A:So, Fabio in London sounds about right for the culturally diverse environment that the UK’s capital is, however, I was born and raised in Glasgow. I fit right in though as I have French and Italian (Sicilian), parents. Being born and raised in Glasgow with foreign parents has allowed me to take the best traits of 3 cultures (I hope), and forget the negative ones.
Q:When did you know that you could compete at the WBFF level?
A:In 2011 and 2012, I competed in natural bodybuilding shows, I pride myself on being a natural athlete. The more I progress through the fitness industry I see/hear of many different competitors doing what "they have to do" to get them to the stage. I however know that the natural body is capable of so much, it's not easy and you will mentally doubt yourself as your hormones will be all over the place, but if you have the mental toughness, it can be done. I knew I wanted to compete in the WBFF as it just seems like such a fun way of presenting months of hard work. After doing the bodybuilding thing, I took a year out to find a little more balance in my life and realized that pushing myself and competing is now in my blood. Bodybuilding is tough and challenging, though I feel it is a little one dimensional- so I thought I'd try the fitness scene. After helping out backstage at the WBFFs first UK show in London I was hooked. To see the atmosphere and how well all the competitors got on backstage, I just had to do it. I'm currently fully committed and about 14 weeks out from the Denmark show. My final point regarding this is that I want to compete with the best, whether I get my pro card or not (which I'm hunting down) is another story, I want to have fun and present the best Fabio Bonanno to date and hopefully the full package is enough to take the card.
Q:Describe stepping on stage...
A:Being on stage is a strange experience as it is the end product of a long journey. It really is just the finish line but the fun is in the ups and downs leading up to the show. If you haven't stepped on stage before, it's hard to describe. Months of dieting and hard training, countless sacrifices and times of feeling extremely low, it makes no sense. However, when you step on stage to present all your hard work, the journey seems so worthwhile. In 2012 I ended up dieting for half the year, a lot was learned in that time. I don't regret it, I now know there are some areas I could have done better but that's the joy of stepping on stage, each time there is something different to work on and you learn so much about yourself (and the people/friends around you) along the way. If you have the mental strength, willpower and want a challenge I do recommend it to anyone serious about his or her training. Just make sure to let your closest friends and family know what you are doing as it can be just as hard on them.
Q:Can you give us your pre contest diet and training regiment?
A:Pre contest nutrition isn't too different from the offseason apart from being more consistent and regimented. In the offseason, I believe in balance and I will drink occasionally. However, when it comes to contest, it has to be regimented otherwise there will be too many “what if’s”. I always keep my carbs as high as possible while maintaining fat loss. When dieting we need to preserve as much muscle as possible to do that, performance in the weight room along with adequate protein will do that. No carbs equals no performance. I tend to cycle carbs and have moderate carbs on training days and low on rest days. I will plan a structured refeed (high carb day) if I feel I am struggling to recover and fat loss has plateaued. I follow a flexible diet protocol, however, and keep the foods as natural as possible. Fuel right and feel right, the benefit of this approach is that if I am really craving something I can plan it in and feel no guilt whatsoever. My go to foods are as follows, for proteins - eggs/whites, chicken, salmon, dairy (limited), varied meat sources. I currently order from Kezie foods, which do exotic meats so I quite often have things like kangaroo, elk and camel on the menu. As well as these natural protein sources, I will use protein powders when needed for convenience. For carb sources I keep it simple again, I try to minimize wheat as I feel I can control my hunger better (that's just me, everyone is different). Go to sources are sweet potatoes, basmati rice, fruit, rice cakes. With flexible dieting other carb sources will find their way in there but these are my staples. Fat sources ensuring a range of healthy fats are Omega 3 supplementation, egg yolks, avocado, varied nuts, cook everything in coconut oil, some seeds, olive oil.
Q:How did you transition into being a personal trainer?
A:I grew up playing sports and was always physically active. Basketball was a part of my life from 10-23, and then when I stopped I was missing something. As I was always physically active and fit and had a passion for being in shape I started to get into weights and nutrition more. I was an engineer for 8 years and enjoyed it for a while, however, without passion I found myself losing interest in the end. I took holidays from work and completed a qualification in personal training. After lots of thinking time I decided to jump in at the deep end and move down to London where I could make the most of myself and help a lot more people. Working from a commercial gym in central London taught me a lot and I learned a lot. If anyone knows, passing a personal training qualification does not make you a personal trainer never mind a good one, the learning really starts with experience. After 14 months in the gym I went to an elite private studio in central London (six3nine), and have been there since. The environment is a lot better and it allows me to give a better service to help others.
Q:Tell us about Smart-Tec...
A:Smart-Tec (my supplement sponsors), have been around for a while, however, in the past 3 years they have invested a lot of time, effort and research into improving the products. I was extremely fortunate to be sponsored by them. They only sponsor natural athletes which is why I am staying loyal, as well as the elite products they have. They are actually about to release a new range of even better products. The whey protein is being improved with a better amino acid profile; digestive enzymes and all the other products are being upgraded. I would say that if you know your supplements then read the label, they are some of the highest pharmaceutical grade quality supplements on the market.
Q:What's next for you and your career?
A:I've just accepted a personal training client in India for the next 12 weeks. I will be there looking after 1 client only with training and nutrition solely in my hands. This is a great opportunity for me and I will use this time to further my knowledge and experience. Looking after 1 client will allow me to focus on him and also better myself inside and outside the gym. I will use this to further my career. Eventually the goal is to have my own gym that embodies my values of helping others and being high quality. This is another stepping-stone towards that.
Q:Can you give us all of your social media handles?
Facebook fitness page - https://www.facebook.com/pages/Fabio-Bonanno-Fitness/211371368880120
Twitter - https://twitter.com/AbsByFabs
Instagram - http://instagram.com/fabiobonanno
Website - www.fabiobonanno.com
Interview done by Elliot Rivera for HealtHaven.com