Taking Five – Kyle Webber

Firstly, yes a name change! Instead of Friday Five, I have converted it to Taking Five as sometimes the day of the week isn’t so realistic with my work schedule. SO, get ready for some surprise interviews coming left, right and centre! Much like the one today which I cannot wait to share with you all…

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If you’re a Canberra local and have some form of involvement in the health and fitness industry, its nearly guaranteed you have heard of Nutrivolve. If you haven’t heard of them (are you under a rock though?), you’ve probably been in awe of one of their clients either in the gym or strutting it on stage with a veiny six pack… Ya’ll can admit it, I know it ain’t just me!

I had the opportunity to interview the mastermind behind all these athletes and Nutrivolve itself, Mr Kyle Webber. Kyle is not only a business man, but a competitor himself which means he knows the ins and outs of elite level bodybuilding which allows him to have an amazing understanding with his clients. If you follow him on his social media platforms, particularly Facebook, you would have seen countless knowledgeable posts that aim to create an awareness of not only the importance of nutrition, but also an individuals mentality towards food and life – which is exactly why I approached him for an interview so I could pick-a-part his brain!

So without further ado, I hope you guys enjoy our chat about all things competing, nutrition and modern day bodybuilding!  

Schae: Nutrivolve has really taken off in the last year and you are fast becoming a household name not only in Canberra, but also interstate and even internationally! What do you believe Nutrivolve offers that makes people want to be a part of the team? Are there any aspects of Nutrivolve that you think really help you guys stand out in the crowd?

Kyle: Just you saying that gives me shivers! It’s amazing to see how much the company has grown and I honestly believe it all comes down to our knowledge, support and honesty. I started the company with the intention of showing people that dieting, no matter the goal, doesn’t need to be an arduous process that controls one’s life. I believe that everyone has the motivation to make a change in their physique and their health, but keeping that fire burning is what I hope to encourage.

It’s not society’s fault that the majority of people can’t stick to a diet and I’m sick of seeing so many trainers blame the laziness of their clients for their lack of results. It doesn’t come easy to a lot of people, and we need to be able to coach people on HOW to actually want to make their lifestyle change an ongoing habit.

Losing or gaining weight is simple – anyone can Google up some easy ways to do it, but no one seems to be taught how to continue when times get tough. That’s where I feel Nutrivolve specialises; not only do our coaches guide our clients with a tailored solution to fit their current lifestyle, but having such an incredible network of clients and associated businesses helps to provide a support system that shows people they are not alone.

On a side note too – I feel that a large majority of our popularity comes from the success of our competitive athletes. I’ve been in to bodybuilding and combat sports for 14 years now and have an incredible passion for showing people just how important nutrition is for improving their performance and physique. In our very first year of coaching bodybuilders and fitness athletes; we collectively ended up with 14 first place finishes, 2 overall titles, 2 Mr Australia wins and a 1st place at the Natural Olympia. At the most recent INBA ACT titles, our team produced winners across 7 different categories including the overall Miss Bikini ACT (Bridgette Ballico) and overall Miss Fitness ACT (Brenna Dodds).

I hold an incredibly high standard amongst our competitive clients and I feel as though people really appreciate that. Each year my team of competitors consistently amazes me; the way in which they all manage to come together and lift each other up when going through their own struggles is extremely inspiring. Again; it all comes down to support. We can all achieve great things by surrounding ourselves with people who lift us up.

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Miss ACT Bikini, Bridgette Ballico – she is also a beautiful soul and is competing again at INBA Nationals here in Canberra later in the year. You can follow her journey on Instagram here > @bridgetteballico

 S: You have previously competed a few years ago and you’re currently working towards IFBB at the end of this year. How do you think you have grown as a competitor and athlete over the years and what is the most important lesson you have learnt?

K: I still look back to my very first show in 2009 and the mistakes I made during this time. I treated people horribly, obsessed over food, had many arguments with my family, cut ties with lots of friends and was extremely anti social. After that show I made a promise to myself that if I ever acted like that again, I would stop training and never compete. From that point, this built a new passion within me to teach others how to NOT make the same mistakes I did, but also to empathize with my clients who go through similar struggles. It’s very important to have someone to talk to that will understand both sides.

Your life doesn’t need to revolve around your competition in order for you to succeed; though you also cannot expect to maintain a constant balance between all other aspects. Over the years I’ve slowly learnt (and continue to learn – I haven’t perfected it yet) when and how to put certain areas of my life ahead while still keeping focus on the others. Whether it is business, family or competing – they all need their own time and it’s important to be able to see when one area is suffering at the expense of another.

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Kyle’s latest progress pictures. I swear every time he posts a photo of himself all I can see is calves… seriously, take a look. (what the frig.)

S: A lot of your clients mention that you not only help them with their nutrition, but also mentally. Is someone’s mentality something you focus on before bringing them on board? Why or why not?

K: ABSOLUTELY! When assessing new clients we always look at their goals first and then try to decipher where their head is currently at. We’ll always be upfront and realistic with what we believe we can achieve together; but it HAS to be a team effort. You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink – and sometimes we will get clients that need to be taught how to drink first before we can show them the water.

For my athletes in particular; I’m very selective. If I know that someone has a burning desire to achieve in their chosen sport yet they have minimal experience with nutrition, I need to weigh up whether I feel they have the mental ability to stick to a very precise plan, or if it will potentially damage them. I see a lot of people these days developing extremely unhealthy relationships with food, obsessing over flavours and what they can or can’t have. Largely this comes down to just being unprepared before starting, and not being aware of what can happen.

I do a lot of different techniques with my clients to make sure that food doesn’t become an obsession. It’s a part of our lives and we can’t avoid feeling good from eating certain things; so I find it’s important to realise that this is a normal human behaviour – not something that is deemed as a sign of weakness.

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Kyle’s client from earlier this year, Bron Galloway. I actually stood on stage with Bron and was blown away with not only her amazing conditioning, but her incredibly kind soul! I am extremely grateful we competed at the same show and I got the chance to meet her. You can find her on Instagram > @bronnieemgee

S: What do you think the biggest mental challenge has been for you and what is the biggest piece of advice for not only first time, but all competitors?

K: Honestly (and I may get slammed for this), but I don’t feel as though I’ve had any real mental challenges in this sport. We all go through the same struggles of being frustrated with progress (or lack thereof), feeling tired or weak, battling through injuries etc but when you love the process of something so much then none of that matters. You begin to embrace all these struggles. We all want to look better in some way or build up a certain area, but often people forget to just sit and smell the roses. I know in my head that one day I will get to where I want to be, I believe with such absolute certainty that it will happen so long as I keep trusting in what I do and following the process. It may take me 1, 5 or 20 years but that doesn’t matter – every day I’m doing what I love and that outweighs everything else.

The biggest advice I can give to everyone is to just BE PATIENT. One of my mentors John Meadows just recently won his IFBB pro card after competing at the national level for 16 years. People these days expect to do one show then win their card the next season. There will always be freaks and the genetic elite who can do just that, but the vast majority of us just need to take a step back and realise that the ones at the top of any sport are usually those who are left standing after many others gave up.

I feel it’s important too that competitors don’t compare their results to others. There are so many variables that come in to play when it comes to making changes in body composition that there is no plausible way to even consider a comparison. I see a lot of my clients achieve more in 6 months under my guidance than I have myself over 10 years haha!

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Alistair Morell, another of Kyle’s clients who took out the INBA Men’s Beach Body title in 2014. You can find him on Instagram here > @morrellisaur

S: What are your values when it comes down to nutrition and how do you access the best options for your clients?

K: Usually I like to get as much information about their previous dieting history as possible. Whether that is attempts to lose/gain weight in the past or just a general overview of their regular intake; I need to learn first and foremost what types of foods that client can handle. I pay a lot of close attention to digestion and I firmly believe that what we grew up on as kids will affect how our bodies process foods as adults.

For example; if someone was brought up on largely processed junk throughout their child/teenage years, then surrounding a diet full of unprocessed foods is probably going to cause some digestive issues. I don’t ever really believe a food is good or bad, but there are better or worse options for individual differences in metabolism.

After finding out which foods will cause as minimal inflammation as possible; I’ll then focus on their body composition. I’m incredibly lucky to have worked with so many clients that I’ve learnt a great deal from almost every person; which gives me the ability to determine an approximate macronutrient breakdown based on the client’s body composition, training load and goals.

Consistent assessment is always the key. When a client isn’t progressing or if they’re having an issue with what they’re eating, I will make gradual adjustments that in my experience and research should help. I need to learn your body and how it functions first; and from there it’s my job to teach the client how to pick up on their own biofeedback so that I can guide them on how to continually adjust their nutrition to keep progressing.

S: In your opinion, what is the best and worst thing about modern day bodybuilding?

K: I’ll start with the worst: people are becoming soft.

We live in an age now where people find joy in misery. They want empathy and crave attention for their struggles. I see a lot of competitors posting on social media about how lean they got by eating rubbish, or bragging about how minimal cardio they did. This is spreading the complete wrong message in my opinion because then it encourages others to expect an easy route. A lot of people complain about feeling tired and miserable at certain stages in their preps and then struggle harder because they see others doing it easily.

Nothing great comes without sacrifice and people need to realize that dieting to an extreme level isn’t what our bodies want to do; nor is it healthy. All those signals you are getting are NORMAL because your body is fighting back. It’s your choice if you want to put your body through what is needed to be done to get there, but if you make that choice then accept it’s going to hurt.

Maybe I’m a little old school, but to me there’s no respect or achievement to be gained from talking about how little work you had to do to get to a certain level. I’ve learnt incredible things about myself from seeing just how far I can push my body, that’s what I want others to be able to experience too!

As for the best; I feel that the growing popularity of the sport (particularly in the fitness and bikini divisions) is incredible! These are looks that normal people can aspire to achieve. Of course; I’m partial to the freaky bodybuilder look, though the majority of people don’t want to look like that. Seeing these divisions grow is amazing because I believe that it can encourage so many others in mainstream society to begin working towards a look that they too can achieve.

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S: You have recently announced that Nutritional Edge is holding a seminar in Canberra on August 16th. What can people expect? (Without giving too much away of course)…

K: This is honestly going to be one of those events that sparks a whole new level of motivation for everyone that attends. We have 3 speakers – myself, Craig Harper and IFBB Pro Josh Lenartowicz! These two guys have a way of motivating others that is unmatched by anyone else I’ve seen in the industry to date. The focus of this seminar is all going to be on mindset – understanding why we fail on diets and fitness phases, sticking to a regime with incredibly hectic schedules, how to pick ourselves up, tips on regaining focus, overcoming binge eating/purging and so much more.

Aside from that, this event is also going to have a huge community aspect to it. We’ve got a number of sponsors on board who are all assisting to make this something really special. Our goal is to show Canberra that no matter what your goals or level of experience, there is an extremely high level of support and like minded people within our community whose focus is to help other’s achieve.

We have tickets available online via http://tinyurl.com/nutritionaledge and they can also be purchased at Elite Physique or Elite Supps Phillip.

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S: What do you think the biggest mistake people make nutrition wise in both everyday life and also contest prep?

K: Obsession and over-analyzing! People often throw themselves hard in to different dieting phases and become extremely restrictive. They start to see things as good or bad rather than better or worse, which can cause high levels of uncertainty and even fear when confronted with a stressful situation.

No matter what part of your journey that you’re on, it’s always important to just relax and have faith that what you’re doing will work; and if it doesn’t – you have the rest of your life to find something that will. We need to be able to adapt and to learn our own bodies, but it’s near impossible to draw conclusions on a daily or weekly basis. There are so many variables when it comes to assessing progress that we can barely ever assume that X = Y (or in laymen’s terms – “I gained 1kg this week. I also ate a donut on Wednesday. Therefore; eating 1 donut will cause 1kg of weight gain, which means I am now fat and my years of hard work have all come on undone.”)

S: Favourite food?

K: I chop and change quite a bit here! If I’m dieting for a competition I really don’t have a favourite food at all; I remove almost all emotional attachment from food and it just becomes a fuel source to me, a variable that will determine my end result.

When I’m being a bit more relaxed however; I can’t turn down a schnitty. I once made a week of discovering every restaurant schnitzel night in Canberra and going around to a different one each night!

Thank you again for the interview Kyle!

And if you guys are interested in the services that Nutrivolve offer, head on over to http://www.nutrivolve.com.au/ OR if you simply want a good read, have a scroll through their Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/nutrivolve! You won’t regret it, promise.

Until next time,

Schae X

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