The Canberra Centre’s home of health and wellbeing, Eden, is back for its second year and with it has come a series of master-classes focused on health, fitness and wellness. We recently popped along to learn all about strength training with one half of the Base Body Babes, Felicia Oreb, and The Australian Strength Coach, Sebastian Oreb.
The husband and wife team, together with Felicia’s sister Diana, own Base Gym North Sydney, Base Body Studio and Base Fuel Wholefoods Café. Felicia and Diana, both personal trainers, focus on training women through a combination of strength and circuit style resistance training while Sebastian, one of the most sought after strength coaches in the world, works with a wide range of elite athletes. But how did this budding fitness empire begin?
Felicia explains: ‘ I was seventeen when I met him [Sebastian] and we have been together 16 years now. He was 63kg when we met, and he wanted to put some muscle on and we started training together. After I had my first baby I wanted to get back into shape, so Seb started training me and my sister, Diana. When I took my daughter to daycare all the mums were like “what are you doing? How did you get back in shape?” so we started off training mums in the park and it grew from there.’
‘Opening the gym has been our biggest achievement,’ Sebastian elaborates. ‘We’ve been in the fitness industry 15 years and it was 3 years ago that we started the gym which is now the base for our other businesses. The first two years were really hard, but we’ve done the hard slog and now we are fortunate enough to look outside the business now and start to grow it.’
The number one question the couple regularly gets asked whether it be in the gym or via their online consultations is how do you lose weight. Sebastian points out that this really isn’t what we should be asking. ‘It’s not weight that we want to lose,’ he explains. ‘It’s fat. And sometimes as we train and loose fat we gain muscle so overall we aren’t actually losing weight. Our goal is to change people’s focus from losing weight to instead wanting to live a long healthy life, move freely and without injury, and to look good and feel confident.’
With obesity at epidemic levels here in Australia, and with only one in three Australians exercising regularly, it seems that most of us aren’t succeeding in losing body fat or weight. ‘The majority of people aren’t achieving results in the gym,’ Sebastian confirms. ‘People need to think about how they spend their money, and with so much free information available out there on the Internet and through social media, a lot of people aren’t seeking a PT [personal trainer]. People think they can get by without seeking a professional.’
But just as you go to the dentist when you have a toothache, when possible you should be consulting an industry professional when it comes to your health and fitness. Lucky for us Felicia and Seb have shared their expertise for free.
Build your Base
Felicia and Sebastian are all about building your base body. ‘It’s building your foundation,’ Felicia explains. ‘Building your base body to maintain for life.’ Through training and nutrition, the goal is to build the foundation for optimal health, fitness and strength.
Strength training has many benefits including: fat loss, increasing muscle mass, improving strength, increasing bone density, improving sports performance, supporting injury rehabilitation as well as supporting a long, healthy life. Plus strength training can help you look and feel good naked.
According to Sebastian there isn’t a single other methodology that can achieve all these results except strength training. ‘I’ve got the best program in the world,’ he said, ‘but unless you know how to do it would be the worst program in the world.’ And therein lies the need for professional help; when it comes to strength training, unless you have the knowledge and awareness to lift weights correctly, you can do more damage to your body than good.
‘We want to give you knowledge on how to perform the right exercises correctly.’ Here are Sebastian’s top tips for lifting weight safely:
- You need to earn the right to add weight to the bar
- Safety first practice the movement and technique before you add weight
- Keep the weight as close to your centre of gravity as possible
- Maintain a neutral spine
- Only go as deep as your mobility allows
- When lifting weights always think shoulder blades back and down like you are sending them into your back pockets
‘It’s important to be balanced. You need to train your body equally upper and lower, a mix of push and pull exercises,’ Sebastian said. ‘It is also important to be balanced in your exercise and nutrition. You can train all you want but if your nutrition isn’t there, you won’t lose fat. It is also important to be mindful of recovery. You won’t see as good results if you train too much. The better and stronger you get, the more recovery you need.’
Maintaining Training Morale
‘We want to enjoy what they are doing in the gym. Enjoying what you do boosts your training morale and will help you keep doing it for a long time. The best thing to help someone enjoy what they do is to show them results. Rather than focus on the number in the scales we focus on the number on the weights.’