Today the Closing the Gap team sat down and had a yarn with Frank, owner of Game Change who specialises in personal training.
We asked Frank how he got involved within the Aboriginal community and he explained, “I have been in the fitness industry for almost 25 years and have been a personal trainer for 15 years. Being in the gym, I could see the difference in lifespan between non Aboriginal people and Aboriginal people. It was very visual.”
Frank started working closely with the Closing the Gap team after receiving community referrals from an Aboriginal Care Coordinator working for Closing the Gap.
Frank told us why he does what he does with the Aboriginal Community, “I love the seeing the results, seeing people’s quality of life improve through fitness, and family coming together to make healthy food choices. I love educating, and seeing people reduce their chronic health issues, lowering medication, weight loss through exercise programs and educational programs aimed at reducing chronic illnesses, that helps clients understand and manage their chronic condition more efficiently.”
Frank first got involved in a weight loss program challenge when he was working closely with the community to support them in the gym with equipment so they were able to attend.
Frank became a part of the New South Wales Health Challenge, Burbaga Burawa which means Rise up or Rise above in Darug language. This was named by Auntie Julie Webb.
The team won the Aboriginal Health Challenge three times out of four challenges and was made up of more than 60 participants split into two teams per challenge.
Frank explained how and who his links were within the community, “Nepean Community & Neighbourhood Services, Closing the Gap team have been extremely helpful with donations and supporting with transport for the teams to do challenges out of the area. Paul Fleming, a local Aboriginal boxer and artist donated items for our presentations. Indigenous players from the NRL and UFC fighters, coming and supporting on event nights. Next Set Gym in St Marys have been amazing with deals and continuation of support for the Aboriginal community after the challenges have finished. All of these people collaborate to address the needs and wants of the community, and consult with board members and myself, to help clients who have chronic illness live healthier lives.”
Frank works closely with the Closing the Gap team to obtain medical and fitness clearance for every client, to make sure they can be a part of the challenge in an achievable and safe way for their health condition.
The Aboriginal community Frank has supported through these programs has been approximately 384 individuals. 2% of chronic illness lowered when exercising was done. This may not seem very high to some, but for the Indigenous community and health, that is amazing! The feedback from specialists has been hospital administration have been lowered.
The biggest weight loss we have seen has been an Aboriginal male who has lost 44kg over 10 weeks and a female losing 27kg over 10 weeks.
Frank commented, “Working closely with the Closing the Gap team has been one of the biggest highlights!”
To get in contact with the Closing the Gap team please call 02 4706 0299 or email firstname.lastname@example.org