THE ONLY THING BIGGER THAN HIS BICEPS AND SMILE IS MR SEPTEMBER’S HUGE HEART. NOEL BUCKLAND HAS BEEN A MEMBER FOR LESS THAN A YEAR, YET HE’S FULLY ENTRENCHED HIMSELF INTO THE HEARTS OF OUR GYM MEMBERS AND TRAINERS WITH HIS GENUINE KINDNESS WHICH SEEMS TO KNOW NO END, HIS ENTHUSIASM THAT HIS EARNT HIM THE NICKNAME ‘ULTIMATE HYPE MAN’ AND HIS RIPPED PHYSIQUE THAT HAS BODIES BY RYAN STAMPED ALL OVER IT. IN SEPTEMBER, HE ROLLED INTO AROUND EIGHT CLASSES A WEEK, COMPLETED THE EIGHT WEEK CHALLENGE (AND MISSED WINNING IT BY A WHISKER) AND OUTCLASSED THE LOT OF US IN BEING AN AWESOME HUMAN (AND WE DO AWESOME WELL, DON’T WE TEAM?!). NOEL SHARED HIS STORY WITH US AND IT WAS LIKE BEING ENVELOPED IN A WARM HUG… ENJOY…
When did you first join Bodies by Ryan and what was the state of your health and fitness prior?
I joined Bodies by Ryan towards the end of January this year and to be honest, I thought I was reasonably fit and strong for my age…I didn’t realise how wrong I was! LOL.
Fitness has always been an inherent part of my professional and private life. Working as a firefighter for the past 25 years, some form of team sport was always on the go, whether it be football, volleyball, rugby or basketball and maintaining operational fitness by spending time in the station gym was a normal part of my working day.
Fire Station life is very regimented; we work a shift pattern of two-day shifts (8am to 6pm) followed by two-night shifts (6pm to 8am) then have four days off.
If we are not responding to an emergency call, we are undertaking allocated duties that must be performed at certain times on certain days. Duties such as fire safety inspections, fire hydrant maintenance, community awareness programs and of course realistic scenario-based training for every type of emergency whether it’s fire, road crash rescue, hazardous material, first aid, rescue from height.…the list goes on. However, maintaining operational readiness and fitness is an important one of those daily duties and so, over the years I’ve spent a lot of time maintaining a reasonable level of activity specific functional fitness.
Personally, I’ve always been more suited to endurance sports, I’m not fast or good at short duration stuff, but I’m built physically and mentally for anything that requires stamina. Away from work, cycling is my main fitness activity. For years I was into triathlons and although I really enjoyed all three components, over time, running always resulted in niggling injuries and I was never really fast enough in the water (could have done with a few of Justine’s mega swimming lessons), so I naturally developed an affinity for cycling.
I try and ride between 100 – 200kms most weeks and I make sure that includes at least one lap of Mount St/Malcom St hills and Kings Park each ride – I love hills (I don’t actually, but I keep saying that out loud in the hope that one day it will come true LOL).
I suppose I’m now what is affectionately referred to as a MAMIL (Middle Aged Man In Lycra) but I try to be a considerate MAMIL making sure that my choice of cycling Knicks is not “confronting” so to speak. I use cycle paths wherever I can, bikes and cars don’t often mix very well and I’m very conscious of how annoying (and dangerous) inconsiderate cyclists can be to drivers.
For years, a big part of my health and fitness revolved around my two daughters, Emily (19) and Kate (18). They’ve always been involved in all things active growing up and the fire brigade shift pattern meant I was lucky enough to be home and involved actively with them in their sporting pursuits. Of course, there was a lot of the usual taxi stuff that most parents do for sports before and after school, but I was able to spend time training with them and be there most of the time because I wasn’t the traditional 9 -5 parent. I was a “dance Dad” for quite a while (I’m the bomb at doing Ballet hair buns lol) and both girls seemed to do nothing else but eat, sleep and play sport. I still feel blessed to be able to have spent so much time with them as they grew and developed into the amazing young adults they are today.
What was the motivation to join BBR?
In January this year I signed up for a nine-month work secondment which took me away from the Fire Station and into an office-based day duties position in Fire Investigation and Analysis. It was an incredibly interesting role, but I knew before I started that being Monday to Friday 9 – 5 it would be very different to what I was used to and that most importantly, it wouldn’t have gym or exercise availability.
I fully appreciated how fortunate I’d been in the past being able to exercise most days, but because I’d never worked 9 -5, I couldn’t comprehend not exercising regularly and I needed to maintain my existing fitness level, so I started looking for an “out of work” gym that met certain criteria.
Firstly, the gym had to be professional with an eye to detail and a mindset for injury management and prevention. Secondly, as I wasn’t going to be exercising with my work crew, I wanted a gym that ran group classes and that ran enough classes at the right times of day to fit into my new 9-5. It also had to be close enough to my new office location that I could get to and from easily before and/or after work.
I looked at a few but Bodies by Ryan somehow jumped off the page at me and seemed to tick every box, so I gave Ryan a call.
What was your first impression of the gym?
I signed up for a trial class in the Strength gym on a leg day and was impressed by how simple but effective the exercises were and how Ryan gently but firmly coached everyone individually. Everyone there seemed totally focused yet incredibly supportive of each other. I was also impressed by how efficient and effective the system was, from the warm up, the program timings, the spread of exercises, right down to the iPad check in, the sound track control and the screen.
The stand out feature though was how everybody was so into what they were doing and so friendly and welcoming.
The next day I did a HIIT trial class and partnered with Frederick Bardinet and from memory I think Frederick was recovering from a back injury. I was super impressed at how he and the trainers worked with it and he still managed to smash out an incredibly hard effective work out without risk. Again, it stood out how focused yet friendly and welcoming everyone was…. I was hooked.
At the time, Ryan was about to start a challenge and was running a very generous introductory offer for a 30-day challenge with PM classes only. I signed up there and then. My challenge partner was Stephan Remke and straight away he set the tone for commitment by cycling 12km from his work to training every night. I knew straight away I had some work to do!
My first meal plan had Kangaroo fillet for dinner and I remember thinking to myself “omg this is going to be a real challenge.”
What challenged you the most in your early days?
Apart from eating Kangaroo every night, the biggest challenge for me was learning to change the way I trained and to deal with the fact that I wasn’t as fit or as strong as I thought I was.
For years, my training had always been based on what ever felt good at the time, far from a balanced, coordinated approach. Having spent so long concentrating on work-specific exercises, I was strong in some areas but hugely lacking in others and over time I’d concentrated on my strengths which only highlighted the weaknesses even more.
I really enjoy working hard when I’m exercising and as challenging as it, I love pushing past my comfort zone and smashing those barriers that really only exist in my head. But even though I was used to working hard in the gym, I realised my mindset had mostly been to maintain a certain level rather than improve it. That realisation was actually a massive eye opener for me and that’s where Ryan really stood out, guiding every aspect with a sensible step by step balanced approach which not only encompassed the physical, but the mindset side of things as well.
Ryan’s straight-shooting, no bullshit approach made it easy for me to accept that I simply had to start from scratch in some areas and trust in the process.
What is your favourite part now about BBR?
Oh, that’s an easy one, although so many parts are fantastic, my favourite part about BBR is the people and the community spirit that BBR has. It amazes me that everyone rocks up on time, has a quick hi then everyone gets their game faces on, gets down to business and trains the house down, then backs it up again the next day, and the next…it’s complete support to do your best from start to finish, I love it.
Please share your physical and mental transformation over your time at BBR including any important stats you feel comfortable sharing…
Physically, I’ve lost 7kg of weight that I didn’t realise I needed to lose, so I’ve become leaner and I guess with that comes a degree of definition. But, most importantly, I feel soooo much better for it.
The big news for me, even though it’s not obvious and it’s a little bit embarrassing, is that I’ve started to grow a bum, which mightn’t sound like a big deal, but I’ve never really had one so it’s kinda exciting for me. Next, I’m going to try and start to grow some calves…. although I’m genetically challenged in that area, so it might take a while LOL.
Mentally there’s been a gradual but distinct shift for me towards slowing down, following the tempo and really getting the most out of every available second. That shift has come from the consistent reminders from Ryan, Geno, Justine and Riley and from all of the members embracing that message.
I love it when everyone is smashing out reps and out the corner of my eye I realise that my training partner has that perfect tempo thing going on… it instantly reminds me to slow down and follow the tempo.
I reckon that’s where BBR really excels… empowering the members to focus on being the best they can be and making it fun.
What effect has BBR had on your work as a fireman? I bet all the other firies are jealous of your guns!!
Ha Ha, at 57, my guns don’t even make it onto the scale compared to the young guns at work, there are some seriously strong firefighters at work, male and female.
But there is no doubt that BBR has had a massive effect on my overall fitness and my attitude towards fitness which ultimately benefits my work. I feel now that I have a balanced fitness approach and a new-found appreciation that if you keep it simple, STTP and work hard, results happen and more importantly, you end up loving the journey. Exercising because you want to, not because you have to.
I like the saying…. That if you focus on enjoying the journey, the destination takes care of itself… or something like that lol.
What’s the biggest health or fitness challenge you have ever overcome or achieved?
I guess everyone at some stage suffers from a niggling or persistent injury from time to time and I’ve certainly had my fair share of them with the occasional rolled ankle, the good old age obligatory bout of plantar fasciitis and Achilles tendonitis now and again plus the odd dislocated thumb from volleyball.
I have an ongoing love/hate relationship with my posture and am constantly challenged to reduce the curve of my thoracic spine. Fortunately, Ryan and Gene’s relentless programming of core and back strengthening exercises helps heaps.
Tell us about any of your daily health routines that help you achieve your goals outside of the gym?
Apart from stretching which I try and do every morning in one form or another, the only real daily routines that could loosely be considered as health related are firstly my religious consumption of eggs for breakfast whether they’re fried, poached, scrambled, hard boiled, soft boiled, in an omelette or frittata…. I can’t remember the last time I didn’t have eggs for brekky.
And secondly, hydration. I consciously drink water constantly all through the day, I reckon at least two to three litres of water as a minimum daily.
Oh, and I’ve just started making sleep a priority. Years of shift work has messed my body clock up but since joining BBR, I’ve started making good quality sleep more of a priority, especially with getting up at 4:30am for a 5:15 session.
What are some of the goals you are currently working towards?
I’ve set myself the goal of riding the 134km 3 Dams cycling event in March next year and the 205km 5 Dams cycling event the following year with a trip to France the year after that to ride some of the Tour de France stages in 2023 for my 60th.
In the meantime, I’m working towards improving my stretching, my hamstrings in particular, plus, I’m working on getting my daughters to join me at BBR, it’s the most wonderful thing ever to see the number of families that train together at BBR.
Tell us something special/surprising about yourself that we wouldn’t know?!
Well, I don’t know if this is special, but I love working with my hands, I love making things, I guess I’m a bit of a Mr Fix-it. I create bespoke timber furniture pieces and I adore working with old timber.
But, the one thing that might be surprising that you wouldn’t know …this will probably shock some people so please don’t judge me lol …. But…. I love shopping….
Fast five favourites
Fave HIIT/Strength station? HIIT – Box jumps, Strength – bench press.
Least fave? HIIT – Ass bike. Strength – Front BB squat, I just don’t seem to be genetically gifted enough to be able to do them. lol
Fave café and your order there? – Mount St Breakfast bar – oat milk latte for my daughters, almond flat white for me or long black over ice for me in full challenge mode.
Fave cheat meal? Crispy Orange beef from Pachi Pachi
Fave holiday destination? Dunsborough, any time of the year.
I would just like to add that it was an unexpected and very humbling surprise to be named as Member of the Month. My genuine thanks and appreciation go to everyone at Bodies by Ryan for making every trip to the gym for me an absolute pleasure and for being part of such an amazing community of like-minded folks that seem to be addicted to the pleasure and the pain that only Bodies by Ryan can give.