Men's Health (Australia) - - MH DAD -

GROW­ING UP I PLAYED a lot of rugby right up to grade level. But one sea­son when I was play­ing in the colts, our coach Topo Ro­driguez (the former Wal­la­bies in­ter­na­tional) an­nounced he was mov­ing me from No.8 to prop. “But I’ve never played in the front-row be­fore!” I said. “Don’t worry, I’ll teach you,” Topo said. “Just eat, Scotty! Eat!”

And I kept eat­ing. When I stopped play­ing rugby and my train­ing dropped off, my ap­petite re­mained in­tact. I didn’t be­come al­most 140kg overnight. The weight gain was grad­ual – I just put on 5kg each year un­til I got to my start­ing point here.

Be­fore we got un­der­way, I went to see my doc­tor. My blood pres­sure was dan­ger­ously high and I had all sorts of in­juries that wouldn’t im­prove be­cause my weight was putting so much stress on my body. The doc­tor said, “You’re play­ing with the odds. And you’ve got four kids…”

To be­gin with, I find the high-in­ten­sity work a real chal­lenge. It is so hard to re­cover when my heart rate starts go­ing that high. I have a bad mo­ment early on when I think, “How am I ever go­ing to do this?” But that’s where the mo­ti­va­tion of work­ing with a trainer kicks in. Train­ing as part of a group also helps to keep me on track and us­ing Chief’s Trans­for­ma­tion Coach app is in­valu­able when ex­er­cis­ing solo - you get the day’s work­out de­liv­ered straight to your phone.

Af­ter three weeks my body starts to adapt. Maybe it was the mus­cle me­mory start­ing to re­turn but I start to en­joy lift­ing weights. I am still ner­vous about the car­dio. I’ve got a ce­ramic hip, screws in my left an­kle and bad discs in my lower back - I don’t know if my body will hold up. But I stick with it and start re­cov­er­ing a lit­tle bit bet­ter each ses­sion. Slowly, my con­fi­dence be­gins to re­turn.

One day I am do­ing a “forced march” on the tread­mill when Em says she is go­ing to up the pace. I don’t think I can do it. I’d re­signed my­self to the fact that I would never run again. But Em grad­u­ally in­creases the speed to 10km/h and I find that, not only can I keep up, I can run!

It is mind-blow­ing. I’ve got a two-year-old and a eight-mon­thold and un­til that mo­ment I never thought I’d be able to run around with them or kick a ball in the park. I hon­estly thought that was out of the ques­tion. Run­ning on that tread­mill was amaz­ing. It was ac­tu­ally very emo­tional.

At the end of the chal­lenge I’ve lost 23.5kg of body fat, taken 12 cm off my waist while my blood pres­sure and choles­terol have also dropped.

I feel bet­ter, I have more con­fi­dence and I can look peo­ple squarely in the eye again – I no longer feel like I’m con­stantly be­ing judged.

I know that I’ve still got a long way to go. But I have achieved some things that I be­lieved that men­tally and phys­i­cally I would never do again.

I have gone from a “gunna”, “one day” and “I can’t do this” per­son to “I can keep im­prov­ing”.


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