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Charles in Africa - Part 1

  • Posted by Catherine Tumelty
  • 19 October 2015

Just a short introduction of myself before I get started, my name is Charles Myssy I'm a 24 year old Australian operating my personal training business 'Strength & Honour' out of Fit n Fast Westfield Sydney. I have been there for almost 3 years and can safely say that I love my job. It keeps me fit, healthy and interacting with real people with whom I develop what starts out as a customer relationship and evolves into straight up friendships. These things that I love about my life can be taken for granted or in most cases are non-existent in many people's lives. 

For the past 100 years we have seen the business revolution and we as humans have slowly transferred from physical jobs to sedentary lifestyles. Humans who used to move are now still, humans who used to be physically stimulated are now stressed and lazy. But not all humans have adopted the way of life that we see everyday living in Australia. Most humans living in the 3rd world are still moving, not to stay fit... but to survive. And this article which is the first part of 3, will be covering my recent experience in Africa and how the comparison between lifestyle, food & thought all brings us some perspective.

Firstly, being an Australian I regularly get asked "oh you have a very nice and good country! How can I come there?" A question that can have so many answers and I wouldn't know where to begin. The truth is we are very lucky to live where we do and many people would love that opportunity. We have access to clean water, healthcare, a variety of food and all the information we could possibly need to be fit & healthy. But one thing I realised is that Australians are suffering from obesity, diabetes and depression even though we have all the resources to prevent those conditions. So why?

What I see is that the majority of Australians are not taking care of themselves due to sedentary lifestyles and poor diet which are all things that we are in control of. My experience in Africa was that the majority of people have very physical jobs, their diet mainly consists of highly nutritious, local, seasonal ingredients, all the vegetables and meat is organic and most people live on farms or have some type of vegetation of food they grow to feed their families or make a living. I did not see a lot of processed foods or fast food restaurants. So therefore I did not see any obese or overweight people. Being overweight is actually such a rarity that if they did see a foreigner who to them looks overweight, they would crowd around as if they are some sort of celebrity and stare as if they have never seen someone like that before.

In the 3rd world, many people don't even know what a Personal Trainer is; I had to change the way I said my profession so people would understand like 'weightlifting coach' or 'sport teacher'. From what I gathered they don't even have Personal Training courses, so this means that people in these countries, who don't even have access to Internet, find it impossible to find information on fitness, health and exercise. The only reason why people are not overweight and are relatively fit & healthy is because they have a physical job that keeps them active, the children walk to school for up to 2-3 hours per day and they have a wide range of organic seasonal food, with vegetables, beans, sweet potatoes and fruits being a big part of their daily diet. These are basic things that a lot of Australians do not have in their daily lives but have access to whenever they want it.

So what does all of this mean? Are we lazy or are we just unaware of how in control of our health we actually are? It means that if we are working on a computer desk all day it is our responsibility to make sure that we are getting our physical needs in at some point to prevent the risk of cardiovascular diseases and obesity. It means that because we are not moving and our bodies are becoming stiff, we have to maintain good posture and flexibility to prevent chronic pains and lifelong visits to the Chiro or Physio. It means that since the path to processed foods and bad eating habits is so easy to walk down, it is our responsibility to make the right choices for our health, for our bodies and for our future. It is our responsibility to realise what we need to do to be healthy; not for a sexy beach body, but for our lives! So follow me as I cover topics from food to the people I met on my journey, I learned so much that sharing my experience only feels right.