Interview With Ben Kong
Ultimate Body Success Program
Q. Can you give us some background about yourself?
A. I am a dedicated full time fitness professional and business owner with a passion for bringing the TRUTH, WITHOUT ANY HIDDEN AGENDA of what REALLY works and what doesnít to anyone and everyone who wants to make a REAL, LIFE LONG difference to their health and fitness by transforming their body into what they have always desired.
I am a fully qualified Personal Trainer with client base ranging from international level body shapers, power lifting national record holders, ex-Olympians and Masterís Games athletes to corporate executives and clients who simply want to maximise their results in the gym from a diverse range of backgrounds. I am also a group fitness instructor teaching fourteen classes per week ranging from Pilates and Fitball to Les Mills RPM Indoor Cycling and BODYPUMP. On top of all this is of course my work to create and develop my Ultimate Body Success Program and constantly refine my knowledge base to be as cutting edge as possible whilst seeking the simple truths that are the keys for anyone to unlock their own potential. I then pile some more hours into my week running Premium Indoor Cycles, an exclusive three state distributorship of the best indoor bike in the world bar none: the Body Bike. Finally because fitness is a way of life for me I also squeeze in some supplement sourcing and sales just to round everything out.
In terms of my training background, I have trained for over fifteen years and over that time I have covered the full spectrum of olympic lifting, power lifting and body building (2005 Under 65kg NPFC-IFBB Australian Champion) as well as obtaining my level 10 in Shaolin Jee Shin Wing Chun Kung Fu. At the moment my classes are my main training focus as I strive to be the best role model I can be each and every class Ė riding over 120km per week of hard intervals and pumping out 500 plus squats, 400 odd reps of chest presses and a few hundred reps on all the other body parts whilst motivating others to do the same with a smile on my face does me just fine.
Q. What got you started in fitness?
A. In terms of training the classic story. Skinny kid wants muscles, picks up the weights. I was around 12 at the time and I bought a bench from the sports store and the good old 20KG DB set and a bar. I still remember the first time I got stuck under the bar Ė itís the classic rite of passage isnít it? From there I started to sneak into the gym at high school (though kicked out many a time until I figured out how to get out of the line of sight of patrolling teachers) and I made good progress.
All in all though I credit my teenage and ongoing success to just reading a single book early on that made all the difference: Dinosaur Training by Brooks Kubik. That was the book that set me on the path to where I am today. I believe that all it takes for the Ďaverageí trainee that is frustrated and doesnít get the results they want is to simply hear the TRUTH from one source. If they are finally shown and it is proven to them that the key principles that are common to all forms of productive training such as hard work and dedication, no-nonsense functional, precise and specific nutrition and perhaps most importantly the specific mental, emotional and lifestyle traits that those who have mastered their bodies share are what really works and that there are no shortcuts then they have a chance. Once you realise the TRUTH, there is no turning back and you go to a whole new level. You are no longer confused and bogged down by the quagmire of crappy information out there. From one good source of information you will find another and another. It is this process that I believe is so critical but starting it is the key Ė many people can train their whole lifetime and never see, hear or read the TRUTH and thus never achieve the body they deserve.
My start in the actual fitness industry was a little less conventional though. Straight after finishing my business degree specialising in strategic and operations management and ready to be recruited to one of the big four firms I thought, Iím passionate about fitness so Iíll go do that.
Q. What is it about fitness that you love so much?
A. Ahh, whatís there not to love about fitness? Whilst I could say the lifestyle if itís your thing itís certainly great and that the modern corporate stresses arenít there and getting paid to train is also the closest that I will get to being a professional athlete not to mention a whole bunch of other perks, none of them really capture it.
For me this is it. Although I am surrounded by the world of fitness, I am acutely aware that fitness doesnít exist in a vacuum and that it has a place and a context for each and every participant. One of the things that I love the most is seeing people reap the benefits of their participation in fitness in other areas of their lives. Of course people feel better about themselves if they look better and in very real terms they become better versions of themselves, better people. This impacts their family and friends because they become better husbands, fathers and friends. The mental discipline and toughness from training is also invaluable in this challenging modern life of ours. Productive fitness training without a doubt will have a positive impact on career and goal achievement as well. Of course from a health perspective the people I see each and every day function better, with less pain and more energy. All in all one of the things I love most about fitness is very much from a societal standpoint that due to all the flow on effects, I know deep down inside that each and every day I get up I help make a difference and in some small way make the world a better place.
Q. What adversities have you had to overcome?
A. Apart from genetics? Just kidding. I have been very blessed and there hasnít really been any epic adversities that I have had to overcome that havenít been self inflicted.
Q. What are your favorite and least favorite exercises?
A. Squat and probably standing barbell press and perhaps barbell curls as well as I tend to be good at those. Lunges in all their variations suck but are very effective and I do them when I need to.
Q. What are your tips for the beginner, intermediate and advanced?
A. A beginner needs to learn the TRUTH about what really works and what doesnít. They need to get on the same path that everyone who has ever mastered their body as soon as possible. They need someone or something to lay the whole big picture out for them without trying to sell them useless shortcuts.
For intermediates, the key is to implement what works and develop the mental, emotional and lifestyle characteristics that will ensure they are driven to succeed but are patient enough to be easy going and realise that they are on a lifelong journey that is only just starting. Going to the next level from intermediate is inevitable if they are consistent. They just need to put everything into place outside of the gym and in their heads to make sure that it happens. The other key is to keep an open mind as this is a time for logical, sensible trial and error. Itís not about getting caught up in the latest fad but rather considering different approaches in training and nutrition and finding out how their body works and responds best to.
A truly advanced trainee is beyond tips really. The advanced trainee never stops learning and constantly challenges themselves and explores new horizons with their training to maximise their enjoyment; truly advanced trainees have it all worked out, they know all this and more already. My one tip though is this: advanced trainees should pass on what they know to others to the best of their ability when asked. True it will fall on deaf ears 95% of the time, people just donít seem to get or rather want to believe in the TRUTH. But for the few that do, advice from an advanced trainee may be what sets them on the path to master their body for life without which they would struggle and eventually fail like the vast majority of the masses. Think about all the benefits that reaching an advanced level has given you and what it would be like to help someone else have the same.
Q. Where do you stand on the use of steroids and supplements?
A. Soapbox time I guess. But then again you did ask where do I stand, so here it is.
I have no problem with people using any form of steroids and supplements they can lay their hands on. Itís their body, their choice and their life. What right do I or anyone have to say what they can and canít do? Globally there is no consistent legality whatsoever so to me it is simply an abuse of power by certain governments in specific countries interfering in the sovereignty of a personís body. All the more considering tobacco and alcohol and food chemicals are legalised in the interests of business that pay the government in some form.
From a health perspective, the hysteria is completely unfounded. Though I have never taken any myself, my research has been very extensive for my own knowledge and to answer questions for clients. Of course steroids have side effects. Can they kill you or contribute to your death? Yes they can. But just about any pharmaceutical will when abused. Are there risks? Yes of course, but nowhere near the levels the media would have you believe if taken in sane, medically prescribed and controlled dosages. And in the end, it should be a matter of personal choice. The whole argument of public safety through prohibition goes through the window due to the creation of a greedy, misinformed, minefield that is the black market. If people are going to use steroids they will. If they abuse them, then they take their lives in their hands. The thing is though a whole lot more people suffer health problems not from taking steroids but because they were forced into the black market of fake, impure, contaminated and dangerous supplies. Had they not been impeded by the government it would have been a different story.
But isnít it cheating? In all but one specific example, no, not really (in varying degrees). In any case the context of this discussion is probably more for personal use so Ďcheatingí doesnít really come in to it. The only time I strongly object to steroid use is in any declared Ďnaturalí competition where every single competitor is drug tested at least once upon each instance of competition. The reality is that this only happens in certain body building federations. Why am I so specific about the testing?
Well the reality is that every sport at every level is already full of people that use banned substances. The testing is simply not up to scratch and never will be for the simple dichotomy that testers have a burden of proof that they must discharge and the chemists donít. Testers could spend years to perfect a test for a certain drug but a biochemist in a lab can change one molecule easily and itís back to square one.
Moreover the governing bodies really donít have an interest in stamping out the use of substances, particularly at a professional level. There is just too much money at stake for too many scandals, even if the testing was able to detect the complex pharmacology of the modern elite athlete. If they did, then they would do as the strictest natural body building federations do and no less. These federations are also far less resourced than other more mainstream sports yet they still make the commitment to invest in expensive testing for every competitor.
In short the playing field is such a grey area particularly at the top that cheating loses any real meaning. There are contradictions as well as to where you draw the line. For example, pain killing injections such as cortisone are not banned and yet they will allow a hobbling player to run at full speed. Itís injected, itís a drug and itís obviously enhanced performance to why is that not banned?
In the past I was much more easy going Ė if people want to use it thatís none of my business. But in light of the false hysteria and misinformation (any type of misinformation seems to make me go Incredible Hulk) and hypocrisy by governments and sports bureaucrats, itís something I now feel very strongly about.
Ok on to supplements.
I am an avid fan of supplements but at the same time the amount of hype, misinformation and outright lies related to supplements is just abominable. I also think that it is a very fine line between optimising every edge you can versus covering deficiencies in training and nutrition.
There are very few truly innovative and dedicated companies that are not seeking to make a buck with cheap Ďme tooí versions of the latest trends. They care about quality and research and are run by some very smart guys but they are supplements made for lifters by lifters.
There is a lot of stuff on the cutting edge but does the average person really need it? Probably not, at least not until they have everything else in order. Most of the time the best thing is to stick with the basics from reputable brands that you find work for YOU.
The big caveat though is that although it is all down to personal choice, I am a big believer in getting everything perfect in your training and nutrition before deciding to take steroids and to a lesser degree supplements. Itís just not the best use of your time, potential and reward for the choice you are making.
Q. What are your future goals?
A. My first major goal is of course to see Ultimate Body Success grow and develop and impact as many people as possible whilst constantly refining all aspects of the program to ensure that they are the best they can be. Secondly I want to realise my full potential as a Les Mills Instructor as even after training alone all these years this is a fresh new challenge. My final goal is when time and circumstances permit to compete in body building once again and earn a WNBF Pro Card.
Q. What is the toughest part about fitness for you?
A. Itís all easy really. Seriously though, everything becomes effortless after a while. One of the secrets of Ultimate Body Success is a bit of an esoteric concept but has a huge impact in practical day to day life. The key is that for life long results itís not about what you do but itís about who you are. To get the body you want you simply have to become the person in totality with the body you want. This means not only how they train and eat but also their beliefs, their work/life balance, their family and relationships. It might seem like semantics but if I had to do everything that I needed to do to be where Iím at, thatís a lot of effort. But because of who I am, all that I need to do simply Ďgets doneí and it honestly feels like no effort to get up in the morning and cook my food every day etc. Itís just a state of being not doing. We are human beings not human doings.
If the above sounds too ĎZení of an answer (true as it is) then Iíll have to say perfecting my Les Mills presentation and choreography. For someone who is pretty Ďbeat deafí I have to work hard at nailing that whilst coaching everyone in my class, remembering what comes next and working harder than anyone else in the class.
Q. Tell us about your Ultimate Body Success program?
A. Ultimate Body Success is a complete, impossible to fail system to create a lean muscular body and keep it for life. It gives you a total understanding of how your body works so that you know and then can do exactly what is required to transform your body. It is a complete system that covers all aspects of nutrition, training, supplementation, mental attitude and practical logistics such as choosing a gym, hiring a trainer, equipment and even cooking.
Every single principle is distilled from countless years and experiences of what I call the ĎFitness Eliteí. These are the people that you see at the gym with the great physiques, that train hard with clock work consistency and yet they have a simple easy lifestyle that is worlds away from the diet deprivation gung ho training and injury cycle that the average person endures. Simply put, the Fitness Elite do certain things that make them successful, Ultimate Body Success is about meticulously detailing what they do and the science in simple terms behind why they do it. The program also gives you an insight into how they think and how they live as people, which believe it or not is the one thing that I have found in all my years is the real secret to success. Most importantly though it shows you how to do exactly the same to get your best results ever.
On top of the secrets of the Fitness Elite, Ultimate Body Success crams in everything that we know you will need to be successful in the real world. For example instead of some useless Ďhealthy recipe bookí - I donít know what you like to eat or if you can even cook, we created a practical kitchen guide to give anyone the Ďbig pictureí as well as to details such as knife and frypan choices that you need to have in place to prepare clean food on a daily basis. We then even go into how to carry your food with you. It is these small practicalities that often trip people up. We make it impossible to fail because we donít leave even the smallest detail to chance. You get the whole picture from start to finish.
The Ultimate Body Success Program is the result of not only my 15 years of training but 15 years of research plus the countless years of wisdom I have been fortunate to be exposed to from the many great sources of information that I have hunted down from around the world and people I have met. It is a complete, step-by-step blue print that is guaranteed to produce results by giving you the complete arsenal of knowledge and tools to take control of your body once and for all. For more information go to Ultimate Body Success Program
Q. Is there anything else you would like to say?
A. Itís time for all of the misinformation to end. There are more and more sources of good solid training information out there and the more people that can put it into place and get results to become living examples of what is possible and share how they did it. Human nature is a strange beast and is always looking for the quick fix. But for decades, the Ďquick fixí has become the dominant discourse, the main stream message that everyone hears and is duped to believe in. Peopleís minds donít want to believe in solid training, clean food and becoming mentally strong whilst maintaining an easy going emotional balance is what will finally once and for all time get them the body they want. Thatís the Ďalternativeí for the serious or the Ďhard coreí.
To that I say: No more.
We realised that the Earth is not flat a long time ago and yet for the masses this is precisely the state of play in terms of their fitness knowledge when it comes to getting the body they want.
I just canít abide that as a species we have completely lost control of what we put into our mouths to function at our best. Powerful forces have hijacked the average personís body to the point where they are in a daily maze of confusion when it comes to what to eat (because these same powers have been smart and also told people they need to look a certain way). Itís a wonder at all that we are the masters of the planet at all as the average person doesnít even know how to feed themselves properly.
Itís time that the TRUTH about health, fitness and nutrition became public knowledge so that people can make informed choices. To each their own but everyone deserves to at least learn how their body actually works without any vested interest as a birthright.
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