Trainer Talk with.....Tyla Rattray's trainer Russell White

By Lloyd Ramsay
Lloyd Ramsay: You train quite a wide range of athletes from motocrossers to surfers to mountain bikers. Is your program quite broad or does it differ to an athletes needs?
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Rattray: "Yes, Russell has been one of the principal changes with my training. He has me on just an outstanding program. I'm feeling fit and strong on the bike - I know my physical conditioning is not a problem. As I most likely told you before, I am very happy and fortunate to have him by my side."
- Ready Racing – Interview with Jim Kimball – 10/4/2008
Russell White:
It does differ from athlete to athlete. They are all peaking at different times. Their goals are probably different. They need different body strengths. The duration and intensity of their races/events might differ. There are a lot of aspects to look at. An Off-Road Motorbiker will race for 2 - 4 hours. maybe more, and maybe over a few days, like the Roof Of Africa. Motocrossers will race between 20 - 40 min. per race. A Triathlete 1 - 2 Hrs. So what they eat, strength training and intensity is all very different.

You used to race dirt bikes yourself and you still actively compete in Adventure Racing?
Yeah! I love racing, it is my passion. I compete just about every weekend in Mountain Biking, Triathlon, Xterra or anything that is exciting. I also surf every free moment with my sons.

Who do you have on board for the 2009 season? (motocross/off-road riders)
I have some really great athletes.  They are like my extended family. Internationally, I have taken on for next year, Tyla Rattray, Josh Coppins, Rui Goncalves and Mathew Scholtz. Locally, I have my regulars like Brian Capper, Louwrens Mahoney, Kenny Gilbert, Kyle Poppleton, Brett Buchan, Wynand Delport, Dillon Ings, Mike Morris, Martin Hendrikson, Estiaan Steenkamp, Jonathon van Wyk, Richard van der Westhuizen, Brenden Flemming, Bradley Woodroffe and Micheal Parkinson to name but a few.

Your eldest son Tyrone has now started training Motocrossers in the States?
That's right. Tyronne was instrumental in Sebastien Tortelli and Tyla Rattrays Base Training preperations as well as Hayden Clark, who is now doing very well in Supercross in New Zealand. He has also been training top athletes here in South Africa for about 5 years. He went to America last year for the first time, and worked with Ryan Newton. He will be training Ryan next year again, and has taken on Tommy Searle as well who is a top contender for the Outdoors.

Since Carmichael and Stewart have shown what you can achieve with a personal trainer there are lots of athletes getting on board. Do you think it is a fad or will a personal trainer become part of the foundation like a bike mechanic?
In any sport now, if you want to be competitive, you need a trainer, and one that understands YOU, as an individual. Trainers need to know nutrition, supplements and the psychological aspects of their athletes. Without a personal trainer, it is very difficult to remain focused and motivated. Know what to train, when, and how much. Be able to read and understand your body. Know when to rest. Know what to eat and drink and when. Know what to supplement and how much.

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As with most things in life, behind every successful man stands a strong woman!
Everyone wants to win and have everything that comes along with being on the top of the podium yet some are only willing to expend 80% effort. Have you ever turned athletes away? It would make sense since their mind is already made up on how far they will go ensuring runner up results.
Yes, I have turned athletes away. I will train any athlete who is passionate about what he or she does and believes that they can achieve their own realistic goals that they have set for themselves. The athletes that I do have really make my job a lot easier.

Is there anyone out there that you yourself would personally love to train? (a dream athlete)
(laughs) I already have all my Dream Athletes.

The underlying theme for your training seems to be build the strong mind and the body will follow?
That is the secret. If your mind is not right and you do not believe in yourself, you will never achieve.

Sebastian Tortelli and Ezra Lusk both hired you to get their race programs stronger. What were the first things you made them change?
Their diets were the first thing to change. Your diet dictates how you think, energy levels, recovery etc.

Your wife Catherine is the other half of your team?
Yeah! She does a lot. We are a great team. She feeds the athletes, types all my programs, does the bookings and finance. I do the easy part.

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Josh Coppins is the latest athlete to join Russell's growing stable of championship athletes!
How long have you been a personal trainer?
I have trained athletes for approximately 20 years now.

Tyla Rattray will be moving up to the MX1 class for 2009. How are you guys going to tackle the move to the big bikes?
His Base is really going to be a crucial time of his career for next year. We are going to build his strength a lot more to cope with the bigger bike. Refine his style to suit the 450, and go into the season with a positive attitude.

Are there any short cuts to success?
NEVER!!!  It takes hard work, dedication and belief in yourself. You have to be and do different things to be successful. It doesn't come easy.

That's it from Lloyd for now. To learn more about Russell White and his athletes, please visit his website at Until next time, good luck with your training and, as always, VT can be reached anytime at In addition, be sure and check out the Racer X Virtual Trainer archive section , your complete one-stop information zone for motocross fitness.

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