TRAINER PROFILE – Ayrton Barrett
Picking a favourite trainer at Bodies by Ryan is like picking a favourite child, but I’m pretty sure everyone has a soft spot for Ayrton (unless you’re late, or talk too much then run for cover). Muscles and tattoos, booming countdowns and shout outs when you’re slacking off, and constant adjustments to perfect our form is the Ayrton we know and love in the gym – but how did he get here? Who created this strange individual who loves cats and inflicting pain equally? Over almond milk flat whites, Ayrton shared what it’s like working for Ryan, his secret passion and what makes him tick…
How did you end up at Bodies by Ryan, take us through your fitness career…
I’m still relatively new to the fitness industry. I finished my course at the Australian Institute of Fitness and I didn’t learn one thing while I was there, it was the worse course I’ve ever done in my life (#notsponsoredbyAIF). But, it gave me the qualification to work as a personal trainer. I worked at F45 straight away after a mate got me a job, but I didn’t agree with the style of training and some of the exercises were ridiculous. There was no programming like we have at BBR, it was aimed at dropping the numbers rather than changing body composition which is obviously the most important part of training. So my entry to the fitness industry was a little bit rough!
But I was working with a girl at F45 who was Ryan’s partner at the time and I saw on Facebook that he was looking for someone to jump onboard. I had checked out Ryan’s gym a few months before and it was one of the worst gyms I’d ever seen! It was half a room full of tiles, one sled track, a rig and a random leg press in the corner. However, I took a chance and gave him a shout and the rest is history. It has been an amazing year.
What’s your earliest memory of fitness?
Probably my dad doing a hundred push-ups every day in front of me. My dad’s quite fit and strong, completely different build to me. He’s a weapon. He always drilled into us that it was good to be big and strong and I was more into art when I was younger. My dad, like most dads, wanted me to be like him but I had no interest back then! Now I’m obsessed with it myself.
What was the trigger that made you want to start a career in fitness?
Playing rugby, I used to get beaten up pretty badly! So I started training to put on a bit of size and I got addicted to the discipline it takes to train hard, the results (I went from 80 kilograms to 90 in a year) and the confidence it brings. There were so many positive side effects to training and no negative ones. From there, it became a passion and I started training some of my friends although I didn’t know what I was doing back then!
What do you love most about working at BBR?
It’s the dream job, really. Working with the members and seeing their results is the best part. I couldn’t get up at 4am everyday if you guys weren’t legends! It’s really amazing that people don’t complain at the gym, we ask people to go to some pretty dark places with training and everyone does it. The results people are getting are amazing and it really inspires me.
What’s it really like working for Coach Rhino?
To be honest, he’s the best boss I’ve ever had. He is super intense, where I’m very laid back so I draw inspiration from him. When I see him get up every day, not complaining and getting it done – it makes me shut up and do it, too! He genuinely cares about his staff as well as the members, which I’ve not really ever seen in a boss. I’ve had really nice bosses that look after me, but I don’t think I’ve had a boss who actively goes out of his way to help you advance your career and be the best you can be. It’s another reason I can get up at 4am and go to work!
How have you grown since working at BBR?
I’ve grown up a lot! I’ve always been a people person, but people often come to you with their problems but it’s funny, I still sort of see myself as a kid. It’s nice to be able to give people advice and they listen, it makes me feel like I’m helping out. It’s not easy changing your life with your fitness and Bodies by Ryan is really hard, it’s a complete lifestyle change that you have to embrace. It’s really good having Ryan as a mentor, he helps me with financial decisions as well as training and development.
Everyone on the BBR team has their own special thing, Ryan and I are pretty similar with our training, Robbie is really into mobility and Max is really into strength. It’s been great to learn off them and there’s a lot of knowledge sharing between us, which creates an amazing program. We have regular meetings where we talk about members individually and how we can improve their form, and make sure nobody is going to injure themselves.
Where was your first job and what was the biggest lesson you learnt from it?
My first job (laughs)… was in a deli at Woollies in New Zealand. I was 15-years-old and had no clue about life, I was a really young 15 as well – I could barely speak! I got fired after four weeks because I said naughty stuff over the intercom. I learnt your actions definitely have consequences! I also learnt that I talk a lot of sh&t!
(Ed note: members, feel free to bribe Ayrton into sharing what he said. Definitely not the kind of chat we get from him at BBR #hesallgrownupnow).
What’s your biggest achievement in fitness so far?
Probably rugby, because I was so into arts in New Zealand when I moved over here I only started playing rugby at 21. I built my way up to playing first grade this year at one of the top clubs in Perth, so I felt like I came a long way from nothing. I had to do the hard yards learning techniques and all the extras while going up against some big boys who have been around for a while!
Also, strength-wise I deadlifted 210-kilograms recently thanks to Max and Ryan egging me on.
Which station at the HIIT gym is your favourite and why?
Burpees! I love burpees because they’re the ultimate full body, body weight exercise. You use your legs, core, arms and chest without any equipment and it gets you really fit and you notice progression. You know if you’re pumping out the burpees, you’re doing well!
If you could avoid any particular type of exercise, what would it be and why?
Crossfit! I’m so immobile, I’d get injured straight away. I need to stretch more and go to Saturday morning’s yoga and stretch!
What would BBR members be surprised to learn about you?
I went to university and studied illustration, but I couldn’t see a future in it. You work a lot of hours for very little return until you make it so I chose to do something else. I used to sit there are draw for hours, I’d get lost in it, from scenery to animals, nudes, characters and abstract work. I used charcoal and pencil, plus I loved anchor pens. (Ed’s note: check out Ayrton’s Facebook page to see some of his artwork).
What is your favourite local café and your order there?
Typika for an almond milk flat white and spicy beef eggs Benedict for breakfast. That’s the sh*t.
When you’re in a motivation slump, what’s your favourite way to return to form?
Putting on some loud music and lifting some weights! It’s probably a bit cliché, but it genuinely helps me a lot, because when I’m in a slump I’ll stop doing things that are good for me like eating healthy, training and taking time for myself. Once you start training, the healthy food comes and all of a sudden you’re back to loving life! Training is the first step for me to bringing it all back.
Sleep, as well, is so important. If people knew how much sleep affects their life, it would be a big eye opener I think. For me, seven hours minimum of undisturbed sleep each night is essential. If you don’t get that minimum there are a few interesting effects from it, your health will be that of someone ten years older than your actual age. Getting up off the ground, you feel ten years older. Men will have lower testosterone levels, lactic acid build up increases so you recover slower from classes. If training isn’t working for you, take a look at your sleep because you’ll be so surprised how much it helps if you hit that magic number. Remember, get at least seven hours. It’s a game changer.
Have a listen to this podcast for some more scientific evidence
Tell us about any of your daily health routines that help you achieve your goals?
I’m pretty bro with my training! I try to be in bed by 9pm so I get my seven hours sleep. I always eat before I train, which can be an unpopular thing to do, because I feel sick and can’t make it through my session without lots of water and food (including all macros). I drink cold water too, cold water agrees better with my system and I’ll try to hit my water goal each day.
I get a bit of anxiety about my own training, so I just get in the car and go before I find an excuse. I always go with someone else to make sure I get there and to push myself, because every time I workout, I push myself to the limit.
To unwind, I play some x-box and hang out with my cat. I live by the beach, so I have a view of the ocean and sit there with my cat listening to the waves and some music, and cook some good food. You can’t go wrong with an afternoon nap in the sun, can you?
What services do you invest in regularly to keep your body in fine tune (include where you go and how often)?
I’ve been to Kirsty at Elements, she’s really good for remedial massage. I’ve been doing some yin yoga since trying it in Bali and now I practise at home. Also, I have a spa and sauna at my house, so regular visits there helps my body out a lot.
What are you currently working on to improve yourself?
I’m trying to be more organised with life like scheduling meals, meal prep days and having more structure with things. Also, I’m focusing on spending more time with my friends because I enjoy spending time by myself a lot but that social interaction is really important, so I’m aiming for a good balance there.
Fast five favourites
- Holiday destination? Bali.
- Cheat meal? Burgers from Meat and Bun in Freo, 100%.
- Song to train to? Front to Back by Buku.
- Movie? Django Unchained
- Spirit animal? Domestic house cat!