Elite Physique Article
From a school trip in high school to a professional career in bodybuilding, Dan Kennedy has transformed from a gym rat, to bodybuilder, to coach, and now to the position of co-owner of Elite Physique. Elite Physique is a company run by Dan and Michelle Kennedy, both of whom are IFBB (International Federation of Bodybuilding and Fitness) pros, which focuses on personal training and dieting services. With over 30 years compiled under Dan’s weightlifting belt, his expertise and experience in training, dieting and coaching will be uncovered within this article.
When a field trip in grade 9 involved going to the beach, Dan decided to get into shape. Although he didn’t ‘grow much’ within those two weeks, he quickly fell in love with weight training and built a lifestyle, family and career out of bodybuilding and fitness. With notable titles, such as the overall trophy at the 2001 Kingston Championships along with representing Ontario on a national stage on four different occasions, Dan has literally grown from that skinny kid in high school to a Super Heavyweight placing as high as 3rd on a national stage.
Nowadays Dan focuses his energy on training clients and athletes with his wife in hopes of getting people in shape for contests, shows, photoshoots, vacations, weddings and etc.
‘When I used to diet down for a [bodybuilding] show, you get a lot of people who hate it, but myself, I loved it. I absolutely loved getting up the next morning and seeing what’s changed in my body.” Dan told me over the course of our phone interview. “Nowadays, its more just tweaking little things in my training and diet to see what can carry over to my clients.’
Dan briefly tells me an aside about one of his clients who has a photoshoot in a week’s time and he prepped him for the photoshoot the same way he would prep a bodybuilder. “We get a lot of clients who want to get in shape but don’t necessarily want to get up on stage,” Dan stated. “We still treat them like they are going on stage. The foods may be a little more relaxed for someone who isn’t competing but it depends on the person’s goals. If they want to lose [fat] right away, they may have to go a little stricter. Say you have to lose 20 pounds in a year’s time, we can give you more lifestyle choices and common foods. Sometimes our clients get a restaurant list of where to go and what to get when they go out to eat.”
For most people wanting to get in shape, Dan tells me it’s the diet that is toughest for his clients. ‘It’s more of a mental game for most people, because for a lot of people it isn’t a lifestyle. It’s not a switch you can flip on 12 weeks before a show or 20 weeks before a show.’
‘Whatever you are eating during your contest prep, you’re eating the same thing but in larger quantities after the contest,’ Dan explained. ‘Most people go back to their old ways of McDonald’s and French fries… and another thing is that your friends and family don’t understand how strict you have to be. They can say ‘just have ONE candy’ or ‘just have ONE hot dog’ but in reality, you can’t.’
Dan attempts to combat the adherence issue of diets by allowing his clients to focus on a higher percentage of protein while keeping calories high. ‘So basically, the way our diets works is we are keeping protein higher than most diets. By keeping protein higher, you can kind of keep your calories higher than on a diet that is mostly focused on carbohydrates. Typically, I’d rather have a guy eating more calories and whittle down the food choices.’
Although one gram of carbohydrate is the same amount of calories as one gram of protein, medical studies have shown that protein is more satiating since it takes longer to digest, and sits in the stomach for longer allowing the dieter to feel like he/she is still full.
‘I think most of these fad diets do work, its all up to the client and whether they can stick to it.’ Dan adds, ‘Not everyone can stick to a low carb diet, especially if they want to carry it through to the offseason. We try to stay higher protein and higher carbs in the offseason and trim down as contest time comes so its not really so bad.’
With the advent of the internet and along with it bodybuilding.com, YouTube and Myfitnesspal, trainers and coaches have never before experienced so much competition from all sides.
‘Well, its experience. People need one-on-one, they need someone to report to, the biggest thing is to have someone keep you on track. When you check out something on a blog or [bodybuilding.com] forum, you don’t have anyone to report to.’ Dan explains, ‘Whereas with us, we are available 24/7 for our clients. We book our clients once a week if they want to see us and we are always available for phone calls or texts. If they are at a grocery store and want to inquire about a certain type of food, they can take a picture, send it to us, and we are always there to provide them with an answer.’
With Thanksgiving in the States just passed and Christmas and New Year’s just around the corner, many families are preparing for a sedentary, overeating holiday. For information on Elite Physique and the works of Dan and Michelle Kennedy’s success stories you can visit their website at http://www.elitephysique.ca/
For the full unedited transcript and/or audio interview, please visit my YouTube channel, Basic Radio.