Elder: No Pain, No Gain

I was always destined to be a fitness trainer or a coach, says Henry Elder. This was something Elder was confident of when growing up. Born in the magnificent hidden
08 Jul 2017 14:41
Elder: No Pain, No Gain
Henry Elder

I was always destined to be a fitness trainer or a coach, says Henry Elder.

This was something Elder was confident of when growing up.

Born in the magnificent hidden paradise of Savusavu, Elder was brought up in a family that was passionate about sports.

“All my life I’ve been involved in sports and fitness in one way or another,” he said. “Both my parents and two older brothers played sports and were always training for their respective sports. My late mother was a hurdler while my father played various sports.

He was a 400-metre runner and a hockey player who only represented at district level. “Also, my late eldest sibling Aloesi, played cricket, rugby and was a triple jumper in high school.

After leaving school he continued to play rugby at club level for Raiwaqa and represented the Suva provincial team. In 1993 to 1994 he represented Fiji in fifteens rugby at halfback and also played at first-five eighth as well while my second eldest brother Meli was a high jumper and played flanker for the Fijian under-21 rugby side.”

Elder said being the youngest out of the three siblings he had the most fascinating sporting background. “During my school days I took part in sports like swimming, athletics especially in the short distance events– 100m, 200m, long jump and I also played wing and was a goalkicker in rugby.

“I started as a part-time trainer shortly after school in 1989 at the USP gym. In 1991, I was made a permanent staff member at the USP Fitness Centre and the rest is history.”

Elder said he has been part of many sporting teams and organisations and trained many individuals over the years. The 47-year-old expressed that being the fitness trainer of the Flying Fijians during the 2007 Rugby World Cup was his greatest experience.

The side was under head coach and former Wallabies flanker Ilivasi Tabua and manager Pio Bosco Tikoisuva. “This was team that qualified for the Cup quarter finals after beating Wales 38-34 in the final pool game.

That year Fiji also drew with Australia A in Suva which had 12 regular Australian reps out of which nine travelled to the World Cup that year.” CHALLENGES IN LIFE Elder also said that he had to overcome various obstacles in life and how his loved ones played an important role in urging him to be successful.

“Over the years I’ve faced many difficulties and challenges,” he added. “Most of these came from lack of facilities, equipment and finances in general.

I’ve learned to be more creative and to improvise in order to continue the training and set-up programmes regardless of the difficulties and challenges.

For example while working as the national trainer for Fiji Rugby we visited many teams that had no weights for strength and power development. We improvised by using varied sizes of logs, sand bags, large stones and home-made weights made from concrete and steel bars.

Recovery sessions were done in rivers or the sea instead of swimming pools and coconut or bu juice replaced Powerade and other sports drinks.”

Elder said family is the main reason he works and strives to be the best. “Firstly my late mother and brother have always been supportive and have always told me to never be satisfied with my achievements and that there’s always room for improvements.

“My father continues to provide support and advice and reminds me regularly of the need to look at myself and constantly evaluate my work and the service I provide.

“My wife is forever challenging me to go to the limits and pushes me to break the barriers and move to the next level.

Finally my children, I believe that my work, my achievements are a message to my children that perseverance, hard work and dedication will always have positive returns and success is achievable if you stay on-track and never give up regardless of the difficulties.

“Also, I teach my children to work hard, dream big, never give up and to put all their trust in God who is our provider.” Elder said one of his favourite quotes is from former US General and Secretary of State Colin Powell that:

“There are no secrets to success, it is the result of preparation, hard work and learning from failure.” Elder’s list of sports he has trained at national level are: Athletics, Archery, Badminton, Basketball, Beach volleyball, Canoeing, Cricket, Football, Golf, Hockey, Judo, Karate, Lawn bowls, League, Netball, Rugby, swimming, sailing, surfing, Taekwondo, Tennis, Table Tennis, Volleyball, Weightlifting.



Full Name: Henry Nagatalevu Suguta Elder

Date of Birth: July 1st, 1970

From: Originally from Salia, Tunuloa, Cakaudrove.

Education Background:


1976-1981 – Veiuto Primary School


1982-1983 – Suva Grammar School

1984-1986 – Ratu Kadavulevu School

1987 – Marist Brothers High School

Qualification: Courses & Sports Related training Penn Foster Fitness & Nutrition Certificate 1989 – Suva USP Basic Gym Instructor Certificate 1990 – Suva IAAF Level 1 Coach 1999 (Athletics) – Suva IOC Archery Coaching Certificate, 2000 – Suva ASP 2000 Presenters Course, 2000 – Suva ACC Level 1 Cricket Coach 2001 – Suva Sports Technician Certificate (Australian Sports Commission) 2001- Suva IAAF Level 2 Coach 2002 (Athletics) – Adelaide, South Australia ASC Performance Enhancement Certificate, 2002 – AIS Canberra, Australia OWF Coaching Diploma (Weightlifting) 2004- Sigatoka IOC Sports Medicine Course Certificate 2004 – Sigatoka L1 sports Trainer (Sports Medicine Australia) 2004 – Sigatoka IOC Sports Medicine Course Certificate 2009 – Suva IRB Level 1 Coach Suva 2010 IRB Level 1 S&C Coach 2011 IAAF Level 3 Coach 2012 (Athletics) – Gold Coast IAAF Level 1 Lecturer 2013(Athletics) – Gold Coast Training and Assessment Cert 4 (FIT College Australia) 2013

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