In 2009, Andrew Gault joined Pinnacle Health Club, Scoresby. A smoker, drinker and self-confessed ‘terrible eater’, Andrew was a typical 30-something primarily concerned with the way he looked. His five gym sessions per week consisted purely of lifting heavy weights to try and build big muscles. “I couldn’t run to the end of the driveway,” Andrew confessed when we caught up with him recently. Yet, some four years later, and for reasons still unbeknown to Andrew, his mate – who was living on the other side of the world at the time – suggested he try and run a marathon. “I think it was a combination of being bored with my regular routine, not achieving the results I wanted and also my competitive streak that made me accept the challenge”. Not knowing where to start, Andrew reached out to Pinnacle for help.

Andrew came along to the free Pinnacle Running Club that owner, Ben Stallworthy was running at 6am on a Friday morning. “I remember him saying that he’s not a runner but he wants to learn and eventually run a marathon,” says Ben who was excited to work with someone ready to step outside their comfort zone.

Over the course of 11 months, starting with the very basics and safely progressing each week, Andrew went from zero to marathon runner. “In the beginning I absolutely hated it,” says Andrew. “But then I started achieving small goals like running 5kms without stopping, then 10, 20, etc., after reaching each milestone I sort of became addicted to the euphoric feeling and would set new goals”.

As well as Pinnacle Running Club, Andrew was overwhelmed by the support, tips and advice he received from Ben and other Pinnacle members. Towards the end of the marathon training, he was – once again – convinced by others to try something different; this time a corporate triathlon. “With the triathlon, I felt like I was right back at the beginning again because I was petrified of the swim” Andrew shared. I almost convinced myself I’d drown or be eaten by a shark so I started adult swimming lessons and actually recorded my best time on the day for the swim”. Feeling so unbelievable after finishing the triathlon, Andrew signed up for the 2014 Gatorade Series, where he finished two Olympic distance triathlons! But this was just the beginning. With his sights now set on completing a full Iron Man, Andrew volunteered on an aid station so he could immerse himself in the atmosphere and, over the course of 12 months, seriously committed to training; even going cold-turkey on alcohol and completing several half marathons and triathlons. Just over five weeks ago, Andrew finished his first full Iron Man in 13 hours.

I asked Andrew if it was the atmosphere on the day that helped him dig deep when his body started to hurt but for him that was just the icing on the cake. “These big events let me enjoy my hard work but it’s so much bigger than just one day. Physically I feel and look better than I have in my life and it’s such a big cure for life downers. Exercise releases endorphins that make you make feel great so whilst the body might hurt now and then, the sense of achievement outweighs everything”.

So what’s next for Andrew? After enjoying a week off – and a cold beer! – Andrew was straight back into it, training for Iron Man WA in December. He’s keen for a PB in the Melbourne Marathon and has set a new goal: to finish every full Iron Man in the season. “My only fear now is that my body will break down and I won’t be able to do this stuff anymore, so I’ll keep going until that happens” he says. “Really, this fear just makes every session even more important!”

Andrews Top 4 Fitness Tips:

1) You have to have strong goals
I’d be lost without my goals because they’re what gets me out of bed each morning. Just because you reach one goal, that doesn’t mean you become complacent. My goals change all the time but if you’re passionate and self-motivated you’ll reap the rewards.

2) Put the right fuel in and you’ll get the right fuel out
Food is the fuel for my body so I’m regimented with my diet to maximize what I get out of it. When I’m training I’m not interested in a meal for no purpose – it’s either for preparation or recovery.

3) Educate yourself
Talk to a lot of different people, research and read because ‘you don’t know what you don’t know’.

4) Persevere
I hated learning to run but once I started to experience its effects it became addictive. Plus, it becomes a lot easier when you build passion into the equation.
Do you have a fitness goal like Andrew did or just need some advice on how to get started? Talk to a Pinnacle Trainer any time for practical strategies, training plans and more to help you discover your potential!

*Results may vary. Exercise and proper diet are necessary to achieve and maintain weight loss and/or muscle gain over an extended period of time.