With a commitment and dedication to training that never seems to waver, it would be easy to assume that Brett Richard has always been in the business of fitness. But while he's always been in good shape - "I've been training since I can remember - it's been a way of life for my entire lie. I started during my early high school years and never looked back," he says - the 32-year-old professional trainer, life coach and online coach actually has a background working in the media industry. Born in South Africa, Brett spent most of his life there, and moved to Dubai at the start of this year "[Africa] is in my blood and it's where my roots are settled, but I'd like to spread my wings around the world too," he says, adding that he loves living in the UAE due to the endless opportunities we're able to experience here, along with the countless different types of personas that we tend to meet in this cosmopolitan city. That's actually one of the key reasons why Brett moved to the region: "To meet people from all around the world in one vibrant location."
Brett began his career working in advertising, before building his way up in the industry to Creative Director. After 8 years of work spent becoming a veteran in the industry, he decided it was time to chase his personal passions instead, one that he had had for a number of years and hoped to turn into a career - and that he did. In addition to his work as a coach, Brett also runs a few small businesses related to the fitness industry. "My favourite part about what I do? Hmm, I'd have to say that's inspiring others to better themselves, and watching the transformations take place right in front of your eyes." When he's not working, Brett loves to get involved in anything adventurous, be that wake boarding, diving, obstacle course racing, and motorbike sports. Read on for his answers to our questions in the hot seat.
Photograph: Andrew Horne
How do you like to keep fit, and what is your philosophy when it comes to nutrition?
By living a nonstop, active life - I hate sitting still! I always have to be doing something. As for nutrition - I believe that good nutrition is the foundation to any successful transformation.
Who inspires you?
A collection of people each inspire me in a different way, speaking to different facets of my goals. I don't have one single inspiration - instead, I have a number off them, each driving me and inspiring me to obtain a gold star in different ways.
What's the best lesson your mum or dad ever taught you?
To be myself and never do bad towards others.
What might surprise people about you?
I'm a huge softy - put a puppy or kitten into my hands and I turn into custard.
Do you have any hidden talents?
I can illustrate pretty well.
If you could pick any superpower in the world, what would it be and why?
To be able to predict the future. Who needs super strength or laser eyes when you can see the punches coming before they do?
If you could give one piece of advice that would inspire others personally or professionally, what would it be?
Never forget who YOU ARE or where you've come from.
What's your favorite dish to cook if you want to impress someone? And what could someone cook to impress you?
It's been some time since I've had a romantic dinner at home... but I'd say I would cook a Steak Diane. As for what someone could make for me, I'm simple - a chicken lasagne would suffice.
What's your favourite city in the world and why?
Miami, do I really need to say more?
What's your go-to shower or karaoke song?
Easy, I'm from Africa..."The Lion Sleeps Tonight"! [laughs]
When was the last time you were scared, and why?
This morning - I thought I'd run out of peanut butter...
What's the best gift that anyone's ever bought you?
A signed autograph by John Cena to yours truly... and yes, I know! [Editor's Note: Brett is often told that he's John Cena's doppelgänger - or perhaps that John is his!]
What do you think is your best and worst quality?
My best is that I really value (and commit to) loyalty and trust. My worst is that I trust people way too easily. And I'm OCD.
What's the best way to make up after a fight?
Some good old fashioned bed-wrestling followed by some sugar-infused dessert.
What's your guilty pleasure?
Peanut butter - the crunchy kind - and Nutella, together, OMG!
What's the best compliment you've ever had?
"You've inspired me to make a change and change my life for the better."
What's your biggest regret?
None. "You can never get away if you're running away from the past."
If you could give one key piece of advice to your younger self, what would it be?
To kick ass and take names from the get-go. Who gives a sh*t what others think!
What are your hopes and dreams for the future - both long and short term?
Get out there and live more. Find love and grow something important.
What's one thing you'd never give up for anyone else, even the love of your life?
Hmm, thats a tough one - my taste in music, my craving for protein, my childish love for comics...
If your life were a movie or reality TV show, what would it be called and why?
"Just Give It Horns" - a story on how to take the lemons life has thrown at you and learn how to throw them back.
Of all of your life accomplishments so far, what are you most proud of?
Still being alive [laughs] - I've done some crazy things and I'm still here to tell the tale..
Three key items on your bucket list?
To see the world, climb Kilimanjaro, and create meaning.
What are the first three things you notice in a person?
Their eyes, their mannerisms, and their attitude towards life.
What are some of your biggest pet peeves?
Laziness, negativity and incompetence.
What are three of the most attractive qualities in another person?
Honesty, humour and the drive to JUST LIVE.
What's the secret to finding happiness, in your opinion?
Never look for it. It will come when you least expect it. Just keep a positive mindset.
What's one of your best childhood memories?
My teenage years... the most fun I've had and 'almost' guilt-free experiences that I'll never forget.
If you knew you had one year left to live, what would you change about the way you're living right now and why?
I'd make sure every minute was lived to the maximum. I'd try to inspire those that I'm leaving behind and love those, who would miss me.
How do you get through life's challenges when things get tough - any particular mindset or mantras that you rely on as a go-to?
Take life in bite-sized chunks, you can't eat the entire pizza whole. But you can take it in sizes and then small bites.