Listen to this interviewThe Bulk Hackers robot can read Nathan's interview aloud for you (playtime 11 minutes and 59 seconds) 🤖
👋 Hi! Tell us about yourself and your training
G’day everyone. My name is Nathan Newman. I am an Aussie currently living and performing in Las Vegas for Australia’s Thunder From Down Under. I have been engaged in fitness, health and well being for most of my life in one form or another.
Like many troubled adolescent boys, my journey began with martial arts. This was somewhat of a gateway as it served to introduce me to the marvels of what the human body is capable of when pushed in the right ways.
Since then I have spent most of my life traveling the globe in my attempt to learn from the best in the industry. Martial arts naturally led into dance, which led into acrobatics, which led into circus.
Maintaining strong joints, ligaments and tendons through the use of weights and resistance training makes engaging in these cultural arts and disciplines possible in the long term. It also ensures that I look good for the stage day in and day out.
⏱ Describe a typical day of training
Training for me is much more than simply looking good. It is about exploring the capabilities of the human body. It is about self expression and empowerment. It is about staying inspired and inspiring people where possible.
Throughout my journey, I have attempted to maintain a balance between physical form and function. The more I learn about physical culture and high level physical skills, the more I realize the two are inextricably tied.
I engage in some form of physical activity for about four hours per day not including the two shows I have to do at night, which serves as my cardio. This training usually consists of three days of strength and conditioning split into an endurance session for ligament and muscle health, a hypertrophy session for aesthetics and a strength session to continue developmental growth.
This is interspersed with at least three days of stretching and mobility work and at least three days of handstand work to continue developing technique and form.
I tend to switch out traditional methods of cardio with dancing and/or martial arts as this serves the same purpose but with the added bonus of being able to develop new skill sets.
This programme has evolved over many years of experimentation and is by no means set in stone. Some weeks I spend doing different activities (flips or aerials etc) and others I may spend training with other people in an attempt to learn new things.
A training journal helps me keep on top of everything I am doing, even though I don’t check back on it as much as I should. 😛
👊 How do you keep going and push harder?
This level of physical activity is extremely draining on a daily basis. Especially due to the relentless amount of nightly shows I have to do for work.
To keep on top of it all, I am forced to take care of each individual aspect of my health, such as diet and nutrition, sleep and watching for symptoms of over training. Allowing any one of these to slip into negligence is a sure way of putting myself out for days at a time.
Something that has allowed me to stay motivated to keep training over the years despite the extreme drain on my mind and body has been adding variety into my training.
For me doing one thing too much becomes very boring very quickly. The moment this becomes the case I actively look for new inspiration and challenges, which leads to the most commonly asked question: How does one stay inspired, motivated and engaged in fitness?
The most effective hack I have seen work across the board is simply to be passionate about the activity you are engaged in. Passion feeds motivation.
A traditional bodybuilding split and sprinting isn’t for everyone. In fact both of these things are mundane to the extreme for me personally.
In a world where we have instant access to the countless amounts of physical disciplines and art forms that exist, I assure you that there is one that fits your individual interests and needs. It is simply a matter of finding it.
🏆 How are you doing today and what does the future look like?
It is indeed strange times at the moment. The world is communally locked down in a pandemic and many of us are faced with the grim reality of having to spend quality time with ourselves.
Not being able to distract ourselves with the various minutiae of everyday life means we have to fill our time with something. For me not much has changed as I spend a lot of my time self developing or helping someone else do the same.
Not having to work simply means I have more energy to do so and then continue enjoying the rest of my day rather than slowly dying of exhaustion.
My goals over the next five years are to set up an online and brick and mortar business with the aim of helping interested individuals learn the various obscure disciplines that my colleagues and I practice.
Coming from a tumultuous and troubled childhood, my introduction into fitness and skills was rough and patchy, leaving many holes in my physical development.
If I could go back and change anything, it would be that I had proper tuition in the things I was involved with rather than having been self taught for most of my life.
🤕 How do you recover, rest and handle injuries?
Being this physically active can be very hard on the body. Injuries and pain are common everyday occurrences for me and many of my colleagues. Becoming used to living with pain and knowing how to manage injuries was an important step for me in maintaining this level of engagement.
When I do suffer an acute injury, I tend to train around said injury. That is to say, if I twist my ankle practicing flips, I will let my foot rest whilst I continue with handstand practice or weight lifting.
During this time and to promote healing, I will do daily rehabilitation for whatever is injured until it regains the same level of function as the rest of my body. An injury is only a set back to those who lack imagination and curiosity.
Understanding and accepting chronic injuries as inevitable means that instead of simply waiting for them to happen, I do my best to prehabilitate and fortify my body against injury, one joint and muscle at a time.
This is a central methodology of gymnastics and it is one of the things which allows the athletes to remain uniformly strong and conditioned throughout their career.
Things that I believe help me mitigate the amount of pain and imbalance I feel in my body are mobility work (yoga, contortion), proper nutrition and regular self myofascial release. My house is full of foam rollers of different shapes and sizes.
As my schedule is constantly changing due to impromptu international tours, late nights and Vegas life in general, my training schedule must, by necessity, be flexible and open to sudden change.
To deal with this, I have a huge vocabulary of exercises I can do anywhere. The more skillful I become, the larger the vocabulary grows. Handstand push ups are a good stand in for shoulder pressing if you can do them.
🍎 How is your diet and what supplements do you use?
One thing I am eternally grateful for is the fact that my mother reinforced good nutritional habits into me from a young age. This was mostly due to the unique nature of my culture’s dietary habits rather than education or choice.
I am half Greek and half Sri Lankan growing up in Australia. All cultures with relatively clean eating habits. As a result I never really developed much of a sweet tooth and rich and fatty foods upset my stomach quite quickly.
Due to the mostly clean nature of my diet and the high frequency of physical activity I am engaged in, I do not feel the need to count calories or subscribe to any particular dietary fad.
If i do feel the need to gorge on ‘unhealthy’ foods, I simply do so and make sure I do the requisite amount of training to offset said intake.
Although I think supplements are beneficial I do not regularly partake in them. This is mostly due to the logistics of consistently having access to them.
👍 What has inspired and motivated you?
I have purposefully crafted my life so as to be constantly surrounded by inspiration and inspiring people. I am friends with dancers, acrobats, athletes, body builders, doctors, scientists, artists and the like.
Although being surrounded by such impressive people can be tiring at times due to the internal pressure it creates, the benefits outweigh the drawbacks considerably. Their very presence is a constant reminder of what can be achieved should one put their mind to it.
Some examples include @yuri_marmestein @scottamcdonald @thegerminator @dareal08 @alio_the_red @jujimufu @felipehrojas.
✏️ Advice for other people who want to improve themselves?
My first pieces of advice to people starting out in fitness and wellness are generally the following two things: Start sooner rather than later and avoid the over preparation phenomena.
Many people who wish to start something will attempt to buy all the equipment they believe they need and do as much research as they possibly can. Although this is no bad thing, the doing of something will almost always trump the thinking about doing something.
Start, do what you can, and come back regularly to research and re evaluate your current progress and goals. This is a perpetual process and as such the sooner you start the sooner you will see progress.
The second piece of advice is generally to find a community of like-minded individuals who can help motivate and hold yourself accountable.
Training and development is a slow process. Sometimes painfully so. Progress is measured in months and years and often manifests in improved averages rather than sudden transformation in appearance, skills or ability.
If we have people to keep us company and have fun with this process, it becomes exponentially more enjoyable which in turn makes it more likely to continue.
🤝 Are you taking on clients right now?
Although I am a performer by trade, my true passion lays in helping individuals achieve their goals. The harder and more complex the goal the better. As a result I endeavor to make myself available as much as possible to take on new clients.
As I am often traveling, I offer both physical and online coaching. Funnily enough I get better results from my online clients.
Although I do accept students I do demand a very high level of consistency and dedication from them. This is because I care very much about their results and it pains me to see people absentmindedly go through the motions.
I expect a higher level of dedication and application from my students than is normal in my industry, as many of the things I teach take months to see results in and years of consistency to master.
If their levels of dedication don’t meet up to and outweigh the dedication I have for them as a student, then I believe we are mutually wasting each other’s time. As a result of this policy many of my students do indeed achieve their various goals.
📝 Where can we learn more about you?
Although, I am currently working on setting something up, I do not run a website or blog as of yet. My Instagram serves as both until such a time where I have the facilities to consistently engage in website and blog maintenance.
Watch this space though as I am working on launching something very soon. Look for me on Instagram @the_biomechanical and hopefully we can train together 🙂