BEN O’Donnell has had a life-changing experience after taking part in a weight loss challenge at a Kwinana gym.
Now he wants to be an inspiration for Aboriginal people to help tackle type 2 diabetes, which he said was rife in the community.
Mr O’Donnell was one of 12 people who recently completed a 12-week course run by physical trainer Cliff Bloomfield, from Jetts gym.
He lost about nine kilograms in the first nine days of the course and has since averaged a loss of 3kg a week.
“I want to try and be an inspiration for our people because type 2 diabetes is rife in the Aboriginal community,” Mr O’Donnell said.
“I really want to try and get more people involved with their health and involved in this program.”
Participants had to get to the gym by 5am each morning, but he said he soon got used to the new routine.
Mr O’Donnell said he took part in the course after struggling with his weight for several years and after a suggestion from his chiropractor.
“It was hard at the start but you’ve just got to get a new mindset and get into it,” he said.
“I was waking up and not feeling any pain in my legs after I used to get horrendous pain before I started. I get up these days feeling quite good about myself.”
His family has been so impressed that they now call him ‘Skinny Ben’.
The course changed Mr O’Donnell’s approach to fitness and, more importantly, food with nutrition being a major factor in being able to sustain his new, healthier lifestyle.
“It has changed my life around,” he said.
“It was hard to get into the right food but now I always look for healthy alternatives and keep away from chips.”
He said he could buy normal clothes off the rack
“I tried on a pair jeans that I never thought would fit me but they did,” he said.
Mr Bloomfield said he had been blown away by Mr O’Donnell’s achievements and that of the rest of the class.
The participants have become role models for a new course of 30 people.
Mr Bloomfield said he designed the program with colleague and gym manager Matt Eastham.
“It’s about changing their life and doing it the right way through eating the right food and resistance training,” he said.
Mr Bloomfield is also smashing his fitness goals and has lost more than 45kg since he joined the gym in November.