Ross’s Story

Always leave time to celebrate victories

Five Little Known Facts about Me: (until now)

  1. Ran with the bulls in the Festival San Fermin, Pamplona, Spain. – by far the most exhilarating and irresponsible thing I have done in my life. (I would like to return as part of the St James way pilgrimage one day.)
  2. Worked as a sailing instructor in the South of France. – Up there with Wildfitness as a lifestyle and job.
  3. Caddied at the Omega Hong Kong Open. – Quite a thrill to do this, not thrilling when your Golfer has a bad day. First and last time I will ever caddy.
  4. Gave a Lifestyle talk in Kona, Hawaii that was only accessible by helicopter. – My second iteration of what is now my Life-print talk.
  5. First real job was an Accounts Clerk for a Finance Company. Hated this job and only did it to save money for a university degree I never got accepted into. Got sucked into the corporate life and stayed way longer than was good for me.

I started studying exercise science 31 years ago to help me coach elite gymnastics.  I switched to personal training in 1996 when I was introduced to functional fitness and the realisation of how much positive impact on a person’s results a holistic approach can make on health, injury correction, weight loss, stress optimisation, fitness, physique and high-performance of sports.

Troubleshooting comes from contemplation, experience and a curious attitude

From 1997-2002 I competed in a silly amount of international Sport Aerobic and Mr Fitness championships without adequate recovery.   This overtraining combined with poor food choices (protein bars, pop-corn, fast-food combos) and eating at irregular times to fit in training, digestion and clients, lack of sleep because of early morning starts and a late night study schedule, financial pressure to pay off credit cards (from travelling to international competitions), niggly injuries and not getting the sporting outcomes I wanted, burnt-out my adrenal glands.

Although a World Champion Mr Fitness, National Coach and leading New Zealand Personal Trainer I was far from the epitome of wellness – I propped myself up with caffeine and sugar, was irritable with loved ones and led me to question my passion, purpose and values I had invested in elite level sport and the work-life balance equation.

Fortunately, I recognised this loss of balance and took a sabbatical as Head Trainer at a Fitness and Wellness resort in Kenya, Africa. There, I had an epiphany that one needs to adapt one’s life (lifestyle, intention, food, exercise) to one’s circumstances and stress levels; otherwise, one’s physical and mental health will suffer and manifest a disease (for me, it was chronic fatigue). 

Since that realisation in 2002 I has been studying & integrating holistic fitness (heavily influenced by the CHEK Institute) into clients coaching programmes and so that they feel, look, think and perform better.

From 2009 to the present, I have been developing my own framework of movement, personal readiness and trainer mentorship, and this is what I offer to you. 

I have written three books:

  1. “ROAM: Movement as medicine” – a bodyweight mobility book that borrows from yoga, qigong and western flexibility techniques. (Released in 2016 I have since developed this into a movement curriculum that teaches safe and progressive movement competence along a spectrum of abilities and modalities.
  2. “The Bottom line of fat loss“ – which would be better titled “Holistic weight loss”.
  3. “How to Calm your mind“ which is a collection of my favourite sport psychology techniques to lower sports anxiety and prolong motivation.

Career highlights

Strength & conditioning coach to professional boxer Rex Tso. – Boxing is complicated for sure, and to fight for 12, 3 min rounds with 1 minute rest in between requires a tremendous amount of fitness. The training was based on fitness, rotational power to deliver a knockout blow and the ability to withstand punches. It has been a delight to coach Rex in 5 professional fights and throughout his campaign to represent Hong Kong at the Olympics. Watching Rex Tso fight with a huge bump above his left eye is the most courageous act I have seen in sports. Afterwards, he was so drained that I had to hold him up.

  • I have been a strength and Conditioning coach since 2005 to the Seagods Dragonboat Team, five-time Stanley Cup Mixed Champions. I have been privileged to witness the growth of this team and many of its members over the years. The Seagods started out as a social team and remarkably have retained this ethos while being one of the most competitive mixed crews for the last two decades. I Coached their on-water programme for the disrupted 2020 season and also experienced growth in taking my knowledge of dragon boating and team dynamics to another level.

I

  • Trainer to a leading Jockey: – Once you delve into the details of a sport, you see the nuances that make it difficult, none more so than the apparent ease of being a Jockey. The coach needs to be flexible in planning conditioning and recovery for a sport that has a 10-month long season, has 8-10 races (60-90 seconds long) twice per week, and is weight conscious. Careful monitoring of HRV and workload is required, as is changing the programme daily to enable wellness, fitness, and performance.
  • Olympic hopeful Marathon runner Crystal Vut: My approach to running is to break down the gait into each phase and plug up any powers leaks to both prevent injury and increase efficiency and speed. 
  • Tennis player Coleman Wong: – Tennis is another sport that has small down time between travelling in between tournaments. This makes periodisation difficult. With Coleman we started with posture correction and general movement coordination.
  • Professional football player Wong Wai & Eastern Eagles Football Team. – We did 10 Zoom lessons in the thick of COVID-19, with the players in their apartments and some even in Brazil. Creativity required!
  • Trainer to “Explorers Grand Slam” record holder Vanessa O’Brien . – I coached Vanessa at the beginning of her mountain adventures and had some fun creating exercises to replicate what we thought would be physical challenges climbing mountains. Vanessa is still the strongest female I have coached. Vanessa O’Brien – Guinness Book of World Records holder as the fastest female to climb the highest peak on every continent. Vanessa went onto the Exploeres Grand Slam and dove to the deepest place on the planet and also flew to space. In 2024, Vanessa was made a Dame.

  • I Worked with Golfer Nick Faldo and many podium-placegetters at international competitions. Male Golfers need flexibility, and Female golfers need stability—this equates to consistent swings and straight flight paths. Strength and power equate to distance.
  • Presenter at Idea World in 2016. Idea World is the Mecca of the Personal trainer world, so to present to the fitness world here is a highlight. Happily, I presented mobility for TRX, much of which was my own content or a take on their content.
  • Presenter at AsiaFit Thailand and China, Nike Super Conference, FIBO in China, and ActiveMasters in China.

Qualifications

  • The University of East London 2023-2024: Masters of Science in Sport and Body Psychology (C)
  • The Polyvagal Institute 2022: Playzone Pro course.
  • Barca Innovation Hub 2020-2022:
    • Certificate in Sports Psychology in the High-Performance Environment
    • Sport Psychology and Elite Athlete Development
    • Sport Psychology and the Coach
  • CHEK Institue 1996-2009:
    • CHEK Practitioner Level IV. Paul Chek is the pioneer of functional fitness and holistic well-being. I am very fortunate to have completed many of my internships with him personally, and his influence permeates in every programme I design.
    • CHEK Holistic Lifestyle Coach III
    • CHEK GOlf Biomechanic
  • TRX Senior Master Instructor Asia Pacific 2009-present
  • Diploma in Sports Coaching Massey University 1995 (letter of completion)
    • BBS in Sports Coaching and Management (NC): I completed my major in Sports Coaching and minor in public relations but did not complete the core papers or the degree because I was more interested in Paul Chek’s teachings.
  • Advanced Diploma in Exercise Science CIT 1993-1994: This 2 year full-time tertiary education course provides a solid background in exercise physiology, sports coaching and personal training.
  • LIFE Fitness Master Trainer: I helped launch their Synergy 360 product in China.
  • Hedstrom Master Trainer: Learnt their fluid dynamic Surge programme to teach to trainers.
  • TP Therapy Master Trainer: Learnt to teach their very useful protocols of foam rolling.
  • Westside Barbell Athletic coach and personal trainer. I took this course after finishing 731st in the 40-45 age group in the Crossfit Open, when I realized I did not have enough absolute strength. This is an excellent course, and the conjugate method transformed my programme design.
  • Crossfit: Level 1 coach, Gymnastics, Mobility

Asphodel Crossfit competition 

  • Exuberant Animal:
    • Frank Forencich’s book “Play as if Your Life Depends on It” came to me at just the right time, and I think it’s the best book for fitness professionals to read. 
  • DNS “A”.
    • This Dynamic neuromuscular stability course is very clinical and parallels the CHEK Institute’s Clinical core and infant developmental patterns.
  • NASM Corrective Exercise Specialist
  • Student of Shamanism: Paul Chek Level 4 Internship contained some Shamanistic techniques, so I sought out a teacher in Hong Kong. I spent over 5 years and over 300 journeys, including a year-long apprenticeship, so, in fact, I can teach and perform many aspects of Shamanic energy healing. I have found the learnings to be very useful in dealing with perfectionism, obsession and mental health. I learnt “to get out of my head”, “it is what it is” and compassion.
  • Dr Villoldos’s “Grow a New Body” nutrition course
  • NKT Level 1 course completed. – Useful for sure, I confused myself with is complex simplicity and the parallels with the way I do things.
  • Qi Gong Practitioner course. – I took Five palms schools course to understand what Chi was about and to pride some authenticity to the project I was working with the Mandarin group with.
  • Yoga Alliance Instructor course (150/250 hours). I took this course not to become an instructor but to understand this system and why it has lasted 3,500 years. I distilled my understanding into my ROAM Method. (I am not a yoga instructor.)
  • Rehab Express Elite course. Some very good leading techniques for rehabilitation for trainers.
  • Rocktape Master Trainer course. Sceptical at first, but with experimentation on my injuries, I can say it helps.

Sahara Crossing

HK Girls U-14 League Champions

Sports achievements

  • World Mr Fitness IBF & NABBA World Mr Fitness: Dave Nuku recommended I do these competitions as an aside to my sport aerobics. I followed his advice up and came away with a World Title.
  • Sport Aerobics: New Zealand Champion and representative at over 10 world sport aerobic championships. My natural flexibility, power and background in gymnastics meant I could score high in this sport (until they devalued the difficulty and increased the artistic contribution. I trained like a professional athlete (without the money) and have the experience of competing at a very high level. The best result was the 16th Individual Male in the world in 2002.
  • New Zealand National Coach for Sport Aerobics. – When I retired from competing I was asked to take the vacant national coach position.
  • Rugby
    • Wellington Provincial rugby representative. – I have always played rugby at a good skill level. A two year hiatus from 19-21 probably dashed my hopes of playing higher, that and probably being 10kgs to light.
    • HKCC Raiders team, League Champions 2017. I got drafted in to play halfback for this team for one game and stayed the season and was awarded Players Player and Coaches Player of the year.
  • Dragon Boating: Bronze medal in world crew championship for Dragon Boating 2012. I first started dragon boating in 1990 and have been involved in training four teams including the RHYC X-MEN and Women. In 2012, I paddled for the first time for the Seagods team.

3rd World Crew Championships: Over 40 Short Boat, Long course

  • Outrigger Dragon Run Hong Kong 2009 First, 2010 runner up. (Concurrent to the Sahara 250km 3 weeks earlier).

  • 250 km ultramarathons in Sahara and Atacama deserts. – When I first heard about these events in 2008 I thought that anyone who did these things were mad. Still do. I was inspired to do one from witnessing the commeraderie of the finish line in the Kashgar 2008. They are a study in enduring great pain, foot care, packweight, calories and cardiovascular fitness at a slow pace.

Ultramarathons In Atacama 2014 and Sahara 2009

Dragon Run 2009 & 2010 (I repeated the Dragon Run in a Surski in 2022)

  • Spartan Sprint finisher. The Spartan idea of fitness runs parallel to my ROAM Method idea. Sadly there is just not enough competitions in Hong Kong to really make the training required to excel worthwhile or sustain my motivation.
  • Spartan Super finisher
  • Spartan Beast Lockdown version finisher
  • Spartan Hurricane competitor. This was brutal. The weight was too heavy for my condition at the time, I was not prepared enough and my mind was not committed enough to carry on another 4 hours to reach the 12 hour mark. I still have not got my head around this event, many of the missions are pointless and that’s the point. I also think that if I was fit enough and did not have to work the next day that I would not be making these excuses.

Hurricane Heat – one of the rare times I have pulled out of an event.

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