Aaron Agnew is an Exercise Physiologist based out of Dubai; he’s a Certified Exercise Physiologist and a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.
What is your background, and how did you get involved with Fitness?
I grew up playing a competitive level of ice hockey and box lacrosse in Canada. From an early age there was an emphasis on fitness and strength involved in those sports. I always enjoyed off season training for these sports as much as the sports themselves. I began strength training at 14 and have been involved with this activity ever since. While doing a collegiate scholarship playing ice hockey I studied Physical Education with a concentration in sports performance.
What other physical activities or sports have you participated in?
I like to enjoy a wide variety of sports and forms of physical activity. I still play ice hockey for the Dubai Mighty Camels as well as rollerblade around JLT. I would like to get back into doing yoga and playing tennis as well.
Was being a personal Trainer your first Career choice?
I always enjoyed the gym and fitness environment. Being strong, feeling healthy and active has improved my quality of life in more ways than I can explain. I have enjoyed helping people transform their lives both physically and emotionally through exercise.
What drives you and keeps you motivated?
I am driven by the desire to progress physically every year. I love to hit new strength benchmarks and push myself physically. Professionally I still enjoy sharing the enthusiasm and thrill of seeing my clients get stronger, healthier and transform their lives in countless ways.
What are your 3 favorite and least favorite exercises/movements, and why?
Three favorite include:
Deadlift- every major joint from the fingertips to toes and is one of the most functional exercises for developing most of the major muscle groups in the posterior chain and deep core.
Standing cable row variations- a standing row teaches how to correctly stabilize your center of gravity in a variation of foot placements as well as improve posture by retracting the shoulders and improving core strength.
Overhead squat: A great functional exercise that can expose and identify movement compensations and dysfunctional joint mechanics.
3 Least Favorite:
Hip abductor and adductor machines. They target stabilizing muscles in a seated position for generally woman who think this machine can spot reduce those trouble spots
Elaborate weighted abdominal machines. They are unnecessary, bulky, expensive and unnatural movements.
Decline Bench Press. Most of the population does not need to worry about pushing heavy barbells from a decline position. They take up unnecessary space in a gym and are virtually good for only one exercise.
How important is progression of weight in some form, in the muscle building process?
Progressive overload is important to make sure the muscles become adequately stressed and are forced to adapt to this imposed stress.
What are some of the most common mistakes made when someone is trying to build muscle and/or get ripped?
For building muscle people continue doing the same routine over and over without any progression.
When trying to get ripped they focus too much on cardio and not enough on diet.
What are some of the biggest training mistakes you’ve made?
Like most people I am guilty of training my strengths and neglecting my weaknesses. This has created some immobile joints and muscular imbalances.
What steps or precautions do you take to stay injury free?
I never perform a rep if I need to compromise my form in order to lift the weight. When I am feeling a sore joint or muscle I don’t push through the pain but rather focus on the healing process.
What was your worse injury that took you sometime to overcome?
When I was 14 I suffered from Myositis ossificans in my thigh which is when your body deposits calcium in your muscle after a major hematoma. This took up to a year to fully recover.
What advice do you have for someone interested in getting involved with any high intensity sports?
Make sure your body is ready for the movements and stress of the sport through strategic strength training and conditioning. This will prevent injuries and make the activity more enjoyable.
What are your future goals, dreams and plans?
I plan on staying in Dubai, continue to improve myself professionally and be a leader in the fitness industry in Dubai continuing to help people reach their health and fitness goals.
What does your nutrition (eating) plan look like?
Currently I am trying to cut body fat so I have a lower calorie and carbohydrate intake than usual. I stick to mainly whole food sources that can fit into macro percentages of approximately 40% protein, 40% carbs and 20% fats with a 500 calorie deficit most days of the week. This work well for me but everyone is different.
Do you believe clean bulking is possible and if so, is it as difficult as most people think it is?
I think it is possible however you will still put on some level of fat in this process. The fat increase won’t be as high eating whole, nutrient dense foods as opposed to eating dirty.
If someone wants to connect with you, where can you be found?
I can be found at Smart Fitness or contacted through my facebook Page or Instagram
Aaron Agnew Fitness and Online Training Facebook Page