General & sexual empowerment counsellor and founder of MY COUNSELLING SERVICE AUSTRALIA Miya Yamanouchi asked 11 extraordinarily talented Aussie men their secrets to optimum health and wellness of mind and body.
To write this, I was not at all interested in hearing from conventional health and wellness specialists who are usually called upon to share their expert opinion for such an article. No, I wasn’t wanting answers from leading nutritionists or medical professionals. My aim was to seek out men who were living testament of elite physical and mental health and wellness, and see what they had to say! -So I took to contacting 11 of the country’s finest sportsmen in the areas of kung-fu, sprinting, boxing and body building, one of Australia’s top fitness models, Australia’s most well known personal trainer, a Positive Psychology expert, a laughing yoga guru, and national and international board game masters. ….And of course the article would not have been complete without me speaking with 109 year old Alfie Date, (the oldest man in Australia) who is as witty and healthy as ever, busily knitting away scarves for the staff of his aged care facility on the shore of the Central Coast.
1. ANDY TRIEU: Three-time Australian Champion Martial Artist
“Learn to be comfortable in uncomfortable situations. This has helped me persevere through martial arts training and enabled me to achieve my goals…..My secret to having a healthy mind is spending time with positive people that lift me higher. For a healthy body, I recommend putting away your gadgets for a day and get active outdoors with your mates. “
Three-time Australian Champion Martial Artist Andy Trieu expanded his repertoire from competing in tournaments to performing in roles across stage and screen. Andy is currently co-hosting on TV and radio show “SBS PopAsia”, and is a series regular on internationally sold game-show Kitchen Whiz (Ch9) and Australia’s first Kung Fu TV show Maximum Choppage (NBC Universal). Outside of entertainment he holds a double degree in International Relations and Business (Australian National University) and was a former Science Communicator.
2. GREG SMITH: 4th Fastest Man in the World for 100m Sprint Masters 40+ category
“The secret to optimum health and wellness is in the lifestyle you live by each day. Always educate your mind by reading what other experts have to say about strength and conditioning, and surround yourself in an environment that encourages and motivates you to stay healthy.”
Greg’s career achievements in Australia include: Apr 2009, Australia National Masters 60m Champion and Record Holder (7.29sec) Nov 2010, Australia Pan Pacific Masters 200m and 60m Champion/Record Holder (7.28sec) Oct 2011, Australia Masters Games 60m & 100m Champion – Adelaide SA Feb 2012, Oceania Masters Championship 60m & 100m Champion/Record Holder (7.30secs) – New Zealand Apr 2012 – Australia Masters National Champion 60m and 100m Oct 2012 – Ranked #5 in the World Ranking for 100m Masters Sprinter M40+ Apr 2013 – 60m, 100m, 200m Australian Masters National Champion Oct 2013 – Mount Pritchard Leagues Club Sportsmen of the year Feb 2014 – Australia 60m (7.04secs) and 100m (11.03secs) M40+ National Record Holder.
3. COMMANDO STEVE: Celebrity Personal Trainer
“Know who you want to be: Identity! To be that person, put the right ACTIONS in place and be prepared to work hard. Take responsibility for everything (the good and the bad), and know that you have the power to affect change.”
4. MAX ILLINGWORTH: Current Australian Chess Champion & International Master
“The key to optimum health and well is to follow your passion, giving it everything you have. At least this is what I have done.”
5. BEN MCCULLOCH: Australian Super Middle Weight Boxing Star (14/15 Wins Knockout Ratio 73%)
“Fear just requires pause, intelligent questions and research. It’s easy to react to something negatively and then become stressed or upset about it. But through understanding that emotions aren’t a mystery but a response produced in the brain, you can neutralise negative emotions in almost all situations. ….Question everything and keep counsel with yourself first and foremost; and examine how through history everything that has become accepted is decided more so by convenience and superficial gratification than morality or logic.”
Ben McCulloch was previously undefeated before December 2014 when he travelled to Russia to challenge Fedor Chudinov for a World Title. Ben is now currently ranked 7th in Australia.
6. PETER KOUGI, National Scrabble Champion of Australia 2015
“From time to time you will encounter streaks of bad luck. This can be demoralising if you let it get to you. One must focus on one move at a time, treating each exactly the same, just trying to make the best possible play, with a totally even temperament, expending no energy whatsoever on irrelevancies like lucky and unlucky runs or opponent attitude.”
Peter Kougi is Australia’s national Scrabble champion for 2015.
7. SCOTT GOBLE: Three-time International Federation of Body Building & Fitness Australia Winner
“Kill them with consistency. You can achieve more and go further than those more genetically blessed than your self by never losing sight of your goals and consistently working towards them.”
Scott’s career accomplishments include: • 2009 IFBB Victorian Titles – Over 100, 1st • 2009 IFBB Australian Titles – Over 100, 1st • 2009 UBC – 3rd • 2010 Country Classic Invitational – Open division, 1st • 2010 IFBB Saltwater Classic – Elite division, 2nd • 2010 IFBB Victorian Titles – Over 100, 1st • 2010 IFBB Australian Titles – Over 100, 1st
8. DR ANTHONY DILLON: Lecturer Institute for Positive Psychology and Education, Australian Catholic University
“Most people know the ingredients to optimal health and well-being (diet, exercise, self-respect, etc). What is missing is the discipline and integrity needed to delay short term gratification. Short term gratification provides a ‘short-term gain but at the cost of a long-term pain’. Remember, today’s bad habits become tomorrow’s ailments.”
Dr Anthony Dillon’s interests are the conceptualisation of mental illness, and Indigenous well-being. He works full-time on research at the Institute for Positive Psychology and Education.
9. DAN O’KEEFE: International Fashion & Sports Model
“Just like life, health and fitness is all about maintaining balance and building healthy habits starting with simple week to week goal setting and following the ‘everything in moderation rule’. Keep it simple at first, building the foundations, stay positive, maintain focus and learn as much as possible from a variety of sources.”
Dan O’Keefe is one of Australia’s leading sports and fashion models who has been on the cover of magazines both domestically and abroad including Men’s Health magazine and Fitness First. He is also a model for Rebel Sports, Nike, New Balance, Adidas and Speedo.Education.
10. USUFF OMAR: Australian Laughing Yoga Expert
“The secret to optimum health and wellness from a laughing yoga perspective is not taking things too seriously and being able to laugh at the small things.”
Usuff Omar has presented laughter sessions to various councils, health organizations, libraries and businesses in Sydney over the years, and to organizations in the US and Hong Kong. He leads a regular laughter yoga session at North Sydney Community Centre.
11. ALFRED DATE: Oldest Living Man in Australia (Aged 109)
“I don’t really have a secret or a special diet or health regime I follow….you just go on and on….But I did work very, very hard for about 40 years, and I have always done what was reasonable.”
….Admittedly, whilst reading through this you were probably thinking to yourself something along the lines of, “well I never expected to see a champion boxer or body builder alongside a national board game master or laughter guru”.- But you see, this was precisely my objective: to highlight that all of these awe-inspiring and impressive men are warriors in their own prospective fields of both mind, and body. My aim was to present a contrast of intellectual and physical combatants, because often mental geniuses don’t realise that their battle (whether it be on a scrabble or chess board or in a university lecture hall) requires equal concentration, perseverance, resilience and self belief as any physical fight or competition match. Similarly, bodywork and fitness champions don’t always realise the mental genius that is actually required of them to achieve the feats that they do. 😀
….I hope that you found the words of these extraordinary men to be inspiring and encouraging as I myself did. It was a true honour to have been able to make contact with such wonderful role models and I am ever grateful that each person took the time out of their busy lives to share their message with the boys and men of Australia in the spirit of Men’s Health Month 2015.
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