Q&A With Dylan Rivier – Personal Trainer & Fitness Expert

Let’s cut to the chase – you’ve got a great body. How much would you attribute your physique to your inherited genes and how much to the lifestyle?

Look, I guess it’s a little from column A and a little from column B. It’s hard to say definitively as I’ve been active my entire life so I have no idea what I’d look like if I didn’t train!

Have you always been strong and athletic or was there a trigger or event that lit the fuse?

I was always active as a kid growing up. I started playing Rugby when I was 7 and didn’t stop till I finished school. It was at high school however that I discovered rowing. I remember it so clearly. My good mate Daniel reached down to pick up his school bag in our roll call class at the start of the day. He was wearing a short sleeve school shirt and he had this massive bicep sticking out from underneath. I said to him “what the hell have you been doing?!” (you gotta understand we were in year 9 and I was a super skinny, average height kid at this point). He sort of shrugged his shoulders and said “I started rowing”. I went and signed myself up almost immediately afterwards. It was rowing at Sydney Boys High, that I got to experience ‘training’ for the first time as opposed to ‘practice’. I used weights in the gym for pretty much the first time and was fascinated at how exercise not only changed your physical appearance but also your performance. I was hooked.

How much is the quality of your nutrition important to you? I recall you smashing sandwiches back in the day – is this still the case?

I love a good sambo mate! Haha that hasn’t changed. Everyone’s dietary requirements are so different, for me, being carb-heavy is a win. I know you hate hearing that (it’s the farthest thing from keto going around) but for me, it works. I’m aware of the quality of the foods I’m eating, however, I don’t stop myself from eating if something is subpar. Does that make sense? I’d love to source all of my food from local farm produce but it’s just not always possible for me.

Is maintaining peak physical performance getting harder with age?

For the first time in my life – yes. When covid happened in 2020, I took a solid 3 months off training (like most people I guess) which was probably really good for my body. Unfortunately, it was a LOT harder to get back on top of it than I anticipated. I started feeling my age for the first time too! Recovery is longer than ever now which I’m finding is my biggest hurdle to navigate. Gone are the days of being able to smash 2 sessions in a day – now I’m buckled if I can fit 4 in a week haha.

As a trainer what’s the biggest myth you hear from clients and gym-goers about fitness?

Honestly, I’m impressed by how much general fitness knowledge the average punter has nowadays. Almost everyone trains in one way or another – a far cry from the days of the mid-’00s when people that trained were part of a fair niche group. I feel like the myths have pretty much been dispelled as a result. All the bullshit diets that fly around grind my gears more than fitness myths. When people try to tell me that one diet is better than another when it comes to weight loss I kind of roll my eyes a little. Yes, some diets are better than others (obviously), but a caloric deficit is needed to lose weight. One way or another you’re in a deficit. Unfortunately, people when it comes to weight loss/gain it’s ALL ABOUT CALORIES.

Has your approach to diet and lifestyle evolved at all?

I’m much more relaxed these days (for better or worse) than I used to be. The pressures of looking a certain way are starting (starting) to fade and I’m a little more comfortable just plodding along (wow I sound like a grandpa haha). I’ve certainly realised that ‘fitness’ and ‘health’ is something that I want to do FOREVER, so there’s no point burning out. A lot of fitness influencers are CONSTANTLY trying to “be better than they were yesterday” and I think although it’s great to have goals, you can push that side of the envelope a little too far resulting in injury or worse – you fall out of love of training and stop altogether.

Is there a code or mantra you live your life by?

Absolutely. Balance is key.