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BIOptimizers - Awesome Health Podcast

Nov 13, 2019


What role does psychology play in fitness training?

A significant role, and our guest, Benjamin Siong, today explains why.

I recently met Benjamin at Canfitpro 2019 conference in Toronto. Canfitpro is a professional event where world-renowned experts on health, fitness, performance speak. He was one of those speakers and as the founder of Australia's premiere fitness brand it isn't hard to see why!

Benjamin's journey is where we begin Awesome Health Podcast today, but we also talk about how to train properly for fitness competitions and the importance of taking care of your body and mind in the process. We dig into the hormonal disruptions that can occur, especially for women.

Women's hormones are particularly sensitive versus a man's. When you also factor in the false estrogens and other chemicals people are taking into their bodies you can see why the body's natural mechanisms may get suppressed. This can show up as extra fat storage in the body and is something that should be addressed before competing.

The body needs to detox these false estrogens and other chemical compounds. If someone doesn't do that and they add strenous workouts to their lifestyle they are going to complicate matters. For example, their cortisol levels can go through the roof as a result of those tough workouts - Benjamin says when you add all of this together you're basically creating an "atomic bomb" within the body. But all of this can be avoided with the proper coaching, training and mindset.

Ben walks us through what he would do in this scenario, and why proper coaching, training and mindset are key elements. We also discuss the importance of addressing the psychology of training his clients. Benjamin and I finish the episode with his views on sharing information.

Now he shares generously, but he didn't start out that way. Over the years he learned the more he gave, the more was given to him, and it ultimately led to his work today which takes him around the world speaking and sharing his knowledge. You can hear Ben's philosophy in greater detail plus a lot more on this exciting episode of the Awesome Health show!

  Episode Resources  Benjamin Siong's web site Benjamin's courses  Australian Strength Performance on Instagram  Benjamin Siong on Instagram  

Read the Episode Transcript :

     Wade Lightheart:    Good morning. Good afternoon and good evening. I'm Wade T Lightheart from the Awesome Health Podcast and I am delighted today to share with you a fellow I just met at the Canfitpro in Toronto. It's a professional event where uh, the world's best experts on health, fitness, performance in the industry get to speak. And Ben was one of the featured speakers, like flew in all the way from Australia. They stocked in with some crazy amount of speeches, but I had the good fortune to actually listen to one, particularly on physique competition, contest preparation. A lot of the mistakes that people make, the voodoo that people get involved with and how do they stay away from that. Uh, and he just had so much sensibility and so much experience that I really, really resonated. So I want to welcome to the show Ben Siong. How are you doing buddy?    Benjamin Siong:     I am very well thank you so much for having me on.   Wade Lightheart:    So for our listeners who's listening, who have maybe thought about physique preparation or have done it and maybe had some challenges or they wanted to get involved in this and don't know where to go. Let's just start about, we'll get into that in a minute, but I want to get your background of how did you end up in this space and become such an expert. Of course, tell us all about Australia and what you're up to and all that sort of stuff. So give us the whole kind of enchilada before we dive into the details.   Benjamin Siong:     I got into the industry out, uh, w w it was my quest basically to, uh, to look better more than anything else. So purely for aesthetic reasons, I wouldn't try to cover it to say for health or anything. I wanted to look better. Um, I was a fat kid growing up, uh, in, uh, in Singapore actually, and growing up there, um, because the Asian society has such small bills, I was classified as an obese child growing up. So throughout my whole childhood, all the way into my teens, I was obese and I never had the chance to kind of shoot up tall, you know, and lose that excess weight on me. And so for me it was a conscious effort to have to, a, to lose all the extra fat in order to get down. And so I remember, um, basically in my own quest to, to look better.   Benjamin Siong:     That was what I did. I, uh, I did what I knew how to, uh, uh, I guess what, what I knew how to do, which was to cut my calories. Uh, and I put myself in a situation where I was just doing a lot of cardio, uh, and I lost a, a good amount of weight, roughly about 25 kilos. I mean, it just really recall the kilos. So probably what, 50 or 60 pounds of water weight within a period of three months. Uh, and within a period of time, it wasn't unhealthy sort of journey, but I got to where I wanted to be and spend, you know, the next two years living in this sort of an emotional cycle with food. And as you know, a lot of people are very emotionally with food and I was very much the same of going through periods of trying to dig food out and, and you know, and, and, and get it off to you've eaten and then starve yourself and in and out.    Benjamin Siong:     So I, I was fluctuating within that for two years. And then after that I decided, no, I want it to chase health. I want it to look better, but I also want it to be healthy. And that kind of sparked my journey on seeking information. And, uh, the more you seek, the dumber you feel. And that was really it. That was, that was what kinda got me started. And that was a good 20 years, 30 years ago, you know. So now I've, I'm blessed in the position where I, I do what I love and that is continue to teach people my passion. And my passion continues to seek out information. You know, I'm, I'm always the student. I'm always looking at ways to get myself healthy but leaner at the same time. I will always try to push body composition and that's exactly why I'm in this unique space where I work with competitors and a lot of the competitors that I worked with, are carried by the competition process, particularly those in general that have framed by coaches that have taught them a method of preparation and methodology that often stress us out their adrenal system completely.    Benjamin Siong:     Rex, uh, have, uh, and the hormones and the hormonal system. Uh, and they, when they see me that their body's a disarray. You're not having your periods, this whole range of things going on with their metabolic syndrome. And so what I tend to do is work backwards to try to restore health about also the process. Give them an understanding of self love. Yeah. I'll give them an understanding on how to bring their body into an optimal body composition. Uh, but also we want to look at things like maintaining energy levels, maintaining hormonal balance, uh, and teaching them to have a much better relationship with food. So it has that emotional connection with food and, and that's, that's my journey. Yes.    Wade Lightheart:    Yeah. That's a, it's a good point. I want to dive into this cause I, when you were giving your presentation, you were kind of showing a lot of the nuances are a lot of the patterns and stuff, and I've seen this myself where you go around to the competitions and you see a ladies who are listening to someone, usually the biggest guy in the gym or the someone who has a couple of titles or whatever it is, they might have a background in science or nutrition or whatever, or they might be blessed genetically or they might be enhancing themselves with a variety of pharmacological agents. And a lot of girls desperate, I would say for a cosmetic ideal or what they've determined and and or, and maybe the acknowledgement that it comes from being a fitness competitor or a bodybuilding champion or a figure competitor, whatever that happens to be, that that adulation or that acknowledgement that you're worthy, that you're valuable, that you're pretty, that you're fit, that you're whatever that is. And there's a lot of people attracted that, especially in today's social media world where you know the presentation is worth everything and then you see them after the show.     Wade Lightheart:    The, the ones that haven't done this well thought out and most people don't. It's impossible to think and you kind of, you're kind of in that age where you think, Oh, I can just do anything I want. I'm, I'm, I'm different than everybody. Then you see them, the same girls coming back to the shows later on, only their 20 to 30 pounds heavier. Sometimes even more than that. They can't get the weight off. They're stuck at this. They're wearing the baggy sweats and everything. You can literally see them suffering inside as they're maybe encouraging their friends or whatever. And meanwhile they're on the struggle cycle.     Wade Lightheart:    How does that happen?     Wade Lightheart:    Like what's going on? Can you explain from your experience as a coach and someone who preps people from shows and helps people recover from bad preps,     Wade Lightheart:    how does that happen for competitors out there?     Benjamin Siong:     I think a lot of competitors, a lot of ladies in particular jump into a competition because they like what they see as the end product. So they're look at him on stage, she carries herself well, she looks amazing and that becomes a goal. So you start to see that you've got, I want to be there, but I don't think, uh, they actually have an understanding of the journey of what it actually takes to get to that goal. Now once they throw themselves into the equation, they go, okay, I've got a goal and I'm gonna work myself there. They start to realize that it becomes more like a means to an end. So standing on stage, the purpose that they want to stand on stage could be, could represent anything. It could be, you know, self-confidence. Uh, it could be a goal that they want to achieve through their lifetime.     Benjamin Siong:     It kind of a tick the box sort of thing. It could be anything, but I don't think the pool of the goal itself is strong enough for them. And so when they hop into the process of prepping, it becomes a means to an end. They just want to get there. And in the process of doing that, the coach will probably tell them, cut the calories. You've got to stick to your chicken breast and broccoli and Brown rice. You've got to do X amount of cardio a day, you've got to stop posing. You have to do a whole range of different things. Uh, now the more you get into it, the closer you are to the goal, the more desperate you are to get to a particular shape. So they can, uh, from the advice of the coach, obviously, because they're following blindly and then they get to stage and then they compete.     Benjamin Siong:     But a lot of them actually hate the process. They resent the process of getting to stage. They like the final product. But during that time when you stand on stage, remember you are probably dehydrated. So you feel horrendous. You're a low, you don't, I look the way you want to look. You feel horrendous there. And so you would think that's the ultimate goal. That's great. But the ultimate is actually once they stand on stage eating the sugar that comes after standing on stage. So everyone to that.     Wade Lightheart:    Yeah. Let's talk about that for a second. Cause this is kind of like the deep dark secret, uh, of the sport is I've seen so many people and I had been there myself, I was a former competitor that they're literally planning out the binge after the contest, like detail by detail, day by day, meal by meal ream about it.     Wade Lightheart:    So what's that about?     Benjamin Siong:     That is, well you tell me. I mean at the end of the day it's something they look forward to. So from a mental point of view, because they've kept themselves so strict on a nutrition plan, which has really regimented, that obviously represents a mental ease for them. So it's something else. They call it a cheat meal where they go out there and they eat whatever they want to eat. So it's a relaxing sort of a environment. They don't have to be regimented any more. So mentally it helps them for one a, but also on the other side of things is a social thing for them. They can go out and eat. Now we're all emotionally connected to food. And in any society, food represents something where you, if you're, you have, you eat. If you are sad, you eat. You know, if you, if you've got your board, you eat [inaudible] so social connections, you're going family events, holidays.     Benjamin Siong:     That's right. And so food is connected with so many different things. A lot of the times if you kind of look at it, a lot of the times where we feel elated, happy is associated with sugar because that's exactly what sugar does. She go, gives you a dopamine high. Uh, and what we don't understand, and what science has actually shown us nowadays is that sugars, particularly refined sugar, white sugar itself, what it actually does is it alters the chemical structure of the brain. In fact, what it does is it changes the receptor sites, the dopamine receptor sites in the brain. So much so that your brain now says sugar is the main source of dopamine. I want to take it in any other form of dopamine coming in, any other form of, uh, rewards that come in does not cut it. I don't want any other form of rewards.     Benjamin Siong:     I just want sugar. So sugar literally alters the form of that receptor site. So your brain specifically looks for it. The more you take sugar, the more it feeds back into that. So you want sugar, you don't, and so we built up this sort of emotional connection, uh, from a hormonal point of view, but also from a physiological point of view that we need sugar. Yes. So now that if you're competing and you're stopping, sugar, you're not taking in sugar. Nobody created. You've already looked for it. Right. The longer you stay off it, the more you want it. The grass is always greener, isn't it? So these people did deprive themselves of sugar because it's the forbidden fruit. And then the competition, you get a chance to eat all the sugar you want, and this is exactly what happens. You start tasting the first bite, and when that sugar hit comes in that you had been craving for all this time, remember your brain is already altered waiting for the sugar to come through, you're going to snap.     Benjamin Siong:     At that point of time, you have no control over your emotions, your body or logical thought. You go with the flow and instinctively that's where you let loose you. You just eat and eat and eat. By the time you know it. And this is exactly what you mentioned at the start of our conversation, that these girls, for example, over a span of two weeks off to come, they tend to put on 30 pounds, 40 pounds, and you can't recognize them. Yes, and that becomes a problem because it's not just the fat that they put on, it's the body sayng after a competition where they, they're deprived of nutrients - let's absorb and keep the nutrients for one, but that's also hold onto the water because there's a lot of inflammation going on. Yeah. So they're, they're a lot heavier. They're puffy. This is where they look themselves in the mirror and they go, I can't accept the person that I see right now because now I competed to look good, but now I'm looking worse than I did before.     Benjamin Siong:     And they can't accept it. There is a massive conflict down there. They go through waves looking at themselves, not being able to accept themselves looking that way and feeling that way. Um, and typically this is where everything stuffs up. So mentally they're not doing well physiologically. The cells are not doing well because they inflamed and they go keep going through that cycle. Throughout the period of a year, they tend to lose the period as well. And this is kind of the time where I see them. So when they come to me, a lot of the times they come to me without their period. They come to me with a lot of nutritional deficiencies. So bear in mind they're eating a lot, but they're not actually digesting or breaking down, absorbing the nutrients, hence all the eating. But under nourish.     Wade Lightheart:    Yeah. I, you know, I have this whole theory that, that, that obesity is actually a, it's a disease of deficiency. Yeah. Yeah. I like the fact that you're diving in, particularly in, in, in the female situation here because we see, you know, like if a female, particularly their indoctrine system in in-system is, is far more sensitive influctuates that have much greater level than say, a male system. And then also when you look at the, a lot of girls are in they're young, you know, they're relatively young, they're early twenties or early thirties, and they're getting into these competitions where they normally have high estrogen levels, high body fat levels as a natural state for childbearing, but they're kind of suppressing the body's natural mechanisms. What, can you talk a little bit about what you've seen happen for a lot of these girls or, or what, or can kind of the recipe of what's going on and then what, what gets compromised beyond just to the food cravings?     Benjamin Siong:     Sure. Now to start off with, I think if you, if you kind of look at society nowadays, the, the estrogen levels of the female is already falsified. So typically we have an optimal amount of estrogen and progesterone within a female itself. Now amidst that, there's a whole range of other hormones and organizing hormone and FSH and so forth. But when you look at sort of estrogen levels, a lot of the environmental factors that we look around us fit into folds estrogen. We call those Xenoestrogens, right? So the foods that we take in from the VPA now, cans from the parfumes you spray, uh, the chemicals in our water, these are false forms of estrogens that are already taken in, into the body. And so the body has an overload of estrogens. Okay. So for females, for example, when they have an overload of estrogens they start to store fat selectively in parts of their body.     Benjamin Siong:     We call that estrogenic profile. So they will start storing fat more on the thighs. Uh, some of them will say it's genetic, so sure it can be genetic to a degree in and but the, the genetic part comes with the fact that they cannot detoxify these estrogens of it that they take it. Right, right. So that is from a societal point of view that already builds up. Yeah, no. On top of that, you've got other hormones such as insulin that play a big part in affecting how the body stores fat and influence is obviously the storage hormone for sugar. No, we've taken so much sugar from everywhere. All foods are loaded with sugar, a lot of hidden sugars in there too. Right? And we don't take that into account. In fact, whatever you think is great for us, say for example, you take in fruits and fruits, maybe great. A lot of fruits are also crossed nowadays to produce a high sugar content because it suits the palate, isn't it? Nowadays the more sugar we take, the less, uh, the more the food, the more food becomes blend. So we want to take foods that are sweeter.     Wade Lightheart:    Correct. So that's the, yeah, the sweetness scale keeps scaling up. Scaling up. Scaling up or even like healthy sugars from natural sources that don't taste good anymore. You want more.     Benjamin Siong:     Yup. So when we are, when we are driven by high estrogen levels and compounding initial and fluctuations, the body itself is in a, in a state of unrest. It's not optimal anymore. No, this is, I'm talking about all this because this is the starting point of a female that I'm seeing. This is not even the end point. This is a starting point, right.     Wade Lightheart:    They are just walking in the door, haven't stepped on stage, haven't gotten a gym, nothing. They're there already compromise from environmental conditions.     Benjamin Siong:     Absolutely. And lifestyle conditions. And then imagine if they get a coach that then strains them on the workouts. Their the cortisol now level goes through the roof. Yup. Overdoing something. Uh, he's telling them to eat certain foods or cut their calories and that he mucks around with their bodies even more. You creating basically an atomic bomb. Yeah. There were a whole range of a unrest within the system from a hormonal basis that they are creating. And so the end product is something which is really diverse. Every female will go through, uh, a, you know, if the hormonal system is disrupted, is very selectively disrupted. So every female is different. And so this becomes the problem. This becomes the problem because when a coach sees them, he takes them as a blank slate and goes, okay, this is what we're going to do. But a lot of the times they're not considering the original lifestyle factors that the female sees you with, which is elevated estrogen levels from the environment, disrupted insulin levels or disrupted cortisol levels. Uh, and, and then there's a range of other things. The androgens that we need to look at as well. So I think it's important to understand the context of which, uh, we deal with.     Wade Lightheart:    Yeah. So, so here comes this lady, she, she walks into your place, she's dealing with all this stuff. What happens, uh, what happens in, what do you do to kind of get people on the truck or what? And then I want to also want to think what are, what are some telltale signs if they're going off looking for a coach or they want to do one of these things, what are the telltale times that they're there dancing with the devil so to speak.     Benjamin Siong:     Sure. I think for me, when, when I see someone, the main thing that I want to get out from them is their Why. Right? And that's very, very important. So if you want to compete, no problem. Let's not talk about anything that's physical or physiological. Let's understand your why. Why are you wanting to compete? First and foremost, if you have a very strong Why , regardless of what that is, it can be aesthetic, it can be confidence, it can be, you know, it can be anything and there's no judgment here and your Why's, very individual. But if your why is strong enough, your goal is strong enough, then you know that your, your sight towards the goal can be fixed. And this allows you do to chip away to get to your goal. A lot of people have a very poor way, so they want to look a certain way, but they don't want to put in the work to get there and this became a problem because then the whole journey itself becomes arduous.     Benjamin Siong:     If I do the green now let's say someone comes in as a strong Why, this is ideal. I know a Why, I want to get down there and maybe aesthetic reasons and maybe confidence reasons, but I'm going to do it and it's strong and I'm emotionally connected to it. Then that's a good starting platform for me. Once I understand their Why, then I work out what goes on on a physiological basis, so let's understand the lifestyle. Let's understand what they're doing from a nutritional point of view. Let's understand what they do from a training point of view. My philosophy is the longer the time I have to prep them, the better and the more enjoyable this journey becomes. I remember I used the word journey because this is not a quick fix and there's a lot of things to an end [inaudible] something that they will learn along the way about themselves. The emotion with food and how to maintain an optimal body composition, keeping optimal health.     Wade Lightheart:    So, so let's talk about that for a second.     Wade Lightheart:    Typically how long do you think is it for most people at say, quote on quote average body fat levels in LA? I hate that word average, but you know, a typical woman that comes in to you, how long typically do you like to have to prepare them on a minimum side and then kind of an optimal side?     Benjamin Siong:     Uh, one question I tend to ask is whether there had been fat a big before at cells have a memory. Uh, unfortunately you don't lose fat cells. Not many fat cells die as you start to age. If you have X amount of fat cells, they expand in size and they shrink in size, right? So if you have a bit of fat before mature fat cells have a memory, that means the ability for you to get fat again is very easy. So if you've been fat before, you need a longer period of time to get lean. If you've always been lean, it's going to be a lot easier. So that forms my basis of how long a I prep you for. Typically for a female, uh, including what I, what I like to look at is the, the emotional mindset behind getting to a comp typically six months. Yup. Because the first three months is to work on the mindset. Yep. To make them understand the process accept the process and kind of learn to love the process. Right. And then, and then we get them into it again, if you have been a bit bigger before it might be up to a year to get ready for competition. Yeah. If you have always been someone who is very athletic and very, very lean, that period is a lot shorter. It could take for 12 to 14 weeks to start you off for your first comp.     Wade Lightheart:    Yup. Okay. So then what does that look like when you, like what does that look like from a diet and training side and how do you make those assessments for people?     Benjamin Siong:     I take a very minimalistic approach. The less changes I make, the better it's going to be because then you don't realize you are actually making a sacrifice for the process. So for me, what I'll do is I'll chop the end point. I know how you need to look like and I want to find out where you are now. That's the start point. I need to know how many changes I need to make to the end point. Then I make one change at the time. It's as simple as that. Now people like expect big dramatic changes with nutrition. Give me, you know, six meals a day and eat doesn't need to eat that. I need to know. It's not about that. It's about what you can do. Now this is very individualistic. Some people may need six meals, some people may do really well with two meals, some people do two meals and two big meals.     Benjamin Siong:     Some people don't. So physiology plays a big role in this. And then this is, I guess this comes down to the skill of the coach. This other, these are the questions. Um, but what I tend to do is to make small changes. If, let's say they make, they have been three meals a day, then the change will be maybe to the types of foods that I want to put in their meal. Um, I might change breakfast and keep lunch, dinner, every other snack. Exactly the same to start off with. The smaller the change, the less they feel they have to sacrifice. Let them implement the change, put that in place for a week or two. They come back, they start to see some results, right. And then they go, great, this is good. Once they have implemented the changes and they can keep it, we move onto the next change. If they haven't been able to keep it, we don't change anything. So that's how I play around with it. Now. The more that they can change, the shorter the timeframe that we have to prep them because they following changes, they're committing to it. Correct. The less they want to commit to it, which means the less that they put the changes in, the longer the prep process will be because they're not ready to change.     Wade Lightheart:    Right. Right. And what are some of the things that you see that where say with coaches that you see ladies get in trouble with or other athletes? Like what, what's some telltale signs that you might not be with the right coach?     Benjamin Siong:     Uh, most of the time you will find that the coach, what they do is that they turn up the workload very, very fast. So typically they expect a competitive train to our state. Um, when they first join, I mean a starting workouts at 12 workout. I mean man if you haven't trained at the gym before, 20 minutes, maybe half an hour. Two hours to start off with? Firstly it's, it's quite insane. And then they expect, you know, two hours, five days a week on top of that you need to do cardio on top of that, you need to get some policy and they throw a female competitor in the mix straight away from zero to a hundred percent. Which is pretty crazy. Yeah. So you know, the moment you get a coach like that, probably not the best coach for you. Because what happens is yes you will, you see a change. Absolutely. But they'll burn out your adrenal system.     Wade Lightheart:    Yeah. It's not sustained. It's not sustained. These are radical results shortly in a quick period of time. But then there's no, there's no ceiling there. There's only the way to go downwards.     Benjamin Siong:     And once you see a change, your body adapts, which means that now if your body has adapted 12 weeks out from competition and you're already doing maximal amount of workload and you are in trouble.     Wade Lightheart:    And, and I see that, I see that happen with a lot of girls and that's when they start resorting to chemicals and drugs and things like that to get the calories. Yeah. Everything stuffs up.     Benjamin Siong:     you know, so real quick, too fast, that becomes a problem. So if your coach gives you something too quick, too fast, you probably need to ask why. Yeah. Now when it comes to drugs and cuts and all that kind of stuff, look to each his own. Uh, if you are an athlete needing to compete in a competition in a level where aids are being used, bio needs, but you need to understand how to use it from a chemical point of view, whether it suits your body, whether you can detoxify stuff, and whether your system, uh, has the, the amount of optimal optimal health to kind of handle whatever you're putting in.     Wade Lightheart:    what are some of the things that you see people making mistakes around that, like with chemical agents and using that not, not no knowledge or just hearsay evidence or just random shotgunning or taking too much product or just listening to the wrong people. What are the things that you've noticed most often?     Benjamin Siong:     Basically all of what you're saying. So a lot of them don't have any medical background behind it. They will ask a fellow competitor who has done it before and all have the exact same dosage for the fellow competitor first and foremost. So you don't know. You'd kind of individualize those suggests that you're going, I'm going to follow you because they look good and so I assume I'll do good. Secondly, you don't know where the products from.     Wade Lightheart:    Yup.     Benjamin Siong:     So the source of the product is extremely important. You will get someone that they, that they have recommended, but where's that someone got it from, you know what product is being diluted with a whole range of other chemicals. You don't know what you put into your system. Next, remember you are assuming your body works in the same physiological basis as the competitor. What if your liver doesn't have the capacity to detoxify like the other competitor is? Nowadays it's the survival of the liver that allows you to look a certain way. If your liver in trouble - you're in trouble.     Wade Lightheart:    Yeah. People talk about physical genetics, but there's the, I would call it the organ genetics. What is your capacity for tolerance of toxicity from the cascade of chemicals. Okay, let's move to the competitor who is just competed. They finished the competition, they've achieved their goal. What happens then? What like, cause that's a very precarious time. I feel for people, some people just get right back on the train again and go to the next competition and the next and kind of get on a cycle until they'd burn out. Some people go off the reservation as I like to say you're off the train and then they just start eating everything and blown up. So can you share what do you do with your competitors when they come pleat? Uh, in those cases where they want to continue competing or they want to get off competing or they're not really sure. How do you handle situations?     Benjamin Siong:     And the first thing I would tell them is when I train someone to compete, I train someone for medal. I don't train someone just to stand the stage. So I know my competitors for a fact. I've got a very good track record of everyone coming in or standing on the podium - the second, third, fourth, fifth, period. So I will prep them before they stand up on stage or when they compete with me and I'll let them know, look, you will stand up on stage and you will, you will place. Cause that's how I trained you to place. Now you got to decide what you want to do after your place and think about this even before you stand on stage. Do you want to continue competing or is this the end all be all for you? You may not know until you stand on stage. Correct. And once you stand on stage, you will know whether you love the limelight. You want to keep going or this is the end for you. Make the decision fast because once you finished the comp, this is what determines what you're going to do now.     Wade Lightheart:    almost nobody talks about that stuff. You know that it's kind of, it's just a contest and that's it. There's the end.     Benjamin Siong:     they would need to know what goes on, which is important. So for those that that that's the end point for them - great. Then you need to find out from them if that's the end point, what do you want to do? You understand that your body will not look like this because this is a one time thing. Now after that, what is your ideal body fat that you want to get up to? So then they need to understand within that period of a week where their body is extremely susceptible to drawing in fluids for inflammation, taking sugar, this is where I need to pace them, go, well, if this is the case, then I'll write down a plan and what they need to do. Now typically in the industry we call this reverse dieting, right? I think reverse dieting is a very orthodox way of kind of looking at it, right?     Benjamin Siong:     Because yes, it has a methodology of putting in food slowly so you slowly increase the calorie count, but sometimes it's more than just increasing the calorie count as increasing the absorbability of what they can actually take it and the types of foods they can actually take in as well. So it is a reverse of some sort. I will call it dieting per se, but it's definitely a reverse of of a nutritional plan of sorts. All of them are add in more fat. Some of them would be more carbed, some of them be less carbs, more fat, more protein. Just depends on the individual own for each to slowly get out of the um, the do the nutrition that actually got them to come will not be their nutrition moving forward. So we've got all that.     Wade Lightheart:    And then how long typically do you find it takes? Uh, someone to kind of, I would say regulate to their optimal body weight afterwards. Are there, you know, cosmetic ideal afterwards of kind of walking around state.     Benjamin Siong:     So the longer I take to prep the competitor into competition, the leaner they can maintain after competition because it becomes for them. Yeah. The shorter the preppers, the more mandatory rebounds. Yeah. So that's that.     Wade Lightheart:    It's going to vary between the person in that thing.     Benjamin Siong:     Yeah, absolutely. So my competitor takes one year to train with me. Their mindset towards food and energy levels and training is completely different. It becomes a lifestyle for them. They walk on a much leaner levels on a much leaner scale and feeling healthy. So to get to, to prep for them to, to, to go to the competition could mean, you know, losing four kilos. Yeah. So postcom if they put on four kilos, they're back at where they weren't normal living healthy, happy. Yeah, no problem. Most people though, don't do that. When we quickly, you know, 15 kilos as a drop, now expect that 15 kilos to come back just as fast as you've dropped it because you haven't prepped your body for it physically and mentally, you know, ready for it. Yeah.     Wade Lightheart:    Can you talk about, let's go into the, the lady that shows up with the metabolic damage that she's messed herself up, she's taken hormones or she's gone the yoyo dieting, she's struggling. She can't come out of it. She doesn't know what to do. They come into your office, what do you, what do you do with that particular individual or what can they do?     Benjamin Siong:     The main thing is to find out how long they have a had this particular damage for now. Metabolic damage, no metabolic metabolic damage. I think it's a, it's a disease that we've created on ourselves and is a name that is given to a particular syndrome. Remember the body is very malleable and adaptable. The body can reverse that. So yes, it is severe. However you, because you brought yourself into it, you can also get yourself out of it right longer, you will have been in that the hotter it is obviously to reverse that particular syndrome, which means that it has to be a conscious lifestyle decision to do that. So I find that metabolic syndrome is actually physically, physiologically it's a, it's an issue of the cells. But from a holistic perspective it's actually issue of the brain, the fact that you want to stay in that position because you want to look a certain way and your brain says I want to eat more and you signal. So you continue to put yourself in that particular syndrome. Right. And you gave me what it needs you get out of it.     Wade Lightheart:    So you're finding that you have to treat almost the psychology as much as the physiology     Benjamin Siong:     if not more. Absolutely. Uh huh. Uh huh.     Wade Lightheart:    And so, um, the next step is I guess, so what are some of the things that you currently do and how you get people, like what's your whole process now? Cause I know you've got a lot of courses, you're teaching all over the world, you run your own company. You want to talk a bit about those things and what your mission is, uh, in the world.     Benjamin Siong:     Sure. Or I'm, I'm passionate about this, you know, I'm passionate about it because I've been through it. Uh, and my objective right now, uh, my goal is really to bring information out to the masses. I mean, we're talking about trainers down here who need to understand the body in more depth. I think like, I come from a science background. I've, I've, uh, I've, I've done a bachelor of science, a, uh, uh, and psychology as well. Uh, so my background is actually in psychology. I've done a, uh, two, two main degrees, but science, if you look at science, science is very isolated in the sense that when it looks at information, it looks like information through a straw. So you kind of, you only see the small area in front of you. You don't kinda consider the bigger picture and then becomes a problem.     Benjamin Siong:     And I think that science is extremely important, but we need to step back and look at the bigger picture. So my, I find that my passion isn't teaching trainers to look at signs, but also to consider it with regards to the bigger picture. You want to understand the body and how to get it down in terms of body composition. Great. But you need to also look at the emotions. You need to look at hormones, you need to look at understanding a nutrient absorption. You need to look at understanding, you know, uh, uh, your, your gut bacteria in a whole range of different things. So I'm passionate about teaching trainers how to draw the dots, make the links between the body itself, uh, to simplify a lot of these complex concepts and to make it applicable for their clients to get results immediately, basically. So I, I do, I travel a lot to teach.     Benjamin Siong:     I've got six courses, uh, that I have created and I bring around to different countries to teach. So far we're in 12 countries. We're looking to bring it to an extra three next year, take it up to 15. Uh, Canada. Obviously I was in Canada. This year's my first year at Canfitpro. Thoroughly enjoyed myself, but I want to bring my courses in the Canfitpro. Uh, and funny enough, I'm talking to you right now in a couple of days I'll be in Bangkok at fitness conference, which is the largest conference in Asia speaking. And prior to that in uh, in Singapore, Singapore and Bangkok teaching my courses as well. So these six courses are out there. This course is focused on topics such as fat loss, fat and fat loss colonization. We talk about hypertrophy, which is enabling your body to put on muscle the fastest. So these are the individual courses.     Wade Lightheart:    So feel free to share what each, like the name of the course, and then what it is.     Benjamin Siong:     Oh, sure. So we've got three categories of courses. One of them is based on fat loss and body transformation. That's one category. The next category is putting on muscle, which is comes in level one, two. And the third category of courses is what we call international coach qualifications, which means we teach trainers to be better coaches. This includes everything from program puritization to you know, how to understand nutrition better and how to talk to your clients and implement compliance, put one thing at the time, how to make sure they adhere to it, how to understand the psychology behind it. So it's a, it's a coaching course. So we've got two to three levels of the culture courses.     Wade Lightheart:    And then this is all available to your company. You want to talk about your company?     Benjamin Siong:     Absolutely. So my company's called Australian Strength performance and uh, we're based in Melbourne, Australia. The courses are through Australia, strength performance. Uh, and you can definitely check us out on a website. And we'll give you a whole range of, um, I guess a better understanding of the range of courses that we actually carry. The six courses where they're being held and uh, you know, the qualifications that come with that.     Wade Lightheart:    That's great. And then, um, I guess the other thing I was wondering about, so what, what's, what's the future look like for you? What do you see happening for yourself? What do you see happening in the industry? What's the, the whole mandate and mission as moving forward from here?     Benjamin Siong:     You know, at the end of the day I think we all have a higher purpose, uh, and everyone has to find what their high purpose is. I think for me it's, I want to be a blessing to people around me. I want to impact people around me. To me it's sharing information that I already know. Now I'm, I'm not your best speaker out there. I'm not the most knowledgeable person. I keep wanting to learn and whatever I can learn, I believe people can learn as well. So I'm wanting to share more. My goal is to be able to learn more for myself and to take that information to the masses out there to the trainers out there. I want my courses to be the vehicle to be able to do that and I want to be able to move into more countries to speak to them. Uh, more, uh, synergies very much like what I'm doing with you. Podcasts, talking with individuals you influenced to be able to bring information out there and we all have a message to share, you know, and big or small. It's a message that can make an impact. If I could make an impact to one person, just one person, I think I've done what I needed to do. So sometimes it really just starts with one.     Wade Lightheart:    Got it. Now, do you, when you're coaching like people do though than on an online basis, is it a one-on-one meetup? How do you handle that side of the business side.     Benjamin Siong:     right now? Uh, yes, I definitely do one-on-one a sort of training. Uh, so I mean if they wanted to do a one on one training with me to look into a website and have a look at to see what we do. Uh, we do one on one physical training and my center in Melbourne, but obviously if they want to work with me on an international basis, if you're a competitor or you to know more about health, we just sweet. We definitely do one on ones as well. That's great.     Wade Lightheart:    And then where can they find you or where can they reach out to you?     Benjamin Siong:     Yeah, so on the website that's you can see information on our online, uh, modules in terms of one on one training, in terms of courses, uh, in terms of if you are in Australia for example, you want to hop into our center, you definitely can find that as well.     Benjamin Siong:     But also on Instagram you can check us out on 'trainasp' on Instagram or my Instagram is 'benperformancecoach'. And this is where you get to see a lot more about the stuff that I talk about. Uh, you get to see me a little bit more passionate I guess, in, in, in my little us to, uh, streams where I actually talk to two crowds, uh, and see, see what the information is all about and whether it actually resonates with you. I think that's the main thing. You've got to find something that resonates with you.     Wade Lightheart:    That's great. And then, so before we wrap it all up, any messages that you'd like to share out to our audience or things that you'd like to communicate as a signing off?     Benjamin Siong:     So, yeah, absolutely. You know what I want, one thing I would like to say is if there are any coaches or trainers actually hear this.     Benjamin Siong:     It's very important to give and give an a, I mean, give in terms of being generous with information. I remember in my earlier days as a coach, I was very selfish with information and I learned a lot from courses and stuff and I decided to keep it to myself because I felt that I was unique and this would make me different. And the one thing I realized is that the more I kept to myself, uh, the more I repelled cultures away from me. And, uh, I had a paradigm shift and I decided to become someone who gave information away. The more I gave, the more it was given unto me. The more I learned, the more I learned, the more empowered I am, the more I want to empower. I mean, this brought me around the world to be able to teach and to be able to give.     Benjamin Siong:     And right now my philosophy is in giving. I love to give, you know, the more you ask, the more I can give, the more I will. And I think that's important because we all eat to learn. There is no use taking information to your grave. The more you learn, the more you can empower. Um, and as so many people out there that listen to a lot of information out there but they don't know the truth and the truth is being hidden from us, from marketing. The truth is hidden from us, from, you know, corporate organizations and stuff. And a large degree of what we need to understand as individuals, as parents teaching our children is actually what is pertinent to our health. And so if there is a level of understanding that I can give, I want to be able to do that. And if there are coaches that are listening to this who feel that they take information away that they can give away, do so because it will come back. Yeah.     Wade Lightheart:    No, it's great. I'm glad that they said that because I've always found that uh, by providing those little tidbits or those moments of inspiration or those, those, those insights out in the world, it's amazing how all of a sudden you get, accepted as a professional and understanding people see it like, wow, that guy is really generous with his information. He's telling me this. I really want to find out what else does he know as opposed to the person that's kind of guarding and not really singing their music. And I think it's almost the reverse psychology of what some people think they get to hide the secrets or the hide to things. But actually the more open and genuine they spread it, the bigger the message goes, the more people get it. And ultimately the more people respond to it.     Benjamin Siong:     Sin. I mean, what I'm speaking, like I said, I have not. I'm definitely not your best speaker. I'm not your best Electra. I'm not the most knowledgeable person out there. What I know is not new. What I know is out there in Google, you go Google it, you know you'd be able to find it. But what I believe is unique is I'm able to take information with my own life experience and actually give it. That's what makes a difference to people because people relate to that. So I've never been afraid to share information. Information exists out there. It's already there. You're not inventing anything. You are repackaging it because you are an individual interpreting it and then giving it to someone who will take that interpretation and be blessed with it. And so I think people need to look at that.     Wade Lightheart:    I think that's a beautiful way to sum up the coaching experience, is synthesizing the information that's available into a way that people can digest it, absorb it, and utilize it inside of their life. And of course, that's what we are at the Awesome Health program. We're all about that. So I want to thank you, Ben, for joining us all the way from Australia. We tried to do this episode before it got messed up and the recordings are really appreciate that you came back to the well and and went it again. Thank you so much, sir.     Benjamin Siong:     It's been a pleasure talking to you. Thank you so much for inviting me back.     Wade Lightheart:    You bet. Thanks, Ben.     Benjamin Siong:     Thank you, sir. Thank you.