Rec centre support the weigh to go

The Manukau Courier


David Hill (back), has helped Richard Teao regain his health and fitness

A great weight has been lifted from Richard Teao. First it was the steel beam that crushed both his legs. Now it's the 40kg he's shed after a long time sitting on the couch. Life for the fabricator took a turn for the worse when a steel beam fell on him, causing a compound fracture of one leg and leaving him needing numerous surgeries to set him right. "I was pretty fit before that – actually super fit," he says. He was close to getting his black belt in taekwondo and was involved in other pursuits. "Now I've got a bit of titanium in there to keep me together."

After the accident he had to stop working and martial arts training for a year and his weight ballooned – topping out at 120kg. "When you're off work for a long time your body gets pretty lazy and it took me a long time to get my health back." He used to get tired just walking up the stairs to get a cup of tea. That was the turning point for him. Now he's down to a trim 80kg – with a little holiday weight thrown in.

But it started with one nervous phone call. After seeing an ad in the newspaper for the eight-week weight loss programme at Otahuhu Recreation and Youth Centre he decided to give them a call. The first time he called he hung up. The next day he called again and it went from there. He ended up losing 26.7kg during the weight loss programme and dropped the rest through continued training. But wasn't just the exercise – it required a "total change", Mr Teao says.

His nutritionist David Hill says Mr Teao's the most disciplined and motivated person he has worked with.

Mr Teao is in the gym at least five days a week for two hours and has had to cut out a lot of food from his diet although he admits a few bad things snuck in over the holidays.

But he's back and "ready for round two" because he wants to be around for his family.

He remembers the first session as the worst when he got told all the truths about how bad his health really was.

"I've still got lots of my people to get along – I've had lots of my family die from diabetes so I'm trying to break that cycle. Slowly."

Troels Sommerville

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