Meet Coach Benny

My journey into strength training and the healthcare profession started with a bicycle. During my undergrad at Ryerson University I was heavily involved in the school’s cycling club; I did long distance road rides, cross-country mountain bike racing, even raced my track bike in a velodrome. Over time my body began to accumulate injuries from long hours in the saddle along and the occasional crash, I realized that I needed to be stronger and more resilient in order to continue racing.

After completing a bicycle ride from Toronto to Montreal taken at the top of Mont Royal

At the advice of a physiotherapist I entered the weight room and incorporated weight training into my routine but learning how to do things like squats and lunges were intimidating and I sucked at it. Within a short period of time I developed an appreciation for weight training and slowly transitioned my focus from RPMs to RPEs.

​As I spent more time in the weight room I discovered that I wanted to become strong more than anything else – there is something so empowering about being able to utilize one’s body to lift heavy weight. This passion began to show itself outside of the gym as I grew confident in myself and felt more grounded. Some members at my gym noticed my transformation and suggested I try competing in a powerlifting meet, the problem was that I knew nothing about powerlifting or competing.

I was fortunate enough to meet a group of powerlifters in the east side that would train in someone’s garage; it was tiny, crammed with smelly gear, and everyone looked tough but they quickly welcomed me into their group and helped get me competition ready. Since entering the garage gym many years ago I have had the privilege to compete in several meets and meet many strong powerlifters. Despite the air of intensity they are the warmest group people often because they share the same pursuit of strength. I am very fortunate to have trained with and learned from so many experienced lifters, their energy and passion for powerlifting was infectious and I felt compelled to share this passion and to help others become stronger as well.

PicturePosing with a real bison hip during a class on comparative anatomy

​Cycling not only lead to a new passion for me but also a career change. One day on a training ride I was hit by a car and spent a few months seeing a physiotherapist and a massage therapist for rehabilitation. During this time I learned a lot about the role of massage in health care as well as develop an interest in the human body and shortly after finishing my rehab I enrolled in a massage therapy program. The program was intensive and thorough, covering various topics on the human body, from anatomy to pathophysiology.

Coming from my previous career in city planning and politics I felt like I was at a disadvantage having no prior knowledge of the human body or science, it was a challenging transition. One experience that I loved during my time as a student was the outreach clinics where we applied our education and experience to provide massage for various populations including adults living with neurological disorders and patients in the Palliative Care Unit at Princess Margaret Hospital.

​Going into this program I knew I wanted my future career to focus around helping athletes but I realized that massage and exercise can be beneficial for the well-being of everyone, I wanted everyone to feel strong regardless of body type or physical ability level.

Fast forward to the present day and I am now working as a Registered Massage Therapist and helping out with the powerlifting program at Crossfit 6S. Whether I am treating a patient in my clinic or coaching someone at the gym my work is guided by the same principles – 1. Exercise is medicine and 2. Anyone can be strong regardless of their current level of physical ability.

​I coach everyone with the long game in mind, being able to continually progress in a pain free manner so that they are able to be strong in the gym, on the platform, and in their day-to-day life.

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