A recipe for muscles

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It might seem unusual for a cookery tutor to add a New Zealand Certificate in Sports Coaching to his list of qualifications, but after spending time with WITT Te Pūkenga Cookery tutor Sunil Kassote it doesn’t take long to learn about his passion for training bodybuilders and the new qualification makes sense.

In addition to his role as a tutor on the Level 5 Diplomas in Professional Cookery programme in New Plymouth, Sunil coaches up-and-coming bodybuilders, sharing training and nutrition plans and guiding them through the challenges of competing.

It all started in 2014 when Sunil returned from India out of shape and tipping the scales at 105kg. He used his knowledge of nutrition and started gym training. As a result, he not only got down to a competing weight of 69kg but he won a local competition.

“I had the insights on the food front but the rest I learnt from trial and error,” he says.

His personal success led to others approaching him for training.

“I think my ability to make the food part of the equation interesting and tasty stands me apart from other trainers,” he says.

His latest client cleaned up at the ICN (I compete Natural) Nationals in Hamilton and a past client, and former WITT cookery student, has competed in the Australian Bodybuilding Federation winning the title of Australian Men’s Classic Physique Rookie and placed second in the bodybuilding division.

Turning his trial-and-error learning into a formal qualification saw Sunil complete the New Zealand Certificate in Sport Coaching (Level 3) (Sports Training and Development) through SIT (as it wasn’t offered locally). He says he enjoyed being a student again.

“Teaching complements the coaching and coaching helps me understand motivation, goal setting and drive which in turn helps my teaching,” says Sunil.

Sunil came to New Zealand in 2007 as an international student and completed a Diploma in Professional Cookery.

After a successful career in New Plymouth, Wellington and Auckland at some of New Zealand’s leading restaurants and organisations he was lured back to Taranaki in 2014 with his wife Rachel and the two of them got work as hospitality tutors at WITT.

“With a young family the idea of working 9-5 was very appealing and at the time there was a big intake of international students at WITT and naturally I understood the challenges the students faced,” he says.

The six-month contract led to full-time work teaching the cookery programme, a qualification in adult teaching and playing a part in upskilling hundreds of ākonga.

Now, Sunil not only teaches the next generation of cookery ākonga, he also role models and shares holistic health and wellbeing experiences for ākonga and kaimahi alike.

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