INTERVIEW BY DANIELLE WAKIL
How did you prepare physically in the lead-up to the MH Man Competition?
I increased my cardio to improve my definition. I added lots of CrossFit exercises – combos of chin-ups and runs and really explosive exercises, like box jumps. I decided to focus on high-intensity workouts to save time and started running in the mornings.
What did your workouts look like leading up to the competition and how was this different to your typical training regimen?
I was always weight-training five days a week. But leading up to the comp, I decided to add three morning runs a week to my workouts. In terms of fat burning, I found that what worked best for me was to run first thing in the morning. I also did split sessions of weights during the week.
Could you give us the breakdown of your split sessions?
Tuesday – back and biceps
Wednesday – day off
Thursday – legs and a big abs session
Friday – shoulders
Saturday – a mixture or whatever needed to be worked on
Each day I would do some abs at the end of each workout, but Thursday was a particularly big abs session.
You had a full-time job, twin baby girls and were running your own supplement business (Total Health and Performance). How did you balance all this with your training routine leading up to the competition?
I had to wake up early in the mornings and run before the girls would wake up; this way it wouldn’t interfere with family time. I was fortunate enough to be able to take an hour lunch break at work and that’s when I would get in my gym workout for the day. With this in place I could spend time with my family at night.
Do you have any advice for guys entering the competition this year who might also need to balance a busy life with training?
You do have to make some sacrifices – for example, you don’t get to see your mates as much. But I would say that as long as you can make sure your partner understands and supports what you’re doing, then that really helps.
I would also recommend scheduling in a date night once a week with your partner if you have one, or allocate an arvo every two weeks to spend with your mates. This helps you to stay grounded and on top of your relationships.
What did your nutritional regimen look like leading up to the comp? Did you change anything in your diet?
Here, I made a drastic change. Prior to the comp, I would always eat pretty healthily, but leading up to the comp I became really strict.
I would eat 6-8 meals a day, and I made sure that I ate every 2-3 hours to keep my metabolism firing.
My meals consisted of three lots of chicken (200 grams), rice (half cup) and green vegies (one cup) throughout the day. For dinner I would eat fish (200g) and salad. For breakfast, I would whip up a special little concoction that actually tasted pretty good – I took a protein shake bottle and put oats in it (I know that sounds strange, but try it!), one cup of egg whites (you can buy frozen egg whites from the supermarket) with a couple of heaped spoons of protein powder and added some cold water. This was pretty tasty, did the job and the key was that it was time efficient because I was always rushing in the mornings.
I also kept a couple of protein shakes in my gym bag at all times, so that I could grab one on the go if ever I felt hungry, and I also had one after every workout.
I stopped eating out and gave up alcohol – except on the weekends where I would allow myself a “cheat” 24-hour window between Saturday lunchtime and Sunday afternoon. This didn’t mean that I could blow out and eat a whole pizza or go out of my way to gorge on a block of chocolate. But it meant that if I was out with my mates then it would be okay to have a beer or two, or a pasta meal with my wife out at a restaurant on a Saturday night.
Do you have any advice for other Men’s Health readers who are trying to stay on track and eat healthily?
Preparation is everything. The night before, once the kids were in bed, I would spend 20 minutes preparing my meals for the next day.
Another trick I had was on a Sunday night I would spend up to an hour preparing my meals for the next three days and then I would just store them in the fridge. This was a real time-saver during the week.
Also, the George Foreman Grill. I swear this saved my life! It cooks your meat from both sides so it saves time. I also became a pro at microwaving rice.
During the MH Man competition what did you find the most challenging?
I found the photoshoot really confronting and awkward because it’s not something that I’d ever done before. But the crew was really helpful and professional and they helped to relax my nerves.
What other advice would you give this year’s MH Man contestants?
I would recommend getting a good night’s sleep the night before the shoot and to try to relax as much as possible. There’s no point stressing because at the end of the day the shots all turned out great.
In terms of the physical challenge, fitness is key. So to prepare physically for the comp, I would say not to just focus on weights, but focus on your cardio and endurance fitness, too. Some guys couldn’t complete the CrossFit course that they had lined up for us, while others were spewing . . . it was really hard, and the combos at the end of kettle bells, wall balls, push-ups and runs was a real killer. So I would say that general day-to-day weights doesn’t get you through the physical challenge – your fitness levels have to count for something.
You won the NIVEA FOR MEN’S Face of the Year Award at last year’s MH Man competition. What does your daily grooming routine look like?
Every morning and night I do the same thing: I use NIVEA For Men’s Q10 Revitalising moisturiser. This is my favourite product and I have come to depend on it. It makes my skin look and feel better, and since I only get 4-6 hours sleep a night, I feel like it is really revitalising and adds a couple more hours sleep to my skin. I also use NIVEA FOR MEN’S Skin Energy Roll On that gets rid of any black rings around my eyes. These two products help me hide if I’m stressed or sleep deprived.
What’s your approach to shaving?
I generally shave twice a week using NIVEA FOR MEN’S Sensitive Shaving Foam that’s gentle on any irritated areas. If ever I get in-grown hair around my neckline then I use NIVEA FOR MEN’S Exfoliating Face Scrub to help out with that.Any other grooming tips for this year’s MH Man contestants?
My advice for the guys coming through this year would be to get some good sleep and, unlike David from last year, brush your hair!