Ex-Professional boxer Ricky Bushell spent years competing in boxing at top international level and then in the domestic arena at professional level. When the time came to hang up his gloves Ricky set his sights on ironman distance triathlon competitions and turning his passion for sport into a Personal Trainer career.
Where did your passion for fitness competitions begin?
After spending many years competing in boxing at top international level and then in the domestic arena at professional level it was time to find something new. I muddled for a bit with running, competing in ultra-distance races and then sprint and Olympic distance triathlons. Nothing fell into place and so I stopped competing and training and decided to concentrate on work as an Operating Department Practitioner.
I still had this ingrained passion for sports but life became too busy to involve myself in anything. Then in 2009, I was watching my local ironman race and I decided I would and could do this.
What’s involved in Ironman Distance Triathlon?
Ironman Distance Triathlon is a long distance event involving a 3.8km swim, 180km cycle and a 42km run.
How did you approach your fitness training?
To begin with I set myself a target to compete in next year’s race on 5th March 2010. This gave me a year to get ready, purchase my equipment and source a good Personal Trainer. At first I thought I could coach myself, but I soon realised this sport requires a person with expertise in this event to guide me.
What happened on race day?
These events have a big week long build up with mini races during the week. Usually there are swim races and running events including talks about the event for newbies to the race. Two days before the race I was due to hand my bike in for checking, so I decided to take it out for a last ride and then disaster struck! I crashed my bike, hit a car doing 40kms an hour head first and fractured every bone on the left side of my face. Wearing my helmet saved me! Luckily for me through my work I had got to know some excellent surgeons. A week later I was on the operating table, where I work and a 6 hour operation followed.
Was it time to give up?
Hardly…four weeks later I was back training and I re-entered the race the following year.
I sourced an amazing Personal Trainer to coach me. They used live Google documents to update my training plan and gave me constant feedback and a thorough understanding of what I needed to do to achieve my aim of competing.
In March 2011 I completed my first ironman in 13hr 39mins. I felt I could do anything and now had the challenge of my personal best to beat.
Since then I have raced four more times in both Australia and New Zealand.
Have you got any competitions planned for 2016?
Oh yes! This year is the first time I am racing here in the UK. It is a completely new environment for me with numerous factors to contend with. Of course the climate and weather conditions are different but so too are the roads and naturally the traffic is a concern for road cycling.
What advice can you offer to other budding Ironman Distance Triathletes?
This is serious competing and not for everyone. It’s vital to structure your training effectively.
My training is set over 30 weeks:
- 10 weeks preparation phase
- 10 weeks build phase
- 10 weeks peak phase including 2 weeks tape
Every fourth week is a recovery week and I take one day off a week from training. Rest is an incredibly important factor.
The first week is usually around 5 hours of training then in peak it’s up to 18 hours a week.
Aim to do 2 swims, 2 cycles and 2 runs a week.
How important is your nutrition?
As far as I’m concerned nutrition is the fourth event in the race. You are racing over a very long day and need to meticulously plan your nutrition and test it out during training.
Your achievements and determination are a real inspiration. How has this sports journey led you to change careers and become a Personal Trainer?
Before I left New Zealand I completed my Level 1 Triathlon Coaching Course. As a very experienced athlete and coach, even at my level I still used a Personal Trainer to help coach myself to reach my maximum. After competing in boxing for 40 years together with other sports I have gained a great foundation on how to train for many sports and challenges. I’m excited to build a PT business that uses these skills, help others succeed and gives the potential to grow my Personal Trainer salary overtime.
Did you look for anything in particular from your Personal Trainer course?
I have been very passionate about everything I do and love the fact I have pursued a career in the medical arena. It has really laid down the knowledge of how the human body is made and how we recover from injury. I’m really serious about my career and so I decided that the Personal Training Diploma was the right course for me. It starts with a thorough foundation in anatomy and physiology giving a solid base from which to develop your specialist skills in preparation for the clients you plan to work with.
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