Be the big­gest win­ner

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - - OPINION -

You prob­a­bly re­mem­ber “Com­mando” Steve Willis best from his role on The Big­gest Loser, where he’d stomp around, nor­mally wrapped in a tight black sin­glet and cam­ou­flage pants, an­grily scream­ing at some­one on his team to push that lit­tle bit harder on the tread­mill. So it will prob­a­bly come as a sur­prise to hear that, these days, TV’s fitness hard man is busy em­brac­ing his softer side, with Willis now more in­ter­ested in the search for in­ner peace than he is in push­ing re­al­ity-show con­tes­tants to break­ing point.

The cam­ou­flage pants and black sin­glet are nowhere to be seen, ei­ther. In fact, the man you’d meet today couldn’t be fur­ther from the one who be­came a house­hold name as the buff, bru­tal per­sonal trainer.

These days, Willis said, in­ner strength is far more im­por­tant than bulging bi­ceps.

“Thich Nhat Hanh is this Zen Bud­dhist mas­ter and his ap­proach, as I get older, I find I can re­ally re­late to it,” Willis said.

“He says we’ve usu­ally got this goal, this place we want to be. But if right now isn’t enough for you, then when you get there, it won’t be enough ei­ther.

“So I’ve learnt to en­joy life, to have a bet­ter re­la­tion­ship with my­self and other peo­ple, and just to be me.

“A lot of it was hav­ing kids — I knew I wanted to bring my children up in a dif­fer­ent way to what I ex­pe­ri­enced.”

De­spite his new-found out­look, Willis is still busy training and was this year named an am­bas­sador for Coach­ing Zone. It’s just that these days the Com­mando mixes a bit more love with the lunges.

“You can ab­so­lutely be mind­ful while training,” he said. “You hear ath­letes talk about it all the time; how training is their meditation, their way to process things.

“And it’s no dif­fer­ent for any of us. And it can add depth to the training and stop peo­ple quitting.

“That’s where a lot of peo­ple fall over in training — they have a goal that might be su­per­fi­cial, and that doesn’t carry much mean­ing and so it di­min­ishes over time.

“Be­cause most peo­ple want it yes­ter­day, but it just doesn’t work like that.”

“Com­mando” Steve Willis has learnt the brain is the strong­est mus­cle. Pic­ture: Justin Lloyd

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