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Ray Sookar Personal Trainer

by Alexandra Parren

Ray Sookar Personal Trainer

Ray has enjoyed sports from a young age and soon got into coaching and personal training so he could share his passion with the world. He talks to Sundried about life in fitness.

Please tell us about sporting events you have taken part in or have coming up. 

I currently am not training for any sporting events but do want to compete in Ninja Warrior, so as soon as I know how to get on with that, I’ll literally be jumping off walls.

Tell us about your journey to fitness? Where did it all start?

From an early age, I have always enjoyed sports, both playing and watching. I always loved sports movies, my earliest being the excellent Mighty Ducks trilogy, Field of Dreams, Rookie of the Year and many others. The sports I loved watching as a kid and into adulthood are baseball, ice hockey, american football and basketball which I still get to watch as part of my day job in sports broadcasting.

Through school, I played football and basketball at break, and took every sport we did in PE so seriously as if we were professional athletes. While in school I took up martial arts, learning Wing Chun Kung Fu and Tae Kwon Do.

Wanting to compete but never really having the time, with school and work commitments, I instead invested in coaching, becoming a certified assistant basketball coach. I took on an apprenticeship with a karate club, learning the style and grading as well as certifying as a tutor. After karate, I certified as a personal trainer, wanting to combine correct fitness knowledge with martial arts training, to bridge the gap between hard conditioning and combat capability with sports science. Through fitness training, I learned of strength and conditioning and am currently working towards higher certification in S+C while putting together a syllabus for training my own approach to martial arts.  

What are your training goals now?

Combining strength and conditioning with functional training, martial arts practice and bodybuilding, I’m working on the idea of building strong fluid muscle that can be applied to multiple athletic disciplines. The comic book nerd is coming out of me by seeing how I can become like Nightwing (Batman’s first protégé Robin when he grows up and leaves the Batcave).

Tell us one unusual fact we wouldn’t know about you:

My mum’s side of the family is Muslim, my Dad’s side is Hindu and I was baptised Catholic. So whichever way you look at it I’m angelic!

What advice do you wish you'd been given when you first started out?

Be prepared for people who will try to avoid paying you because they don’t realise this is how you make your living.

Do you follow a specific nutrition plan? If so, what/when do you eat?

Recently, I have been looking into a more natural diet. The more I have trained, the more my body has decided what it wants. Fruit and nuts are a great way to keep your blood sugar levels up and your body light and energised to stay on top of work and able to work out. 

Breakfast is either oats with hazelnut or almond milk or eggs and fruit juice. Snacks are fruit and nuts – cashew, almond, pistachio, pear, apple, clementine, orange. Lunch is a prepped meal of pasta, rice, couscous or salad with chicken, beef, fish or veggies.

What do you do to keep your clients motivated? Do you have any top tips to keep motivated?

The basics are the best when it comes to motivation and accountability. From the beginning, set weekly measurements, take photos for visual aids and videos during particular workouts to show the muscle working and technique. This way, my clients get to see how they work, whether it’s a squat or a complex movement, people need to see themselves. It’s great for me as a personal trainer to be able to perform a snatch, but the client is the one performing it, they know how they feel.

In this age of digital and social media it’s even easier to contact someone and know they can’t use an excuse.

Talk us through your training regime.

5 days a week, shoulders, chest, back, legs, total body athletic training; Olympic lifting, kettlebells, ZUU.

Body part days are a mix of body weight exercises to warm up, TRX to add stability, weights for sets and reps, finishing with med balls and battle ropes to add a pump to the muscle area.

Athletic days are an all over body approach to getting everything involved with body weight movements to warm up, TRX to add stability, Olympic weightlifting, and kettlebells for power.

How do you keep your fitness knowledge up to date?

To stay current, you must go back to basics. I’m ever referring to my manuals and learning new skills, applying them to my workouts before rolling them out to my clients. Anything you ever wanted to know has been experienced by someone else. The answers are always out there, keep reading.

What are your top 3 trainer tips?

Commitment is the key to excellence: make small easy things habits, (while working out) everything that changes in the body is neurological before it is physiological, if you can do one more rep do one more after it if you can hold on for 3 more seconds hold on for five.

If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Not sure I could give up the variations of so many good foods for only one thing. Variety makes the world go around.

Why work with Sundried?

Over the last few years, looking at nutrition and the waste of food that a lot of the supermarkets take part in, the excessive resources we use for everything we do, I have started taking a look at other resources as well as food.

Sundried is a company whose ethics and commitment to quality connects with the values I have been absorbing and working to include in my daily life.

Favourite fitness quote:

Pain is weakness leaving the body – US Marine Corps


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