Interview with fitness personality Andrew Farrugia
Andrew Farrugia first started training sprinting at the young age of 7 till the age of 24, a long stint in which he won various national titles. He shifted to fitness where he now trains with passion and dedication while also running his own fitness blog. Check out our interview with Andrew below.
You are a natural athlete and anti-doping ambassador for Malta, how much do you stress about the importance of not using any steroids or drugs?
Reverting to steroids or performance-enhancing drugs is wrong in so many ways. Apart from being dangerous to one’s health, the use of steroids goes against the concept of “fair play” which is fundamental to the beauty of any sport. Using steroids is very myopic in the sense that one risks to sacrifice long-term physical health, reputation and dignity (all of which affect happiness and quality of life) for possible short-term glory.
Before crossing the line from being a natty to a doped athlete, one needs to stop and put things in perspective, compare “the now” against “your purpose in life”. Only then one can realize that steroids are totally not worth it.
How many years, since devoting your time to training, has it took you to achieve your current physical shape?
My career in sports started at the age of 7 when I joined Athleta Pembroke, a local athletics club, after my parents had recognised my sprinting talent at my first school sports day. From then until the age of 24 it was a very rewarding and character-building journey as I won national titles along the various age groups and also representing Malta in several international competitions. Until at the age of 24, after countless recurring injuries and comebacks, I was compelled to quit as this had eaten up the passion and ambition I had in running. While training for sprints I had started to fall in love with the gym which meant that shifting from athletics to fitness was pretty much an obvious choice. One thing was for sure, quitting exercise was not an option.
Upon shifting to fitness I continued working out with the same dedication and frequency that I had as a sprinter – 6 days a week, for around 2 hours a day, after work. I also put a lot of hours into reading professional content both in terms of exercise and more importantly nutrition. I enjoyed (and still do) applying new knowledge into my routine and noticing improvements through trial and error.
The said improvements motivated me to enter my first bodybuilding competition at the age of 26 until I won the Men’s Physique category at IFBB national championships in 2014, where I placed first in the sub 1m70 category. This was a turning point in that it made me realize my true potential in the sport. Something which I thankfully confirmed in winning this same title two more times, including 2017, and placed 10th and 8th at the European Championships in the same category, as a natural.
All of the above led to launching my blog on fitness and healthy living (www.mirrorfriendly.com) and thereafter taking a gap year to become a qualified personal trainer in Australia while also allowing myself more time to travel, which is another passion I hold close to heart.
Nowadays I am back in Malta, where apart from my full-time job I run my blog together with Martina, a qualified nutritionist from Slovakia. And I still work out 6 times a week of course
How important is the diet for athletes?
When we talk of athletes it is important to distinguish which kind of sports we are referring to. I will talk about athletes practicing athletics and bodybuilding since those are the sports I’ve competed in.
Starting from the bodybuilding, getting the right nutrition is crucial to the extent that I would even say it is 70-75% of the way we look, with the remaining % relating to exercise. As one approaches a competition or photo shoot, the margin of error with nutrition becomes even more slim.
As for athletics, since it is more of a technical sport based on physical performance rather than aesthetics, the ratio of importance between exercise and nutrition is more of a 50/50 thing, with nutrition still playing a very important role in providing the required fuel for the body to run faster, jump higher, throw further and maintain speed for longer.
What is the goal that you ultimately want to achieve through training and coaching?
On a personal level, my ultimate goal is to further raise the benchmark for what can be attained naturally in terms of lean muscle mass.
I also aim to serve as an inspiration to those who like me want to achieve their best version without the use of steroids by empowering them to initiate positive changes in their lives through fitness and healthy living.
What advice would you give to young athletes just starting training?
Find that sport which makes you feel good about yourself and which you enjoy doing. Sport is the best habit one can have as it brings so many good things in life and keeps you away from just as many bad ones, particularly in today’s world.
Never accept taking steroids, if you do it once you will have crossed the line forever and you can no longer proudly say you’re a clean athlete. Your conscious will remain tainted and you will regret it all your life. You may win a plastic trophy today but repercussions will come bite you later.
Eat healthy, give your best during each workout/session, never stop learning, stay humble. If you do so results will keep coming, one year after another. Only this way will you be a successful athlete.