Competing in the gruelling “Australasia’s Most Powerful Man” and taking out overall third across the competition, Reece Vella shares with FOCUS his journey …
How long have you called our local area home?
I have lived on the Mid North Coast for just over four years now. I moved up to Kundabung from Sydney four years ago, I spend most of my time in Port Macquarie, and as a result have lived in Port Macquarie for two of those four years.
At what age did fitness become a part of your life?
I have always been involved in sports, playing a range of geam sports and martial arts. It wasn’t until I was 17 that I set foot in a gym; it was here that my passion for resistance training and fitness really began.
Tell us about your recent title; you’ve been dubbed as “Third Most Powerful Man” in Australia. What event did you compete in to receive this title?
Australasia’s Most Powerful Man event was held over two days, Saturday 13th June, and Sunday 14th June at Del Rio Resort in Wisemans Ferry. Being over two days, this competition was extremely strenuous on the body and was extremely testing; however, due to the nature of Strongman, the individuals who compete at these events are the epitome of Sportsmen (and sportswomen). I met some of the best athletes, and genuine people I have ever had the privilege of knowing, which motivated me and pushed me to do and be the best I could be at this event.
I was very humbled to receive this Title; this was my second ever Strongman, or weightlifting event, I had ever competed in, so to do so well was very unexpected. My goal was purely to be competitive and thanks to the wisdom and programming of my coach, Mark Jamsek, I was able to far exceed my own expectations.
Explain the rigorous activities you undertook over the course of the event …
The competition consisted of seven events. Day one consisted of four events, which included a 270 kg frame carry over 30 metres which was timed, a 90 kg log clean and press for as many repetitions as possible in 75 seconds, a deadlifting event that began at 200 kg and continued up by 20 kg increments until a winner was determined (I failed at 280kg; the winner lifted 300 kg), and 140 kg conans wheel, which goes by distance covered in 75 seconds. Day two consisted of three events: a 10 kg shot put with three attempts and the furthest distance thrown measured; 320 kg yolk walk over 30 metres, which was timed; and five atlas stones that had to be lifted to 1.25 metre barrels in 75 seconds, the quickest time won (80 kg, 90 kg, 100 kg, 120 kg, 140 kg stones).
I finished 2nd in the frame carry, equal 1st in the log press, equal 6th in the deadlift, 6th in the conans wheel, 1st in the shot-put, 5th in the yolk and 6th in the stones event. As a result, I finished outright third in Australasia in the under 90 kg category.
Leading up to the event, you must have undergone some intense training. What did it involve, and whom do you owe gratitude to for being by your side training and pushing you to your limits?
Five weeks prior to this event was the Port Macquarie strong man event, for which I had trained for 11 weeks and was able to place second. It wasn’t until here that I heard of the Australasian competition, so my preparation for this event was limited. Training for Australasia’s most powerful man was gruelling, and consisted of four or five 2 – 3 hour training sessions a week. This training consisted mainly of powerlifting movements (squatting, deadlifting, bench pressing, and overhead pressing) accompanied with strongman specific implement work. I have to thank my coach, Mark Jamsek from East Coast Barbell; without his knowledge as a strength and conditioning coach and programming there is no way I would have been able to achieve what I have.
I would also like to thank my fellow ECB teammates Aaron Wilde and Kaylyn Price for the support both in and out of the gym. They both also achieved highly in this competition, with Aaron also finishing third in Australasia, and first in NSW in the under 80 kg class on the day, consisting of five competitors, and Kaylyn finishing as NSW’d strongest woman under 82 kg. I would like to thank the guys at the High Performance Centres for putting up with me at the gym, and my trainers, Jayden Vella and Gerard MacIntyre, for their support on the day. My final thanks goes to my family and friends who came and supported me on the day – in particular my parents, for feeding me, and listening to me whinge when I came home after training.
Not only do you hold this title, you wear a few other hats too. Tell us about your life as a personal trainer, massage therapist and also a nurse working in aged care …
People are my passion. I love developing relationships and helping those around me, if that is by doing something as simple as making them smile, I am happy. This is where my journey down the fitness/health industry road has stemmed from; I have been working in the fitness industry as a personal trainer for the past 3.5 years, and massaging as a remedial therapist for 2.5 years. It wasn’t until February last year that I began my journey as a Registered Nurse at the University of Newcastle. I am currently studying a Bachelor of Nursing, which led me to working in Aged Care at Garden Village in Port Macquarie. Listening to the experiences of these amazing individuals, and being able to make their day that little bit better is what tells me I have made the right decision in terms of my career.
What are your goals for your competitive future?
I have become extremely passionate about Strongman/Powerlifting and wish to continue competing in these events. I have a Powerlifting competition on September 6th in Sydney which I am currently training for; after that, I would like to continue competing in smaller events in Strongman and Powerlifting. My eye is set on next year’s Australasia’s Most Powerful Man Competition; to win that would be amazing.
What advice would you give to those inspired by your journey?
Don’t be afraid of giving things a go in life; once you find something you are passionate about, work hard at being the best you can be. In the words of my biggest hero, Arnold Schwarzenegger,”Don’t be afraid to fail”. Failure means you have given something a go; from failure we are able to learn so much and better ourselves each and every time until failure will no longer be an issue.
This article was from issue 117 of Greater Port Macquarie Focus.
This article was from issue 117 of Greater Port Macquarie Focus.