Wednesday, September 27, 2006

'Biggest Loser' Trainer: 'Health Is Everything'

Top Australian personal trainer Ray Kelly with prodigy Adro Sarnelli

Earlier this month I had the pleasure of telling you about a brand new web site from Australian personal trainer Ray Kelly called Anyone who can compile so much power-packed and useful information about getting healthy and fit in a FREE web site deserves a medal. Well, how about an interview instead, Ray? :)

After most recently helping Adro Sarnelli become Australia's first "Biggest Loser" winner, Ray is now promoting his personal training services at a brand new web site called From the encounters I have had with him this year, I have found this man to be one of the most approachable people you will ever meet. Plus, it helps that he knows a thing or two about getting into shape which is what he will discuss in my interview with him.

1. G'day mate! So glad to have you join us here at the "Livin' La Vida Low-Carb" blog today. We're ready to have a crikey good time today with a certified trainer from Australia named Ray Kelly. Okay, enough of this American boy from the South trying to speak Australian! :D But if you want to know about health and fitness, then this is your man! Ray, give us a little bit of background into how you got interested in exercise, health and diet. Where did it all begin?

I’ve been involved in sport since I was quite young. I started martial arts when I was 4 years old and played many sports right through school. I was quite a small boy though (only weighed 103 pounds at 17 years old!) and always wanted to join a fitness center but was too intimidated. At 19, I had a scrum collapse on me playing Rugby and as part of my rehabilitation I had to join a gym. This is where my love of exercise began. From that point on all I wanted to do was become a trainer.

Since making that decision, I’ve graduated with a Degree in Exercise Science, trained thousands of people, managed Fitness Centers, and trained Olympic and World Champion athletes. It’s been a great journey so far and I feel pretty lucky to be working in an industry I’m passionate about!

2. When I set out to lose weight back in 2004 after I tipped the scales at 410 pounds, I knew I would need not only a solid nutritional plan, but also a solid fitness plan. What kind of exercise do you recommend for people who have never exercised a bit in their life and are looking to lose a lot of weight?

Light exercise! If you’re starting out you really can’t beat walking. Some people find it boring but you can overcome that by listening to music, taking a friend, or walking a different route each day.

For those of you with higher aspirations, I’ve actually just finished writing a ’15 Stage Walk-to-Run Program’. It starts with full weekly exercise programs for those that can only walk for 5 minutes, and goes all the way up to those able to run for 60 minutes. You start at your current fitness level and then move on to each successive stage until you reach the top. I’ll have it on my web site soon!

3. You played an active role in the inaugural season of the hit show "The Biggest Loser" when it came to Australia earlier this year, including mentoring the eventual winner Adro Sarnelli. What was that experience like for you?

It was a great experience because I was already a fan of the show, and I’m also ultra competitive! It was actually a lot like my time working with athletes. The contestants are prone to injury given their size, fitness level, and training load. To overcome this we planned every day of Adro’s life right up to the final weigh in, every training session (6+ hrs per day), and every meal and snack.

The show has its detractors because of the unrealistic training regimen the contestants get put through but on the positive side the show really does inspire millions of people to start exercising. It brings awareness to the problem and that has to be a good thing. Larger people are feeling much more comfortable exercising in public, and it’s also giving those that have never had a weight problem an insight into what it’s like.

4. Now you and Adro have joined forces to create "The New Me" weight loss center to help other Australians lose weight and shape up. How is that going so far and what kind of impact do you expect it to have on the obesity epidemic in your country?

The online program should be up and running in a few weeks but we’re still yet to find the right premises for the center. A lot of people followed Adro through his weight loss journey and they can really relate to him. This puts him in a strong position to educate people, and it’s a role he doesn’t take lightly. We’re both very passionate about this and we have big plans.

5. Before I committed myself to daily exercise, I never realized how truly beneficial it was not only to my physical health, but also mentally and psychologically as a release from the stresses of life. What are the biggest obstacles that you see people have towards exercising? What can be done to help people overcome those obstacles?

The biggest obstacle is their mind. Weight loss is all about perspective. If you think it's too hard, then it is. If you think it's not important, then it's not. If you think you can't do it then you can't. Your perspective is your reality.

Once you put things into the right perspective, these things become a priority and nothing will stand in your way. You know what I’m talking about Jimmy because you’re living proof. I've seen it happen many times and it's an amazing thing to see. Kind of like a fire gets lit inside of someone. Totally awesome! We all have it inside us. It's just that some of us haven't realized it yet!

Many people think that exercise has to always be hard. It doesn’t. In fact you’ll get much better results if you vary the intensity of your training sessions. Sure, you need to push yourself sometimes but you also need to balance the ledger with some lighter training as well.

Another misconception about exercising for weight loss is people think they should be doing loads of push up and sit ups. You’re actually better off spending your time walking. You’d certainly burn more calories and receive greater gains in fitness. When it comes to weight loss, make cardio your priority. You only need to add resistance or abdominal work in for training variety.

6. Some of my readers have written me and asked for suggestions on how to incorporate exercise into their healthy low-carb lifestyle, but they have an injury or are unable to move their legs or arms. What exercises do you suggest for people in these circumstances?

It certainly depends on the individuals circumstances but exercising in a swimming pool is quite good if you have an injury. It doesn’t have to be swimming, you can just do laps with a kick-board, or even just walk. The buoyancy provided by the water will take a lot of strain off the weight-bearing joints.

Also, if it’s their arms that are injured then they could always walk or cycle. If it’s their legs...well you just can’t beat boxing to increase your fitness!

7. How often should people exercise to experience the maximum benefit to their body? Is it possible to get too much exercise?

That depends on how active you are in your day-to-day life. If you have a fairly active occupation then you’re probably doing enough. Unfortunately most people aren’t active enough, so to get the maximum benefit they really should do something every day.

It is possible to exercise too much but that really comes down to a balance between training load (total amount of exercise you do each week), training intensity, recovery (or sleep), and energy. An easy way to overcome this is to:

- Start your exercise program slowly
- Increase the load and intensity gradually
- Get at least 8 hours sleep each night
- Ensure you’re eating enough

8. I know when I was losing weight two years ago, I would sometimes push myself to keep walking on that treadmill long after the signs of physical exhaustionhad hit me. What are the signs that people should watch out for to let them know it is time to stop their workout?

It’s funny Jimmy, the answer to this question is so obvious but many people will continue to push through because they think that exercise is so uncomfortable that this must be normal!

Symptoms such as light-headedness, feeling dizzy, cold or clammy skin, nausea, weak legs, or muscle and joint pain are sure signs that you need to stop for the day. Exercise will feel uncomfortable for many people but you shouldn’t feel like you’re going to die. If you get a well-designed training program you shouldn’t ever have to worry about this.

9. Please address this subject of carb-loading before an exercise routine. Do you ascribe to this theory or do you believe there is a better way to fuel cardiovascular exercise?

This concept was brought about as a means to provide endurance athletes (Marathoners, Triathletes, etc) with sufficient energy stores to compete at a high intensity, for a long period. In my time working with elite athletes I only dealt with their training, because they had a team of nutritionists working on their food intake. I can’t remember coming across any low-carb endurance athletes but Adro trained for 6-8 hours per day on a low-carb, 1200-calorie per day diet.

The human body can store an unbelievable amount of energy and anyone wanting to get the best out of their body during exercise should make sure they are consuming enough food across the whole week, rather than trying to ‘top up’ just before training.

10. THANK YOU again for sharing a few moments with us here at the "Livin' La Vida Low-Carb" blog, Ray! Do you have any words of encouragement to share with my readers before you go?

Life really is short, it’s not just a slogan on a T-shirt. You don’t get a dress rehearsal. This is it, life is happening around you and you’re not getting the most out of it if you’re not healthy. Health is everything (ask anyone who has lost it). Improve your health and see how different the world looks. Don’t be one of those people that believes they have to be skinny to be healthy. You can be overweight and healthy, so no matter what your size get out there and start exercising today. You won’t regret it!

Wasn't that an awesome interview?!?! I love Ray Kelly and am so glad that people like him exist in this world. The work he did to help Adro Sarnelli win "The Biggest Loser" Australia was unbelievable and I wish him continued success with helping others lose weight and get fit in Australia. Speaking of Adro, I will be posting an interview I did with him tomorrow! You WON'T want to miss that!

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Blogger Lowcarb_dave said...

Ray is an awesome bloke!

I regard him as one of my close online friends! LOL

He volunteers his expert knowledge free of charge online! How fantastic is that!

Now I think I better start my exercise program!

9/28/2006 2:36 AM  
Blogger Melissa said...

Also agree...Ray spends a lot of his time helping us all out online and really with only our heartfelt thanks and success stories!

He's an amazing guy with lots of knowledge he loves to share!

PS Great site!

9/28/2006 7:31 AM  

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