more than 15K in practice and I assumed the adrenaline of the race would carry me the last 6K. I was wrong! At the 18K mark I completely burnt out and 5 runners passed me before the finish line.
If our readers wanted to follow your adventures where would they go to follow you?
The TC10k Is Made Possible From People like YOU
To the FINish Line!
To the FINish Line! is the BC Ministry of Finance team that has run the TC10k year after year. Still holding the title for the largest government team, “To The FINish Line” donated a trophy and will be giving it to the fastest government team each year. Keep, calm as they say: teamwork makes the dream work.
Cheers to the Healthy Role Models team-currently the biggest TC10K team with 124 participants. If you can’t beat them, join them, right? https://www.facebook.com/healthyrolemodels/
Sole Sisters Victoria
Behind every successful women is a tribe of other successful women who have her back. Mena Westhaver, the team lead of Sole Sisters Victoria, is backed by her team of Women’s only runners and walkers–one of the TC10K’s largest teams. Women empowering women. http://www.solesistersvictoria.com/
They’re a women’s only Run/Walk clinic . the team returns year after year and always have a large team – currently at 60 participants
SWAN Street SLUG-grrrrrrs
Hello to the Swan Street Slug-grrrrrs 👋. A team of Swan Street neighbours who have been doing the TC10K for years. 22 out 32 of their ‘gang’ from the ‘hood’ or 3 generations born and still being raised on Swan Street and proud to “fly the colours”! As a fairly ‘free spirited’ crew their team captain volunteers for the event each year at package pick up. You go, Swan Street.
Shout out to the KDC Health team who treks down from Campbell River each year for the last weekend of April, to run. To run the TC10k! This year they have over 80 participants who are making the journey. The journey being with one step. http://www.kdchealth.com/
Running is not only about how far you ran or the time of your last race. It is about community and appreciating the distance run by other runners too. Team Tiernan is running for their friend Tiernan and also for a mother of 3 who is fighting stomach cancer. Here’s to Team Tiernan bringing the community together one race at a time!
There are much more amazing teams to back up click here for the one you want to be part of.
Tell us about Mike McDougall?
Wow, I never know what to say to these questions. I am husband, father to two wonderful girls, a lighting consultant with McLaren Lighting.
What sparked your interest in running and triathlon?
I don’t think I actually have an interest in running. For triathlon, it was watching Simon Whitfield cross the finish line for gold in Sydney. I knew from that moment that I loved the sport, although it would take several years before I’d get a chance to Tri.
You have completed multiple Ironman distance triathlons as well as running races. Do you have a favourite race and why?
I’d say there is two, the first is Ironman Canada, but more specifically the one I did in 2015. The conditions were terrible. Around 230 athletes either dropped out or were pulled out due to hypothermia. I managed to persevere and I finished the race that day. It wasn’t the result I wanted, but I found what I was made of that day.
The second has to be the TC10k. How could it not be on the list of anyone who has ever run it? A fast flat course, with some of the best scenery you can find. Running through the cherry blossom covered streets to running up the waterfront, to finishing in front of the legislature buildings. The race is amazing. The fans, the other athletes. It’s just an awesome race!!!!
You’re a dedicated father, husband, son and friend; how do you balance your athletic endeavours and life?
I think my wife and kids would argue that there’s balance. Thankfully they are very understanding that the training portion of racing is very important to me. I’ve also become very acquainted with 5 am.
You’re racing the TC10K this year. What other races will you be racing?
The only other confirmed races are Ironman Victoria 70.3 and Ironman Canada 70.3. I’m still looking at Ironman Calgary 70.3, Cultus Lake in September and a little voice in my head is egging me on to do the Victoria Marathon in October.
What advice would you give to our TC10K athletes who are racing for their first time?
Enjoy it, I know it’s a cliche but enjoy the atmosphere, the scenery and the fans. It’s all amazing. Ohh and pace yourself for the hill up Dallas road. It sneaks up on you. It’s not bad, but it can take the wind out of your sail pretty quickly.
What makes Mike McDougall powerful?
My will to be better than I was yesterday.
How can our readers follow your story?
Who is Joseph Levey of #LocateLevy?
Joseph Levy (#LocateLevy ) is an unstoppable globe-trotting runner who has been on the go for months, running from Paris, France to the Bronx. This gentle giant is planning to end his world running tour at the TC10K. The problem is, it’s almost impossible to stop him long enough to take a picture.
Your mission, if you accept, is to find him amongst 8,000 participants. Take your picture on Instagram with Joseph Levy and tag it #LocateLevy. Winners will be contacted live during the race to claim TC10k goodies.
Hint: He will be wearing #LocateLevy on a TC10K shirt.
What you have to do to win
- Be at the event (You don’t have to be registered)
- Keep an eye out for Levy (The guy in the pictures) wearing a bright #TC10K #LocateLevy shirt
- If you’re lucky enough to find him, take a selfie with Levy on Instagram
- Tag the pic with #LocateLevy #TC10K
- We will contact you if you’re a winner via Instagram
“Number one is just to gain a passion for running. To love the morning, to love the trail, to love the pace on the track. And if some kid gets really good at it, that’s cool too.”– Pat Tyson
Pete Perrin didn’t start off as a runner, but after two major knee surgeries in his late teens left him searching for a new sport, the now-24 year old has made a name for himself as a mid- to long-distance runner in Victoria.
Adopted when he was just 3 years old from Haiti, Pete arrived in Canada speaking fluent French and expressing a keen interest in sports, especially soccer. Determined to keep their active son engaged, Pete’s parents enrolled him in soccer lessons just one year later where he quickly excelled. He was a fast runner, enthusiastic teammate and fierce competitor. He loved the sport and, along with his other early passion for cooking, it became an integral part of his identity. That is, however, until severe knee pain in his early teens rendered him unable to play high-level soccer without pain.
Upon investigation, it was determined that malnutrition as an infant had long-term side effects on his knee joints and bones. At 15, Pete underwent his first knee surgery to address pain that had persisted for several years. Only a few short months later he underwent his second surgery, although this time it was emergency surgery to address internal inflammation that had caused his knee to swell to twice its normal size in the span of only a few hours.
Both of his surgeries were performed by Dr. Norgrove Penny and took place at Victoria General Hospital (VGH), as did portions of his rehabilitation. Pete accredits his eventual recovery to the outstanding physicians, nurses, and ICU staff at VGH, as well as the physiotherapists who directed his rehabilitation program and encouraged him throughout the often frustrating recovery process.
When Pete was told he may never play soccer or run again, he was heartbroken. It was an extremely nerve wracking thing to hear for someone whose passion and identity was being active and competitive. Working with the physicians and physiotherapists post-operatively however, kept him focused on the task at hand; by channeling his competitive nature into his recovery process, Pete found himself recovering better than anyone had anticipated.
Just 3 years after his second surgery, Pete’s mother encouraged him to enter the TC10K which ultimately proved to be a pivotal event in his life. The race rekindled his love of competition and he discovered a new interest in long-distance running – he hasn’t looked back since. Following that 2012 TC10K race, Pete has completed over 100 runs ranging from 5km to 42km. In the 2015 TC10K he placed 6th overall. His goal this year is to achieve a personal best time and run under 34 minutes. He trains between 40 and 60km per week and has aspirations of training on the Canadian national team and competing internationally.
Pete Perrin is committed to the Victoria Hospitals Foundation’s (VHF) vision – exceptional care through inspired giving – and will be running for VHF’s team, Heroes for Hospitals. His hope is to raise money for this year’s cause which is close to his heart, Neurology and Rehabilitation care at Royal Jubilee Hospital (RJH) and Victoria General Hospital (VGH). Just like his fellow Heroes for Hospitals teammates, he too wants to support the purchase of equipment that will make a significant impact on others’ lives, just as he experienced at VGH.
Following the frustration, fear, and eventual successful recovery from his surgeries, Pete feels humble and incredibly appreciative of being able to return to his passion of athletic competition that his surgeries and rehabilitation have enabled. He also wants to support others who may be going through similar rehabilitation processes by funding equipment that will make a difference, and by sharing his optimism and success story.
Author: Liz Fenje
Tell us a little about who Carly is and what she loves best
I’m 25 years old, moved to Victoria in September 2010 to attend the University of Victoria. My hobbies include cooking, recipe testing, hiking, running, exploring all the little one-off shops that Victoria has to offer and spending time with my friends and family.
You have an inspiring but truly amazing health story. Do you mind sharing your story?
Thank you so much.
My whole life I was heavy and struggled with my weight. My relationship with food was one that I could never really get a hold on. In April of 2016 I had a realization that I could still have a great relationship with food, I just had to adjust my lifestyle. I started to follow some amazing ‘whole-food, whole-30, paleo’ based food bloggers who taught me that YOU CAN EAT ALL THE FOOD YOU WANT… just to eat real food, with real ingredients, enjoy some chocolate and peanut butter here and there… and get outside and sweat a little everyday. Before I knew it I started dropping the weight, it got a lot easier to do the hiking and running that I always aspired to be able to do and exactly one year after doing my first ‘big hike’ on April 10, 2016 – I had lost 135 pounds.
You have an amazing Instagram called “What Carly Ate” with healthy recipes and cooking ideas. How did you find your passion for cooking?
I found my passion for cooking, believe it or not, when I was quite young. Most kids when they were in elementary school would get up and watch cartoons in the morning… not me. I would watch the Food Network and take mental notes as to what my favorite chefs were cooking, how to cook it, and what went with what. My favorite chef growing up was Micheal Smith on “Chef at Home.” I always found his recipes to be easy to make as he used ingredients that people usually have kicking around their homes already. As I’ve grown up I’ve found more passion for cooking by following other food bloggers who have the same outlook on food that I have. I love seeing how people put together ‘basic’ ingredients into amazing dishes.
You are planning to run the TC10K what made you decide you were going to Rock this event?
I actually have walked the TC10K the past two years, so, last year when I walked it I had just started my weight loss journey and I made it a goal to be able to run it this year. It’s something I’ve always had in the back of my mind through this process. Not to mention it’s a beautiful (and fairly flat!) run.
What’s your favorite thing about running?
I love being able to see the little improvements in my own running on a week-to-week basis. For example, not feeling like I can make it all the way up a hill on a run one week, and then the next week being able to do it no problem. I also love being able to just zone out while running and go to another place in my head. It’s truly relaxing (I never thought I’d be able to say that!).
What tips would you give to people running the TC10K for their first time?
Well, I’m running the TC10K for the first time so I can’t say I have much advice. However, I’m going into the race with an open mind without any major plans and I’m just going to have FUN! Just enjoy yourself, stay positive… and wear comfortable supportive runners!
If somebody wanted to find a healthy lifestyle what would you recommend they do to find that path?
First – You need to make sure you are truly ready for that lifestyle change. Once you’ve decided you will REALLY need to commit. You will need to realize every decision isn’t going to be easy but it is going to be worth it. Surround yourself with supportive friends and family, clean out your fridge and pantry of all the old junk, and spoil yourself a little and buy that fancy granola from the grocery store. Remember, you’re investing in your health, your future! Don’t try to pinch too many pennies.
What makes you so POWERFUL?
I wouldn’t say I’m powerful, however, my determination and drive stem from the support and love of my family, friends and my amazing and supportive (new!) fiancé (who has also lost over 100 pounds with me!). Without the amazing support system in my life, I don’t know if I could have gotten to this point in my journey.
Where can our readers follow you on your journey?
They can follow along on my two Instagram profiles:
My personal, fitness, life and food-ish Instagram: @carlyfaym
My food, fitness and meal inspiration Instagram: @whatcarlyate
I also have a food blog that I’m going to be revamping in the next few months called: whatcarlyate.wordpress.com where I post recipes and reviews of some of my favorite restaurants.
Tell us a little about the amazing Nick Patenaude and about living on Vancouver Island?
Well, what you see is what you get! Hot pink hair, pink race suit, pink shoes, I’m pretty recognisable, or so I’m told! I’ve been living on The Island since I was born, that was in 1990, now you know I’m in the 25-29 age group! Living on the island is something I’m still discovering value in. I wasn’t interested in the opportunities it presented when I was younger, and now, I find myself constantly discovering new places, people, and adventures on Vancouver island! From summiting Mt. Arrowsmith to surfing Cox Bay, and everything in between (elevation-wise, I mean) there’s loads of adventure to be had here! And even though the rain can suck, and winter can get too cold to ride, there’s a diverse range of training centres and a great fitness culture to keep motivated!
You are a world class triathlon athlete. How did you find your passion?
World Class is a bit of a stretch, but yes, I do compete at Worlds and in several international events 🙂 I don’t think finding passion is a secret at all. I believe describing it as a finding or discovering isn’t accurate, it’s more of a development, an enlightenment, or a “fumbling in the dark, oh hey, wait, what’s this, I think this is pretty neat, let’s try it for awhile!” experience. And I found mine like any human does, trial and error. I’m thankful I stumbled into the sport of triathlon and long distance racing, it’s a lifestyle that I find great value in [almost] every day!
You have competed around the world in Triathlon. What would you say are some of your most memorable events?
Some of my most memorable events involve the people and places around the events. While racing in Slovakia at Oravaman was a crazy and fun experience, I think to be with one of my most aspirational friend Ashley Wiles, and getting to spend a lot more time in a deeper meaning with her was the best part! Experiencing a new culture neither of us had seen (we had both been to Europe several times, but never through the old Eastern European countries). Then at Worlds last year (2016) meeting one of the most amazing athletes I’ve encountered, Oliver Kreindl of Team Austria, then spending 2 weeks with him at his family’s home in a small rural town in OberÖsterreich (Upper Austria) and feeling so welcomed into their home and family and experiencing Gemütlichkeit at it’s finest.
You have coached and prepared many people, to complete either their first race or a long distance triathlon like the Cultus Lake Triathlon and Ironman Canada. What would you say it takes to get from a 10k to a long distance race?
I like to think of this as my first marathon, I got it done, but couldn’t walk the next day and had blisters covering most of the surface of my foot. Shortly after training up to my first half-marathon, I decided it wasn’t that bad, and that if I can do a half, I can surely do a full! To keep this brief, I did it. It was painful. But I did it. Our bodies have a great capacity to endure. That being said though, it’s not necessarily worth the risk of pain and long term damage. I have a recurring ankle injury likely due to running in shoes from WalMart for my first year, and not knowing what I was doing. I would say the best thing to do is take it slow. Start with a program, coach, or trainer to help you stay both accountable and to prevent you from doing TOO MUCH! Both ends of the spectrum have negative consequences. The key is to find a state of difficulty where you’re slightly reaching for that goal, where you have to dig deep to succeed, but you don’t have to dig yourself into a pit of injury!
How do you balance life, work and still have time to train?
When I figure that out, I’ll send you a first edition copy of my book 😉
What are your next races?
Next up I have a couple of local races, including the Island Race Series events, the Dynamic Race Events (Westwood Lake Triathlon, Oliver 70.3, Cultus Lake Tri, and the Elk Lake duathlon), and Westshore Race events (Westshore Triathlon, Langford Lake Triathlon), near the end of summer I’ll be racing the ITU World Championship for Duathlon and Long Course Triathlon!
What would you say to our first-time athletes running the TC10k and are looking to continue on to longer races?
Don’t get caught up in the race hustle, it’s just another run with like-minded, goal-oriented people, just like you, who all have a different life story, but are all looking to get the same satisfaction out of completing THEIR race!
Where can our readers follow your adventures?
Well, my Instagram is definitely where I put the most love. I definitely believe in the value of images. However, I also Tweet, Snap, and have a website up where I try hard to connect with as many people as possible regularly!
SnapChat: @See_Nick_Run Snap
What makes you #Powerful Nick?
What makes anyone powerful, I think everyone has a different power, but that’s not what really matters. What really matters is how that power is used.
My power is in my ability to engage, interact, and create comfort with those I meet.
I’m able to hold space for people and truly value the experience I have with them. I add to society with that power, and I use that it to elicit positive change in each individual’s life. I thrive on encouraging others and seeing them succeed, but my selfish gain ends up paying out for the other parties, always!
#TC10k Athlete Highlight Yana Hempler
We are proud to feature “Wonder Woman” Yana Hempler. We have been inspired by her story of hope, strength and the power of positivity. Thanks Yana!
Tell us about Yana Hempler?
I’m originally from Russia but grew up in Canada. When I first came to Canada, I could barely speak a few words of English and had to go to school less than a week after landing in Canada. That was definitely the first of many challenges that I overcame. I went from being that girl that people told to stay away from sports because I wasn’t good, was made fun of and that was picked last in gym class to becoming the NWASAA zone champion and competing at the Provincial level in Track & Field and Badminton, ultimately becoming the Female Athlete of the Year in grade 12.
I focused on athletics and academics while in school. At the time, it was my dream to be on the University running team. However, that dream got crushed by an injury where I could not run for a few years. Then, one day, I stopped feeling sorry for myself and started my recovery process. Unable to afford a trainer, I had to figure it all out for myself.
I went from barely being able to run a block without walking to running my first TC10k in 2012 in 43:35. That same year, I qualified for the Boston Marathon for the first time. In 2013, I ran the length of Vancouver Island to raise funds for the SPCA, Mustard Seed and Recreation Integration Victoria.
Since then, I’ve worked with other charitable organizations like Wounded Warriors Canada, Help Fill a Dream Foundation and the United Way. In addition to being a running coach, I’m also a nationally published fitness writer. My work has appeared in Canadian Running Magazine, Independent Sports News, CVV Magazine, and Ageless Living Magazine.
Although I no longer coach full-time, I’m most passionate about using fitness as a way to fundraise for charitable organizations and create a positive impact on the community. I plan to organize more charity boot camps, charitable run clinics and donate a percentage of profits from any of my online coaching programs to worthy causes.
You have had a long list of race and fitness events. One of them being the TC10k what sparked your interest in fitness?
Back when I was in Junior high school, I got cut from every team and got bullied relentlessly for not being athletic (among other things). So, I decided to try long distance running and it was definitely not a smooth road for me to say the least. I wanted to get better and I really wanted to be athlete of the year.
By the time I got to high school, I had got very good at distance running and went to provincials with the goal of being on the University running team. Also, finally received the Athlete of the Year Award in Grade 12.
Unfortunately, that dream again got derailed due to an injury right before university which left me unable to run fast for several years and I gained weight. I was determined to get back into my pre-injury fitness level as well as achieve some major goals. Ultimately, my goal is to inspire others to strive to reach their goals because if I can do it, then so can they.
I want people to recognize that if they really want to do something, nothing and no one can stop them. Fitness is such a personal thing for every individual. Not everyone has to be an ultra marathon runner but everyone can do something and there are always plenty of goals to tackle.
Not only are you an amazing Athlete but you are a coach and personal trainer. Many of your clients have had many success stories such as Jerry Hughes who went from 10K to Ultra Marathoner. What is your secret to helping your clients make such significant accomplishments?
I think that the biggest secret is believing in my clients long before they start to believe in themselves and bringing out the best in them. Another secret is, of course, the knowledge, research and education that I’ve put into my programs.
My running programs are designed to suit each person’s individual fitness level, work/life/family schedule, as well as goals they want to reach. It’s important to take the time to get to know the clients, listen to them, their personal challenges and their potential barriers to success. I get into the “why” they strive to reach their goals as opposed to simply focusing solely on the “how”. It doesn’t matter if I’m coaching a group of people or individuals because I strive to make it fun and convenient for them by delivering a positive experience.
Do you have a personal favorite success story and why?
Crossing the finish line of the Boston Marathon in 2015. It was a big deal for me because I’ve wanted to do it since I was 15 and first saw the race on TV. The injury that derailed me before going to university at one point made me feel like there was no way that I could ever run a 10k again, let alone qualify for the Boston Marathon.
When I ran my first 10k after my injury, my time was 1:30, which was a far cry from qualifying for Boston. However, six months after that, I signed up for the TC10k and finished in 43:35, which was miles ahead of my predicted finish time of 55 minutes.
Prior to that, there was a point in my life between my injury and year two of university where I was broke, injured and uncertain of the future in every way. That same year I ran the TC10k in 43:35, I also qualified for Boston for the first time running my first ever Goodlife Fitness Victoria Marathon, which came as a shock to me. Therefore, the Boston Marathon marked a big turning point for me and is proof that previous setbacks weren’t fatal or final.
You always have a smile on your face while balancing work, life fitness. How do you manage to do that so well?
I often stop and think about all the things that are going well for me and that gives me enough reason to smile. Having accomplished goals before my 26th birthday that I didn’t know I ever could make me very grateful for what I have now. I always have something to work on, something to strive for and the thought of “continuous improvement” inspires me.
We have many people attending the TC10k for the first time. What advice would you give to them for the few weeks leading up to the big day?
I think the biggest piece of advice I would give them is to not compare their journey to the start line with anyone else’s. Everyone who attends the TC10k for the first time has an amazing story as to why they chose to be a part of the event.
It’s very important to enjoy the journey leading up to the race and enjoy the entire experience rather than focusing solely on pace and numbers. Regardless if you run a 7-minute mile or a 14-minute mile, you are still a runner and you should be proud of your accomplishment no matter what.
You have inspired many people through your athleticism and your bright personality. What makes you so Powerful?
Thank you. Powerful is definitely not the word I would use to describe myself…HAHAHAHA. I would consider myself to be a continuous work in progress. I also tend to think about what I’ve overcome, and I try to relate to what other people are going through. Being able to relate to people of all walks of life I think is the key to my being able to inspire them. When you cross that finish line, nothing will take that joy of personal accomplishment away from you.
Where do our TC10k athletes follow the adventures of Yana Hempler?
Tell Us About Coach Josh Wood and What He Likes Best About Victoria?
My wife and I just moved to the Island from Melbourne, Australia, about six-weeks ago. Down-Under I had been working as a boxing and strength coach at The Guild. I had also spent the last six-years teaching at a massage school. Last December, I finished my Bachelor of Health Science in Chinese Medicine, and have already earned the nickname ‘Doctor Coach’ at the gym because of this. I am currently working out of Limitless Training, with the awesome Balance Kickboxing team. I am coaching the kickboxing classes, and working as a personal fitness coach.
I really like the how Victoria has all the resources of a big city, with a small town feel. Everything is so close, and you’re only minutes away from some of the world’s best scenery!
Where did your passion for fitness and athletics begin?
I started down this path when I was 17-years old. One day, while working at a computer shop, I decided wanted to learn kickboxing. I was living in Rochester, Minnesota, at the time and there was no one that offered training in kickboxing! So, I found a small school that taught Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) out of the back of a sweaty, old, boxing gym. The school was called Mario Roberto’s Jiu Jitsu Academy, and that was the beginning of my journey into combat sports and physical training. Eleven years later, I’m still at it!
Why did you decide to become a coach and personal trainer?
I was always looking for a way to make money doing what I love, and I’m still looking for a way to make money doing it!
I was training at an MMA school near Melbourne, and the head coach was going away to train in Thailand for a couple months. He put myself and a couple other senior students in charge, and I started off coaching the kids and beginner adults in MMA and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) fundamentals. A while after that, having been teaching massage for a few years, I was offered a scholarship to the Australian Institute of Fitness and studied there. At the time I was competitive in Powerlifting and I quickly went on to get my Powerlifting Coaching Certification through Powerlifting Australia. After all the study I started working in a local strength and conditioning gym as a Boxing and Strength Coach. I’ve always considered it a passion project.
I’m helping people become the most resilient versions of themselves every day, and inspiring people to accomplish the goals they’ve always wanted to. Who wouldn’t want to do that?!
How do you balance work, life and training?
It can be a tenuous balance for most. I’m lucky; I work at a gym. I just come in early before each shift and train then. At least 4-days a week. Luckily, I’m not training for any sort of competition. So, I can keep my training general, and focus on building up my weaknesses. Right now I am working on mobility and focusing on bodyweight movements to give my joints a rest.
I don’t see the gym as optional. I often hear, “Wouldn’t you rather spend your time doing something else.” Some days, yes. But, this is an investment. This is how I know that when someone needs help moving, I can help lift that dresser; or pull my wife from a burning building. I am investing in quality of life, and creating a physical savings account. I will retain mobility and function as I age, and that is one of the most important aspects of independence and quality of life.
In short, I prioritize.
What advice would you give to our TC10K athletes as they prepare for the 10K?
Get your diet on point. You can’t train if you can’t recover. Prioritise protein in each meal, aiming for one to two palm sized portions of protein dense food every time you eat. All of your connective tissues (including bone) and muscle need protein to repair. And no, nuts are not an adequate protein source. Think meats, fish, eggs, Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, legumes, and pulses.
What makes you #Powerful?
Using an evidence-based approach to training makes me #powerful. I look at the available evidence, and assess how other coaches’ athletes perform, and use that information to provide the best training and lifestyle advice for my clients and myself.
Where can our athletes follow your adventures?
Everyone is welcome to follow me on: