After retiring from a gruelling NRL career — during which he spent more than eight years trying to stop man-mountains from scoring on his wing — Beau Ryan thought he’d finally left the tough stuff behind.
Television careers can seem pretty easy by comparison and when he was asked to host Channel 10’s The Amazing Race Australia, he thought he’d lucked into five great weeks of five-star hotels in exotic destinations.
The reality, of course, was just a little different.
“Physically, it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done,” he tells Health Hacker.
“Even harder than football. I didn’t just want to host it, I wanted to do the challenges too. I wanted to know what the contestants were going through.
“Not only did I do the challenges but just being away for my family for five weeks was so hard. What can I say, I’m a needy guy.”
Doing the challenges meant hunting for snails, wrangling African animals, digging clay for bricks and lugging giant sacks of charcoal across crowded markets. But the single biggest test he faced had to do with heights.
“I’m alright with food challenges, the travel is okay and even sleep deprivation I can work with, but heights? Heights I’m not good with,” he says.
“I jumped off a gorge in Zimbabwe and that nearly killed me. I always get the feeling I’m going to be that guy that dies on YouTube.
“But I’m here. I’m alive. And it’s so rewarding now, being able to watch it all with my daughter.”
Beau’s training regime is also alive and well, with the former NRL star saying he’s worked hard to maintain his fitness post-football, which is when players are at the biggest risk of suddenly piling on weight.
But while the physical still plays a huge role for Beau, it’s his mental fitness that gets the biggest workout these days.
“I train every day, and not just for the physical side but for the mental health side as well,” he says.
“I’ve always been a huge advocate for mental health, and especially men’s mental heath, because I have a lot friends who go up and down in life.
“I like to be that guy that my mates call to say they’re not doing well or they are doing well. I’ve always been an advocate for fitness but mental health is linked to that, too. When I feel fit, I feel great.”
HEALTH HACKS ON … STARTING SOMETHING NEW
with BEAU RYAN
1. Stay focused
“I had to work really hard to get where I got to in rugby league and I now take that same approach for radio and TV,” Ryan says.
“I don’t take anything for granted. I know how hard it is to be successful, and while I achieved a lot in football, I still have a lot I want to do.”
2. Stay motivated
“The days when I don’t want to train, I train harder,” Ryan says.
“And it’s the same with most things. You just need to get out of bed and rip into life, the earlier the better.”
3. Stay honest
“We all get down sometimes. But remember your support network,” Ryan says.
“All it takes is a phone call or a chat with a friend on a park bench to talk through things. I’m really big on that with my friends.”
Question: Like most people, I find myself struggling with motivation sometimes. What’s the one piece of advice you give people to keep them moving?
Answer: Motivation is often the only thing standing between who we are now and who we want to be.
The single most important piece of advice I give to people is to identity their roadblocks.
They will be different for everyone, but we all have that one big reason not to do something.
Maybe it’s time, maybe it’s money, maybe it’s peer pressure to have another beer at the pub.
But whatever it is, once you identify it, you can figure out how to beat it.
* Send your questions to email@example.com
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