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Steve: Hi, this is Steve from Calibre Fitness. This month we’re interviewing Mark Winterbottom. V8 Supercars fans will be familiar with Mark ‘Frosty’ Winterbottom, one of the series’ regular frontrunners who we’re sure is on the cusp to a win in Australia’s premier touring car championship.

Mark dominated the Australian karting scene for ten years, winning many titles and even competing internationally against the likes of Lewis Hamilton. In 2002, he made the full-time jump to open-wheel racing, finishing runner-up in the Australian Formula Ford Champion to V8 Supercars champion Jamie Whincup.

Ford was seriously impressed with his skills, and duly signed Winterbottom on a long-term deal. . In his maiden season with FPR, he enjoyed his maiden podium, race and round wins en route to finishing third in the championship. In the six seasons since, ‘Frosty’ has never finished outside the top-five in the Drivers’ Championship.

Winterbottom can be guaranteed to be among the most consistent performers in the Australian touring car scene, and he has continually matured and developed into an accomplished and highly respected performer, which was acknowledged by his peers with his nomination for the Barry Sheene Medal in 2012.

How are you doing Mark?

Mark: Yeh, good. How are you?

Steve: Yeh, really good, thank you. Mark, you were a very talented soccer player in your younger days. Was there a time when you had to make a tough decision between soccer and motorsport?

Mark: There was actually. I started soccer when I was 5 years old. So I loved soccer, played it at a state level, it was a lot of fun, but took a lot of commitment and then when I realised what motorsport was, it was the choice of play soccer on a Sunday or race Go-Karts on a Sunday and as fun as chasing a ball around an oval is, I chose the motorsport option and thankfully it paid off. Both were a lot of fun and who knows what soccer could have done, but I think I made the right choice in the end.

Steve: Yeh, Absolutely. For ten years, you were extremely successful in karts, winning a heap of titles, then over the course of a couple of years you made the jump up to V8 Supercars. How hard was this transition for you?

Mark: It is very tough. Most sports in general are very tough industries. Racing Go-Karts is purely yourself and your family on a low budget, trying to do whatever you can to go racing and luckily I had great supporters through the whole time. But it’s purely you and the machine, but when you transition to Formula Ford and V8 Supercars, it becomes a business and an industry. Ford Performance Racing for example has about sixty staff who work there. They try to get everyone working for you and getting everything right. It is very tough. So you go from just you and the machine, to you and the business and driving is different, but it’s all the same sort of traits. But it’s mainly getting your head around all the other aspects that can affect the result which you don’t learn when you’re young. It is a big reality check when you step up.

Steve: Yeh, sure. I’m sure diet and nutrition play an important part, as they do for most sportsmen. What does your diet consist of?

Mark: Our sport is really heavy on the hydration side. In a cabin the temperature is 30 degrees higher than ambient, so we’re seeing cabin temperatures of 70 degrees sometimes. Hydration is key, a lot of electrolytes is definitely a big thing for us. Magnesium as well to stop the cramping and you just need to eat healthy as it is, but hydration can lose you a race more than the food itself, but everything at a race weekend for our team is catered by a couple of professional caterers so you get fed well, but no one’s there handing you drinks of fluid. So that’s something you need to do on your own and top up. If we race on Saturday and Sunday, we’ll start the Tuesday before, you really get the fluids up, put about 2kg on of just fluid and come out Sunday afternoon about 1kg lighter than your standard weight. Over a weekend you probably lose 3-4kg of fluid, so yeh... Hydration is key.

Steve: Absolutely. I guess the same goes for fitness as for diet and nutrition. What does a normal training week look like?

Mark: A training week is hard to get right in our sport because the commercial aspect of it is so busy. I like to do weights, a lot of the guys are different to what I am, but I like to do that. I do upper body, chest and triceps one day, I do back and biceps another day and I do legs another day. For cardio I do a lot of running, a lot of fartleks, a lot of 1km sprints. I’ve tried to stop running long distances because I broke my ankle last year so you have to come up with a new way to keep fit without putting so much jolt on the body. So running shorter distances and cycling are the main cardio I do these days. It’s a mixture of everything though really; Weights for strength and run/ride for endurance and then also do a weights circuit once a week as well, so that will be a complete body workout circuit that goes for about an hour and a half. So I try to spice it up. Training for me is something I really enjoy. When you’re on the road you need to do what you can as well, so I always pack my runners, hopefully stay near a gym if you can, otherwise you need to do bodyweight stuff and that’s where a lot of that CrossFit comes in to play.

Steve: Yeh, sure. How did you find the experience of lending your voice to the animated character ‘Frosty’ in the movie Cars 2?

Mark: It was a lot of fun actually. I love kids and I love being a family man and playing with my kids so to actually be able to do a kid movie and see people watching it and commenting on it, although it was only 2 lines, it was still a lot of fun to do. Disney as a company were amazing to work with and it was just lots of fun. It was strange doing the voice over because it was in a sound booth in Melbourne here and the director was in his lounge room in Las Vegas so he was guiding through the whole production, it was a pretty bizarre experience, but it was lots of fun, I loved every minute of it and to see a car named ‘Frosty’ on the big screen was pretty cool!

Steve: What about competing on Australia’s Greatest Athlete, how tough was this for you?

Mark: Ahh, it was really tough actually because the filming was the Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday after the Sydney Homebush race. So that was the biggest race of the year, then flew straight out landed in Brisbane drove to Sunshine coast and by the time everything got finished up it was about 3am and the triathlon that morning was at 7am so preparation wasn’t ideal. It was a lot of fun though. It’s great to see how you stack up against different athletes and it also gave me a bit of a kick in the backside about my fitness as well, because you want to pride yourself on your fitness and some things were really good, the bench press and jet-skiing and a few others, but there were other areas where I was pretty weak which was a bit of a reality check to get back to the gym and get a bit stronger. But some of those guys, the Quade Coopers, then Shannon Ecksteins, they’re elite guys, their fitness is amazing, so it was good to compare yourself against those guys.

Steve: What has been your most memorable racing experience to date?

Mark: Probably just rocking up to Bathurst for the first time. It wasn’t a memorable result, it was actually a DNF, the engine failed on lap 132 or something like that. But having grown up watching Bathurst as a kid and a lot of Aussie blokes and women can relate to Bathurst, so just to get on that starting grid and do one lap of Bathurst, just to get there and do it was one of the best feelings; not from a results point of view, but just sheer satisfaction and completion that you’ve watched it for so many years and have finally got there.

Steve: Yeh, sure. What do you consider to be your main strength as a driver?

Mark: You have to have that speed, but I like to be calculated on how I do it. So I haven’t got a ‘win or bust’ attitude which can work for you sometimes, but won’t work for you other times. I think I’m consistent; I can win when I have to and finish when I need to. I think that’s a good strength to have because it’s quite easy to always get that red mist and always try to go for the victory and glory, but that doesn’t always pay off, it might pay off one time out of ten but the strength is to just drive within yourself; when you haven’t got the car, just do the best result you can and when you have got it to push on and go for the win. Not every driver has that same sort of approach, but that’s worked well for me for consistency in the championship.

Steve: What do you think of the introductions of Nissan and Mercedes Benz into the championship?

Mark: It’s been good to see different manufacturers come in. It’s always been Ford and Holden for the past 15 years, but it was getting to a point where it needed some more manufacturer support and Nissan were racing within the sport back in 1993 or whenever it was, so they’ve got a lot of history with our sport, even though it was many years ago. But they wanted to come in and Mercedes is a well known brand, it’s actually really nice racing against a luxury car and a prestige car, and if we can beat it in a Ford Falcon, that’s also going to give you a bit more satisfaction. I think it’s great; it was time for a revamp and now’s the perfect time. Initial signs are that the fans love them. The Mercedes has this incredible engine and the Nissan sounds different, they look different, they’re bringing in different supporters so yeh, I think it’s really good for the sport.

Steve: Have you had any particularly bad crashes or suffered any bad injuries in your career?

Mark: Yeh, I’ve had some bad crashes, but most of the damage was done in Go-Karting to be honest. Go-Karting doesn’t have much around you to protect you, so when you roll over it’s your body that cops the impact. The only broken bone, touch wood, was in Go-Karting, I broke my collar bone when the car rolled over. In V8 Supercars, there’s been a heap of crashes, but every one has been a walk away which is a good feeling. But they’re very safe, you feel safer in that than you do in a Go-Kart. So I’ve been pretty lucky with how I’ve pulled up. They all hurt, when you hit a wall going 200km/h, it shakes your teeth and rattles your bones, but I always walked away which was good.

Steve: With your karting background, would you ever consider making a move towards Formula 1?


Mark: With Karting, probably the most natural progression is to go open wheel racing, but the hard part is at the age of 14, you have to be in Europe racing Go-Karts, so that means you need pretty rich parents, which I didn’t have and it means moving away from home at that age to a foreign country. So it is really tough. You’re competing against the whole world trying to get into 20 seats. Formula One is the pinnacle of motor sport, but at the same time there’s probably 8-10 guys that get paid professionally and the other 10 bring money. So it’s a very tough category to get into and to have 2 Aussie’s in it, that just shows how good Australian motorsport is and how respected our country is in Motorsport, but I’m glad I chose V8s. V8’s is real racing, you can bang door handles and crunch the gears. I guess it’s a true Aussie car and that’s what I love. Formula One is very good, but it’s a different form of racing with a different approach.

Steve: Yep... And just finally Mark, what advice would you give a young person trying to get started in racing?

Mark: You just have to get into go-karts, that’s the way to do it. You need to just enjoy it, don’t think you’re going to be a professional driver, because even in go-karts, there’s 10,000 license holders who are incredibly talented people. So just get in there and have fun, learn the race craft. It’s funny, go-karting is such a competitive sport, but all those guys I used to race in go-karts, now race V8 supercars. What we did in go-karts is exactly what we do today... So you can learn a lot from it. But most of all, just enjoy it. It’s a great sport and really gives you an appreciation for your machine and how to use it and how to control it. It’s great for families too, I’d take my kids there tomorrow if they wanted to do it.

Steve: Yep, wonderful. Well, that’s all I have for you, Mark. Thanks for your time, I really appreciate it and I’m sure a lot of our followers will be keen to read the interview and get a better insight into the world of motorsport.

Mark: Thanks mate, No worries.

Posted in Interview By Calibre Fitness

Steve: Hi, This is Steve from Calibre Fitness here with Clint MacKay, How are you doing Clint?

Yeh, good thanks mate. How are you?

Steve: Yeh, Really good, thank you. Clint McKay is an Australian fast-medium bowler who has just finished up leading Australia’s one-day charge against Sri Lanka, bowling 4/33 in their first match. He is currently a member of the Victorian Bushrangers side and has represented Australia at one day international and Test level. He also plays for Melbourne Stars in the big bash league and Mumbai Indians in the IPL.

Clint made his ODI debut for Australia in November 2009 against India and later that summer earned a Baggy Green for Australia against the West Indies. With his running-in-treacle approach to the wicket and front on action, he doesn’t necessarily fit the mould of the modern fast bowler, but he has established himself as a key component to the each of his respective teams.

Clint, growing up, were you always better with the ball than the bat?

Clint: Ah, yeh I think so. I liked to have a bit of a bat and my batting in my junior days wasn’t actually too bad, well better than it is now, I tend to struggle a bit. But yeh, bowling was always at the forefront. I always opened the bowling for each of the teams I played for and yeh, that’s what I really enjoyed about cricket growing up.

Steve: Fantastic. Did you play any other sports growing up?

Clint: Yeh, I played a lot of AFL football and also quite a bit of basketball. Growing up I always wanted to be an AFL footballer and that didn’t quite work out, I wasn’t quite good enough. So I sort of fell into cricket which, looking back, is probably the best thing that’s ever happened to me.

Steve: Ok, great. What does your diet consist of?

Clint: It tends to change quite a bit, it depends whether we’re in season or pre-season. Especially around the game time, I eat a lot of carbs a lot of pasta, just to make sure I’ve got all that energy for the next day. Other than that, probably another big thing is no soft drink, because there’s so much sugar and I’m trying to get the weight down a bit. That’s probably the biggest change in my diet right now.

Steve: Yeh, sure. What does a normal cricket training week look like?

Clint: Once again, it all depends whether it’s in season or pre-season. Pre-season is when all of our fitness stuff is done, that will consist of 3 gym sessions a week and usually about 4-5 fitness sessions, which is 2-3 running sessions, then the rest is cross training, whether it’s on the bike or the cross trainer or even in the pool. It’s pretty full-on at that time of year. Then you throw in probably 3 skills sessions a week too. 6 days a week with Sundays off and you usually do a couple of sessions a day, so it’s pretty full on. During the season it probably changes up a bit because you tend to play so much, so frequently that it’s hard to get the fitness sessions in. So we usually have a 3 day gap, we have a gym session in between that, then there’s always a skill session the day before a game, but we generally take it pretty easy the few days directly before a game.

Steve: You’re considered to be a bit of a one-day specialist, do you have aspirations to play any more Test cricket or are you happy sticking to One-Dayers?

Clint: Ahh, Definitely. That’s the focus at the moment to get back and play some more Test cricket. I don’t want to finish my career on one Test. It was a great honour to play that one test, but I’m definitely doing everything in my power to make sure I can build on that one Test. But at the moment, I’m happy playing One-Day cricket and hopefully there’s some success round the corner for the Australian cricket team.

Steve: Okay, Great. What has been the highlight of your career or most memorable cricketing moment so far?

Clint: Ahhh, it would definitely have to be getting the baggy green hat off Ricky Ponting back in 2009. Other than that, getting presented with my one-day cap for Australia. First time representing my country is something I’ll never forget, especially the Test one when all my family was there to watch me get presented.

Steve: What are your thoughts on the Big Bash and T20?

Clint: T20 has been fantastic to get the female and to get the younger kids back involved in Cricket. We lost them for a few years with the one-day and test cricket. I think it’s great for family outings and especially because it only goes for 3 hours, I think it definitely gets a different crowd to the ones we were getting in the other forms of the game. So, it’s been fantastic for cricket, just the introduction for cricket that appeals to the whole public rather than just a minor pocket.

Steve: The Bushrangers are faring pretty well at the moment, sitting 1st on the Ryobi One-Day cup ladder and 2nd on the Sheffield Shield ladder, how do you feel like you boys are travelling?

Clint: Yeh, as you can see with those positions on the ladder we’re doing quite nicely. Obviously the last 2 shield games we lost to South Australia which was quite disappointing; One comprehensively and the last one only by 1 wicket. So that would have been nice to get one of them and guarantee ourselves a place in the final, but we’re definitely not far away and we’ve got some very good players still involved in cricket Victoria, so we know if we can get to the finals then we’ve got the team that can actually win both tournaments. So that’s what we’re going for at the moment. If we don’t win both then we’ll be quite disappointed with the result of the season.

Steve: Yeh, sure. What do you consider to be your main strength as a cricketer?

Clint: Probably my consistency. You generally know what I’m going to give each game and that’s probably the same as my bowling, I haven’t got the pace of a Peter Siddle or James Pattinson or those sort of guys, so I really need to make sure I get enough balls in the right area and ask enough questions of the batters. If you can do that for a long enough period of time, then eventually one’s going to go in your favour and that’s probably my biggest strength.

Steve: What are the main challenges you face as a professional cricketer?

Clint: That’s a tough question, because there’s quite a few. There’s always a lot of travelling involved and there’s always a lot of pressure playing elite sport and that’s something we’ve actually spoken about today and it’s something that, playing professional sport, we love that kind of pressure because it gets us going for each game. One of my personal ones is that I struggle a bit with my weight and the diet and stuff that we were talking about before, that’s one of my biggest challenges, trying to keep that under control. I tend to blow out quite easily if I don’t do the work, so just making sure I’m doing all the training and my diet’s right.

Steve: Have you suffered any particularly bad injuries throughout your career?

Clint: I had a really bad one about 2 years ago; I actually had a navicular stress fracture, which is apparently quite a bad bone in your foot. No blood and oxygen gets there, so it takes a long time to heal. I had a bone graft, they took some bone from my hip, put it there then put a big screw through it. I think it was about 10 months off cricket. That’s so far so good, it hasn’t given me any grief yet, so hopefully that stays that way and the screws and the bone grafts hold in place. Looking back, it was probably quite good time to happen, it gave me the opportunity to look back and reflect on what areas I need to improve and whatever else, so I think it’s definitely made me a better cricketer because of that.

Steve: Who do you think is the best cricket player you’ve played with or against?

Clint: Ahhh, tough question again. There are so many great cricket players around. Obviously playing with Ricky Ponting, Mike Hussey, Michael Clarke and those type of guys and I was lucky enough to play at Mumbai this year with Sachin Tandulkar, I reckon one of the greatest to come out of India of all time and Harbhajan Singh was there as well. So yeh, it’s probably a tough question, I’ll probably just end up giving you 5-10 guys that are those sort of guys and even Kevin Pietersen in the new era, there’s not too many better than him going around at the moment either.

Steve: Sure. Just finally Clint, What advice would you give to a young cricketer just starting out?

Clint: Ahhh, the best advice I’ve ever been given and it’s probably the best advice I can pass on too is to make sure you keep enjoying it. If you keep enjoying it then you’re going to improve and you’re going to be excited to get out of bed and play it each day and that’s what you’re after. So that’s my biggest thing, make sure you keep enjoying it, keep having fun... and when you do that, you’re going to get better as well.

Steve: Yeh Sure. No Problem. Well, that’s all I’ve got for you Clint. Thanks for your time, I appreciate it. I’m sure all our readers will appreciate your insight into cricket and the sport.

Clint: Nah, no worries mate. Glad to do it!

Posted in Interview By Calibre Fitness

Featured Interview: Pat Cash

12/27/2012 4:00 PM

Pat Cash needs little introduction...He is a Wimbledon Champion, the youngest person ever to win the Davis Cup Singles title and a household name in Australian sport.

Pat first came to the tennis world's attention as a junior player in the early 1980s. He was ranked the top junior player in the world in 1981, and in 1982 he won the junior titles at both Wimbledon and the US Open.

Pat's greatest tennis achievement was winning the men's singles at Wimbledon in 1987. After defeating world No.1 Ivan Lendl in straight sets, he climbed into the stands to celebrate with his family and coach- a practice which has since become tradition among Wimbledon winners. He went on to twice make the final of the Australian Open – in 1987 and 1988 – but lost five-setters on both occasions, to Stefan Edberg and Mats Wilander respectively.

A regular Davis Cup representative for Australia, Pat was part of Australia's winning teams at Kooyong in 1983 and 1986. Cash first represented Australia as a 17-year-old and finished with a 31-10 Davis Cup record over eight years.

Nowadays, Pat still plays a large part in the Tennis world; he hosts CNN's tennis-focused magazine show Open Court, he is a regular colour commentator and he also runs the Pat Cash Tennis Academy. He has won the over-45's Wimbledon doubles title with fellow Aussie Mark Woodforde in 2010, 2011 and 2012. Pat has now collected the Junior, Tour and Legends Wimbledon titles. To date, he remains the only person to have done so.

Steve: What do you do to keep fit these days and what is your diet like?

Pat: Well, at the moment I'm rehabbing from knee surgery again. I have been in great shape for many years now but I had an incident on a Swiss ball and twisted my knee which required surgery. I have been told by the surgeon that he sees many knees from straight people like me doing straight leg twists holding a Swiss ball between the legs. Crazy after all the tennis I've played to have some stupid thing like this happen. My diet is pretty much wheat free and has been for 10 years now, though I'm not as strict as I used to be. I do like a dessert and a packet of chips

Steve: You won the over-45's Wimbledon doubles title with Mark Woodforde in 2010, 2011 and 2012. How competitive is that competition and how much tennis do you still play throughout the year?

Pat: The Grand Slam doubles aren't as serious as they used to be that's for sure and having a partner like Mark makes life pretty easy. I play a combination of singles and doubles exhibitions, but more singles generally. A usual year will have me playing 12 -16 events a year. Some are 1 night or day other 4 or 5 days. That's pretty demanding especially when you play guys much younger. This keeps me working hard off court which I love.

Steve: You have won a lot of big tennis accolades. What has been the highlight of your career? Winning Wimbledon?

Pat: Wimbledon and Davis Cup for Australia they were the 2 things I wanted to do and I did them in the few years I was fully fit back in the mid - late 80's

Steve: Your son Jett is 18 and has done very well through his junior career. How is his form at the moment? Are we going to see him at the Aus Open over the next few years?

Pat: Jett wants to go to a US college. He is a smart kid and wants to study chemical engineering or biology and continue to play tennis. Perhaps he will play the tour after that but it's up to him.

Steve: You've done a lot of work with junior tennis players in recent years, taking the Junior Australian Davis Cup team to Mexico this year. Which up-and-comer are you most excited about?

Pat: We have a very good bunch of kids coming through so any of them could make it. Australian tennis hasn't had a great record in recent years bringing top juniors through but it's very hard work out there as tennis is the toughest sport in the world to break through from juniors to tour player. There are thousands of kids on the junior circuit.

Steve: What do you think it takes to be an elite tennis player in the modern game?

Pat: Much the same as it has always been. Lots and lots of hard work, attention to detail, great physical ability and some luck

Steve: You struggled with injuries to your achilles tendon, knees and back later in your career. Were there any particularly bad injuries you endured in your career?

Pat: All injuries are bad. I recovered from all of them 100% except the achilles. At the time of the achilles rupture I was not in the right frame of mind to rehab properly and therefore it didn't recover like it should of. I learned my lesson the tough way.

Steve: What are your views on the evolvement of tennis racquets and other new technologies coming into the game such as Hawk-Eye?

Pat: I love Hawkeye technology as it has improved the game I'm not sure about string technology as its made the average player good and reduces the skill level necessary for a player. For example to hit a topspin lob or good return all you need to do is make some contact on the ball and lots of spin comes off the string on to the ball, thats not skill it's just technology. Is point after point of big serves and hard forehands really that interesting? I don't think so.

Steve: If you could make any changes to the modern game of tennis, what would they be?

Pat: Get rid of the let rule and limit string and racket technology

Steve: In your opinion, who is the best tennis player you have played against, and who is the best tennis player of all time?

Pat: Becker McEnroe Lendl Wilander Edberg all had certain shots that were the best I have played against. Best of all time is a fun but mainly pointless conversation unless you know history and the game very well. Read the blog on my website where I go into detail. www.patcash.net.

Steve: Who do you think will be the top player in 2013 and/or the most improved?

Pat: Hmmm... It's hard to say as the top 4 have all had great years recently but I tend to think Murray will continue and win more Grand Slams.

Steve: What do you think the future holds for Bernard Tomic? Do you think he's got the maturity/ self-discipline to become a top 10 tennis player?

Pat: Not at this stage but he's still young enough to turn things around.

Posted in Interview By Calibre Fitness

Featured Interview: Tom Hafey

11/27/2012 4:00 PM

Steve: This is Steve from Calibre Fitness talking with Tom Hafey. How are you doing Tom?

Tom: Sensational Steve... and getting better.

Steve: Fantastic. Tom Hafey is a former Australian Rules football player and coach and an icon of Australian sport. He is 81 years young, but age that number doesn’t play a big role in Tommy’s life. He’s still going strong, training harder than most men 60 years his junior!
Tom is considered to be one of the most successful and inspirational coaches of the post-war era. He began his senior football life as a tough, relentless back pocket specialist who played 67 VFL games for Richmond between 1953 and 1958, but it is as a coach that he is better remembered. Throughout his career, Tom Hafey coached four teams to Premierships in ten Grand Final appearances and is one of only six coaches to have coached over 500 AFL/VFL games.

These days, while most people his age would be happy to still be walking, Tom is still training every day like an athlete, doing motivational speaking all over the country, running coaching clinics and having a massive, positive influence on tens of thousands of Aussies every year.

Tom, you’ve never touched alcohol or cigarettes and gave up cakes and biscuits 40 years ago, so you obviously have a pretty phenomenal diet. What does your diet consist of and is there anything you let yourself indulge in.

Tom: Well, ice cream is not lollies biscuits or cakes. I make new resolutions and you need to make new resolutions you know you can keep, because I’m trying to show my little girls when they’re coming through the years to set your mind to do something and nothing should sway you. So I said ‘I won’t eat lollies biscuits or cakes for 12 months’, that was 38 years ago and I haven’t eaten a lolly, biscuit or cake since. But ice cream’s not lollies biscuits or cakes. Is that right?

Steve: Haha, exactly.

Tom: So Steve, I have a lot of dessert, but the meals I eat are pretty basic and simple. I have cereal for breakfast with fruit and yoghurt and a cup of tea. At lunch I often just have a salad sandwich, or if we’re out I’ll just have what they have there. Then for dinner, we have red meat once a week; fish probably twice a week, pasta and pretty basic things like that and I eat a heap of fruit. When I go for a drive, and I go for a lot of big drives when I speak to schools, I might take a dozen pieces of fruit. I’ll eat them on the way up and on the way back. It keeps me awake for a start, but it’s also good healthy food, isn’t it.

Steve: Yep, absolutely. Your training routine is pretty well documented; waking up at 5:20am, an 8km run, followed by 250 pushups and a swim in Port Phillip Bay, then up to 700 crunches and sit-ups. Is this still your daily routine?

Tom: Oh, yes it is. I don’t do all that on the weekend. I get out of bed when I feel like it. Instead of getting out of bed at 5:20, it might be 7 o’clock or even 8 o’clock, and I might not do as much... But I never not do anything. The only time I might miss out completely is if I have to catch a plane at 6 o’clock in the morning or something like that because you have to be out there an hour before the plane goes. But in most cases, probably 360 days of the year I would be doing exactly what you mentioned.


Steve: As each year passes, how hard is it to maintain your fitness level?

Tom: Well, I was one of the first players ever to use weights and that came about when one of my teenage friends, a mate I went to school with and we knocked around with each other and stuff like that, went into weight lifting. He actually represented Australia in the Olympic Games in 1956. I would go down to his garage where he had his own weights and then after that I went to a gym in the city. It would have been 1952, and incidentally Steve... I bought some weights in 1952, they’re very rusty but they weigh exactly what they did when I first bought them, how about that? But I still go to the gym now. I’ve been to Bodyworld tonight and I go there, once the footy’s over when I can get to the gym in a really consistent manner, I’ll go 3-4 times a week and I work really quite hard, as hard as I can do. I never leave unless I finish the card. I tick off the exercises I put down and go right through that and I’ve also got a wave rider so I’m down in the big surf with my grand children at Portsea or around at Point Leo, Flinders, Honeysuckles, places like that. I say to everybody every different day is a great day; if you don’t believe me, try missing one.


Steve: Haha, absolutely. Tom, you played for a few VFL teams, but predominantly Richmond. Are they still the team you follow these days?

Tom: Yes. I come from Richmond. We were born in Richmond and lived in 6 houses during the depression, in my first 4-6 years. Then in the depression, my dad had no job and 2 little children, so we went up to Canberra. He was a printer. We lived in Canberra for 5-6 years, which only had a population of 11,000 back then. Now I think it’s about 360-380 thousand. So 11,000 would be as big as Benalla or Warragul or Colac or somewhere like that. Then we lived in East Malvern and that’s where I was recruited from. Then when Maureen and I met and got married, we had a milk bar in Bridge Rd Richmond for 5 years where 2 of our 3 children were born in the shop.

Steve: How do you think the Tigers will go next year?

Tom: Well, I like to think they’re on the right track, but everybody says ‘on the right track’, but being a realistic sort of person... This year we finished 12th, we lost more games than we won. There are 11 other sides that think they’re going to be better than us. But I was really pleased with the way they went about the job, we lost some games we shouldn’t have lost. Lost to some very ordinary teams, and yet we beat the premiers. We beat Sydney Swans by 6 goals; we beat Hawthorn by 10 goals. You can’t work that out. We’ve actually won against West Coast and Geelong by 10-12 points in the early part of the season and yet we’ve been beaten by teams that we definitely should have beaten. Hopefully we might learn a bit from that.


Steve: Who do you think is the best footballer you’ve played with or against?

Tom: Yeh, that’s too difficult a question. I don’t like to compare the boys I played with. I think that each club I’ve gone to, there’s been a lot of great people and players. I guess, Francis Bourke, Royce Hart, Kevin Bartlett, Kevin Sheedy, Ian Stewart, Billy Barrett, Dicky Clay, Michael Green, Barry Rich-there are a lot of good players... and yet when I go to Collingwood, the older players who had been the big names such as the Des Tuddenham, Wayne Richardson, people like that, they’d gone a little bit past it. But then you’ve got Peter Daicos, Peter Moore, Billy Picken, Ronny Wearmouth and fellas like that who came on the scene. So it was really great. Then I went down to Geelong and 2 boys who we got that were rejects from other league clubs happened to be superstars. One was Gary Abblett Snr who was let go by Hawthorn. Well he was a superstar. There’s no doubt about that. I think everybody recognises that now, and the other was Greg Williams who wrote to me and asked if he could come down for a trial because he’d been knocked back by Carlton, the club that he was actually sewn to after two occasions after winning the best and fairest in the Bendigo league. He was an instant star at Geelong, won the best first year player, best and fairest in his second year and I think it was his 3rd year that he won the Brownlow. Ironically, he went back to the club that originally rejected him and won another Brownlow. It’s an amazing career isn’t it?

Steve: Oh, absolutely.

Tom: When I was up in Sydney, we had a lot of boys who came up there, but there were some really good players up there; Mark Brown, Dennis Carroll, Mark Bayes and obviously David Murphy, Warwick Kappa. See Warwick kicked 92 and 103 goals in his 2 years with Tommy Hafey, so that will give you some indication. It was a really great effort in Warwick’s case.


Steve: You were the first coach to introduce the practice of 3 training sessions a week and were always renowned for having the fittest team in the league. How did you maintain such a fit group?

Tom: Yeh. Well I just felt that you only get out what you put in. I know that the boys had a feeling that, when the going got tough we’re going to win these close games, which we used to, because we’d trained harder than the opposition. Sometimes a lot of people are very negative and anti anything someone puts up. But I just knew that’s what was required. I knew that we’d done the same up at Shepparton and won 3 premierships in a row, so I just felt that you had to train hard, work hard and live well. I don’t mind the players drinking, but I get upset when they do the wrong thing by their team mates. I really hate that.


Steve: Could you tell us a bit about Percy Cerutty and the effect he had on your life and your coaching style?

Tom: Absolutely sensational. He was a man who I really admired like you wouldn’t believe. I read his first book when I was coaching Shepparton and I could not put it down. I immediately wrote to him and we became very good friends. I’ve got the 6 books that he wrote, I’ve got 2 books written about him and somebody sent me a book from America earlier this year, Training with Cerutty. I’d never known those books were around, so I’ve read them with interest. But I’ve re-read and re-read the Percy books, and people, when I lend them, say this is 30-40 years before it’s time. I suggest to everybody, if you can get the chance to read a Percy Cerutty book, you’ll be absolutely staggered because we’re talking early 60s, when he wrote his books, yet it’s the sort of things people are just doing now. I thought he was just marvellous. We went down there as a group, I brought him up to talk to our players, things like that. He wasn’t a football person, but he liked it enough. I just thought he was absolutely marvellous.


Steve: What age did you actually play football until and do you still play any sports?

Tom: Well, everybody played football when they were young in my time. There was no such thing as the idiot box, when you come home to sit and watch that or play these games on the whatever. My mum would say ‘get outside and play’, so we’d be outside kicking the footy or bowling the cricket ball. Everybody played football during winter and cricket during the summer; it was just the national thing to do. The girls would have been playing ‘rounders’, which is now softball and basketball which is now netball. There were other sports there, but they weren’t as popular. They weren’t the sports that were in the paper or anything. We didn’t have any of the junior teams they have today, the under 10s, under 12s, under 14s, under 16s. So the first football I played was in the under 18s with East Malvern. That was probably when I was 16, so 2 years for the under 18s, then I went into the seniors.


Steve: Are you playing any sports at the moment?

Tom: Oh, no. Not really. I just go to the gym and do my fitness things which is very constant and something I enjoy. Look, I go and see a lot of games, but I walk away a lot of the time when they start messing around with the ball. Kicking the ball backwards, sideways, having 150 interchanges, 200 handballs. It’s not the game I was brought up in. I know a lot of people my age say that and people then say ‘that’s just the old folk, whatever’, but I just don’t enjoy it. I’ll tell you what I do enjoy, I see more games in the country than in the metropolitan leagues. I like the atmosphere, I recognise the great skills of today’s present players and I wouldn’t dare compare country and metropolitan with the great skills our AFL players have got. But I just prefer the way the game’s played to be quite honest.


Steve: Sure. Tom, you’ve won a lot of big football accolades, but what do you consider is the highlight of your football career?

Tom: Look, I think playing your first game is something special. A lot of children ask me that at the schools that I go to and I know it’s a selfish sort of a thing, but there’s a lot of people that have been sensational players in the local teams and country teams and all that sort of thing and yet if they play one game with an AFL team, people immediately take them up to an eliteness, so I suppose playing my first game was something special and I was a very ordinary player at that level, incidentally. But I guess, being connected with football for so long, having so many good friends who I’ve kept in touch with all these years. Being godfather to some of their children, being invited to their children’s weddings and things like that. I just think that’s what life’s all about really. I try to encourage people to really keep your friends, get on the phone, ring up people who you might have been very, very friendly 20-30 years ago when you were a youngster, and all of a sudden you drift apart, understandably. But it doesn’t hurt, now and again, to put in a phone call, so I do that a lot to be honest. I’ll tell you what I also do, Steven, I ring up 130 boys who played with me at Richmond, and come Christmas time... I take them all out to lunch. That happens down at the London Tavern down on Lennox St in Richmond. It’s the pub that the boys used to drink at when they didn’t think I knew they were drinking. We go there and I get probably 70-80 to come along. If I’ve got their phone number, I’ll ring them up- all the boys that played with me at Richmond. They come from miles, 10 of them come back from interstate every year. They put their arms around each other and cry. But that’s what teams are all about, having feelings for each other and enjoying each other’s company.


Steve: Did you have to make any particularly hard decisions in your sporting career?

Tom: You probably do, mainly with other boys who you have to let go after 2-3 years and you just have to make a decision whether they’re going to be good enough to get a game and be a very good player for your team. I think anybody who coaches has to make hard decisions, it’s not nice to do, but it has to be done. You’ve only got 40 players on the list, so you often have to drop certain players. A lot of the boys get rejected by a certain club, but make it big at another club and incidentally, there were 6 of the 22 players in the Sydney swans premiership team this year who were rejects from other league clubs, there would have been 7, but Ben McGlynn who got the axe from Hawthorn was injured so he couldn’t play in the Grand Final. Last year there were 5 in Collingwood’s team and when St Kilda nearly could have won the premiership twice in the last 4 years, 8 of their players were rejects from other league clubs. How interesting is that? That’s the thing I tell the children, ‘don’t get upset when things don’t go your way’. The great Shane Warne took no wickets for 150 in his first test and he finished up having taken 708 wickets and was probably the 2nd best cricketer who ever played the game. So if you’re feeling sorry for yourself and get really down, you’re probably never going to reach your potential, are you?


Steve: No, exactly. What advice would you give to a young athlete/footballer just starting out?

Tom: I just tell them to listen to what the coach has to say. They shouldn’t take their faces away from the coach, look into his eyes and ask him questions as well. But make certain you’re the most enthusiastic and passionate person on the football ground. You need to really work hard. I go down and watch some of the players train and sometimes I’ll take training... and I know that it’s very social, especially in country and metropolitan leagues, but you always think that the players could be a little more passionate about it. I know that’s somewhat the coaches job, but I just know a lot of the boys come back a few years after and wish they could have their time over again. They apologise for their slackness or for their lack of discipline when they had their chance.


Steve: Yep, exactly... and just finally Tom, which up-and-coming footballer are you most excited about?

Tom: Well, obviously Trent Cochin, who’s still an up-and-comer even though he’s won 2 best and fairest. I’m fanatical and crazy about his tremendous courage and his talent and I think he’s getting the best out of himself. It will be interesting to see how he goes being a leader. There’d be a lot of players like that though, there’s no doubt about it. Naturally enough, being connected to Kevin Morris, his boy Stephen, I’ve been so pleased and proud because he didn’t get it easy, even though he might have been the son of a champion, Kevin. He was at Richmond; he was at 3 other clubs then had to go to West Adelaide in South Australia where he was actually recruited from and he finished 7th in their Best and Fairest last year. So you find a lot of things like that, don’t you?


Steve: Yeh, absolutely. Okay, well... Thanks Tom, that’s all I have for you. I appreciate your time and all the best in the future.

Tom: Good lad.

Posted in Interview By Calibre Fitness

Steve: This is Steve from Calibre Fitness, I'm here with Ben Schwartz from Crossfit Melbourne. Hi Ben, How are you going?

Ben: Yeh, Good mate, good.

Steve: Ben is the founder and owner of Melbourne's premier Crossfit Gym, Schwartz's Crossfit Melbourne. The Swartz team won this years' Australian Crossfit Games and went on to acquire 9th place overall in America. Ben has managed to train a champion team.


On top of being a top-level coach, Ben is also an athlete in his own right. Having competed in football, athletics, martial arts and body-building, where at the age of 16, he won Teenage Mr. Melbourne.


Martial arts have always been a particular passion for Ben and he has trained in many of its disciplines, particularly kickboxing/boxing and Brazilian Ju-jitsu. Brazilian Ju-jitsu, now consumes most of Ben's martial arts training and he has competed several times at MG tournaments were he has placed as high as second place.


Anyone who trained with or been trained by Ben knows how completely committed he is to fitness, it's not just his hobby, but truly his way of life and he brings enormous enthusiasm, passion and encouragement to every single training session.


This interview may be the first time many readers/listeners are exposed to Crossfit. Can you give them an overview of what Crossfit is?


Ben: It's a mixture of gymnastics, power lifting, weight lifting, running, rowing and jumping all thrown together. Combined, they make really hard, tough workouts. The idea of Crossfit is that when you train, you train to be good at everything. Usually runners run, people who lift weights lift weights, people who swim swim. In Crossfit we try to do it all and try to be very good at it. I suppose when Crossfit first started and for years after that even, there were always limits placed on people. Say, if a guy is running this fast, he can probably only lift that much and if a guy's dead lifted this much, he can probably only run this fast, where now guys keep breaking those boundaries. Their runtimes keep getting faster and their lifts keep getting bigger. At the moment, everything keeps going through the roof, what we thought was impossible in now becoming possible, in terms of guys clean and jerking 150-160, but running ridiculous 5k times as well and running triathlons and doing amazing stuff.

Steve: Fantastic. How and when did you actually get into Crossfit?


Ben: 2006. I already had a gym and was pretty much training in Crossfit style without the named workouts, Fran, Diane... All that stuff. I always liked doing the heavy lifting and I always liked body weight stuff, so I was always doing my deadlift squats and doing handstand pushups, chin-ups, dips all that sort of stuff. Then in 2006, I was in Borders and was having a look at an MMA magazine and there was this little tiny article on Crossfit and it had climbing ropes. It had a lot about lifting and climbing and I thought, this is the kind of stuff I like, it sounded really interesting. I got home, jumped on the internet, tried a couple of workouts and thought this stuff's the real deal. I booked a flight to the States, did my first seminar there in May 2006, came back and was incorporating a bit of it, with myself and clients, but it wasn't a full-on thing yet. Then each week, slowly, slowly, more of my workouts and more of my clients workouts were only Crossfit based and it just went from there. Then at the end of that year in 2006, I affiliated with Crossfit.

Steve: Sure. Can you tell us a bit about your sporting background?


Ben: When I was really young, as a kid, I used to play football all the time and martial arts... That was sort of my thing. When I was younger, say 13-14, I was always doing 400 pushups a night, 100 chin-ups... Then when I was 16, embarrassingly enough, I went into body-building and competed a few times and won Mr Melbourne. I was over that pretty quickly though, did it for a year and then hated it. I just didn't like the idea of training to pose/ look good. So then I got more into purely strength training and martial arts and then kept just doing those sorts of things all the way through until 2006 when I started the Crossfit. Eventually Crossfit started taking over more, until I totally gave up the martial arts because I didn't want to get injured from that.

Steve: Could you describe your personal typical training week?


Ben: My training week, it's difference to when I was younger. About 4 years ago I had an operation on my shoulder. When I was younger I used to train by the philosophy that 'if it's injured, you can still do everything' and I'd train through any injury, nothing would stop me, I'd just say 'I'm lucky, at least I've got a shoulder... Some people don't'. That was my mentality; I'd say 'I'm not dead, so I can keep doing it'. That was all good, until you get a bit older... I went to the surgeon to have a look at my shoulder and he said it was the worst shoulder he'd ever seen on someone my age! It took me 3 years because my shoulder was so bad, to rehabilitate myself properly so I could compete again, but now I'll train differently in the sense that I listen to my body. So, in the old day I wouldn't have rest days and would just train through anything, now I will. A lot of the time those rest days, I'll still swim or row, but its different now. Mostly throughout the year, I'll just train once a day and usually it'll be some kind of strength stuff, whether it be a snatch, a clean and jerk or a squat or some kind of WOD (Workout of the Day). That's what I do all year, before the world games and regional's, we probably split it up a bit more, do a bit more strength in the morning then another WOD later in the day, but not more than that for me, that's all I could take. Some of the guys probably do a bit more than that, but it depends on their age and what their bodies can take.

Steve: What is your diet like, are you very focussed on your diet these days?

Ben: Nutrition-wise, I've always been pretty focussed on it. A lot of Crossfitters are into Paleo (*Paleo is a diet mainly consisting of fish, grass-fed pasture raised meats, vegetables, fruit, fungi, roots, and nuts). I suppose a lot of what I do is Paleo, but a lot isn't as well. I'll have protein supplements, it's just a quick way to get some food down but isn't really Paleo, some other products too like Tuna and Dairy. But primarily I eat meat, fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds... All that sort of stuff with little starch and stuff like that.

Steve: You've mentioned having some trouble with your shoulder. Have you suffered any particularly bad injuries while Crossfit training?

Ben: Crossfit didn't get my shoulder, my shoulder started when I was 19 playing gridiron one day, then I kept going for 11 years without doing anything and it just got worse and worse. It wasn't one thing, I got it through grappling, which is pretty hard on the shoulders, then Crossfit you use your shoulders a lot. When I first started Crossfit, I was like 'more is better'. It was pretty stuffed before Crossfit, but Crossfit just seemed to bring up all the issues. But besides that, I haven't had any injuries.

Steve: What do you think are the main advantages of Crossfit training over other forms of 'traditional' training?

Ben: You just can't compare it. It's the best thing. Motivation-wise. Whether you're an athlete or whether you're just an everyday person, I'd hate to go to the gym and think I'm going to go do cardio, I'm going to go do biceps, I'm going to go do legs... There's sort of no motivation there. But for us, we come in and say we're going to work things. So we might work snatches to get better technique to lift more weight or whether you're working handstand pushups or muscleups technique. A lot of its technique-driven, it's always you going out because you want to go practice stuff. It's fun because you're practicing, not just training. We don't do things to look a certain way. There's always a next stage in your training. So first you try to do pushups, if you can do pushups in terms of bodyweight and gymnastic movement, if you can do pushups, you might start bar dips, if you can do bar dips you might go to ring dips, if you can do that, you might start handstand pushups, if you can do that you might go to muscleups... So there's always a progression. With Olympic lifting, you might start off doing air squats, then you might try an overhead squat, then you go to a snatch. Even with handstands, you might first start it holding against a wall, then free-standing, then handstand walking. There are guys in this gym, not myself, who love handstand walking over obstacles, around things. There's always a new thing or something harder to do. You go to the gym, you do biceps curls, it doesn't lead to anything else. You might put some more weight on, but really it doesn't lead to another movement. Crossfit is so fun and challenging. People come in here every day and do things they never thought they'd be able to do and the smile they walk out with is amazing. My guys in this gym can do anything that anyone can do in Genesis, Fitness First, all those gyms... But none of them can do what these guys do. Crossfit is a bit like the MMA of fitness, you need to be good at so many different skills. It's also a respect thing. In MAA, you might be an amazing grappler, but you respect someone's Muay Thai skills. It's the same in Crossfit, you might be amazing at everything, but someone comes in that's just kickass at handstand walking, you're just like 'that is awesome!' You can respect everyone for their little abilities that are different.

Steve: Sure. In my limited experience with Crossfit training, what I loved about it was the variety and that I was doing exercises that I'd never done before, for example a cartwheel. I didn't have the desire to do a cartwheel until I started Crossfit. I loved that, you never knew what was coming at you next.

Ben: Of course the variety is a massive factor of it, along with all the things we've just mentioned. There's just so much there.

Steve: Your team came 9th at the world Crossfit games this year in LA which is a massive achievement. How have you developed such a strong, world-class team?

Ben: Everyone who's ever walked into my gym, I've always trained them, not them knowing this possibly, but to compete. I don't care how bad or useless they seem when they walk in, I want to try to make everyone as good as possible. The advantage of why this gym does quite well with competitions is from the bottom up, we treat everyone the same. So we try to make everyone good. I think most gyms try to get 1-2 guys in and this, these are our new freaks, our new monsters and really push them, but let everyone else coast by. I'm always trying to be really hard on everyone that comes in, in terms of their technique, their standard and trying to get them to be as good as they can be and possibly to a level to compete. So if you bring your bottom guys and your average guys up, then it brings up your top guys as well. So I think that's one of the reasons that we've been lucky to have quite the athletes.

Steve: Did you participate in the games as well?

Ben: Yes.

Steve: How often does the team train?

Ben: Most of the team members train 5-6 days a week.

Steve: How does your teams' training differ leading in to such a big event?

Ben: We do a bit more conditioning work and probably rather than train once a day, we'll start training twice a day, split up the sessions. Not necessarily that we do more, but its just strength you can focus on strength or conditioning, you can just focus on that.

Steve: What are your prospects for next year? Can you better this year's result?

Ben: It all depends on who's in the team. If the girls all qualify individually for the regionals, if they all want to compete in the team event, then it will be a totally different makeup. So a lot of that depends on what each of the individual boys and girls want to do. So you can't really say anything about it now and I'm not the type of person to put pressure on them to do the team or to do the individual. I used to put pressure on people to do individual and I'd put a lot of emphasis on that, but these days I probably let people make their own decision and don't say 'you have to do the team' or 'you have to do individual'. So I can't really say what the prospects are for that at the moment. But if we had a similar team together, hopefully we could.

Steve: What do you feel is your greatest Crossfit achievement?

Ben: Definitely my greatest achievement is that I'm proud of the middle guys at my gym. I think again. I think our 'average Joes' that come into our gym are better than any others about. Definitely out of all the gyms that I've seen, and I'd go as far to say better than a lot around the world too. I don't want to come off as smug or arrogant about that. A lot of coaches put their pride on their 1 or 2 top athletes, but I always put my pride on my lower tier people. I think they're the guys that really make me proud.

Steve: Yeh, sure. How do you see Crossfit's future in Australia?

Ben: It's just going from strength to strength. When I joined as an affiliate, I think there were maybe 70 affiliates. I remember Glassman saying that he hoped it would be 100 by the end of that year and now I think there's 4,500 or something like that. I think I was the 2nd affiliate in Australia and now there'd be 200 at least, and just growing more and more. What people don't know at the beginning is, Crossfit isn't like going into McDonalds, you don't walk into every Crossfit and it's the same, they're all different. There are definitely some not-so-great crossfits and there are some better ones. So I'd advice people, if they are choosing a Crossfit gym, not to just choose the first one or the closest one, but to have a look around and find the one that best suits them.

Steve: Well, thanks for the interview Ben, I really appreciate it. You've got a fantastic setup here. For our subscribers, we're at 904 Glen Huntly rd, come on down and check it out. You'll love it!

Posted in Interview By Calibre Fitness


Steve: This is Steve from Calibre Fitness, speaking with Australian champion Jockey, Craig Williams. Without a doubt, Craig has reached the heights of his profession, he's known for his dedication, commitment, enormous work rate and impeccable race preparation. Craig is in huge demand both locally and internationally. How you doing Craig?

Craig: Good thanks, Steve.

Steve: Craig, the average racehorse weighs more than 500kgs and races at a speed of more than 60km/h. A jockey must be extremely fit and strong to control such a powerful animal. Can you take us through a typical training week and what muscles you generally focus on?

Craig: Well Steve, It's probably a pretty hard question to answer briefly. Saying that I come back from a holiday, an injury or time away from racing, the demand on the physical body to ride a racehorse is very, very demanding. I guess when you're at a carnival and everything's going well, you don't really appreciate how fit you are when you are riding horses. But when you do have a break or holiday and come back, you realise all those muscles that work that go with riding race horses. Of course, for me, I generally get back to a core-stretching routine and I have my own routine that I spend about 5 minutes on and I'll probably just do that for the first few days before I actually get back onto a horse. Before I actually get back onto an animal, I have a piece of equipment called an 'equicizer', which is probably the best form of experience of what you're in to endure. So I start off with shorter sessions. First day I'll just do it 3-4 times, and I'd say for about 3 minutes maximum each time. That would probably be broken up into 2 minutes of soft workout, 1 minute of high intensity. Then from then on, I'll work my sessions up to a thoroughbred, to a race, competition or practice.

Steve: You have ridden in horse races around the globe including France, England, Japan, Hong Kong among others. Outside of Australia, what is your favourite race track and meeting?

Craig: I've always loved the Arc De Triumph meeting, but of course, every country is quite unique. Hong Kong has a great international meeting at the start of December and people from all around the world generally turn up there. To go to Dubai in March, not just racing people, but even Celebrities turn up to Dubai in March for the World Cup. Then of course, you can't go past the Melbourne Cup Carnival which is just fantastic. The more I travel now, the more I find that people are so aware of the Melbourne Cup and even target their horses, where before, say when I was in England 10 years ago, it was just known as another handicap race... But now, it's known as a feature to target.

Steve: Yeh, sure. Diet and nutrition are especially important for a Jockey. What is your diet like and do you have diet-free days?

Craig: Well, being a full-time jockey for the past 18 years means that my life is a diet or it's a ritual for my competition, which is racing. Basically everything I eat, whether it be salad or steamed fish or a hamburger or a mars bar, it all equates to what part of the season I'm in, where my body is and what weight I have to perform at. Basically it's just my lifestyle now, so I don't look at it as a diet, I don't tie myself down to it... That's just my lifestyle.

Steve: Sure. What psychological skills have you learnt to get you through multiple races at a meeting over the years?

Craig: I was very fortunate that when I did my apprenticeship in my very early years here in Australia, then I was given the opportunity to go to England and all of a sudden I didn't have my family and support group around me, all of a sudden I had to be my own person and then on the race track, I'd never ridden on those tracks and I started to ride against the world's best jockey's, week in week out. All of a sudden, I gained confidence and rode plenty of winners and from then on it developed to give me the opportunity to get exposure into Hong Kong. Being there, taught me to be the upmost professional on and off the race track. Then coming back to Australia, I felt very comfortable because I knew all the tracks inside and out, what I'd achieved overseas and how I felt as a person on and off the racetrack, I was very confident I could come home and do well. Riding in multiple races in a day is just a part of my routine now and come carnival time it doesn't bother me.

Steve: Being a champion Jockey is hard work, early mornings, watching everything you eat, and frequent travelling. What makes you tick as a jockey and makes all the hard work worthwhile for you?

Craig: Success and trying to be perfect, which is unattainable of course, but that's my driving force and of course now I've got 4 children, so my other driving force to stay in the game at an elite level is to maintain that level long enough for my youngest son to come to the track and watch his dad ride. So that's my driving force for longevity in the game at least.

Steve: Fantastic. You're one of Australia's lightest jockeys. Are there any tricks you use last minute to make correct weight?

Craig: Yeh, the trick is not to do last minute corrections! The trick is proper preparation and planning. There's no other way to do it, to lose the weight and still perform at the highest level.

Steve: Have you endured any particularly bad injuries during your career?

Craig: Yes, it's a long list. I've had a broken scapular, I've had a plate and screws inserted into my right shoulder, I've got a screw in my left middle finger, broke my leg, broke my wrist, cracked my pelvis on both the left and right sides... Just to name a few.

Steve: We interviewed Sam Soliman in one of our recent newsletters and I think you've just listed more injuries than a boxer, haha.

Craig: Well, I can't fight... So you won't get me in the ring that's for sure. I'm a better runner than a fighter, haha.

Steve: The 'International Raiders' have had great success in the Melbourne cup over the years, I would think from a punters perspective it makes picking the winner of the Melbourne Cup even tougher. Do you think that allowing these horses to compete in the Melbourne Cup is good for the sport?

Craig: No Doubt. For any top race, including our biggest known race, the Melbourne Cup, for it to get international exposure, you have to have international horses. The fact that so many target it shows you how good a race it is. The fact that connections are willing to pay a lot of money to bring their horses out here where there is only one winner, but to compete in the Melbourne Cup and to try to get a part of the $6.2 million purse. So far there are 16 horses that have just arrived and there's more coming out, but at the end of the day, there's only one winner, so there's always only one happy connection whether it be from Australia or overseas.

Steve: Sure. You won both the Caulfield cup and the Cox plate last year. How devastated were you to be suspended and forced to miss the Melbourne Cup on winner Dunaden?

Craig: Yeh, I was very, very disappointed. They told me I would have been the first jockey in 150 years to take the 3 out. I didn't know that before then, but I was very confident with Dunaden that he would just go the right way and sure enough he delivered on the day. But again, most importantly we look at the positives and the most important positive point is that we'll try again this year. I'll try harder again this year to win the Melbourne Cup and nobody around me or myself are sick or injured, so most importantly it's going to be on every year again. So I'll try very hard this year to make up for last.

Steve: You are known to be very affectionate to the horses you ride. Who has been your favourite horse to ride and who do you think is the best horse of the modern era?

Craig: Modern era, I'd say it would clearly be a horse called Frankel. I got to see him in the flesh when I was at Royal Ascot earlier this year in England and his dominance on the racetrack was phenomenal. He's also the highest rated horse in the world so it's not just my pick that he's that good. In terms of riding a horse, I've been so lucky to have ridden so many really good horses throughout my whole career. They might not have won group 1's but they won the right races at the right times throughout my career, so it's very hard to pick just one. But of the modern racing scene at this stage, I'd say I've got a great affinity and affection for a horse named Dunaden.

Steve: Yeh sure. What has been the highlight of your career so far or your most memorable win?

Craig: On the racetrack... the big ones are the Cox Plate, Gold Slipper, Caulfield cup... But the ones that are the most memorable for me was when I won races like the Geelong Cup by a horse trained by my father and owned by my brothers, it just gave me so much pride and joy. It felt like you're put up on a pedestal in a family arena and I was just really appreciative of all their support. For where I'm at now, having won 60 races, I just can't go past that.

Steve: Just 2 more questions Craig, what do you think it takes to make a great Jockey?

Craig: Like everything in sport or business or anything. It's a lot of hard work, dedication, determination and I think it's very important to have core strength around you with a good support network and most importantly, you focus on the most important stuff and for me that's family and riding winners, so all the other stuff can be a bit of a deterrent. So, you just need to know what your goals are and not waiver from that.

Steve: ... And finally, who's the horse to watch this Spring Carnival, do you think?

Craig: Pierro, Green Moon and Dunaden look like the right horses, I would say.

Steve: Fantastic. Well, thanks Craig, I really appreciate your time and all the best this Spring Carnival.

Craig: Thanks Steve, Glad to do it!



Posted in Interview By Calibre Fitness

Click here to listen to the full interview


 Steve: This is Steve from Calibre Fitness here with Michael Dugina, the strength and conditioning coach from Collingwood football club, How you going, Mick?

 Mick: Yeh, good thanks, Steve.


Steve: Fantastic. Mick, you are incredibly fit, what does your personal training week look like?

 Mick: In this day and age, I try to get in at least 3 sessions of resistance training and weights, which fits pretty well around what the players are doing in their standard week. As far as weights go, I try to do a fair bit of that now, seeing as though I’m getting a bit older and find that your hyperdrive drops off a bit, so I try to maintain that, but also, as far as cardio goes, I just sort of work around the players, sometimes I might get 1 session in, sometimes I might get 2 in, and that will consist of boxing, running, rowing or even some deep water running, which is what I do with the boys to try to keep the load off their feet. So, yeh, I just try to get in what I can, but it’s definitely not as much as I used to in the past, as your getting a bit older you really need to pick your days and pick your sessions, but general fitness these days is what I look at and definitely eating good food.


Steve: You’ve come from a pretty tough background then gone on to receive a Master’s degree in Business Management, can you give us an insight into your life so far?

Mick: I guess growing up; some people use it as a badge of honour. I grew up in a pretty ordinary area; say if you grew up in St Albans or the western suburbs, everyone’s got a story to tell. Mine was a bit of a harsh upbringing, starting off at home, you know, sometime you had to fight for what you got and as long as your father instils that into you at a young age, it can be a pretty harsh way of growing up and in this day and age it would look quite brutal. But, when you grow up in that environment with a number of people who did the same thing, it was basically just a normal part of growing up. It’s only until now that I look back and see how difficult it was, how harsh it was, but I must say I didn’t grow up with a study in the house or anything like that, so school was something that you went to, you participated in certain activities, but certainly weren’t adherent to a lot of the things that went on around you. Whatever was happening on the oval was often illegally moral and we got involved in some stupid things and therefore suffered because of that. I took a fork in the road, didn’t study and I didn’t actually start studying, doing my sports science degree, until I was 34, which led on to doing my masters and MBA. To be totally honest, I didn’t know how to write an essay, I didn’t know anything about that, so I had to get tutored. I knew that if I wanted to pursue this industry that I really needed to get my qualifications. It’s all well and good to have the experience and life-lessons which I probably have more of, but once I picked up a bit more of the academia, I really began to enjoy the research and I still do.


Steve: How did you end up being at Collingwood Football Club?

Mick: I actually started at Collingwood back in 1994, which goes back a while, so I was introduced to it by a chap I worked with at the leisure centre in St Albans, I started working as a pool attendant back then, the guy I worked with there was Lawrence Sperdilace, who back then was the first full time fitness advisor at Essendon football Club and he got a gig at Collingwood in ’94 and asked me to come down and do some cross training and a bit of boxing with the players and one thing led to another. I actually had to get talked into doing it, because I didn’t have a football background, I didn’t understand the football culture and it was probably the best thing I ever did, because it got me introduced to a few people who I probably would never have spoken to. As I said earlier, in my background I didn’t really trust too many people, when you grow up around some unsavoury characters you think the whole world is like that, so you don’t tend to put your hand out to people and think that people are just trying to get the worst out of you. Working at the football club, I found that there are a lot of people who try to get the best out of you and that’s where my career really developed, by taking a few people on in an area where you can trust, and see that people are really trying to help you. I probably owe all of that to Lawrence getting me started off. After his year at Collingwood, he went back to Essendon and then he had a career at Geelong, but he was quite a good mentor for me at the start.


Steve: Since 2005, Collingwood Football club has led the way in sending players to Flagstaff, Arizona, which is situated at an Altitude of 2000+ metres, generally the players are there for about 12 days, players live there and take part in a variety of different training exercises including a challenging hike up and down Humphrey’s peak. Did the club take much convincing to agree to the first trip?

Mick: It did. Luckily, we are quite a well financially backed club, but even though we are, we still need to give a good argument as to why we want to go there and David Buttifant headed that. He did some work at altitude for the Olympics, for the Sydney games, so his argument was that we could probably get more out of our players working at a level where we don’t have to do as much volume in a short amount of time. The time frame that we stayed there was 17 days and in that time we could basically double what we could achieve down here at sea level. Not just to mention the physiological changes, but also the psychological changes that we can get there. In answer to your question, the board were a bit sceptical at the start, but the results speak for themselves. We took on board a few executives to come, we get 4-6 executives along each year and they pay quite a substantial amount of money to be part of that team and that helps fund the trip also.


Steve: How do the players react to a trip like that? Are they excited to do something different?

Mick: Yeh, no doubt. We all were, when you do something like that it is exciting. You’re going over to the other side of the world, and that excitement leads to trepidation where you’re unaware of what to expect and the first trip, going there and running up and down the grand canyon, we also did Humphrey’s peak which is 400m above sea level which was challenging, but people forget about the canyon and not many people are encouraged to do the canyon up and down in one day. The ranger said that they have a couple of deaths there each year whereas we go down and we try to get down as quick as we can. It all starts out quite well in the first hour and your taking in the sights.... But when you need to do that for the next 8 hours, run back up in altitude when you’re physically and mentally exhausted, it is a tough challenge. After you’ve done 6 trips, you know what’s ahead of you so you know that there’s a tough slog. But the players who initially start, they’re full of excitement, they can’t wait... but they can’t wait to get home too because it’s such a tough trip.


Steve: I remember reading an article in the Herald Sun a few years ago about you helping Eddie Maguire up Mount Humphrey in Arizona. He basically said it was the most physically demanding thing he’s ever done, and he couldn’t have done it without you. Can you tell us a bit about the experience?

Mick: Yeh, myself and the group with Butters, we get the on-ballers, obviously they’re the ones with the bigger engines, so we go last up the mountain and we sweep up whoever gets caught up or has a problem, and it’s not just Eddie, sometimes we have problems with the players that struggle, we’ve had problems with staff who have had to get sent back, they get altitude sickness and so-on. As we were leading up, myself, Butters, Paul Licuria, I think Dane Swan was with us too, we saw a little figure there leaning over, normally I’ll carry a backpack with a night kit along with a defibrillator just in case there is that issue there and someone gets violently ill, so when we got to Eddie, I took his blood saturation levels and it was something in the low 70’s as far as I can remember, which is quite severe, you can get cerebral edema which is bleeding in the brain. You don’t need to be at 4000m, you can be at 3000m which was roughly where we were at the time. I told Butters and the others to go ahead and said I’d look after Eddie. Eddie initially was telling me to go to the group, and I said this is my job; I’ve done this mountain 4 times, so it wasn’t about that, it was about making sure he’s okay. I said to Eddie, we either go down, go up or stay here, and to his credit he was pretty amazing to do that, because, like I said... not just himself, there’s been players who haven’t made it to the top, and also other staff members who are fitter than Eddie was. But, to his credit, he dug deep and soldiered on. He actually gave me more inspiration than what he gave himself, because at one stage I really didn’t think he was going to make it, and my main concern was his safety, I’d rather him go down than go up and we’d somehow have to get a helicopter to lift him off. But, to his credit, he soldiered on and the further he got up, he actually adapted to the altitude, and got better and better. So, it was quite good, and not to mention it was good for me getting a story out of it to. He put me on the map, so to say. I’d been at the club a long time, and that was the first article I’d had written about me. It was good, not just for me, but for my family, and now that we’ve got a little girl, I appreciate it much more now, she’s not just going to remember me as a crusty old man, she’ll see that I actually did something once and was quite fit, haha.


Steve: What are your views on the new substitute rule introduced last year and how do you think it’s changed the game?

Mick: Well, we definitely have to be more conscious about how we use the players now. We have to be sure that if we’re going to use the sub; we always try to wait until the 3rd or 4th quarter, because we don’t want to sub too soon. You really have to look at players and where they’re at and sometimes you might go in with someone that’s a bit proppy, and you say we’ll see how that player goes, then we’ll use the sub if we can. But you don’t always have that luxury, sometimes you’ll lose a player in the 1st quarter and you’ll have to use the sub. Then the player who’s gone in and might have a bit of an issue will put pressure on the rest of the team. Personally, I think we’d be better off if we didn’t have it, if we went back to the old system, and that’s not trying to have an old way of thinking, it can work in your favour, but it at the same time you always go into a game with a slight bit of trepidation, if we have the luxury then great, but if you don’t it’s an accumulative effect, lose a player in the 1st quarter, someone else goes in and they’re a little bit proppy and they need to keep hanging in there. All of a sudden, it has a domino effect on others, so I’d prefer to have the old system for that simple fact, that it can create more injuries for you in the long term.


Steve: Can you take us through the average Collingwood training week, and how different is your approach at this time of the year heading into finals?

Mick: The average training week generally varies, depending whether it’s a 6 day turnaround or 7 day turnaround, which obviously mean if we play a Saturday, then play the following Saturday, that’s 7 which is great, you can monitor your load a little bit better. So for example, if that were the case, Sunday we’ll have a basic recovery, although we’d do a post-game recovery on the Saturday night also. Sunday morning the boys will come in and do a light bike, some functional weights, a bit of walking in the water and the ice baths. We also do a thing called the CK level, we take the blood’s Creatine Kinase levels to see the muscle degradation and obviously they’re quite high post game and then obviously we can target those players even more so. So basically, the following day they’ll have recovery, Monday they’ll have a light flushing session, Saturday’s basically just another recovery based on massage and so on and then Wednesday will be the main training session, so they’ll have that day and then the Thursday off, Friday will be a light touch session, and then they’ll play obviously on the Saturday. If it’s a 6-day turnaround, it’s very similar, but we just minimise, and what that does if it’s a 6-day turnaround is that it minimises your chance to get the players up and increases your chance of soft-tissue injuries, so that’s why you’ll probably hear a lot of talk in the media about 6-day turnarounds and that they’re not that great for recovery, especially if you have a few guys that are a little bit proppy, which every team does, you prefer the 7. If a team goes into a match a day up on the other, it just means that their players will be that little bit fresher.


Steve: With only 3 weeks til the grand final, Collingwood finishing 4th, what’s the feeling around the club at the moment?

Mick: I think, winning the Essendon game, even though it wasn’t the best looking game and we know we’ve still got a bit of work to do, there’s a bit of relief. We’re in the top 4, so we’re all in the same position and have the double chance. We’ve been in this situation before and if anything we’re going to be going in as the underdogs. Hawthorn obviously have been outstanding all year and are going to be a tough team to beat, but in saying that, we’ve got every opportunity to give them a good crack, and that’s what the boys are focussing on now. That’s why they’re probably more excited, the relief’s past now, we’ve got our last training session today, and then play tomorrow. So if anything, I think that the training on Tuesday, there was probably a bit more excitement in the air. The boys can’t wait to get it going. We probably haven’t played our best football yet and hopefully it’s yet to come. We’ll know tomorrow night.


Steve: Great, Mick. Who do you consider to be the fittest player or the player with the best power to weight ratio at the club?

Mick: Look, for your fittest player, you’re always going to look at your on-ball players, your Scott Pendlebury’s, Steele Sidebottom who breaks 6 minutes for 2k’s, even running players like Ben Johnson. He may not look like an athlete, but is actually quite explosive which is what you want these days in athletes, guys like Dane Swan, who has been in the media a bit for all the wrong reasons, but I must say, his explosiveness, his speed and his strength in the gym, I mean the guy can bench 147kg’s, just short of 150, he’s actually quite strong and quite explosive. Then there’s guys like Scott Pendlebury who is more of an endurance based athlete, it’s tough to tell. When you compare strength and you compare endurance, explosiveness I’ll say Dane Swan, endurance definitely Scott Pendlebury and Steele Sidebottom, Dayne Beams is another one too. Those guys will cover anywhere from 12-14k’s in a game.


Steve: Is there anything you do differently to manage injuries at this time of year?

Mick: We probably look deeper into it now. We’ve got a player diary system, which a lot of the clubs have got, which we go by how the players are feeling in the morning whether it be stress levels, range of movement, muscle soreness and fatigue, and at this time of the year everyone ticks those boxes and everyone’s feeling great. But we really need to monitor it more closely, they do go through their usual check with the doc and the physio’s in the morning, but we follow that in training. So we try to see if any of the guys are proppy, because everyone wants to get through and as much as they do put their hand up, we really need to assess every area to see where they’re at. A lot of it comes down to everyone working in the medical and conditioning department so you actually do watch the players quite intensely now to see if anyone’s pulled up looking proppy because understandably they’ll want to get through and they’ll all want to play, but at this time of year a lot of the players can be carrying some sort of niggle and we don’t want them going into a finals game, because the intensity goes up another 20% from what they’ve been playing. So we really monitor the load quite intensely now, we just try to keep reassuring the players that we’re looking at them and we just try to manage their load so they’re not going to be pushed over the limit, if anything we try to stimulate them more psychologically than physically, because if they’re not fit this time of year they’re never going to be.


Steve: What has been the highlight of your career so far at Collingwood?

Mick: Obviously winning the Grand Final was great. If I say ‘working’ at the football club, I’d definitely say that, also I really enjoyed the time getting a bit of kudos in the paper with Eddie, which was quite good. But, if I’m going to talk just about myself, selfishly, I’d say getting 2 degrees, getting my sports science degree and the business one, because it’s something I never thought I’d achieve. Physical things were never difficult for me to do, I’d always push myself to the boundaries, but that being an academic achievement, that’d have to be up there, purely because of my background, and I never thought it’d be possible.


Steve: What do you think is going to be the next big thing in strength and conditioning for players?

Mick: It’s a tough one, because there are a lot of gadgets and gismos that people are bringing out, I actually think that functional training will get bigger. Even though we are doing it at the moment, I think specific training where we actually replicate exactly what we’re trying to do on the ground, whether that be some sort of competitive training, whether we’re using functional weights which is what we do use a lot of now. But replicating what we do out on the ground is huge. So if we can get people that can push some form of training, obviously they have their bench press and their squats, but their needs to be a way to transfer what they’re doing in the gym out onto the ground. I think functional training is crucial now to any sort of sport.


Steve: You’ve got a boxing background, you’ve had the one professional fight...

Mick: I mainly fought in kick-boxing, but I did have the one boxing fight, yeh


Steve: Okay, well... which Collingwood player would you least like to spar with?

Mick: Geez, over the years... Probably a past player that I always sparred with and built him up quite well was Anthony Rocca. Initially when he started it was quite easy taking pot-shots at him and, even saying that I never really was that brutal with him, I’d give him a clip here and there, but I’ve copped mine too. But, now that he’s actually worked his way and just for the fact that he’s 6’6 and now that he’s retired he weighs about 150kgs, haha... nah, he’s not that heavy. But, yeh... I’d probably say Anthony, and just make sure I’m a little bit more cautions with him than with anyone else, cos he can not only hit, but he’s got that extra weight behind him too. You’ve gotta be careful with blokes like that.


Steve: Well, thanks Mick. That’s the end of our interview; I appreciate your time and all the best to Collingwood and yourself for the future.

Mick: No, that’s great. I really appreciate the opportunity, so thank you... I feel really good about doing the interview. So, Cheers!


Posted in Interview By Calibre Fitness



Steve: This is Steve from Calibre Fitness, interviewing Sam Soliman, How are you doing, Sam?

Sam: G’day mate, How you going?


Steve: Yeh, great thank you. Sam, where did you get the nickname ‘the king’ from?

Sam: Haha, funny enough, Mum made that up when I was a kid.


Steve: Haha, so you’ve had it for some time!

Sam: Yeh, I was a former kick boxer back in the late 80s, early 90s and my parents come from Egyptian descent and King Solomon was a wise man in the bible and so she used to call me king Solomon the wise man and it’s stuck with me ever since.


Steve: Fantastic. What prompted you to make the change from kickboxing to boxing?

Sam: Probably 2 things, 1 financially it paid better. And I loved the sport of boxing and kickboxing. Couldn’t do both because my shins could only take so much, after 13 years of kickboxing, so I turned to boxing and as a job, it was a lot easier.


Steve: Yeh, fair enough. Could you describe a typical training week leading up to a fight.

Sam: Early nights, early morning runs, a hard session in the afternoon, usually core strength then night time boxing and sometimes my trainer would change it up and have me doing my boxing in the afternoon, Dave Hedgecock, who they nicknamed ‘The Rock’, because he’s like a rock. He does my boxing sometimes in the morning, sometimes in the evenings; he changes it up just so my body doesn’t get comfortable to one or the other. He also likes to train me at night at the same time as the fight, so he often trains me at 9:30pm, a similar time to when the fight is just to get the body clock right for the fight, which is a pretty clever thing. Between that and my conditioning coach Christian Enor, who puts me through the hard yards in the gym, it makes the fight a whole lot easier.


Steve: Yeh, fantastic. And how many days would you train a week, is it 5-6 days a week leading up to a fight or less?

Sam: I’d be doing 3-4 days of agility and strength work with Chris and 5 day a week with Dave Hedgecock boxing, so boxing gets me ready for each fight that’s coming up, and conditioning and strength ensures that I go the distance, if I need to go the distance. So it’s getting the best of both worlds.


Steve: Yeh, okay great… and what is your diet like?

Sam: Very important, definitely one of the most important things in my life. Unlike other diets from other sports, this is not only about being fit and in good condition, but making the weight, so say a boxer has to come in at 72.5kg, but he walks around at about 76… To bring that weight down correctly, dieting correctly is will result in you being 100% safe, whereas if a fighter doesn’t do that, then he’s in trouble in the fight because it takes a lot of steam out of you, a lot of energy out of you and a lot of fuel out of you, so if you’ve dropped the kilo’s the night before a fight to make the weight, then in 24 hours try to rehydrate yourself which is never the case, you can only rehydrate yourself over a minimum of 48 hours or else you can suffer serious dehydration. So, yeh… it’s very important. Very good question.


Steve: Thank you. You’re in great form at the moment, winning your last 6 fights, with the last 4 in KO’s. When’s your next match?

Sam: I’ve been doing well, dropping 4 of the last 6 and, and even the one before that wasn’t a KO, but I did drop him a few times and it went to the decision, but it was a good fight for us, that’s what’s got me where I am today which is IBF number 2 ranked fighter in the world and it was a current IBF world champion, holding 2 world titles was the icing on the cake. He hasn’t held all 3, only Kostya Tszyu’s held all 3, WBA, IBF and WBC and Daniel Geale, our Champion in Sydney, I say ‘our’ because he’s Australia, he went to Germany, won the IBF world title, now he’s defending it in Germany against the WBA world champion, if he wins that, then he becomes both the WBA and IBF world champion which means that, he’ll be dual world champion and when I fight him it’ll be for both belts, which will mean I’ll become super champ the way Kostya Tszyu was, he’s the only other Australian that’s held all 3, so it’s going to be a real honour to get the opportunity at that. But first things first, I’ve got a guy in front of me to fight in August… So beat him, and then we’ll look at the big picture and getting a fight with Geale.


Steve: Cool. I just heard a comment recently, do you think Daniel Geale is trying to avoid fighting you?

Sam: That question’s been asked by me and talked about for so long, but the fact of the matter is, he’s keen to fight anyone, he fought in Germany’s home town, Sebastian Sylvester, who was the world champion for a period of time in Germany and he was a good fighter and Daniel went over there… It’s always hard to travel and win, but he did that and prevailed, so I don’t know about him avoiding me, but I’d say more he’s keen to make sure he doesn’t come across a fighter that’s hard to hit and is on a winning streak and KO’ing his opponents, and that’s where we are at the moment. So it could be the reason why the fight’s not happening, but fortunately for us, the IBF will force the fight, because come December, provided we prevail in August against Giovanni Lorenzo, for the IBF world title eliminator, then the fight’s going to be 100% locked in.


Steve: Fantastic, what has been the highlight of your career to date?

Sam: Hmmm, I’ve had quite a few big fights overseas and in Australia, but I think probably my biggest highlight was having the opportunity to fight pound-for-pound the best fighter in the world, Ronald ‘Winky’ Wright, going the distance for 12 rounds with a guy that beat Sam Mosley, who beat Oscar Dela Hoya, who beat Trinidad, who beat all the best fighters that I’ve been following and been a fan of for so many years. For him to beat all them, and then for me to go the distance with him was definitely one of the biggest highlights. Also, beating Raymond Joval for the IBO world title eliminator, and he was the current IBO world champion, beating him in Los Angeles was a huge victory and was won on my favourite times in my life.


Steve: I’m sure you’ve suffered a number of injuries throughout your sports career, have there been any particularly bad injuries?

Sam: I’ve done my 5, 6, 7 Spinal Disk, both shoulders torn, I’ve had floating bone in the elbow, I’ve had fractured metacarpal breaks in my forearms. Torn hamstrings, torn quads, torn calves. I’ve had cracked ribs… There’s no part of my body that hasn’t suffered something, but you know what, you just battle on and accept that it’s part of the sport, and by doing that you overcome it quicker than if you dwell on it and cry over spilt milk, it takes a lot longer to heal and mentally messes with you.


Steve: Sure, you came 3rd on the American Television show ‘The Contender’, how did you get involved with the show and how did you find the experience?

Sam: It was a huge opportunity, a friend by the name of Stewart Duncan had connections in America who were able to get me on to the show, I basically just sent them my resume and everything I’d done in my career and it didn’t take them more than 24 hours to get back to me and say we want to bring you over, so we flew up there and had the opportunity to work with guys such as Sugar Ray Leonard and Buddy McGirt who’d fought my favourite fighter and he was actually in my corner for that fight, but unfortunately for me, my trainer wasn’t allowed in my corner for that fight because it was a reality TV series, they choose who takes your corner for the fight, but fortunately I had guys like Sugar Ray Leonard and that, and I got to meet and greet with a few of my favourite fighters of all time, and it was just a really, really good experience.


Steve: Fantastic, you’re renowned for being willing to fight anyone, anywhere… Which is a bit of a boxing cliché, I guess. Have you ever found yourself in any unusual fighting situations?

Sam: Many, many, many times, I’ve fought on 6-7 different islands, like Papua New Guinea and Fiji and places like that, I’ve fought in over 30 countries around the world. Probably the most unusual one was when I went to Thailand for a holiday with a mate and he left, he only stayed for a couple of days and then went back home, and I stayed for another 4-5 days after that. I went to a kickboxing show to watch a fight (this was when he was a kick boxer) and while I was watching the fight, they asked me are you a fighter and I said ‘yes’, they asked me if I knew who the guy who just fight, and I said yes, he was the current Thai champion, he’d won 116 fights, 11 losses. They asked me if I wanted to get the gloves on and have a fight, haha. I told them that all my stuff was at the hotel, I told them I’d get it all sorted and get back to them within 24 hours. They said ‘no problem, we’ve got stuff for you here. We’ve got gloves, we’ve got shorts, do you want to fight now?’ I said okay. So I went from being on a holiday watching the kickboxing, going in the change rooms, getting some gloves on. I had that many helpers, helping me out, putting gloves on me and strapping my ankles, and getting me ready for the fight. It was just so unexpected, but a great experience. I went to the wall with a Thai fighter and it was just really good fun, an experience I’ll never forget.


Steve: I imagine it’s pretty tough after a brutal fight, how does it feel when you wake up the morning after a really tough fight and how do you recover?

Sam: You can be the sorest, most painful person on the planet, and the fact that you’ve just been to war, whether you’ve won or lost, and you had thousands of people cheering you and you were doing what you loved, those sores are good sores… They remind you of how good the night before was, it’s just hard to explain. You know, you get an injury from a car accident, or you get an injury from something else, you wake up sore and regret what’s happened. I wake up sore, and it’s almost like a thank you reminded of how good the night before was.


Steve: Great. You’re in phenomenal condition for your age, how many fights do you think you’ve got left in you?

Sam: Everybody’s different. Some bodies can last longer than others; it depends on a lot of things, how they go to the gym and more importantly, how well they look after their bodies and how they treat their body. If I were an alcoholic, or I loved having a drink with the boys and didn’t know when to stop, or if I smoked cigarettes or if I left stones unturned and failed to do everything I can do to look after myself, I probably wouldn’t have been able to last this long. I don’t train for a fight the way other people train for a fight, a lot of people fight and then splurge, I don’t do that, I fight, and then once that’s over, I still keep myself in shape. Not in peak shape, you know, you have to put your hair down and enjoy life a little bit, but at the same time, enjoying life doesn't mean getting on the grog or putting on 10kgs, eating junk food and things like that. Letting your hair down means, having a few later nights, 2-3 beers with the boys on a weekend. I keep reminding myself that what you love doing is what’s important and I love my boxing, so those sacrifices are easy to make. So at 38, the way I look after my body now, I should have a couple of years left in me.


Steve: Fantastic, I guess that’s why you really ready to fight anyone anywhere.

Sam: Yeh, that’s right, you never know when a phone call’s going to come round the corner and someone’s going to say Sammy can you come down to such and such to fight.


Steve: You’re well known for your dedication to training, what’s your most hated training exercise?

Sam: That’s a hard one, because for me it’s the more pain the merrier. I remember when I was a kid I used to hate swimming and I used to think it’s just too hard, and now I swim like a fish, I hang out with a few swimming champions, and they’ve been my inspiration in that and before I met them I learnt how to swim, and now they’ve just perfected my style of swimming and now the one type of fitness I always hated the most because I couldn’t do it, is one of my favourites.


Steve: I’m sure you’ve sparred with some phenomenal boxers, who has been your toughest sparring partner?

Sam: I would say, Rudy Markussen, he didn’t get the recognition he deserved, he’s a champion in Denmark, he’s had 31 wins 3 losses, but he was 28-0 when I was sparring with him. He’s fought and beat many of the best fighters in the world and I was fortunate enough to do a bit of work with him when I was in Denmark and he would have to be up there with the best sparring partner I’ve had. Then, of course, Kostya Tszyu, they’d both be in the top 5 of the thousands of people I’ve sparred with in my life, from all over the world.


Steve: What does the future hold for Sam Soliman? Any chance of a switch to MMA?

Sam: Maybe table tennis, haha. Nah, I’ll skip the MMA, I love watching it, big fan of Randy Couture, but I think after boxing I’ll return to martial arts, I love taekwondo and conditioning, competitive sports in self defence, so I think I’ll continue to do that with my career. Also, Aussie rules, I can’t play it that well, but I love the game and love to watch it, so having a kick with the boys would be my idea of sport after boxing.


Steve: So Sam, how do you survive on the wage of a boxer?

Sam: Boxing is a 24/7 sport, 24/7 meaning that it’s something you’re training for 24/7, you know you’re doing your 3 hours a day, 6 days a week but you have to have a wage coming in to pay the bills, so I’ve got a family and a kid, I need to be able to look after my son and my wife. Thanks to Hungry Jack’s and Road Worx, U-build, companies that have supported me and sponsored me, TLS Total Logistics Solutions, I’ve been fortunate enough to have them by my side and cover my wage while I’m in training and believing in me and believing that their investment’s a good one.


Steve: What is your next fight coming up?

Sam: So, I’m fighting in the IBF world title eliminator, I’m one fight away from fighting Daniel Geale for the title.


Steve: Fantastic, so that’s in August?

Sam: We’ll fight 3 days out, so my next fight is for the IBF number 1 spot in the world, I’m currently number 2 and my opponent I’m fighting is number 6 in the world, he’s the one to put his hand up to take the fight. The winner fights Geale for the IBF and WBA world title, so we’ve got everything on the line for this fight and also flighting for Men’s Health, prostate cancer foundation, it’s a charity event that money will be going towards the charity at the same time, so it’s a key fight, should be a cracker, at the Geelong Arena.


Steve: Okay, great. Thanks very much for your time Sam.

Sam: No problem Steve!


Click here for more information about Sam's next fight



Posted in Interview By Calibre Fitness

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Australian Rules football

As a junior, Simon played Australian Rules football for Assumption College, Kilmore, where he kicked 100 goals in his senior year. This led to him being recruited for senior football by the St Kilda Football Club, where his father Kevin had played 49 games on a forward flank in the 1940s.

O'Donnell played 24 games and kicked 18 goals between 1982 and 1983 in what was then the VFL. However, he had continued to play cricket and retired from football to focus on his cricket career.




As a cricketer, Simon O'Donnell played as an all-rounder for Victoria in the Sheffield Shield between 1984 and 1993, scoring a century in his first match. He went on to play 6 Test matches in 1985, 5 on the Ashes tour of England and one at home.

Seen as a limited-overs specialist with clever medium pace bowling and explosive lower order hitting, he played 87 One Day Internationals between 1985 and 1992, scoring 1242 runs and taking 108 wickets in his career. He played in Australia's 1987 World Cup Final victory, but soon after he suffered severe pain that was diagnosed as non-Hodgkin lymphoma. He staged a remarkable recovery to return to the Australian One-Day team in the 1988–89 seasons.

Simon maintained a very good batting strike rate of 80.96 runs per 100 balls in ODIs, almost double his scoring rate in Tests. For six years, O'Donnell held the record for the fastest half-century in One Day Internationals, a record which stood until 1996.

He was captain of Victoria for five seasons from 1988–89 and was part of the Sheffield Shield victory team in 90-91 and returned in 1993.



Heavily involved in media, Simon O'Donnell hosted Melbourne radio station Sport 927's morning program with Kevin Bartlett until 2004.

With the Nine Network, O'Donnell has been a commentator of cricket and now presents The Cricket Show. Having owned and managed race horses through his company, O'Donnell Thoroughbreds International, he is also used as an expert on horseracing and hosts Nine's racing coverage.





Steve: This is Steve at Calibre Fitness, sitting down with Simon O’Donnell. How are you, Simon?

Simon: Good Steve, good! All is well.


Steve: You’ve had a very busy career, in both Sports and Media, was is a hard decision to leave football to follow a cricketing career back in the early days?

Simon: Steve, it was. The main reason was that I was just a kid, only about 20 and I had 2 sides of sports I love, one saying you can’t play cricket while you’re playing footy, and the other saying you can’t play footy while you’re playing cricket and what are you going to do? They wanted an answer and I actually didn’t have one. The only conclusion I could come to was what my belly was telling me. It was a gut feel and nothing else... and that was to go and pursue the summer sport.


Steve: Okay, fantastic. Who do you feel is the best player that you’ve played with or against in cricket.

Simon: For many years it was Ian Botham, criteria being that I’d never seen anyone at that level being able to influence the game with bat, ball and fielding abilities... He was on the top of my tree for a long time, and then along came a fella by the name of Shane Keith Warne and he wins it hands down.


Steve: Wow, okay. Obviously, you have won a lot of big cricketing accolades, but what has been the highlight of your career?

Simon: Australia winning the world cup in ’87 by far. Victoria winning the shield in 1990-91 was fantastic, but I think where Australian cricket was in the early to mid 80s to what we achieved in ’87, a young group of blokes in an alien land, which India was to all of us in those days, because none of us had been there, that was an achievement as a group that I’ll never forget.


Steve: What was the toughest decision you’ve ever had to make in your sporting career

Simon: I think once you get to leadership positions in sport, you’ve got to tell people, often good mates, that their times up or they’re out of teams. I always used to try to always face that head-on and, best mates or not, you’d have to walk up and break the news, so that is probably the toughest thing you experience. But still, I talk about as if it were yesterday, that you need to make a decision to play cricket or footy, now it was wonderful to be able to be involved with those sports at the level that I was in those days, and then for someone to say you can only do one or the other. We were brought up playing footy in winter and cricket in summer. That’s what happened it the country, that’s what happened in the city. That was tough to come to grips with in the end, but one had to be given away for the other.


Steve: Were there any particularly bad injuries you endured in your career?

Simon: never broke a bone playing footy because I always tried to stay out as wide as I could, haha. I had some health issues in the middle that were major, with a cancer diagnosis, but again I wouldn’t term that as a sporting injury, that was something that popped up and had to be dealt with and hopefully we’ve dealt with it in the correct manner. If you’re going to play any sport, at any level you have to have a pain resistance to some extent, otherwise there are probably better things for you to do than play a physically active sport.


Steve: Absolutely. What advice would you give to a young cricketer, just starting out?

Simon: Enjoy. I suppose getting older, fatter and greyer each day, I look at the way kids progress through their sport now and I feel for them. People, and many of them unqualified, are taking the fun out of the game before they should. People need to enjoy what they do, and in particular kids, need have got to live and the best way they can improve their sport is by experience out on the ground, not some joker telling them that they have to do this and that, as a 13 or 14 year old. I really do object to that, because a lot of the people telling the 13 and 14 year-olds what to do didn’t know themselves what they should have done, and because they’ve read it in a book, now they believe they can. I think kids need to have a period in their life where they learn for themselves without human interference and without so-called ‘experienced’ interference. It’s a bit of a hobbyhorse of mine, just let kids be kids and learn their craft… and then the other stuff can come a little later on.


Steve: Next question, what do you do to keep fit these days?

Simon: Not much, haha. My body can’t stand too much these days, there’s definitely no running. Running shoes aren’t high on my agenda, not because I don’t want to, but just because I struggle to now. A bit of bike riding and a bit of cross training. Things that there’s a limited pain barrier, I’m quite happy with these days.


Steve: What’s been your most enjoyable horse racing win to date?

Simon: Manighar winning the BMW this year was fantastic, still the most excited I’ve been at a race meeting was Bauer running second in the Melbourne cup 3 years ago, even though we got beaten, I’ve never had an emotional experience in sport like that. I’d like to have it again and hopefully I do it before I stop breathing air. That was something that on one hand was a sad experience and a difficult experience to cope with and on the other hand, the exhilaration of being nearly there said ‘imagine what it’s like if some day you do get there’.


Steve: Well... My next question is, your horse Bauer ran second in the Melbourne Cup in 2008, I’m sure you’d love to better that result. Do you have a horse running in this year’s cup?

Well, I hope so. We’ve got a number of overseas horses set for the race at this stage, but so many elements of preparing horses is out of human control, so a lot of water has to pass under the bridge and I know that’s an old chestnut… But in horse racing you just have to hang on, and we’ve probably got 6-7 horses pointed towards the Melbourne cup at this stage, if we get one there it’s probably a pretty good effort, if we get two it’s a fantastic effort… If we got all of them, it’d be freakish. So, we just need to see how it all rolls out closer to the race, what weight you get, if the horses are injury free, if there form’s okay… A lot needs to happen between here and the first Tuesday.


Steve: What up and comer are you most excited about?

Simon: We’ve got a horse that won the Queensland Derby this year in Brambles; he’s a very exciting prospect. Even though Manighar’s been around for ages, he raced most of his career in Europe, and he’s come here and just blossomed, even though he’s an older statesman these days, he’s still something that’s very exciting to us, because he’s taken us on a journey in the last 6 months. He’s second to none in our point of view.


Steve: Outside of your own horse interests, who do you think is the horse to watch this spring carnival?

Simon: I hope it’s one of ours. There’s going to be a massive international contingent coming for the Melbourne cup. We may have a race that has no Australian participants in it from a breeding point of view, that’s how strong I think the form and numbers are going to be coming from Europe. Hopefully that isn’t the case, as I think it’s be sad for the race if we didn’t have Australian born and bred horses being competitive in it… But I must admit, that’s probably the way it’s shaping for 2012 and possibly 2013 unless we get our breeding right here, to get some stayers into the system in Australia.


Steve: Just back to Cricket once again, if you were heading Cricket Australia, what would you do to minimise the interference of 20-20 Cricket, and do you think it’s a good thing for the sport?

Simon: Sport’s now run by money, whether we like it or not and change is an offset of that. Without 20-20, we probably wouldn’t have the cricketing facilities or the following the game has. I think the first thing you have to do is accept the change that has happened to the game. Test Cricket still exists, Sheffield Shield cricket still exists, one-day cricket still exists and we’ve got this new phenomenon called 20-20 which finances the lot of them.


Steve: Fair enough, and just finally… Who is your early tip to win the AFL flag this year?

Simon: It won’t be my mob, St Kilda; they’re not quite up to it… They’re not far off it, but they’re not up to it. I’m thinking Adelaide… Or Collingwood. Of course I’m leaning towards Adelaide, because I’m the same as the 90% of the community, I hate Collingwood. They’re a fantastic team, Collingwood… But interstaters are going to be hard to beat this year. I don’t know if Sydney quite has it, but Adelaide and West Coast, I think are the two that are at the top of the tree for me to challenge Collingwood at the moment. Weather or not they can beat them is yet to be seen.


Steve: Well that’s it, thanks for your time… Much appreciated!

Posted in Interview By Calibre Fitness

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Steve: This is Steve at Calibre Fitness, speaking with Jarrad Waite of the Carlton Football Club. How are you doing, Jarrad?

Jarrad: Good Thanks, Steve.

Steve: Could you describe your typical training week?

Jarrad: In our typical training week, we will train 2-3 times a week depending if we play a Saturday or Sunday. If we play a Saturday, we train on Monday and Wednesday. We have weights in the afternoon, so usually train for anything between 1 – 1.5 hours, rest for about 1 hour, go have a meal and recharge the batteries and then jump into weights, usually 45 minutes to 1.5 hours. So we do that twice a week, then we usually have either the Tuesday or Thursday off, and the other day we come in and have a bit of touch, bit of goal kicking, a few meetings and stuff like that. Then the day before a game it’s usually just a light training session, half an hour max, a few ‘feel good’ drills and then in to a meeting.

Steve: What is your diet like?

Jarrad: My diet is a lot better than it used to be. Obviously, the way football is becoming more professional, and the players becoming more fit and looking after their bodies, you really have to maintain your diet and you can’t really eat poorly these days, almost more for recovery. We have a full time dietician. You speak to him more when you’re injured to make sure you don’t lose too much weight and keep the fat off. So yeh... Diet is very important.

Steve: In your footy career, you’ve spent time both in the forward and back line, which do you prefer and why?

Jarrad: I enjoy the forward line. I feel it’s a bit more challenging... and you get to kick goals, haha. It can be very frustrating playing forwards at times, because you are so reliant on other players. But I probably enjoy playing forward more for those reasons.

Steve: ... And you found it an easy transition from back to forward?

Jarrad: Yeh, I always have, it’s never been that difficult for me to transition, I suppose that was probably why I was used in that sort of role so much, because it wasn’t that hard for me.

Steve: Did you always want to play for Carlton?

Jarrad: Yeh, I did. Obviously Dad played there. When I was younger, I sort of went away from barracking for Carlton, I barracked for Essendon for a little bit, because I had brother-in-laws and cousins who went for them. But deep down, I knew if I was going to get drafted, it’d be to Carlton.

Steve: So you don’t see yourself going anywhere else?

Jarrad: Haha, Not at my age. I think I’m going to be a one-club man.

Steve: So this year, you’ve been elevated to Carlton’s leadership group, what added responsibilities have you taken on?

Jarrad: The only thing that’s changed is I take more of a role leading the forwards. I take a few of their meetings and help develop the younger forwards. I go through their tapes most weeks, critique their games. Myself and Johnnie Barker, who’s our forwards coach, go through their tapes, which helps my development if I ever want to go down that path and obviously hopefully I’ll be able to help the younger guys.

Steve: You’ve been fairly plagued by injuries over the past few years, how’s your fitness at the moment?

Jarrad: At the moment, I’ve hurt my back a bit, so I’m probably still a couple of weeks away from playing, but before that, it was good. I was feeling good, and got over my groin issues, but unfortunately my back’s reared its head up. It’s pretty frustrating, but I’m doing everything right to keep my fitness up, so when it comes good I’ll be right to go again.

Steve: Is there anything in particular you’re doing to keep your body right?

Jarrad: A lot of maintenance work on my body. A lot of hip exercises and leg weights to keep strength through my legs and core, a lot of pilates too. So there are a few things we can do, and it really is helping.

Steve: Even though only a few weeks ago, Carlton were the premiership favourites... Now people are questioning whether you’ll make the 8... And now with Marc Murphy out injured, how have things changed around the club?

Jarrad: Even when we were ‘premiership favourites’... We didn’t really think we were. We wanted to finish top 4 and knew that was the expectation at the club. We will make the 8; I have no issues with that. Murph is obviously a massive loss... But it gives someone that hasn’t been getting a game the opportunity to take his position. I’m pretty sure Murph will get it back when he’s right, but it’s an opportunity for someone else to step up and fill his spot.

Steve: Who do you feel is the best player you’ve played with or against?

Jarrad: The best player I’ve played against would be either Jonathan Brown or Nick Riewoldt. Obviously 2 very talented players, 2 different players, even though Jonathan Brown’s as big as he was, he was still very aerobic and Nick Riewoldt just worked so hard from one end of the ground to the other. Blokes that I’ve played with, probably Andrew McKay, very hard at it, very diligent backmen and was someone who when I first got to the club, I looked up to... And obviously Chris Judd.

Steve: You’re coming up for your 150th game, What’s been the highlight of your career to date?

Jarrad: There’s been a couple. Obviously 1st game is always a highlight, first time you run out on a ground is very exciting and a moment you never forget. Another highlight is my first final that we played against Sydney a couple of years ago, we lost that... but almost should have won it. Then a couple of victories where we’ve come from behind, a few years ago against Essendon were down by 50-60 points and came back and won. So they’re probably the 3 that I’ll always remember.

Steve: And Finally... How quickly do you get around Princess Park?

Jarrad: Not as quick as I used to. My best time is 10:26, which was about 7-8 years ago. I was a bit lighter of frame. But I haven’t had a year when I haven’t got under 11 minutes. Some of the boys are getting low 10s these days, Andrew Walker and that. I don’t think I’ll ever get that quick again, but if I continue to get under 11, I’ll be pretty happy.

Steve: Fantastic, Thanks for your time Jarrad.

Jarrad: No Worries, Steve!

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