Owner of CrossFit NZ, he is truly changing people's lives everyday with the work that he does. We asked Darren a few questions so you guys could see what he is all about!
I struggled for years to rehab a debilitating shoulder injury, and had always been confused about how to exercise productively. When a physical therapist in Canada (where I was living at the time), put right 6 years of pain in 6 weeks by teaching me to move more naturally, I knew I wanted to help other people in that way.
2. What do you enjoy most about what you do?
So many people have absolutely no idea how to eat and exercise in order to live optimally (just like I once didn't). That is mostly due to media, diet books, get fit quick products, our own insecurities and the commercial gym industry. I am on a mission to put this right, and when I see that lightbulb go on in people's eyes, and they realise how in control of their health they are, it's a great moment.
3. How would you describe your philosophy about being fit and healthy?
I strive to keep it as simple as possible. It's hard to beat CrossFit founder Greg Glassman's, Fitness In 100 Words.
"Eat meat and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch and no sugar. Keep intake to levels that will support exercise but not body fat. Practice and train major lifts: Deadlift, clean, squat, presses, clean & jerk, snatch. Similarly, master the basics of gymnastics: pull-ups, dips, rope climb, push-ups, sit-ups, presses to handstand, pirouettes, flips, splits, and holds. Bike, run, swim, row, etc, hard and fast. Five or six days per week mix these elements in as many combinations and patterns as creativity will allow. Routine is the enemy. Keep workouts short and intense. Regularly learn and play new sports."
4. What’s your typical meal for…
First thing upon waking: At approx 5am, a mug of home made bone broth straight out of the slow cooker, a serving of Good Green Stuff and a double espresso.
Morning: Usually 3-5 eggs, or some leftover meat from dinner, leftover veggies, or sauerkraut and avocado. If I've trained, I might add some fruit and goats yoghurt.
Lunch: Often something I've bulk cooked on a Sunday. Shephards Pie type dishes made with beef mince, tons of veggies, and a topping of pureed cauliflower or pumpkin is a favourite. A Thai stirfry using shredded cabbage instead of noodles, with chicken or pork, peppers, carrot, almond butter, coriander, coconut cream is another.
Dinner: Hard to beat a rare, fatty steak, with brocollini and butter, or some roasted root veggies if I've trained.
Snacks or sweets: I'm a big fan of Lindt 90% dark chocolate, and am on an endless quest for the worlds best kumara fries....
5. Do you have any daily tips and strategies you recommend your clients implement to keep them living at a lean, fit and healthy body composition?
For the majority of people who are aiming for optimal health, drastically lowering your intake of processed sugars and grains will do more for you than anything else...... except maybe getting more sleep. So do both :)
6. What do you do in your training that is key to your success?
I am not afraid to take an unscheduled day off. If I'm not feeling it, the world wont end. When training hard, recovery is important and I always try to maximise that. However, I try to be aware when the little voice in my head is just being lazy, sometimes training when you don't want to is the absolute best thing you can do for yourself.
Other than that, I just try to do what ever I'm doing, really, really well.
7. Do you have any piece of advice for our readers who are struggling with their training routine and body image?
It's not easy of course, but letting go of body image, and food obsession is so important. Get off the machines and start training like a human being (squat, bend, jump, run, lift, throw, carry). Gauge your progress in what you can DO, not what you look like. Celebrate lifting more, moving faster, being more flexible, going for longer and recovering quicker. Then eat foods that support your efforts, don't think about them in terms of weight gain or loss. Changes in your body will occur as a side effect, in order to help you perform better. This is far more desirable than chasing these changes as a primary goal, and more sustainable.