Breton McNeil is a natural pro physique competitor, health & fitness coach and registered resistance training leader. He has a CanFitPro certification, a degree in Marketing and is currently working towards a degree in Kinesiology and a Certified Special Events Professional certification. When he’s not winning titles or taking classes, he’s healthily managing his diabetes, going to the beach with his girlfriend, running an online coaching company and working on developing his knowledge and skills as a coach and athlete. Get to know more about Breton in our Q&A below.
FitMinutes: Hi Breton! Where ya from? Tell us about yourself. Where have you been all our lives?
Breton: Hey guys! I’m from Halifax, Nova Scotia, where I have lived most of my life. I am a type 1 diabetic and I just got back from the World Natural Bodybuilding Federation’s 20th Annual Muscle Mayhem in California where I won the overall title and my men’s physique pro card. It was an amazing experience and I was lucky enough to meet so many other amazing athletes and fellow coaches. I just love learning and I’m always looking to improve myself and my health & fitness knowledge.
FitMinutes: Have you always been into fitness?
Breton: I’ve always been in the gym somewhat and curious about different training and nutrition methods because I grew up playing multiple sports. But, I’ve never been as serious as I am now. After I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age 16, I realized I had to live a healthy lifestyle to really manage it. That’s when I started taking things more seriously. At first, going to the gym was a chore, but it eventually became my favorite part of the day. I started to fall in love with the process and results. The harder I worked, the more muscle I built and the stronger I got. I just wanted to take it further and further and really enjoyed the commitment and routine. I now look forward to it.
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? T-bar rows, definitely a staple movement in my back training! Great for developing thick rhomboids, upper traps and even your lats as well ?? A couple key cues to follow when performing this movement ⬇️ . . . ?? Keep back straight and spine in neutral position . . . ?? Make sure to properly protract and retract your scapula each rep . . . ?? Driving weight back towards the ceiling pulling through your elbows for proper muscular activation . . . ?? I personally like to use 25lb plates to help create a greater range of motion vs using 45lb plates . . . ?? Leave your ego at the door, lower the weight and actually feel the target muscles contract on each rep
FitMinutes: Why do you think fitness and nutrition are so important?
Breton: I think it can help so many people live a higher quality of life. Participating in a fitness routine or activity regularly and having some basic nutrition knowledge can go a long way.
FitMinutes: What makes you passionate about coaching others/why do you love it so much?
Breton: The main reason is that I know how much it has changed my life. I want to help others make those same changes and be able to educate them along the way, so they don’t have to make the same mistakes I did at the start of my journey. It’s something that can truly change your entire life.
FitMinutes: What are your current life and fitness goals?
Breton: Since I just won my WNBF pro card, I’m required through the organization to compete in my first professional show within a year. So, it looks like I’m about 9 weeks out from a pro show on Oct 20th! My other life goals are to just continue to further my education, grow my coaching business, become self-employed and eventually open my own gym.
FitMinutes: How do you stay so motivated and driven?
Breton: Dealing with my blood sugar levels can be very challenging. What motivates me is realizing how much my control over this disease has improved over the years. Looking back and knowing how much more I know now than I did a few years ago blows my mind. It helps to keep me going knowing that I can only improve and get better the more work I put into things.
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✅ Conditioning check from the other day post workout! like I have mentioned in a few of my IG story’s I’m currently a few pounds up from stage weight and keeping things pretty tight as we approach that 9-10 week out mark from the Edmonton pro show? Even just a couple pounds above my stage weight for me personally is more sustainable from a sanity and adherence point of view. Have to think about the long haul and not burning yourself out to quickly, feeling like I’m sitting in a good spot at the moment? Can’t believe that by the time I Compete on October 20th that will mark 40 weeks of prep finished ?? for people wondering my current macros are 260c/58f/200p with 2 weekly refeeds at 388c/60f/188p ? #CaloiresOnTheRise
FitMinutes: Any advice for people who are overwhelmed at the thought of getting into shape, or who are intimidated at the gym?
Breton: One major tip is to just get started. That’s always the hardest part. Most people want to wait for the perfect timing or the perfect program to come around, but the reality is, you just have to start. That might be going for a walk twice a week, or maybe going to the gym twice a week. That could be minimizing your fast food intake or watching less TV—anything that’s going to help improve your health is a great way to start. For anybody who may be intimidated by the gym, I’m sure that’s something everyone can relate too. I know I was intimidated my first time going, but you have to realize that nobody really cares what anyone else is doing. Just focus on yourself, worry about improving yourself and not comparing yourself to other people and you’ll be just fine. Everyone was a beginner at some point.
FitMinutes: What are your favorite pre and post-workout meals?
Breton: I don’t really have any specific foods to mention, I just more or less have nutritional guidelines I like to follow. For a pre-workout meal, I eat something low in fat, a moderate amount of protein and fiber and a large amount of carbs (usually 40-80 grams) to fuel my training and help my body absorb and digest nutrients. My post-workout meals are similar, though I usually eat a larger amount of protein and a decent amount of carbs to replenish lost glycogen.
FitMinutes: Favorite cheat meal?
Breton: Ha! That’s a tough one… Probably a Donair or Donair pizza.
FitMinutes: What do you do when you’re not competing, coaching or werkin’ on that bod?
Breton: I’m sure like most people I love hanging with my friends, going out to eat or for a drink. I spend a lot of time with my girlfriend going on walks, swimming a ton in the summer, going to the beach, listening to music, exploring different hiking trails, etc. I must say a lot of my time is spent in the gym, working on my coaching business and just listening to podcasts and reading articles to further my knowledge of fitness and nutrition.
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? Love going for walks in the city. Getting myself into a set morning routine was one of the best things I have ever done! Starting your day off on a positive note and allowing yourself some time to clear the mind and plan for the day ahead ?? 13 days out fam, the excitement is real ? ?- @hanna_lipton
FitMinutes: What music do you like to listen to while training? Any favorite song(s)?
Breton: Rap and hip-hop are my go-to’s. Artists who pump me up right now are Kevin Gates, 6ix 9ine, Drake, Future, Meek Mill and Travis Scott.
FitMinutes: Any inspirational quote(s) you go by in life or in the gym?
Breton: “The harder you work for something, the greater you’ll feel when you achieve it.” I live by that and with self-discipline. If you can control your emotions during situations and not take the easy way out, it will benefit you in the long run. Putting in the hard work and achieving your goals is an amazing feeling.
Want to keep up with Breton and learn a few things while you’re at it? Follow him on Instagram.