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Work Hard and Stay Humble.

Oliver Miles Connell

My name is Ollie and I am a Sydney based dentist with a passion for health and fitness. I have been weight training for over 10 years and am fascinated by human physiology and the art and science of bodybuilding.

Growing up as a chubby kid in the rural Australian town of Wagga Wagga I always admired the impressive physiques of my childhood sports stars and favourite actor Arnie the Austrian Oak. My fitness journey began when I was 11 years old and had saved up enough pocket money to buy my first set of 2 kg dumbbells (which I still use for isolation exercises today). I remember reading “Weight training for Dummies” and doing hundreds of sit-ups and dumbbell curls each week while logging them in an A5 exercise book. Admittedly I was too young to have any clue what I was doing but wanted to grow big and strong like the athletes on Tv.

When I was 12 years of age I was sent to The Scots College a boarding school in Sydney where I took up rowing and rugby union for school sport. Both sports involved intense training schedules which tested my mental and physical capabilities at a young age. Rowing was a very physically demanding sport even at schoolboy level with many early mornings on the calm water and late nights in the cold gym. It integrated long endurance races and 2km time trials during which it was commonplace to reach the pass out point of exhaustion. I started noticing changes in my physique with the development of broader shoulders and thicker quads. It was then off-field Rugby conditioning that introduced me to compound lifts, increasing my driving force in the scrums and adding more mass to my now tall frame.

Post high school I decided to follow my father’s footsteps and attended dental college. This had always been my dream career as I believe a smile is most widely recognised complement in the world. The bachelor’s degree required 5 years of full-time study at Charles Sturt University in Orange, NSW. During this period, I continued to weight train regularly and captain the university rugby team on Saturdays. In between my studies, social life and sporting commitments I would read fitness articles and aspire to better my physique, though at times sculling more beers than protein shakes.

I graduated from university in 2014 and began working as a dentist fixing smiles full time. I still played 1st grade rugby and was fortunate enough to make representative level teams before winning a championship with my club in 2016 and going on to win a Hong Kong based rugby tournament with another team in 2017.

At the beginning of 2018 I was sitting at approximately 14% bodyfat and after long consideration and a few ongoing injuries I decided to hang up my cleats and as a personal challenge commit to my first bodybuilding competition while still juggling full time work, running my own dental practice (Connell Dental Care) and starting a post graduate degree to further my dental qualifications. At the time this was a shock to my friends and a commitment not very well understood by my family or even myself. What ensued was 12 months of personal, physical and mental growth. With the assistance of my close friend and coach Sonny Brown I stuck to a strict nutrition and training format, learnt to categorize my macro nutrients, count calories and subsequently noticed drastic changes in my body’s composition and lean mass. There were definitely ups and downs during the preparation fuelled by fatiguing calorie deficits and disbelief.

Finally in November after an arduous preparation I boarded a flight to America and stood on the world stage at Musclemania’s prestigious Fitness America Weekend in Las Vegas. All the dedication, hard work and time and I had invested throughout the year paid off as I became the new Musclemania America Men’s Physique champion after competing in the open division against an experienced and competitive line up with my supportive family watching the live stream some 12,000km away. This was an extremely rewarding yet unexpected privilege that made every early morning and late night training hour and tupperware contained mealprep worthwhile. Understandably competing isn't everyone’s goal but this competition provided me a means for personal growth, allowed me to unlock my hypertrophic potential and become a better version of myself.

My future goal is to earn my pro card within the Musclemania federation and to inspire others along the way. Long term I may move into the fitness industry part time for personal fulfilment and enjoyment to help others on their own journey. My most important fitness advice would be to keep both your training and nutrition enjoyable and maintainable as I have found this to be the key to keeping motivated and consistent.

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