Solon: Fitness folks in focus

Fitness Station

GOOD day, everyone! I’m continuing my series on different people who have impacted the local and international fitness industries, one way or another. My guest for this entry is Daniel Baker.

Can you say a little something about yourself?

I am president of the Australian Strength & Conditioning Association (ASCA), a position I have held since 2004. I am an ASCA Level 3 coach and have the title Master Coach of strength and conditioning. I have worked for many sports at professional or elite/Olympic level. My wife Sercia, was born in Cebu and migrated to Australia in 1986. So, I still have in-law relatives in Cebu and Cagayan. My wife is also an ASCA coach, Level 2, associate level.

What is your educational background?

I have a PhD in Sport Science. Not doing all the learning at once, but upskilling every decade or so to keep up. I lecture part-time at Edith Cowan University in Perth and also taught at St. Mary’s University in London. Also, we have ASCA courses and I am Level 3, the highest level.

How are you involved in sports and in what capacity?

“I am 54 and my main role now is less coaching and more educating through ASCA courses, workshops and university lectures. I lecture all over the world now: Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Philippines, Japan, China, India, UK, USA etc.”

What is your personal fitness routine like?

“I love lifting heavy weights! But if I am traveling a lot, it is hard to lift as heavy due to flights, travel and busy lecture schedules. I like to squat and dead lift heavy one day per week (different days) and then do medium heavy variations of squats and dead lifts. By that I mean, I may do heavy squats and then medium heavy sumo dead lifts on one day, and then do medium heavy squats on another, followed by heavy conventional dead lifts. Even for my age, I can still full squat 180 kilograms with five reps, dead lift when I am not traveling and can train consistently. When I am traveling, my squat and dead lift are about 20 kilograms less.”

As a professional, what’s the biggest misconception you see in sports performance training?

“Trainers giving athletes bodybuilding type programs. Strength and conditioning coaches are there for the athletes’ athletic development, not their aesthetic development! Also, not doing basic exercises and then having progressions from the basics. Mastering the basics is important!”

What would you like to see more of in sports performance training ?

“More ASCA qualified coaches so that the above things are done! Nowadays, anyone can get a program for free from the internet. But what really matters is how that program is coached. There was actually a study done on that in Australia, giving athletes the same, good program, with one group receiving good coaching, the other group were shown the exercises and then they were left to train by themselves. The difference in strength after eight weeks was significant.”

If there’s any one thing you’d like to see people do for their health and wellness, what would it be?

“Exercise their whole lifetime and eat better!”


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