I began my fitness journey over 25 years ago, living on a small farm in Southern Alberta, Canada. Born into an environment not fit for a child I spent my formative years in an unhealthy home until I was eventually put into foster care. Luckily, I was adopted by my two loving adoptive parents at the age of 5, and I went to live on the farm. My dad was a farmer, and my mother a school teacher.
I started lifting weights when I was 12 years old. I had become sick of the daily bullying at school and was looking for a change. I felt as though I didn’t belong in my adoptive community, and I was an easy target for bullies, I was frail, weak and insecure.
It was through reading comic books and bodybuilding magazines where I found my inspiration to start training. My mother purchased me a set of 10lb York dumbbells, and thus began the beginning of my fitness journey. I was willing to put in the work, and wanted to be like the great bodybuilders I idolized in those magazines, so I spent countless hours on my own, in my room working out improvisation exercises that I would see in the magazines.
Over the years I’ve lived quite the wild life. Drugs and alcohol were abused daily for me growing up, and every evening was spent partying like a rockstar. I eventually got into trafficking cocaine to support my drug habit, and also supplement my income. I was living recklessly and dangerously until reality caught up with me in 2010, when I was arrested and charged with multiple drug trafficking charges which I later pled out to, and received a sentence of 9.5 years.
Bodybuilding and the pursuit of an elite level of fitness has always been a passion of mine. Unfortunately, I chose to allow past childhood trauma dictate most of my careless actions growing up. Although I would workout religiously, the rest of my life was completely chaotic and out of control.
During the darkest times of my life, the one impetus that kept me alive and driving forward was my commitment to bodybuilding and fitness.
In 2012 I was convicted for drug trafficking charges. Cumulatively I was handed a 9.5 year prison sentence for my crimes.
About a year into my initial incarceration I had a cliche transformative moment. I looked into my future, and all I saw was death, or the inside of a prison cell INDEFINITELY. I was sick of the empty life I was living and knew it was time for a change.
From the inside of a maximum-security prison, confined to a cell no larger than a large bathroom for 22.5 hrs/day, I began to change my life. I decided to make the most out of a bad situation and used my time as an opportunity for self-growth.
I first became open minded and willing to change. I restarted a relationship with my higher power, who I still ask daily for guidance. I stayed away from drugs, alcohol, and most of the prison politics. I continued to educate myself, taking multiple correspondence courses from the International Sports Sciences Association (I.S.S.A.) to certify myself as a Master Trainer. I started looking deep inside of myself to understand why I had been living such an empty existence prior to my prison time. I began talking to a therapist regularly to work on my mental health, opening old wounds that were rooted from childhood trauma. I came to see there was more to life than how I had been living, and that I had a PURPOSE-and that gave me HOPE.
During my sentence, my entire day was structured around my training regimen. My developed style of primarily bodyweight training allowed me to not only maintain most of my muscle mass, but also increase my core strength significantly. The biggest struggle was getting enough essential nutrients, as prison food is calorie-dense, low in nutrients, and there was never enough… but I wouldn’t let that wouldn’t stop me. There are two types of people in prison, those who survived and are victimized on a daily basis, and those who not only survive but thrive in the primitive setting.
The mental fortitude I built during my sentence completely reconstructed my character. I managed to use my time productively, stay positive, and could finally feel a sense of purpose. For me, going to prison was a blessing in disguise that had most likely saved my life. I was stripped of all the material things I had collected over the years. Most of my “friends” quickly dissipated, leaving a few loyal, true friends and family in my circle. I chose to look to the future and plan for my return into society and legitimate business.
I was released from minimum-security prison on January 14th of 2019, and immediately hired as a personal trainer for Steve Nash Fitness World. They were willing to give me a chance, fresh out of prison, and I appreciate the head start that they gave me to fitness coaching in the greater Vancouver area.
I coached clients daily and trained myself for hours every day. For a challenge I began training for my first bodybuilding competition. I trained for 6 months straight, and although I didn’t place as well as I would have liked, it was an amazing learning and life experience… and there will be more competitions to come in the future.
What many would consider a weakness, or a lack of focus, would be the premise for my developed style of training. My 25+ years of weight training have taught me a wealth of knowledge from many courses, bodybuilding gurus, and regular gym-goers alike.
I love so many different types of training, that I’ve always had a hard time specializing and focusing on one niche. I started with bodybuilding as a preteen and eventually got into powerlifting. I trained for both, not to compete, but because it was my passion.
Going to prison was an invaluable experience, as I had to pivot, and learn how to train without the luxury of free weights. This is where my yoga and calisthenics journey began.
After practicing yoga for three years I was able to run a biweekly yoga group for select inmates. I used the meditation, and poses to negate the negative energy and to feel at peace in a hostile environment.
I also weight trained primarily with my body weight and ingenuity. We used multiple plastic bags filled up with water, put inside of t-shirts, tied to broomsticks, to mimic free weights, we would work out for hours with these weights until the guards would walk by and pop them, as they were not allowed, causing our cells to be flooded with water.
I credit my strong core foundation to my calisthenics training. I was able to train every body part with nothing other than some jailhouse ingenuity and drive. To stay lean and conditioned I did strength and conditioning training, and also practiced boxing, and other fighting styles with experienced inmates. You never know when things are going to “pop off” in prison, so you need to stay on point-and be ready for anything.
I’ve combined all of my past, and present fitness experience into what I call my “FitCon” style of training. It’s a combination of: primary powerlifting exercises-to build power and strength, bodybuilding techniques-to enhance muscular hypertrophy, calisthenics-to stay truly strong and enhance joint strength, strength and conditioning training- to stay as conditioned as an elite athlete, and yoga-to maintain mobility, optimize range of motion of joints and maintain a sense of well-being.
Cumulatively, this builds a symmetrical, functional, and impressive physique. True strength, that you can’t get from practicing just one style of training. I can coach you to become not only big, strong, and powerful like “the hulk”, yet alsoquick and agile, like a ninja. BATTLE READY, for life!