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By Erin Leckie | Photography by Jamie Watling

Have you ever had one of those really bad days (you know, the kind where it seems like the whole world is against you) so you head to the gym to let off a bit of steam? Those can sometimes be the best sessions, and also the most humbling. They leave us feeling too exhausted to be angry, and give us a sense of accomplishment and an ‘everything is going to be alright’ kind of feeling.

When a 15-year-old Parker Cote had one of those days in high school, his older brother Tyler knew exactly what to do. They headed down to the local gym to try to take Parker’s mind off things. I’m sure you can guess what happened next.

“I didn’t know what I was doing, but I remember leaving the gym feeling significantly better than when I got there. It was therapeutic,” said Tyler, and he’s been training consistently ever since.

“I’ve learned significantly more since my first training session, but over the years my regimen has remained relatively unchanged. Obviously I switch up exercises, sets, and reps, and use intensity techniques like supersets and drop sets, but the same basic structure remains.”

Fitness had always been a part of Parker’s life. He started Greco Roman wrestling in third grade, teaching him the values of discipline and dedication very early on. So when he finally started working out with the weights, the basics were already there.

Now dieting and training is an outlet for the young fitness model, who says it keeps him confident and less stressed.

“Looking back to where I started and seeing how far I have come is a great motivator. I started out weighing 65kg, and today weigh 89kg,” he said.

“My favourite part about living the fitness lifestyle is that you get out what you put in. If you work hard and smart, you will reap the benefits, which is not guaranteed in all aspects of life.”

For Parker, it’s all about balance. He believes that in this industry it’s common for people to overdo it by partaking in extreme dieting and training practices, even taking too many supplements. But these behaviours never work out in the long term, which is why people should avoid extremes and keep things balanced.

He also believes that in order to get into the best shape of your life, most people need to overhaul their lifestyles and make some serious changes to current habits. But this will only happen over time; the key is to ease into it.

“The reason most gyms are packed in January, and empty again in February,” says Parker, “is that people try to make overnight changes and their bodies can’t keep up with the new lifestyle. 

“They go from eating fast food every day and working out once a month, to eating plain chicken breast and vegetables and working out every day. The body simply can’t handle that drastic switch. 

“You will have intense cravings and be so tired from the workouts you will give up very quickly.”

On the other hand, if you ease into it by doing two workouts the first week, three for the next couple weeks and so on, you’ll give your mind and body time to adjust. From there, you can ramp up the intensity, tighten up your diet, and get into the best shape of your life.

For the full article, including Parker’s daily meal plan, grab your copy of Men’s Muscle and Health issue 5 or subscribe online!

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