Issue 37 | 5 Minutes With


Over the past few years, the name ‘Tim Blake’ has become synonymous with resistance training, and advanced body transformation for himself and his clients in Niseko. But what separates Tim from thousands of coaches? Find out about this automotive engineer-turned-fitness expert’s philosophy on training, his tips on getting started, and his recently launched All Mountain Bar.

Photo by Jacinta Sonja

Photo by Jacinta Sonja

Tell us a little about yourself and your background.

I’m 48 years old, a former engineer in the automotive industry. I’ve been a strength coach for about 7+ years now, trying to help people in their middle age get in better shape than when they were in their 20s and 30s.

What is the main thing you do as a strength coach?

There’s a lot of stuff on the internet, and you could spend several lifetimes doing things that sound good but simply doesn’t yield results. I don’t want people to make the mistakes that I made. My job is to get people the biggest bang for their buck training and nutrition wise, so they can get results quicker – in months, rather than taking years or decades.

What were some of the mistakes that you made?

The information we had back in the 80s was largely from magazines, which were effectively supplement catalogues. And it was training too little, training too much. I made every mistake under the sun.

How did Super Fit Dads come about?

When my sons (ages 11 and 8) were born, it made me more aware of my mortality. I started wondeing when they graduated from university, what shape I would be in. So I started what I called ‘preventive maintenance’ – investing in my future health, like a life pension.

What kinds of exercises does resistance training encompass?

Resistance training could be anything from training with your body weight to using exercise bands. Anything that provides that external force for you to work against – dumbbells, kettle bells, barbells, machines, and so on.

Do you see it as more than just building muscles?

Yes, it encompasses everything – the physical, psychological and emotional wellbeing. The resistance element is important for muscle maintenance or growth. When people get older, they start losing muscle mass. Loss of bone mass and density usually starts in their 30s, or early 40s, and it is related to a loss of balance, which makes you more likely to fall. And when you do fall, you’re more likely to break something.

What’s your favourite mantra?

Take small steps. In running, I’d tell myself, ‘Just 5 more steps.’ In training, I focus on doing just the next repetition, the next set. It’d be daunting if you thought of all you’re going to do. So just do the first set, and when you’ve done the first set, then think about the next.

What’s the one exercise that is guaranteed to make you feel good?

Chin ups. There is something very simple and satisfying about pulling yourself up – a bar, a branch, or whatever else.

What’s one workout myth you’d like to bust?

People often have a fear of injury, but there are so many benefits that one could get, which out weighs the risks. If you compared the risk of injury from resistance training to other sports, such as skiing, snowboarding, or rugby, it’s miniscule. Try it, work with a good coach, there’s nothing to lose.

What would you say to someone who’s thinking about getting some training?

Just get started. Getting started is the hardest part. Do the exercise that you enjoy, and do it consistently. Choose a workout that suits you and is the most beneficial/effective for you. In resistance training, there will be a type of weight that everyone could do. Use a load that is scalable, which you could incrementally increase.

What does one have to do to get in shape quickly?

One of the biggest things is to have a crystal clear idea of your desired outcome. Once you have that established, we’d work out how to you get there in a most efficient way possible, by measuring objective progress as we go.

Tell us about the All Mountain Bar that you’ve recently launched. (See All Mountain Bar Chocolate Brownie)

I had the idea on a trip back to the UK last summer. Energy bars have become super popular in the last 5 years but there is nothing widely available in Japan. So I bought some ingredients, some basic equipment and started making them.

What makes it different to other bars?

My wife, Naoko, makes bean to bar chocolate. She imports beans from a plantation in Guatemala, and roasts them here in Niseko. I use these cacao nibs, insetad of processed chocolate chips, to give the bars a good chocolate flavour. Everything is natural and handcrafted– the sweetness is from the dates, and I make the cashew butter by hand!

Interview by Jacinta Sonja.