Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Interview with Patrick Dale

Co-VP Real Gainz

Hi everyone! Today I am here interviewing Team Real Gainz Member, and our most prized writer Patrick Dale. Whether you are reading an article on Real Gainz online site or in our printed magazine you will find we use his articles throughout both.

Patrick at this time I would like to thank you for your time doing this interview. Is there anything you would like to say before we begin?

Hi Keith – I’d just like to say a huge thanks to Real Gainz for publishing my work and that I am looking forward to working with you as the magazine and website go from strength to strength.

OK let’s get started with the first question:

Q. I understand you live in Cyprus now. Please tell our readers where you were born?

A. I was born in the City of Bristol in the south of England. I lived there for my first 20 years or so before heading off in search of fame and fortune! I still have family and friends there so visit regularly – although I don’t know if I’ll ever live there again.

Q. Why did you leave Bristol England to live in Cyprus?

A. I was lucky enough to be offered a job in Cyprus and I always wanted to live in a Mediterranean country as I love the warmth, culture and people so it was an easy decision to make. The UK doesn’t have the best weather and, without getting too political, I don’t like the way the country is going – the cost of living is getting higher all the time and crime rate is soaring. I felt it was a perfect opportunity to improve my quality of life…and get a year-round tan!

Q. When did you realize you were interested in pursuing a career in fitness and sports?

A. I can’t actually remember a time I wasn’t interested in fitness and sport! I have always been fascinated with the ideal of ultimate physical performance ever since seeing Pumping Iron and watching the 1976 Olympics on TV. My first memory of training is running around the block, aged 7, getting “in shape” for school sports day. I was encouraged by my parents, some fantastic school teachers and coaches to pursue sports from an early age. I’m just so lucky that my lifelong hobby became my job once I reached adulthood. I get paid to talk about my hobby all day – how cool is that?!

Q. I saw on your Real Gainz page you went to college to study Physical Education. Can you please tell our readers what college you went to and what degree do you hold?

A. When I started in the health & fitness industry, there was very little in the way of formal qualifications in the UK so I spent two years studying a BTEC Physical Education at Bath College of Further Education in the England. It was basically 2 years spent learning how to coach a wide variety of sports from athletics to weight lifting. It was an enjoyable and useful course which exposed me to a huge number of different sports but from the perspective of health and fitness, not hugely beneficial.

Q. Besides your college certificates, do you hold any personal training certifications and if so what kind and from what organization?

A. Blimey – that’s a long list! I have qualifications in teaching Aerobics and Circuit training from the YMCA, weight lifting coaching qualifications from the British Amateur Weightlifting Association (BAWLA), a diploma in Personal Training from Premier Training International, a certificate in sports massage and rehabilitation from Premier Training International, numerous nutrition qualifications, I hold a variety of CHEK institute qualifications and I am a qualified trampolining coach and certified climbing instructor.

Q. Wow – a very mixed bag! No wonder your articles cover such a broad number of subjects. I see from your Real Gainz page you were in one of the most elite fighting units in the world, the British Royal Marine Commandos. Even here in America their reputation is unchallenged. How was that experience for you? Can you tell our readers where you saw action?

A. I had an amazing time in the Royal Marines and wouldn’t have missed it for the world. The skills I learnt such as team work, perseverance, self reliance and mental toughness have been so useful in later life. I made some great friends and got to see some interesting places whilst doing exciting things (sky diving for one!) that I would never have had the chance to do otherwise. During my time as a Royal Marine Commando was deployed in Northern Ireland where I worked as part of a small unit involved in boarding and searching ships moving in and out of Belfast harbor and gathering intelligence from passengers. It was basically an anti-terrorist role and a career highlight. I spent my last couple of years working with boats – from speed boats to troop carriers which was a great experience as I love the sea.

Q. After leaving the Commandos you started your own company called Solar Fitness Qualifications. Can you please tell our readers what Solar Fitness does and why you went in this direction instead of a typical personal training company?

A. Prior to joining the Marines I had my own small personal training and aerobics teaching business so on returning to civilian life I decided to move away from personal training and into lecturing rather than go back in the same direction. After working for another qualifications provider for a few years my business partner and I decided to go it alone and Solar Fitness Qualifications was born. I have an endless passion for the health and fitness industry but it breaks my heart to see bad personal trainers doing their clients more harm than good and I wanted to raise the level of people working as trainers. Too many trainers currently working in the industry can’t even squat and dead lift properly and I really want this to change. I figured the best was to achieve this was to have my own training company. SFQ courses are 8 weeks long and cover everything from basic anatomy and physiology to advanced programme design plus nutrition. Every day is 7-8 hours of theory and practical lessons plus evening and weekend work. I’d describe it as a foundation course as really, even over 8 weeks, we only scratch the surface of the skills a personal trainer should have. We make sure our graduates leave us with an excellent grounding in the basics and the understanding that they have a long way to go.

Q. How can someone who is interested in becoming certified by your company become certified? Do you have any distance learning courses?

A. We currently only offer full time residential courses and we do not offer distance learning although that is something we are looking into at the moment. Because of the practical elements we focus on (exercise techniques, teaching skills etc) we believe the best way to learn is to do. We are currently exploring the possibility of offering the non-practical elements of the course, such as anatomy, physiology and nutrition via DVD/distance learning but this is something for the future. I enjoy the interaction with the students and the theatrics of teaching too much to want to provide our material on DVD – at least for now.

Q. Besides being interested in fitness I understand you are also interested and have competed in various sports. What sports have you competed in?

A. I started my competitive sporting career as a long/triple jumper and sprinter during the summers of my youth and played Rugby during the winter, both at national schools level. I also played a fair amount of basketball and fenced competitively although not to the same standard. When at college I experienced some success in trampolining, diving and weight lifting and spent the next few years pursuing those. From those very technical activities I moved into endurance sports and competed in triathlon and distance running (my bests include a 17 minute 5k, a 35 minute 10k and a 1hr 24 minute half marathon) and held a UK national top 100 ranking in short course triathlon for 2 seasons. Unfortunately, due to lack of proper coaching and too many races I suffered from severe physical and nervous exhaustion and stopped competing after just 4 seasons. Bodybuilding fascinated me so I got very into hypertrophy training and training for aesthetics and considered competing but realized that as a tall heavy weight I was way to lightly built and would have been beaten by the female figure competitors (!) and decided to save my parading around in a posing pouch for the beach. In addition to the sports mentioned I have also played men’s lacrosse, studied Karate, Tae Kwon Do, boxing and judo but only for interest and not competitively. Nowadays, I don’t compete in any sports but still train hard enough that if s scratch game of basketball or rugby comes up, I can play at a reasonable level.

Q. I know one area of interest to you and that you are extremely passionate about is family health and fitness. Why this part of the fitness industry over general fitness?

A. Because, as a rule, most people are in terrible shape! Obesity is now an epidemic and chronic diseases like type II diabetes, metabolic syndrome X and hypertension are becoming the norm. Our modern lifestyle and diet are making us ill and, although people live longer than they ever have, for many people, quality of life is much reduced. Who wants to live to be 90 but spend the last 30 of those years in a hospital bed? Not me that’s for sure! It takes relatively small amounts of activity to keep the body fit and eating healthily is far from complicated meaning vitality and well being are within virtually anyone’s grasp. For some reason, the health and fitness industry tries to complicate getting in shape and I want to show people that, for the vast majority, small changes will pay massive returns in terms of enjoying a longer and more productive life!

Q. Besides training and writing for Real Gainz what else do you do? Are you all work and no play or a mixture of both?

A. I do work hard but I like to think I work smart as I want to have plenty of leisure time to make the most of! We have a wonderful climate in Cyprus which means spending time out doors is a real pleasure so I like to spend as much time enjoying it as possible. Because I spend a fair amount of time training my leisure time tends to be spent relaxing – sat on the beach reading and listening to music is my idea of heaven! I am also a HUGE movie buff and try and see as many films as I can. Live music is another passion of mine and I try to go and see both local and international artists when the opportunity arises.

Q. When working out what does your workout routine look like?

A. Very mixed! As I am no longer interested in bodybuilding I don’t do that type of training any more and strongly believe that hypertrophy training is only appropriate for a small percentage of the population. I focus on athletic-type training which promotes both function and appearance which is not generally the case with bodybuilding type training. I train 5-6 times a week and rotate through strength training (multiple sets with low reps), muscular endurance circuits, interval training and the occasional longer, slower aerobic based workout. I prefer to train outside in the fresh air so most of my sessions involve the use of sandbags, medicine balls, weighted sleds and bodyweight exercises and when strength training I seldom perform isolation exercises, preferring to focus on the big lifts such squats, dead lifts, over head pressing, bench pressing, chins and bent over rows as these exercises provide the most “bang for your buck”. I also perform the classic Olympic lifts and their variations on a regular basis. I use swimming, jumping rope and running for my aerobic and interval training and do core work every other training day.

Q. What does your nutrition plan look like? Do you believe nutrition plays a vital role in health & fitness?

A. Nutrition is vital for health AND appearance and my eating reflects this. I focus on a high consumption of fruit and vegetables, unprocessed grains, plenty of lean animal protein and lots of water. I do have a sweet tooth which I indulge from time to time but 95% of what I eat is clean food prepared as simply as possible to minimize nutrient loss. I am a very firm believer in simple nutrition and base every meal around a lean protein and vegetables/fruit which seems to work well for me. Contrary to a many nutritionists’ opinions, I eat a fair amount of saturated fat as I believe is vital to health and it’s actually trans fats which are responsible for many of the health problems blamed on fat consumption. I also believe that animal protein is far superior to vegetable protein and make sure I eat plenty of meat on a daily basis. I guess my diet is very “hunter/gatherer” orientated. As far as supplementation goes, I keep consumption to multi vitamins/minerals and fish oils as a “safety blanket” to ensure I get optimal levels of these.

Q. I’ve heard that Cyprus is a beautiful island. Can you tell those of us who haven’t been there what it’s like there?

A. Sunny, friendly and relaxed! It’s a beautiful island about 250 miles long and 75 miles wide. Inland we have a range of mountains called the Troodos Massif where you can ski for 4 months a year. It’s a typical Mediterranean Island and the pace of life is reflected by this – the native Cypriots say “slowly slowly” and that’s how they live their lives – which can be frustrating initially but after a while is a fantastic attitude and way to be. I’ve been here over 4 years now and think of it as home.

Well that’s all the questions I have for you today Patrick, Thank you Patrick for doing this interview with me.

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