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Annie D

I have been in love with fencing since I started in 2008 when I was 12. I trained all through high school and moved to Melbourne for university so I could train with the best in Australia.

In December 2015 at the Australian National Fencing Championships I dislocated my right shoulder. A visit to the surgeon confirmed that if I were to continue fencing, I’d require a shoulder reconstruction.

The surgery took place in March 2016 and I spent the next 2-3 months in
sling rehabilitating. When I got the go ahead from the surgeon and the physiotherapist to begin strength training, I was desperate to start but lacked a lot of confidence. I had put on weight and didn’t know enough about strength training to trust that I wouldn’t hurt myself. If I was ever going to get back into the fencing hall I was going to need help.

I started working with Coach Ben in June 2016 and it was the best decision I have ever made for my fencing. His education on athlete nutrition has been invaluable. I have learned how to optimise fat loss while facilitating muscle gain and how best to maintain energy levels over long training sessions. With Ben’s guidance, my body composition changed dramatically. In six months my body fat percentage dropped from ~30% to ~16% and I have never been so comfortable in my own skin.

I am also stronger now than I’ve ever been. Ben has taught me the importance of developing strength and stability through a full range of motion to support joints and help prevent injury. By using periodised programs he has shown me how to eliminate imbalances, improve stability and develop strength and power. In a matter of months, I have gone from barely being able to lift my arm above my head to doing chin-ups and overhead presses. I would never have had the confidence to compete again without his help.

Most importantly, Ben has shown me unwavering support. From the minute I stepped in the door he has respected my goals and committed himself to helping me achieve them. He pushes me in the gym and keeps me accountable for my progress but I know that he will help me refocus if I start to lose motivation or have a rough week.

Before working with Ben, I had done very little strength training to supplement my fencing training. The improvement in my technique and endurance that has come as a result of my work with Ben has fast tracked my return to national competition. I started competing again in late 2016 and earlier this year, 12 months to the day after my shoulder reconstruction, I won the U23 Australian Women’s Epee Championship.

The lessons I have learned from Ben will continue to be instrumental in my development as an athlete long after I finish working with him. I wholeheartedly recommend working with him if you are interested in taking your athletic performance to the next level.

Annie D

U23 Women’s Epee Championships, Arnold Classic March 2017 – 2nd place
U23 Australian Women’s Epee Champion March 2017