“There were a couple of reasons why I wanted to do this. The first is that I’m going to the States in February for pilot season. In Australia you might go to four or five castings in six months if you’re not working, whereas over there you’re in a town that’s trying to cast upwards of 200 new shows. You could go to three castings a day.
I’ve been a couple of times before and got really close. I just had to have a look at myself and go, ‘What am I lacking?’ It’s like the Olympics. If you’re only going at 80 per cent, there’s people there going at 90-100 per cent. I looked at my physique and I thought, ‘Maybe that’s cutting me out of some roles’. The truth is, you’ve got to be able to whip off your shirt to be able to play some of these parts. You don’t want to exclude yourself from anything.
The other thing is I’ve got four kids. My eldest is 16. My youngest is 3. And I’m 45 years old. I’ve got to keep earning for a few more years. My youngest will be 18 when I’m 60 so I’ve got to make the next 10 years work. I can’t afford to take my foot off the gas.
But it’s not just a work thing. It’s keeping up with them. I want to be able to kick the footy with my threeyear- old when he’s 14 or 15. You’ve got to start laying the base now. Sure, you can turn it around at any stage but it’ll be a lot harder in 10 years’ time. We’re all having kids later. You’ve got to stay stronger for longer.”
FORCE OF HABITS
“This challenge has been a wake-up call for me. I grew up in sporting clubs. You’d win a game of cricket and you’re in your whites until 10:30 at night drinking beers with the boys. It was just part of celebrating. Then we’d go home, have a shower and go out!
This year I started to notice that my wife would go to bed at 9:30 and I’d stay up and watch a show on Netflix and just continue to have a couple of glasses of wine or a whisky. It just starts to seep in as normal. And when you count up your drinks for the week, you’re like, ‘I’m into the high 20s’.
That’s a lot of drinks. It takes a little bit of effort to knock you out of these little habits and go, ‘Look, I’m not going to give up drinking altogether’ but just save it for those times that you’re celebrating.
Just enjoy a better bottle of wine with your wife once a week rather than 3 or 4 $15 bottles. Make it an event. That all helps lead to that health and longevity that I realise I have to maintain for the kids and for my work.”
TRAIN AND GAIN
“Prior to starting the training, I’d put on a few kilos on Doctor Doctor. One of the great things but also one of the pitfalls of shooting is catering. There’s an abundance of food so portion control is a big thing. There’s dessert every day for lunch, sticky date pudding, tubs of ice cream and biscuits during the day. To keep your energy up you go for that quick sugar hit. I hadn’t blown out hugely but I’d probably put on 3 or 4kg.
At the same time, I have a bulging disc in my spine that I’ve been told goes back to playing cricket. When it flares up I’m bent over to one side and I can’t even straighten. I can just roll out of bed and it can happen. It was a worry going in but we addressed it with the physio so we could get started without aggravating the injury.
The first couple of weeks were hard. You start to think this isn’t going to happen for me. I was training while I was shooting the TV series Glitch in country Victoria. You use excuses like work, doing long hours. You want to have a drink with everyone after doing a 12-hour day. We were all staying at a place with a main bar so we’d have a debrief each night. I had a bit of a look at myself in the mirror and I was like, ‘Do you need to be at every single debrief, having a drink, when you’re seeing these people every day? Would that time be better spent in your hotel room doing 20 minutes of exercise?’ Because what I found is that just getting some oxygen into your lungs is really good for your mental state, particularly when you’re away from home. You just turn your brain off after a long day’s work instead of doing it by having two or three drinks. That was a real shift for me.
When I was at home I had to fit training around the family. Without getting all Mark Wahlberg about it and getting up at 2 in the morning, if you have to train at 5.30 before the kids are up then that’s what you’ve got to do. I’ve got a weights set-up in the garage and if I couldn’t make a training session because of work, that’s what I’d do.
So, after the initial two weeks I found that you sort of punch through and get past that plateau. Then you pat yourself on the back and you think, ‘Well, if I can get through that, when it wasn’t all going my way, I can get through anything’.
For the full article, pick up a copy of the February issue of Men's Health, on sale Monday 7th Jan