Men's Health Australia


LURKING BENEATH James Newbury’s blond dreadlocks is a mighty athlete. A national CrossFit champion who’s been named “Australia’s fittest man” four times, Newbury finished fifth in last year’s world CrossFit Games. Years of testing himself against psychotically tough competitors mean that he’s not easily wowed by mortal feats of physical prowess. But the 29-year-old still remembers one man whose pound-for-pound strength left a gobsmacking impression.

Ten years ago, Newbury was pushing to become a semi-pro rugby league player in Brisbane. One of his teammates in the South Brisbane Magpies Under-20s was Toby Hook, a guy Newbury had known from back home in Adelaide. But something had happened – Hook had undergone a dynamic transformation. “When I met him again, Toby looked a lot bigger and a lot more shredded – his shoulders were huge,” Newbury recalls. “I was amazed at how strong his upper body was in comparison to mine. I used to crush myself in the gym – a lot more than he did – but he was always so much stronger.”

Hook weighed around 84kg but could comfortably bench-press 160kg. He could also bang out 30 strict handstand

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