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Oakville’s Leanest – Former Rugby Pro Talks Turkey

rugby pro
Oakville’s Leanest – Former Rugby Pro Talks Turkey
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About the Author

Mashaal Effendi

Mashaal Effendi

Mashaal Effendi is a writer and new Canadian, having started the new chapter of his life moving to Canada, with Oakville as his first home, which always carries a special place in his heart.Mashaal has worked as a writer in film, television, theatre, advertising, communications, and even in speechwriting during his time as a Toastmaster.An avid reader, video game enthusiast, and musician ( who presently plays drums for a band called "The Downgrades"), Mashaal enjoys gathering experiences around Oakville, and telling stories that make Oakville the special place that it is.

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Oakville is home to a diversity of people from all walks of life. We have locally owned cinemas, farmers, communication professionals, cooks, and even athletes, specifically former rugby pro Phil Mackenzie. Yes, we have more than beautiful and awe-inspiring trails!

Meet Phil Mackenzie, a former rugby pro who has played professionally around the world in countries including:

  • Canada
  • England
  • The U.S.
  • Dubai
  • Australia

Although the ex-athlete and now-father has spent most of his life outside of Oakville, Phil identifies strongly with his ties to home, as he reminisced on all the good times he has experienced in this city. In fact, his journey started right here in Appleby College.

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Phil Mackenzie, former pro-athlete and brand ambassador for Turkey Farmers. Photo courtesy of Phil Mackenzie.

“I grew up in Oakville and started playing rugby at Appleby College when I was 13. I had no idea what the sport even was. I was a football player at the time, and I was told by my friends that I would be good at rugby. I mean I was into tennis too and some other sports, but I took the plunge into rugby and I fell in love with the sport ever since. Little did I know that my adventures in Rugby would take me to the Provincial Rugby, travelled to Australia to do school there and played there for a semester there. I moved out to the West Coast as I thought that would be the best move for my career and at 19 I guess I went on my first Seven’s tour with Canada and after that, I was in the national team for close to 10 years.”

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One of Phil’s palatable culinary delights.

The athlete has since retired and has opened up his channels into a wide variety of fitness and healthy living initiatives in efforts to promote a healthy lifestyle among his followers.

“I was one of those players that always loved the fitness aspect of rugby. We’d do weights all the time and fitness sessions as well as indulge in nutrition and all those things related to healthy living. Once I had a son, I realized I don’t have five hours to workout every day and it was my plan to come up with a fitness program that was easy for anyone to get into. That’s when I started training people, and I did a lot of one-on-one counselling and then I entered the online space and that really picked up.”

Phil’s prominent website Leansquad hosts a variety of fitness and nutrition-related content tailored to people of all backgrounds.

The website provides

  • Custom workout routines.
  • Meal plans for vegans, vegetarians, meat lovers, or gluten-free foodies.
  • Lean Support – An online support platform putting users in direct connection with Phil Mackenzie via text and email.

Championing fitness for “everyday folks,” Phil’s mission is to make healthy lifestyle and active living something that can be incorporated easily into one’s everyday life. In fact, Phil’snewest collaboration is with Turkey Farmers of Canada where he has partnered up to talk about the benefits of including Turkey in one’s dietary plan.

“Growing up we were told that to be healthy, we have to eat a piece of chicken and a piece of broccoli every single day in our meals. It’s what we’re trying to break away from, so for example, showcasing a Low Carb Turkey Carbanera, and some other treats were something that helped me with my vision of teaching people how to stay on track of their healthy lifestyles while preparing food that one can enjoy.”

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Turkey Lollipops, one of the featured dishes on the channel. Photo courtesy of Phil Mackenzie.

Turkey Farmers of Canada recently launched Body by Turkey – a YouTube fitness series in partnership with Oakville resident and former pro rugby player Phil Mackenzie. The four-part video series featuring lean recipes and workout ideas is all the spirit of Mackenzie’s “lean-mazing” brand, Lean Squad.

The online workout series, which will live on Canadian Turkey’s official YouTube channel (@Canadian_Turkey) is broken into four episodes:

  • The Full Bird – muffin top out, ground Turkey Meatloaf Muffin recipe in.
  • Wing day – Work those drumsticks and fuel up with Flourless Fried Turkey Wings
  • Leg Day – It’s leg presses & pasta with Roasted Turkey Breast Low Carb Carbonara
  • Breast Day – lift, lower and lean into grilled turkey lollipops

“There are so many ways to incorporate turkey into your diet as a lean source of protein. The Turkey Meatloaf Muffins are absolutely delicious. Turkey is a great option to have, its great source of protein and its great exercise support food.”

Upon being broached on advice to aspiring athletes and even rugby players in Oakville, Phil catered to his vision of motivation.  “Just keep putting yourself out there. I know that I did and it worked wonderfully for me. As I said, I wasn’t even interested in the sport but I got a shot.”

To follow more from Phil Mackenzie, check out his Instagram handle.



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