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GET STRONGER with Phil Berna

Phil Berna, 24, is from Vancouver and has been a fast-paced member of the Canada Sevens squad since 2016. He is known for his speed, his work rate, his enjoyment of coffee, and for his morale boosting persona within the team. No stranger to rehabbing injury, Phil experienced a bad foot injury which required a lot of work both on and off the field to get him back to his regular fitness level. Like the rest of the team, this speedster is just looking forward to getting back to proper training and fulfilling his Olympic dream in 2021. We caught up with Phil to see what drives him in his pursuit to get stronger:

How does a day of training on the National Team start?

PB: With an 8:00am training start we get to the ACE at 7:15am for individual mobility exercises and pre-habilitation before an on-field warm-up.

How do you recover after a long day of training with the National Team?

PB: After training, it’s straight to the ice bath/hot tub for recovery and then out to lunch. We make sure to get a good amount of protein and carbohydrates to recover after practice and weight sessions. I also incorporate hot yoga on my off days to stay loose and to get a break from our typical strength training.

What is your favourite exercise and why?

PB: My favourite exercise is the power clean. Although I have a love-hate relationship with it, it is a great explosive power exercise.

How important is prehab/rehab from the previous injuries that you have had?

PB: Prehab and rehab are just another part of the daily routine at this point. It’s important to get the body activated and strengthen any areas that have been weakened by injury.

Do you have to alter your programs to accommodate from your previous injuries?

PB: Well as I am currently dealing with a minor foot injury, I have traded running for a stationary bike to keep on top of conditioning. Normally throughout the year, everyone will have slight adjustments made to their programs to account for various injuries. Thankfully I don’t have any chronic injuries that keep me away from the standard programming for too long.

How important is your diet to your fitness?

PB: The work you put in at training or in the gym is only as good as how you refuel at home.

Have you tried altering your diet in any way to gain a competitive advantage?

PB: I love a new trend. Give me an article with a new revolutionary diet and I’m all over it for a couple of weeks because I enjoy playing around with my diet to see if there is anything that will work better for my body. I even went vegan for two months and even though it didn’t stick, it was a fun experiment that gave me a new perspective on diets and the importance of choosing what works best for your body. At the end of the day, as long as you are getting your carbs, protein, and vegetables in, you should be all good.

What sort of body composition testing do you do to know whether you need to change your diet?

PB: We do skin fold testing with our nutritionist Vanessa Zoras. It’s not my favourite thing to see when she brings out those big silver calipers, but it’s a helpful tool to see where I am at and how my diet is supporting my training and body composition.

What is your favourite cheat meal?

PB: My favourite cheat meal right now is a White Spot double burger with yam fries and a chipotle mayo dip on the side of course.

What kind of supplements do you take and what do they do for you?

PB: I just take the “standard” whey protein and creatine combo. I’m sure they work but I find it more important to focus on diet over supplementation.

Who do you look to for inspiration?

PB: I look up to and try to steal from as many people and athletes as possible. I am also lucky to train with some of the best 7s players in the world on a daily basis so I am reminded where the standard is.

How do you stay inspired to train as hard as you do?

PB: It’s all an investment! I’m trying to make my Olympic dream a reality so I don’t have any other choice than to train hard!

If you could have any superpower, what would you have and why?

PB: I think I’d like to be able to read peoples; minds. Even though I’d love to fly, I feel like mind-reading would be a bit more helpful…and lucrative.

What do you do in your spare time?

PB: If my roommate Andrew didn’t work for Aedelhard I’d say I’m a total bookworm! I’m working on growing my love of reading but I really just try to turn my brain off for a bit after a day of training and I find that throwing on a podcast and having a laugh helps with that.