Paris Little
How I Work Towards Fitness Goals as a Vegan Strength and Conditioning Coach


We talked with Paris Little in November, 2019
Country:
Australia
Age:
30 years
Weight:
80 kg
(176 lbs)
Height:
183 cm
(6 ')


Hi! Tell us about yourself and your training

My name is Paris Little, the founder and director of Praxis Athletic a specialised strength and conditioning facility currently located in Windsor, Melbourne.

At Praxis Athletic we specialise in developing our members towards their individual goals within a group training setting.

To do so we use various training tools and methods such as; gymnastics, powerlifting, bodybuilding, strength and conditioning, kettlebells, strongman, hand balancing and more.

Within the Praxis Athletic system we guide our members towards a training split or routine that suits their goals, giving them a somewhat individual prescription within a group training model.

To give an example of how this works, some of our members are more interested in maximal strength gains but they may also wish to explore hand balancing or gymnastics strength.

For these individuals they may join the barbell specific class 3x per week and complete the bodyweight class 1-2x per week, while others who are more interested in hand-balancing and bodyweight strength may do the opposite.

Although helping our members with athletic performance and movement orientated goals is a key focus for us, we also help many train towards goals such as decreased body fat and/or increased lean muscle mass. We do so mostly within the “Praxis Intensity” or “Praxis Bodybuilding” classes.

I was born in Melbourne, Australia and lived here until I was nine years old before moving to England all the way up until I was 18 years old.

During this time and all the way up until I was 24 I was an avid meat eater and had not yet connected the ethical dots which inevitably helped me make a change towards a vegan diet.

I’ve been living back in Melbourne now for 12-13 years and through that time have developed and invested time in learning and understanding key principles and concepts of how to train and develop various aspects of physicality and movement.

There have only been a few years of my life I was not training or working towards physical goals as growing up I played rugby and boxed.

As time has gone by though I have focused less on the specifics of tangible goals and as cliche as it may sound have focused more so on the journey.

Physical expression to me has become a practice and lifestyle in that allows greater growth to be had in other aspects of my life.

I may train 2-4 hours each day but that is with the purpose and intention to explore, enjoy and express what I can do and challenge myself by working towards what I can’t do currently.

It is that process of working towards things I can’t do just yet that I love more so than actually reaching the goal itself.

Living with mostly just my two dogs now for the past 5 years and sometimes with family or friends has given me time to truly appreciate training and moving my body.

It has also opened my eyes to a lifestyle focused on minimising harm to animals hence why I have been vegan for close to 6 years now.

Describe a typical day of training


I’ll often find myself working towards 1-2 key goals while exploring others.

Training for me over the years has been a huge source of further education in that I have recruited various teachers and coaches to program for me or coach me directly 1-1 in order to learn from them.

I’ll often find myself working towards 1-2 key goals while exploring others. For example I may be working currently towards slightly more aesthetic oriented goals but I maintain a practice of hand balancing and Olympic lifting for pure enjoyment and freedom in movement.

There are however still some staples or areas I will work on constantly regardless of current focus as I feel they open up the possibility to step into other worlds of training if I may wish to do so in the future. Those methods are as follows:

  • Loaded mobility and daily mobility work to expand range and ensure I am as free of restrictions as can be.
  • Low level aerobic work in the form of walking, slow bike or rowing or a very light run to ensure my base level of cardiovascular fitness is maintained.

How do you keep going and push harder?

Motivation for me in training has always come from the knowledge of what it is like to not use your body, to feel flat, lethargic and unhealthy.

It is also through the process of moving from purely aesthetic goals to exploring more of what I can work on while enjoying the process of getting there that has helped keep me interested and motivated long term.

How are you doing today and what does the future look like?

Going forward with the mindset that I aim mostly to enjoy what I am doing, I have no specific long term plans for the future in training except to learn and further educate myself.

With that being said I do currently have a rough structure in training which looks a little like the following most days:

  • AM Session – Loaded mobility and strength
  • Noon Session – Hand balancing
  • PM Session – Hypertrophy and conditioning

How do you recover, rest and handle injuries?

To ensure I recover from the training above (which can be rather taxing) I do my best to meditate and give myself time to relax 2-3x per day for 5-20 minutes at a time.

For me, I also find that sleep now matters for me more than it ever did.

If I can meditate before bed, avoid drinking too much coffee which for me would be 3-4+ coffees a day and most importantly listen to how I feel on the day (meaning sometimes I just do nothing to completely recharge) then I recover well.

Sleep consistency has proven to be very important so while I only sleep around 6-7 hours a night, the time I do sleep and time I wake is consistent and that helps me greatly.

Injury prevention has always come from preparing the body for the demands you wish to ask of it.

With this in mind in my own training and that of the individuals I always prepare for the future demands.

If the future demand is going to be handstands we will prepare as one example the wrist joint and open up the shoulders/thoracic spine or if working towards running a marathon, the preparation will be focused on the feet, ankles and hips along with running technique.

To summarise injury prevention for me has always been about understanding future demands and then knowing how to build the body through progressive overload to stimulate adaptation and the changes needed to ensure it is in fact able to do as it is asked safely.


How is your diet and what supplements do you use?

I eat entirely vegan and have done for 6 years for ethical reasons.

It has been the most simple nutritional protocol and lifestyle to stick to as it aligns so closely with my beliefs around how animals should be treated or more correctly how they should not as they are in every aspect of the animal agriculture industry.

As I am currently aiming to decrease body fat I do two things:

  • Firstly increase vegetable intake and track protein to ensure I am taking in enough nutritious, nourishing foods and also maintaining lean muscle tissue I have while being in a slightly caloric deficit.
  • Secondly I find for me dropping fat slightly instead of carbohydrate is much easier to stick too than if I was to drop carbohydrates so I’ll often cut back on refined oils.

Eating a vegan diet means at times I have to fast if at an event where there are literally no vegan options but to be honest this happens so little these days. 99% of places and events offering vegan options it’s not much of an issue.

I’ll still from time to time drink alcohol but just factor that in around my caloric intake with what I eat on the days I do drink e.g. if eating for a drink with my partner who’s also vegan or a mate I’ll take around 600 calories away from that days fat and carbohydrate and reserve them for alcohol.

These days are also filled with a lot more green leafy vegetables to keep nutrients high and calories lower.

Currently the only supplements I take are a vegan protein I often borrow/pinch from my partner…B-Raw protein, salted caramel is hands down the best flavour.

What has inspired and motivated you?

Im motivated to train, move and aim to improve mostly due to the knowledge that you can only ever be moving forward or backwards and it is in this constant state of flux that I find motivation in.

If I stop improving or aiming too low, I know the only other direction I am moving to is backwards which I don’t want.

This may mean to improve I need to rest or I need to work harder and whichever it is I do because I know it will help me progress and this is motivating to me.

I’m motivated and inspired also by those around me. My friend and one of the coaches at my gym Praxis Athletic Oscar Meerman, my girlfriend and Partner Mimi Gee and my loving and ever supportive mother, father and three sisters who all continue to support me no matter what I am doing.


Advice for other people who want to improve themselves?


People often do more than they are ready for

For anyone wishing to develop physically and really in any area it is important to explore what it is you can do with your body and find something that resinates with you as a person at this time.

From here finding out what you love to do and putting your focus into that love and passion rather than into the often negative mindset of feeling like you are not enough. I see this as an important mindset shift for people to go through.

People often do more than they are ready for in many ways whether it be what there bodies systems are ready for or what is sustainable for their lifestyle, so the other concept I think is key is doing only enough to make progress and building from there.

Much like salt to a meal you can always add more.

Are you taking on clients right now?

Having Praxis Athletic as my focus I am only taking on very committed individual clients and those interested in joining Praxis Athletic.

At Praxis Athletic we have a wide range of classes to not only suit all levels but also people with multiple interests or goals.

Where can we learn more about you?

You can reach me our Instagram page @PraxisAthleticWindsor and find out more about what we do on our website praxisathletic.com.au.


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I’m Mads Phikamphon, founder of Bulk Hackers.

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