With Men’s Health Week running from June 13-19, Glam’s Motoring Editor Bryan Littlely shares a personal story of conquering his health struggles.
Unfit and the most out of shape I had ever been, last August I had hit my heaviest weight, battled with headaches, poor sleep and chronic neck pain as a result of a footy field knock out 12 months earlier.
Forget any thoughts of playing the game I’ve enjoyed for more than 25 years. I struggled to even get to football reunions.
I was 41 years old, and at 96kg, I was more than 10kg over the upper limit of my healthy weight range.
I was suffering. And so was my family without their fit and active father and husband.
Action was needed or I was at real risk of going past the point of no return.
Across western Adelaide and unknown to me, a bunch of other blokes were facing up to their own health and fitness challenges to be better men for their families.
Not by accident, they turned to a dad who was already doing the job for his four kids and wife, personal trainer Con Prokos.
A couple of years ago, Prokos drove a forklift was well overweight and less than happy with life.
He shed 25kg in the first year and then set about putting muscle tone on to “turn my life around”. But the weight loss and muscle building was just the beginning. He studied, trained and learnt how he could turn other lives around.
Prokos Personal Training was born and the dads are hitting Goodlife gym Royal Park to tap into his unique approach.
“I didn’t have much to be proud of prior to kids with my unhealthy lifestyle. I made some poor choices; drug abuse, alcoholism, suicidally depressed,” Prokos said.
“I made a conscious effort for my children to be proud of me. That’s what motivated me and turned my life around.
“I just replaced one addiction with another.”
“I’d look at myself in the mirror and I wan’t proud of who I was. I made a promise to myself that the day day I had kids was the day I turned my life around, and I did that.”
Con Prokos with his children in the environment in which he feels most comfortable.
Father of 3-year-old IVF twins, Tony Genery, 43, has lost 20kg since February and is halfway to his weight loss goal.
“It’s for them, the girls,’’ Tony says.
“We went through years of IVF and we have these lovely girls. I’m a milky and all my spare time is spent with them. I want to be fit and healthy for my girls, so I can enjoy that time with them more.’’
Jordan Attaliotis, 54, has had his 17-year-old son Peter training with him at times and has dropped about 15kg in the past year.
“I lost my dad when he was 60. Two guys at work died with heart attacks in the space of six months. One of them was 53 and died during the drinks break of his cricket match.
“I want to be around for my kids and I needed to do more to make sure I have the best chance of doing that.’’
Aman Rathore, 33, has a son and daughter aged 5 and 18 months. He took to fitness training not only to get in shape but to also help manage stress.
“I had worked for my business to make it successful and I needed to also do that work for my family. I decided to get to work on myself for my kids.’’
Aman has lost 11kg over the past year and also built strength and fitness levels.
At 57-years-old, Phil Battista has older children and says he wants to be around for his kids and, ultimately, their kids.
“My wife started fitness training about a year before me and lost a lot of weight,’’ he says.
“I thought I could do the same things… and should do the same things. Once you get going, you feel a lot better.’’
John Hatsi, 35, has two daughters aged 4 and 3 and is probably the dad of the west most replicating his personal training pal’s example.
“Two years ago I was 120kg and really out of shape,’’ John says.
“I’d just let myself go. I was running a business and really lost touch with my family. So I sold my business and stayed home with the kids… and decided I just had to get fit again, for myself, and them.”
John lost 15kg in 6 months and concentrated on building strength and fitness, while also studying to be a personal trainer.
“The kids helped me to get more active… to get out and about more,’’ he said.
“But there’s some obvious benefits also for them when it comes to my diet. There’s no crap in the house and that’s a great example to set for them. At age 4 and 3, they already are picking up what is healthy and what is not.’’
Vinnie Decristofaro, owner of Red Star Training Centre where the dads caught up to share their stories, is a new first time father with a baby girl, Aliyah.
“You quickly learn to live off no sleep don’t you?’’ he laughed.
“It’s important still to look after yourself as a dad. It makes it a lot easier to be a dad if you do look after your health.’’
And me? How did I do under the Prokos plan?
In four months I dropped 16kg to slip under 80kg for the first time since I was a teenager and trying to put on weight. I’ve since worked on strength and endurance and been able to put on lean muscle mass at a decent rate.
I eat well. I’ve not had a single problem with my debilitating neck pain since I took up the challenge to get fit. My daughter has her active and adventurous dad back.
I still can’t make it to footy reunions though. But it’s because I’m back playing, even if only in the Masters.