We sit down with one of our newest team myHMB members Rob Schillaci to get to know him better.
Hi Rob! We would like to officially welcome you to team myHMB! And we’re excited to get to dive in a little deeper to get to know you.
Tell us a little bit about your background.
I’m originally from the UK just outside of North London, but for the last 4 Years I’ve been based in the middle east in Kuwait and have spent a little time in Dubai too. The middle east is an amazing place. It’s an area I intend to stay in.
You had a long career in rugby… how did you get into that? What position did you play? And why did that chapter end?
I started playing rugby around 5 years old and just worked my way up the ages groups. I was always a tight head prop (number 3). I had some amazing memories. I was able to have represented honors and played at a very high standard. Over time I started to fall out of love with the game and found CrossFit which kept me more occupied. I found myself wanting to go train for that more and less about the rugby. I was juggling with the idea that I would give it till the end of the year before I’d stop playing. But then if I’m already wanting to stop, I told myself “Why wait?”. It was clear my time was up.
You lost a lot of weight after your rugby days, tell us about that journey.
I’ve always been a “bigger” guy. At one point I was around 122kg (267 lbs). I think that was my heaviest and at my lowest I got to around 84kg (185 lbs).
It has been not just a physical but also a mental journey. I tried a lot of different diets, from Paleo, Zone, intermitting fasting to carb back loading.
When I started playing at a high level in rugby and at college, we were being taught that it’s just not enough to play we need to look at the areas outside of training. How we fuel our bodies so that we can perform and recover. In my position I needed to be big and heavy, but there came a point where I just didn’t like how I looked or felt.
I was training hard, but my body didn’t “look” like that, and it started to be a mental battle and developing unhealthy habits with my eating. I started to look more into counting calories and became a bit too obsessed with it where I wouldn’t eat anything unless it was counted and tracked. I had zero social life and if I did go out to eat, I would do extra training sessions to be ok with it.
I got super lean at 84kg (185 lbs). I was shredded with visible abs and even then, I was still not happy. I had a bad level of body dysmorphia. I was always hungry and just burnt out from not fueling my body for training.
Since then, I started working with a nutritionist and she completely changed my outlook on nutrition. She taught me that I need to fuel my body so it can perform. Once I started doing this my body completely changed for the better. Not only that, but all areas of my training also improved. I was hitting PR’s weekly. I was getting full nights of sleep and I felt full and recovered.
Wow, thank you for sharing. What made you decide to try CrossFit?
I was kind of already doing CrossFit without knowing what it was called. With my rugby strength and conditioning we use to mix a lot of weightlifting with conditioning.
I was officially introduced to CrossFit from the owner of the first Crossfit box I worked at – Crossfit Huntsman. He showed me the main site and I would come to the afternoon classes and was instantly hooked.
What has been the best part of CrossFit for you?
This is a tough one as there are so many great aspects. #1 has definitely must be the community and friendships you can build from just one workout together. Because of CrossFit I have friends now all over the world. We all share the same interest and support for each other which is definitely something special.
Another great thing is being able to look back at your own personal journey and seeing how much you have progressed over the years. I remember when I first got started in the sport and looking up at rings thinking how the hell do I get up there and complete 1 ring muscle up. Let alone doing it for reps, or not even being able to perform a full squat snatch and failing over and over.
I know you’re a coach and personal trainer, but what made you decide to start your own online programming? And how does it differ from what others are doing?
I originally started programming online for my clients to bridge the gap for them to be able to still come to the gym and progress with their training but didn’t need to commit to 1-2-1 peronsal training slot every time with me.
From there it started to snowball as I started to get more and more recommendations. I’m not one to brag and boost, I’d much rather let the results do the speaking.
I differ from the norm as it’s not just for CrossFit I have a background also in competitive sports and strength and conditioning, so my clients are a wide range from competitive CrossFit athletes to field sports or clients that are just wanting to stay strong, fit and healthy. Individuals that want to follow a structured program that they can come into the gym or at home and hit in their own personal time. I also spend a lot of the time really focusing on the individuals needs. A lot of the time I end up being in contact with their physio’s so we can incorporate any needed rehab or specific strength training for that individual.
As a coach, what’s the #1 thing you’re always telling athletes?
Consistency is key!!!
Its cliché but so true the more consistent you are with your training the better the results. If you’re constantly missing sessions or taking weeks off, then how do you expect to progress? It is being consistent week to week training sessions that all help move you forward towards your goals.
Now that you’ve been a CrossFit athlete for many years, do you have a specific nutrition plan you follow?
I wouldn’t say a specific plan but like I said earlier once I started working with Jen Ryan she completely changed my look at nutrition. I still follow a macro intake but with the main purpose being to fuel my training sessions to make sure I’m eating enough so I can perform and recover. I’m someone who does well on high carbs so it’s something I favor now.
Since taking myHMB, what’s been the biggest thing you’ve noticed?
The biggest thing I have noticed is my recovery and not being as sore as I use to be after training or the next day. I won’t lie, I was at first a little suspicious. After coming back from my ankle injury and getting back into full training again, I was way less sore than I thought I was going to be.
I know you’re still recovering from ankle surgery, but what’s next for Rob? What goals do you have for the future?
I always have been a goal setter, so I have a few I set for the year. The main goal for me is to get back out to Crossfit Invictus where my coach is. I was given the opportunity to compete in the west coast back pre-pandemic and then again at Wodapalooza before breaking my ankle and needing surgery. If I get the opportunity again this time, I really want to actually make the competition floor representing. Along with competing I’m still growing my online training community. I hope to help as many people as I can reach their own personal goals.