Anthony Hill – Personal Trainer & Bodybuilder
My Early Athletic Beginnings…
As a little kid, my dad enrolled me in the under 6’s local soccer team. I played for a few years until one day, my dad asked me if I enjoyed playing soccer since he noticed I didn’t look like I was having fun. It was a long time ago but I remember telling him I didn’t like playing soccer. I didn’t want to be in a team and what I really wanted was to play tennis.
I watched my parents play tennis socially each week and it looked like so much fun. My parents were ok with me stopping the soccer and soon, I was playing tennis a few days a week. I started taking coaching lessons on the weekends and since I loved it so much, I would get even more coaching during the week after school. I would have been happy to play tennis all day, every day, back then and not even go to school but unfortunately, that didn’t happen.
I Became Passionate About Bodybuilding
Around this time in my life, in late high school, I watched Arnold Schwarzenegger in the movie Predator and within weeks I felt the same kind of feelings towards bodybuilding as I did towards tennis when I was that little kid. It was kind of the same but a bit different since I was older and only a couple of years away from finishing high school.
My dad bought me a used bench from the classifieds for sale in our local newspaper and we took a drive down to Sydney to my grandparents’ place and picked up my dad’s old weight set he had used when he was a kid and while he was working his way through university. I clearly remember like it was yesterday, rubbing away the layers and layers of rust with bits of sandpaper on the old barbell plates and bars that had sat in the garage for years. Even after many hours of sandpapering, I was never able to fully clean all the rust off those old weights. And for the next two years or so, until I finished school and got my first gym membership, my hands were always covered in rust every time I trained. It’s funny the things you remember.
I was 18 when I got my first gym membership, but I’d already been training for two years in my home gym, so I knew a little bit about bodybuilding or at least I thought I did. My parents wanted me to concentrate on studying during my last year of school but said I could get a gym membership after my last High School Certificate exam, and that’s exactly what I did. I did my last exam and went to Charlestown Gym the very next day and signed up for a 1-year membership. I’d already trained many times at the Charlestown Gym during school sports days and occasionally on the weekends on a casual visit pass. During these visits I noticed many bodybuilders training there, so I knew it was the gym for me.
My Friendship with the Wingett Brothers
Almost as soon as I started training at Charlestown Gym, I met the 3 Wingett brothers. Anthony and Jason Wingett were twins and a year older than me. Their younger brother Adam was the same age as me. All three brothers were in the gym every night, just like me, and soon, we became friends. At that stage, none of them had ever competed in a bodybuilding competition but it was clear that competing and winning at the highest level was certainly the goal of the twins especially.
The younger brother Adam would compete, but it was the twins Anthony and Jason who would become two of the best Australian bodybuilders of their generation. Both went on to win Australian National titles, but Anthony would win the Heavyweight Mr. Universe title as well as earn his IFBB professional card which allowed him to compete in America as a fully accredited professional bodybuilder. This cemented his position as one of the greatest Australian bodybuilders ever.
Anthony and I became best mates, we trained together for years, including throughout his diet and lead up to his Mr. Universe title, in the off-season and lead up to a number of other titles he won. To this day, I look back on those years in my late teens and early twenties as some of the best times of my life. The strong camaraderie I felt with that bunch of great bodybuilding mates during those years was such an incredible experience and one that I’ve rarely felt again throughout the rest of my life.
I’m still good mates with the Wingett brothers 30 years after we first met and still talk to Anthony on a regular basis, often asking his advice on new diet and training ideas. He’s become somewhat of a bodybuilding scientist in his 40s, studying the science behind bodybuilding with regards to eating for best results and the biomechanics of training for optimal performance.
Bodybuilding Turned into a Goal and Passion
Training in those days was raw, disciplined and passionate. There was no Internet, there were only bodybuilding magazines for inspiration and trial and error when it came to building size, strength and trying to avoid injury. Anthony Wingett lived and trained like a f#%king animal and he was my training partner, so that’s how I trained. I was 68kg at 18 years of age when I signed up for my gym membership. After living, training and breathing bodybuilding with my mate Anthony Wingett for the next few years, I had virtually morphed both physically and mentally into something else.
On my 21st birthday, I weighed 110kg. A gain in body weight of 42 kilograms in 3 years. At this stage, I’d put on so much muscle, that everywhere I went, people would stare. The shops, at work, the beach especially, it didn’t matter where I was, people would stop and stare at how big I was. It did wonders for my self-confidence and no longer was I that insecure school kid who dreamed of getting big and one day looking like my idol, Arnold.
I’m not saying life was perfect, it wasn’t. I was still dealing with all the same things a 21-year-old Aussie guy had to deal with, money, my future, girls and all the associated drama and other shit as well. On top of this, my newly acquired muscle brought me some previously uncharacteristic narcissistic tendencies. On some level, I guess I knew I wasn’t the best version of myself but I was so absorbed in bodybuilding and the gym, that I truly didn’t care about anything else. I just wanted to get bigger.
My First Bodybuilding Competition
Big Anthony Wingett suggested I was ready to enter my first bodybuilding contest, but I wasn’t sure. Bodybuilding was already giving me most of what I wanted, I really didn’t feel the allure of competition. I was doing this for me and it was working. I wanted to feel good about myself and my hardcore training philosophy and lifestyle suited me and suited where I wanted to be in my life at that age. The idea of competition and the long and painful diet in the lead up to the contest was not enticing.
However, Anthony Wingett convinced me I would learn so much more about my body, the way protein and carbohydrates act on the appearance of the body as well as teach me a whole new dimension in self-discipline. On top of all this, by going through the entire process of dieting and competing, ultimately, it would lead me to greater muscle gains in the future. This was confirmed by several other big guys in my gym who had previously competed. Therefore, it was a no brainer, I had to compete because I wanted to get bigger, a lot bigger.
Back in the ‘90s before the internet, we only had so much information on the best way to diet for a bodybuilding contest. Basically, it was high protein with very few carbohydrates and fat. Some days, in an effort to get as “shredded” as possible for contest day, I wouldn’t eat any carbohydrates at all. Trying to train twice per day, with an hour of cardio in the morning before breakfast and going to work and then a 2-hour workout in the gym at night, was physically, mentally and emotionally exhausting without any carbs for energy in your system. While dieting in this extreme way for 3 to 4 months you are constantly tired, moody and feel like you could snap at any moment.
Instead of eating my usual 6000+ calories per day in the offseason, dieting for a bodybuilding show put me in the range of about 2000 calories per day. I loved to eat back then, so what seemed like starvation was not really my idea of the bodybuilding lifestyle but by contest day, I was ripped and ready to compete.
The other competitive bodybuilders in my gym were right, I learned so much about my body and the way different foods acted on the appearance of my body that I never would have learned without dieting and competing. It was tough and challenging, but it did bring me a better understanding of the discipline and will power that I’ve been able to use successfully in other areas of my life. We chose the New South Wales State Bodybuilding Championships in the Men’s Heavyweight division as my first competition. It was an ambitious choice for my first show, but I had been training for over 5 years at that point and I was ready.
I was runner up that year and although I came second, I was reasonably happy with what I had achieved. The overwhelming feeling inside was, I was glad it was over. A lot of people, many I’d never met before, came backstage to congratulate me on the amount of muscle I’d been able to pack on my frame at just 22 years of age.
It’s More Than the Competition, It’s a Lifestyle
When I got home that night and I was able to spend some time alone and over the next few days, it dawned on me that the competition side of bodybuilding really didn’t interest me all that much. I loved bodybuilding because it made me feel good about myself. It made me feel confident in all the other areas of my life and it gave me purpose every day of the year in regards to eating properly, eating enough as well as training with goals to gain strength and size regularly. To diet like a Spartan and then put my body up on stage, to be judged alongside a bunch of other freaks like myself was not what bodybuilding was about for me personally.
Even though competition in the bodybuilding arena didn’t really give me the buzz I would have hoped for, I did, however, go on to compete in a number of bodybuilding contests with first, second and third placings. I even made a comeback after I turned 40 and competed in the Newcastle Bodybuilding Classic in both the Open Men’s Heavyweight division and the Men’s Over 40 Masters division winning both titles. I guess I made that comeback just to prove to myself that I still had the discipline and the drive to compete as an older guy who had turned 40. I still didn’t like the extreme dieting or the competition side of things all that much, but it was still rewarding for me on a personal level and for that reason, I’m glad I did it.
I Must Keep Challenging Myself, I Must Help Myself
It dawned on me after years of hard training, dieting and competing that the real competition and the real reason you decide to step on stage is not so much to beat those other guys standing alongside you but to challenge yourself. You are competing against yourself, pushing yourself to your limits physically with the training and exposing how much will power you have inside to stick to that ultra-low carb diet for months on end. If you arrive on contest day in the best shape of your life, big (for your division) and as ripped as you can get by dieting away all that fat, you’re a winner in my opinion. Even if you don’t win a trophy, if you know inside, without a shadow of a doubt that you did everything you could to get in your best shape, what more could you ask for?
When you put together the sum total of my 30 years of bodybuilding training, the contests, the vast array of diets I have experimented (tortured) myself with as well as the experiences I have been through with various training partners in the gyms I have trained in all over the world, it’s been a great ride and I wouldn’t change it for anything.
Over the years, since I left school, I have been fortunate enough to be able to do lots of personal training for private clients alongside my day job. For a few years during my 30’s, I moved to Asia and worked as the Fitness Manager and head personal trainer at one of Thailand’s leading gyms in Bangkok.
Once I returned to Australia after my years in Bangkok, I went back into another corporate job but also became heavily involved in investing in the stock market, after the GFC, and various other investments that eventually allowed me to focus much more of my time on the Over 40 Health and Fitness project and the community of people we are helping.
How Over 40 Health and Fitness Started
A few years earlier I had been researching the idea of an online fitness project that was original and offered quality content that was missing from the Australian health and fitness channels. Working as a private personal trainer is a tough way to make a living and you simply cannot reach enough people to make a difference no matter how experienced or qualified you may be. After talking to a mate of mine who is also my business partner and the same age as me, we collectively came up with an early version of what would become Over 40 Health and Fitness.
After a lot of research and discussions, we felt that with his extensive background in IT and website development and my knowledge of health and fitness, we were in a good position to add a product of value targeting, at first, men in their 40’s who wanted to improve the quality of their life without having to turn their lives upside down in the process.
From a simple idea, a few years back, and after many, many hours of researching, designing, programming, writing and filming, we are now up and running with a working product that we believe will add value and purpose to our target audience. Although we have a finished product, it is still and probably always will be a work in progress as we strive to add more and more original content in ways that can benefit anyone seeking a healthy body and mind.
Now, It’s My Turn to Help You
To put my own life in perspective, I am a better person, husband, father, mate and trainer to my family, friends and clients because of the experiences, good and bad that have stemmed from my bodybuilding lifestyle. It’s these experiences that I believe, put me in a qualified position to help others on their own health and fitness journey. I feel especially passionate about helping other guys over 40 get their bodies to that place that makes them feel good about themselves in the same way I have chased that goal my entire life. It’s certainly a worthwhile goal and is, in every way achievable if you’re prepared to put in the effort for the significant rewards that will follow.
To the millions of people who have tried and failed.
Welcome to the club.
But please remember one thing. Keep going.
Thanks for spending this time with me, and I wish you all the happiness and good health you can dream of.
NSW State Bodybuilding Championships
Runner Up – 1992
Men’s Heavyweight Division
NSW State Bodybuilding Championships
Runner Up – 1993
Men’s Heavyweight Division
NSW State Bodybuilding Championships
3rd Place – 1996
Men’s Heavyweight Division
Newcastle Classic Open
Winner – 2011
Men’s Heavyweight Champion
Winner – 2011
Over 40 Champion