Find out how he achieved his dream
Name: Matthew Callow
Club: Goodlife Fortitude Valley
It was being told I would never achieve a lifelong dream that really inspired me to join the gym. It was 2012 and everyone around me kept saying that I didn’t have the strength or physique to play American Football and it really stirred something inside of me - this was a goal that I had set for myself since I was just 9 years old. I took it as a challenge and even as a tall, lean guy I knew I could prove them wrong. After some intense training and dedication at the gym I not only played Gridiron but I was able to reach the Gridiron QLD Sunbowl Championships.
My decision to keep training at Goodlife since then has really been my strong belief in the importance of physical health impacting mental health. As a psychologist, I’m often teaching people about the significance of a healthy body and a healthy mind for greater work/life balance, increased resilience and performance in their careers. So to me, it is really paramount that I practice what I preach.
"This was a goal that I had set for myself since I was just 9 years old."
Maintaining a healthy life is important to me both personally and professionally because I know the links between leading a sedentary life and depression and anxiety. There is so much research on how having a healthy body and a regular exercise regime can really combat the day-to-day struggles many people face. I think men, in particular, should also understand the impact that fitness can have on their relationships, their career and their overall quality of life, not just focus on the muscle growth.
Some days, like everyone, I am often left feeling emotionally drained and mentally exhausted. When you are having a bad day, it is often the most common time to make excuses to avoid the gym. I get it, I’ve made plenty of excuses in the past, but I’ve learnt that while a workout might leave me feeling physically tired, it also makes me mentally energised. Almost like a reset button. I can forget the troubles of the day and concentrate on what I want to achieve in that session.
I started personal training recently and I found it gave me a better understanding of different techniques and helped me achieve things I didn’t think I could. I’m also a big fan of group fitness. I’m usually one of the only men in the class, but I like fighting the stigma of guys participating in group exercise. Plus, the classes help me maintain my weight, and increase my cardio while building strength and I’m not ashamed of that.
"We forget good health needs to be the foundation of everything."
Like women, I think a lot of men can feel threatened or intimated by the gym or the person beside them who might be running faster or lifting heavier. I always tell my clients to ignore the pre-conceived notion that you have to be a certain build to be accepted by the fitness community. After all, I am a tall, lean guy who held my own in Gridiron against some tough opposition - if I can break the mould, then they can too.
I’m not overstating it when I say that I know going to the gym helps me be a better husband, co-worker and closer to my family. Being the eldest of nine siblings it is so important to me to have the energy to be a good role model for them. I now proudly share similar gym routines with my wife, my mum, my dad, my brother and my sister – who are all Goodlife members! We help motivate and challenge each other, especially on days when the other might not feel like going.
These days, we never really switch off. We are constantly connected to our phones and laptops, so it’s important to take time out for our own wellbeing. Sometimes we are too driven by the end result – our career and making money – that we forget good health needs to be the foundation of everything. Being a psychologist, I could wax lyrical about the research, but the positive impact of physical activity on your mental wellbeing is something you can’t really understand until you experience it yourself.