Anthony Fenech is one of the foremost trainers in Canada. Whatever your game or need - MMA, boxing, sport specific training or body recomposition, Anthony has a potent and effective solution. He has trained top level athletes in everything from football to lacrosse, and has personally competed in powerlifting, strongman and boxing. Anthony Fenech is the embodiment of the word results, and a master of making complex training brutally simple. For more information on Anthony Fenech and Titan Training, please visit www.titantraininggear.com.
Muscle & Strength: Anthony, tell us a bit about your background, and how you came to be involved with so many different sports - MMA, boxing, strongman and powerlifting?
Anthony Fenech: I moved a bunch as a kid. I was athletic so naturally sports was a way of making friends. I wasn't content with just one either - oh no. A day didn't go by where I wasn't up to learning something new. Eventually I became a good little goalie, an excellent pitcher and an even better tennis player.
In high school I represented my school for both tennis and badminton. I took it as far as the nationals, all the while I was falling in love with a new sport...skateboarding. Now for those who don't know skateboarding is extremely difficult and the industry is extremely saturated with a wealth of talent. It's also not the easiest career to sustain lets just say I spent a the majority of my high school years in casts.
One day working at the local snowboard shop a good friend of mine, and coincidentally a 3 time Canadian champ, came in and asked where he could put his boxing club. At this point in time I was the head of a committee responsible for building our towns first indoor park. I was told we didn't have the entire space and that a wall was to be erected dividing the space. Realizing I could box and skate all in the same building I responded I know exactly where you can put your gym. I gave him all the info and by that afternoon the deal was done.
So here I am skateboarding and checking out the boxing club. Eventually the dreams of being a pro skater wore thin in my mid twenties and the allure and challenge of boxing took over. So I started to train extensively. Our club was developing extremely fast and we were winning all sorts of tournaments. Bigtyme Fitness in Orangeville Ontario Canada was put on the map. So now I'm a gym rat, toying with weights and I'm sparring all these national champions and getting my ass kicked.
One day my dad was cutting slabs of cement to turn a closet into a bathroom he was making channels for the plumbing. He and a friend were trying to lift the slabs. Now briefly, my dad is built. He used to frequent Gold's gym and train with the Rock's father Rocky Miavea. Still to this day has the best triceps I've ever seen! These 2 men couldn't budge these slabs. As I watched, an eagerness took over me. I said step aside old timers and proceeded to lift the slab on my own and carry in up 15 stairs to the curb. I did it again 14 more times! They were astonished and my dad had never looked at me that way. He wasn't a quick to give compliments and up until that point in time I couldn't remember him ever shaking my hand. That moment was the day everything changed.
So the next progression was how to develop my strength. Let's face it, no matter how good I got at boxing I wasn't built for it. My head was too big, my British nose is predominant. I didn't have the best reach either. But strength - that came easy. I'm short. My levers are close to the ground and all the boxing gave me an excellent core. Now as for deciphering strongman to powerlifting it didn't matter if it was heavy I was going to move it.
So the pursuit for ultimate strength and conditioning went on. Eventually I found myself teaching classes at the gym so I went out and attained an arm's length of certificates. (Can Fit personal Trainer, boxing, pilates, kickboxing, fitness instructor etc.) I sought out the best to learn from. My powerlifting coach works with team Canada's George Power. My strongman skills were mentored by Jamie Azmes, ALL strength challenge competitor. My boxing from 3 time Canadian champ Bryon Mackie. My ring work form and Olympic gymnast Allen Reddon.
I had amateur boxing matches, competed in strongman events, deadlifted cars, lifted atlas stones, etc. At the Scottish Highland games I flipped a caber (telephone poll), etc.
Being in the fight game it stemmed into my love of MMA. Our club brought on a MMA instructor and we had a small program happening. We all rolled and learned from each other. I attend several seminars where I sparred and learned form the likes of Chuck Liddell, Shogun, Bas Rutten, Bisping, etc. Our best guy Jay Alexander turned pro and is currently 3-1 with a deal from W1.
Today I manage that same gym and am the head strength and conditioning coach. I work with numerous recognized athletes in several different disciplines. I have groomed world and national champions in boxing, tae kwon do, rugby, hockey, jujitsu, golf, basketball, lacrosse, snowboarding.
Muscle & Strength: Tell me about Titan Training. What is it, what services do you provide, and how did you come to be involved with training?
Anthony Fenech: Titan - one of size strength or achievement.
My workouts are a reflection of my attitude towards life. Intense. I was so into getting in shape and being whole in mind, body and spirit. Plus a hint of A.D.D. can be a real asset. I get bored easily, so I constantly brought something new and challenging to the gym. Eventually people began to notice and ask questions. Bryon Mackie the owner of Bigtyme Fitness and Boxing was noticing too. He saw the amount of people approaching me and asked if being a trainer might be of interest. I jumped at the opportunity and it all steamed from there! At the time my income was solely from being a graphic artist. I realized that if I was to go any further, my routines where good but I needed credibility.
So I went for my Can Fit Personal Trainers certificate. During the course we would have to partner up and test each others resting heart rate, target heart rate etc. One day my partner who happened to run an elite sports academy A.S.A. (Advanced Sports Academy) noticed and was astonished that I was so in tune. My beats per min were low regardless of the exercise. He liked the way I carried myself and insisted I come work for him training scholarship athletes. He then introduced me to his business partner who was a Grey cup winner with the Calgary Stampeders. So now I’m employed by the boxing club and the sports academy. Finally time to put being a trainer into 6th gear. The graphic work slowed and the training flourished.
When my time had come to leave the academy, the owner lost his other job. I found myself needing more income so I started working in a women’s health club. I taught core, boxing classes and pilates. Eventually when the clients realized I’m a no fuss no muss get results kind of trainer I started to get popular. I mentored under their head trainer and she taught me a lot of the ins and outs of running a gym. Not to mention pilates. After 8 years of bouncing back and forth between the women's club and the boxing gym it was time for the boxing club to expand. I left the women's club, as I was way to busy managing the new 5000 square foot boxing facility.
In and amongst all of these gyms, I realized I didn’t want to answer to anyone like the gyms in the past. I wanted full control, full creativity. So it was born. I was going to be recognized, unique, independent, special. Titan Training rents out of Bigtyme Fitness. The last real gym as I like to call it. No televisions! No towel service, heck no air conditioning! Just training, hardcore kick butt, get results training! We have world champions. National champions, new comers, professional athletes, co-ed classes. team training. Gym classes for schools, workshops, boxing venues etc. We are a family.
I decided I was going to educate myself and experience as my practical sports adventures as possible and I was going to share. After all as a trainer you are your product. I took all my experience working in several gyms and merged all these programs from all mentors over the years. New, Fresh, whole, complete. So I decided I wanted a name a label something easy but with impact. I went and registered Titan Training. TRAIN LIKE A GOD is my hook and www.titantraininggear.com is my domain. I also picked up on some clever marketing like Affliction tee shirts for example.
Everyone wants to look the parts and flaunt it but they don’t want to do the work. So having a design background I started TITAN TRAINING GEAR. Workout gear with a Greek mythology hardcore appeal. Everything from Spartans to Zeus. I shot a few tees and hoodies to all my elite athletes. Created a web page had few models take some pics, and splashed out my SUV! My look was new and fresh and my placement of logos was refreshing. I was also clever enough to print my website on every item. It's not everyday you see web domains on tee but it is a dot com world. Soon everyone wanted a Titan tee. Today Titan gear is sold in 4 local locations. It has the ability to expand and it will when I find the time.
As well as being an elite trainer, I'm also a nutritional consultant with Popeye's supplements. Included in personal training packages are meal planners and a wealth of sports supplementation information to assist all my clients with any of their needs. From libido to weight loss, muscle recovery to sleep. Popeye's posses a wealth of in of info and boasts over 75 locations across Canada. Titan is also represented very well locally. The gear is sold there and it is such a perfect fit. When I need a break from all the physicalities of training I simply go and sell supplements.
My sincere interest for my clients and their needs shines, hence I grow. I also simplify everything. I can tell you target about BMIs and target heart rates and take measurements and enter data, make charts and make you drunk with training principles. But I don’t, I went the other way - I keep it simple. Holistic. It's a must to have but people are to into gimmicks and are needy. I try to strip them of that and remind them of why we started to exercise our youth. when you did long jump did you need to know your body fat percentage? Or when you did pull ups on monkey bars did you need to target your resting heart rate? No you just did it, and it was fun and you felt unstoppable like you’d live forever!
Muscle & Strength: I want to ask you about your nutritional, or eating philosophies. On your site you mention that a trainee can eat like a king while maintaining ideal weight. Can you tell us a bit about how you structure meal plans for those wanting more muscle and less fat, and how supplementation plays a role with this plan?
Anthony Fenech: Great question. Your diet comprises 80% of your physical makeup. Ideally if you ate well and simply stretched you could be ripped. At Popeye’s I’m constantly educating the public. Most people are still under the mindset of 3 meals a day. The truth is we should be consuming 6 small meals a day with a ratio of 40% carbs, 40% proteins and 20% healthy fats. This balance will assist each other in and the body will get all its necessary macronutrients.
It's no secret that we are challenged in attaining adequate untainted health foods. We are plagued with chemicals, herbicides, pesticides, acid rain, steroids, lack of nutrients in the soil, in the water. The tomatoes of today is a weak comparison of the tomatoes our fathers ate. There are alternatives and supplements out there that hold their integrity and value. Supplements can assist a balanced diet and make it complete again.
At Popeye’s the foundation of health supplements are designed specifically to assist your well being, maintenance and health needs in every aspect of your daily life. Protein is it's base. Followed by a greens supplement, next is an EFA (essential fatty acid), finally a multivitamin.
Meal planners are free, not only free but specified to a client's needs. Whether that be to gain muscle or lose weight. We calculate your metabolic rate, give you an ideal amount of calories you should be ingesting. Then a full breakdown of foods which you should consume regularly, occasionally and rarely. Our bodies have specific needs and times that we should address these needs. Consuming the correct ratio of protein, carbs and fat is essential to maintaining a healthy body.
Given the prevalence of high carb food choices (especially in the fast food sector) individuals can often eat several meals, consuming high carbohydrate snacks that spike their blood sugar levels and begin an "up and down" energy cycle. The reality is this 3 meals a day creates too many pockets or windows. Insulin spikes will create sugars and visceral fats are made and stored. When the body can’t find energy, it will turn on itself and tap into the storage bin which is our muscles. Catabolism can be differed when we break up our portions and feed the body with more frequency. Your body tries to find patterns, teach the body food is coming and it will process it. Make it think this is all your going to get for a while it will store it.
For example you eat at noon then finish work, drive home, cook, it's now 7pm. Well how many hours a day do you sleep? Seven or eight and what do you do when you wake? Eat breakfast. Seven hour windows make the body feel like it's fasting and again will try to conserve energy and not burn reserves. It’s just that simple.
One way to increase overall energy and stabilize blood sugar levels is to add a protein source to every meal and snack (protein helps slow the release of glucose into the bloodstream). Individuals who pursue an active lifestyle will require more protein for recovery and repair when compared to those with a more sedentary life. In addition, consuming additional protein will provide the body with key amino acids that form a pool allowing the body from the supply when needed. Unlike carbohydrates which can be stored for future use, amino acids are flushed from the body and need to be supplied consistently during "refueling" or meal time. Amino acids such as L-Glutamine, L-Leucine, L-Soleucine and L-Valine are crucial to immune health and muscular recovery and found in the highest concentration in whey protein. So we strongly suggest taking a whey protein at least twice a day. Once post-workout to suppress the body’s demand for instant protein (feed the muscle, starve the fat).
Vege Greens is another supplement we strongly advocate to assist with a healthy diet. A comprehensive combination of over 60 land, sea and calciferous vegetables, as well as super green foods, EFAs, pre and probiotics, enzymes and herbal extracts. One small scoop is equivalent to six to eight servings of vegetables, and offers a full spectrum of nutrient-rich and highly alkaline foods. Professionally formulated and energetically tested, Vege Greens contains no artificial flavors, colors, or sweeteners, and no hidden ingredients.
With nine distinctive blends of green foods and plant extracts, Vege Greens supplies an extraordinary spectrum of nutrients ranging from the rare trace minerals found in sea vegetables to the health-enhancing compounds exclusive to calciferous vegetables. The power of Vege Greens is due not only to the numerous individual nutrients that each blend contains, but also to the synergy between these blends. The collective action of all the nutritionally complex ingredients in Vege Greens creates a much more potent effect than the sum of its individual components.
Ascenta’s Nutra Sea fish oil is one of the purest fish oil supplements available. Derived from the herring fish, Nutra Sea fish oil molecularly distilled to ensure that it is free from pollutants such as heavy metals and PCBS that may occur in larger fish. It is then standardized to contain 750mg of EPA and 500mg of DHA per serving. Optimum levels of these two important essential fats promote heart, brain, and skin health, respiration, and weight management.
Muscle & Strength: Are there any training and eating myths that you hear over and over again, that you would love to see disappear...and why?
Anthony Fenech: Ill need to address this one in point form or we won’t have enough room. Lol.
- Any moderate circuit routine that only allows you to go through the circuit once and only entails a half an hour of exercise. I mean at a moderate pace and only going through each station once. What's the most you can burn, 250 calories? The equivalent of a pizza pocket. Good luck with staying trim!
- All in one workout systems that claim the fitness model got their physique solely through using that piece of equipment
- Photoshop period!
- Multi-level marketing whose products are way overpriced and offer very little value and solely rely on being new and trendy.
- Any company who harasses you to continue purchasing regularly and gives you flack if you aren’t.
- Any company who publishes a publication advocating you use their product and will get extreme results, but they won’t address what’s in the product.
- Doctors who don’t take into account the needs of athletes. For example, I’m a powerlifter, 5'9" and 180ish lbs. A healthy weight according to my doctor would be about 150 lbs! Please take into account all my hard work doc!
- You can look like the huge and ripped bodybuilders NATURALLY! (Not on your life!)
- Routine workouts (your body starves for something new just like your brain). Line up 10 red apples, pull one then add a green apple. Now look at them again, which one draws your eye? The green apple! Your body want stimulus, the same old boring routine is also boring for your body. Muscle fibres lie dormant until called upon. For example, you start doing pushups you can do only one. Your body stresses, muscle fibres are torn and your reap the benefit of the challenge. Now if you continue doing push ups without adding new variables like an decline of different hand positioning, your body goes oh this again? No problem! Now you're up to 50. Keep changing movements. NO STRESS NO RESPONSE.
Muscle & Strength: Regarding changing of routines, could you provide us with some tips on how often, and what types of changes could be made for those looking to build muscle and/or lose fat?
Anthony Fenech: It's no secret the body wants stimulus. I’m a big advocate of change, every time you workout with me, the routine, the rhythm, it's intensity always varies. Just ask one of my clients, Bruce Irwin, forty three, who just recently set a world record with 9 other air traffic controllers for pulling a plane one mile for cancer. In four years we’ve never had the same workout. If you brain isn’t working, it's not leading the body. As for frequency my rule is the routine is no routine. (To elaborate all routines.) Better to be well rounded then to be excellent in say just one area of fitness.
As for change I strongly recommend any beginning athlete goes out and purchases a new revision of Arnold's Encyclopaedia of Bodybuilding. You’ll learn several methods to go about training your body. From drop sets to I go you go, negatives to principles of overload. I can look at a barbell or a kettlebell and provide my clients hours and hours of new movements from a single piece of equipment.
I’m a strong advocate of metabolic or volume training. Circuits and whole body workouts are a must. You're increasing your VO2 max burning fat, toning and building muscle all in the same workout. I also think no program is complete without encompassing Olympic lifts. These lifts work the body from the toes to the nose.
My passion for optimal health and athleticism in my own endeavors steams into the routines of my clients. I’m always looking for my next goal. I feel training should have purpose. To keep the drive, the interest! I also try to workout out with my victims (clients lol) as much as possible. I continually do research to look for new movements. It's all there on the net from ghetto workouts to football players doing plyos, gymnasts working with rings, MMA fighters flipping tires and slamming medicine balls. Diversity is key and it helps to innovate and drive the workouts. Who wants to run on a treadmill for an hour. Certainly not me!
Muscle & Strength: Women often do too much cardio and avoid weights. How should a woman approach training if they want to "tone up" and improve their appearance?
Anthony Fenech: Light weights lifted with high repetitions are excellent to develop muscular endurance as well as definition. Shapely thighs, glutes, tight abs, trim arms. These physical traits are all by products of resistance training. Cardiovascular training without resistance will make you healthier but without some resistance training there is only so tight the skin can get. Women need to be educated that it’s the heavy loading with maximum effort that creates volume, size, big muscle. Any weight that can be moved over 12 reps is now creating tight hard defined muscle.
There are several new and exciting ways to perform resistance training. Take a kettlebell class, you‘ll find this workout unconventional and refreshing. Perhaps, if available to you at your local club, try the kinesis wall (an elaborate system of pulley’s and cables). Hammer sStrength machines are a great way to get started if you feel intimidated. The machines are labelled to address what areas will be worked. If your still confused by the nature of a piece of equipment, ask a trainer. I’m sure they’d be glad you asked and will point you in the right direction. Start slow and smart, feel the movement for additional benefits squeeze the muscles being worked. This will promote better blood flow and vascularity. Work on building quality muscle. The longer the muscles are working the more neurons are firing and sending messages to the brain.
Besides the physical aesthetic attraction of resistance training, below I’ve listed a few benefits of why resistance training is imperative to one's health.
As your lean muscle increases so does your resting metabolism, and you burn more calories all day long. Generally speaking, for each pound of muscle you gain, you burn 35 to 50 more calories each day. Hence increasing your strength will make you far less dependent upon others for assistance in daily living. Chores will be easier, lifting kids, groceries and laundry will no longer push you to the max if your maximum strength is increased. Strength training not only builds stronger muscles, but also builds stronger connective tissues and increases joint stability. This acts as reinforcement for the joints and helps prevent injury.
Resistance training also improves the way the body processes sugar, which may reduce the risk of diabetes. We all know women can't live without sugar so this one is a big plus. Women who strength train feel more confident and capable, all important factors in fighting depression.
Muscle & Strength: Where do you see yourself in 5 to 10 years?
Anthony Fenech: Hmm, let's see- 5 to 10 years. To be honest I'm one of those guys who doesn't look or act his age. If all goes well, I love what I do, hopefully I'll be right where I am now, active, learning and living life to the fullest. Finding new challenges and avenues of fitness to compete in. Grooming athletes and future champions. The notion of my own studio has crossed my mind. On the other hand I'm quite happy with the relationships I have with Bigtyme FItness and Popeye's Supplements. I don't know if I could ever leave either.
I definitely want the clothing line to expand. Find more elite athletes to represent and start to sell internationally. I've been preparing for it for years its just about time for the next step.
My wife to be Julie has been studying and mentoring under me when shes fully groomed she'll help Titan Training to expand it's client base to pre-natal fitness, elderly, and expand further on the nutritional aspect. We've toyed with the idea of a cook book too. Who knows, only time will tell. Perhaps in a few years you'll be interviewing her...lol.