Tom Cooper – Transform In 28

In this day and age people tend to have a better understanding that in order to get in shape it is important that they eat right. But when there are more diets out there than you can shake a set of calipers at, many people are left scared and confused when it comes to choosing the “best” one.

First of all, let’s get the idea of a “diet” out of your head. The idea of “going on a diet” to lose weight suggests that eventually you will go off the diet and return to your old eating habits. This type of behaviour can be bad for your health as it can lead to up and down weight loss and gain. The best way to lose weight and keep it off is to make lifestyle changes that include consistent healthy eating and exercise habits.

Tom Cooper, a fourth-year physiotherapy student at La Trobe University has undergone what he refers to as a “Lifestyle Behaviour Modification,” and was willing to share his recent “health kick” experience with me.

The program Tom is with is called Transform In 28, an on line-based eating and exercise program that provides participants with a support group through Facebook.
“I got on to the program via Facebook, one of the trainers, Fraser has a health and fitness page called “Iron Guru Fitness” where he posts tips and tricks and started advertising that he was taking on this new project. I have been following his work for about a year and thought I would give it a go.”
Tom’s group consists of three trainers and around fifty members who are able to post their progress updates, questions and queries about diet and exercise on the Facebook page. With the help of “Transform In 28” and the Facebook support group, Tom has been able to “make changes to the way [he] operate[s] for long term changes in health.”

“The program’s eating plan is based around the Palaeolithic diet (Caveman diet) so lots of lean meat and vegetables, minimal processed foods like bread, pasta, sauces, etc. Interestingly we don’t have a huge amount of dairy or fruit either, because of the incredibly high density of sugars present. Also no alcohol is really supposed to be consumed.”

“The exercise is based around High IntensityInterval Training (H.I.I.T.), with sessions going for just under 30 minutes.”

Before beginning any kind of life-changing program it is important that you set yourself goals, with a good understanding or where you are now and where you want to be. It is then a matter of making the goal as specific as possible, setting time frames and short term goals so that it is easier to see what steps need to be taken to get moving in the right direction. Tom described his fitness as “a roller coaster” over the past 10 years. “I rowed nationally as a junior in Surf Life Saving and played rugby throughout high school. Throughout Uni I have been going to the gym fairly regularly, but would have peaks and troughs in motivation in terms of going five times a week to once a week. I was probably a little more disillusioned about my level of health because I went to the gym, but my diet and hence my weight did not reflect that. I never ate heaps of junk food, but I ate stacks of carbs like whole grain bread, pasta, rice etc. So even though I was eating traditionally “healthy” foods I was piling on the kilograms and couldn’t budge them.”

For Tom, his goals were “in line with the model for the program” which is a 28 day cycle (hence the name). “By the end of 28 days I wanted to lose 5 kilograms. I achieved that much quicker than what I anticipated. By the end of the 28 days I had lost over 9 kilograms! I just achieved another small goal of getting my waist circumference under 100cm, which is big for me as I’m terrified of getting Type 2 Diabetes.”
“Long term, the goal would be [to lose] 20 kilograms, so I’m still a way off that. But because the focus of this program is not on just weight loss, and more about overall well being, people actually achieve things like having more energy, getting better quality sleep, being more focused at work etc. which aren’t as quantifiable but definitely noticeable. So ultimately my long term goal is to adhere to the program as much as I can for the rest of my life.”

Undergoing the Transform In 28 program has been a challenging experience for Tom, but “has progressively gotten easier” the further into it he has gone.
“The first week or two were pretty hard in terms of denying my body the carbohydrates that it so regularly received. Now they are just coming from vegetable sources. Once my body became conditioned to that, within 7-10 days of starting it got better. Other hard bits were going out with friends to bars and restaurants and not ordering a Chicken Parmigiana and having a few beers, but rather having a grilled chicken salad and soda water instead. But all my friends have been really supportive of the changes I have been trying to make. Now that I am into my sixth week, its pretty much my new way of life and fairly normal for me now. Also I am never ever hungry, so don’t think I am starving myself, I am perfectly well fed, just now with the right stuff.”

“I would recommend the program to anyone who is serious about losing excess weight or even people looking to tone up. There are people with all different body types who do this program and see results. For me it was about getting a real wake up call and over hauling the way I go about doing things. Where I am now is that I have learnt to challenge and question conventional norms about what healthy is. You dont need to kill yourself in the gym for 2 hours a day to get results. And just because you are told its healthy doesnt mean it always is. I’m glad that I found this program and thankful that I was and still am able to make improvements in my weight, health and well being.”

For more information about Transform In 28 and to get involved yourself visit


Luke Costin – Giants By Name, Infants By Nature

This is a cartoon I did for a blog article written by Luke Costin, one of my sport journalism classmates at La Trobe University. The article is titled “Giants By Name, Infants By Nature“, and was posted on March 22 this year in the lead up to the Greater Western Sydney Giant’s début match in the AFL against the Sydney Swans. Giant’s coach, Kevin Sheedy was forced to début sixteen young players against the experienced Sydney line-up, and Costin goes into predicting the outcome based upon the début match of the Gold Coast Suns in 2011, where they lost to Carlton by 119 points with a list of twelve new players.

My cartoon contends that the Giants were entering a losing battle, taking the metaphor of “infants” literally. A supportive Sheedy is encouraging the boys to participate more than anything, while the formidable Sydney Swans are waiting to get an easy four points.

In the end, the Giants lost quite significantly with a score of 37 to Sydney’s 100. This outcome was possibly better than what was expected for reasons highlighted in Costin’s article. The end of the 2012 home and away season has left the GWS Giants at the bottom of the ladder, winning only two AFL matches for the year. Despite this, there were promising signs from the Giants, beating the Suns by 27 points in round seven, and Port Adelaide by 34 points in round 19. The Giants will hopefully make more of a mark in season 2013 when the boys have gained a bit more experience and a bit more mass.

Cartoon for Upstart Magazine – Plain Packaging

This is my cartoon that was published in Upstart Magazine on July 20 this year accompanying an article by Adria De Fazio titled “Plain Packaging Won’t Work? So What’s All The Fuss About Then?” The article discussed the anti-smoking campaign involving the introduction of plain packaging for cigarettes.

De Fazio looks into how tobacco companies are saying that the campaign won’t be effective, despite what the research is saying.  My cartoon has got quite a bit of depth to it, and you would be excused for not completely understanding my main angle. I have the contention that tobacco companies are aware that plain packaging will be effective, which will decrease the sale of cigarettes. A decrease in cigarette sales means a decrease in the number of people smoking, meaning that ultimately the health of many smokers will be increased, and for comical purposes, the Grim Reaper will have less work. And while tobacco companies are against the legislation, they don’t have any strong arguments against it, since cigarettes are part of what has been described as the “death industry.”

The legislation will take effect from October 1 and from December 1 retailers will have to ensure all the tobacco products they sell are in the new packaging or risk heavy fines.


Swimtember – Raising Awareness for Men’s Health

This September I am participating in ‘Swimtember‘ to raise money for The Alfred Hospital and to raise awareness for men’s health. This is a great charity, because not only is it supporting a good cause, it is also promoting physical activity and healthy lifestyles through the exciting sport of swimming. And with beach season fast approaching, there couldn’t be a better time to get active and into shape.

Participants set goals for themselves which can involve a number of laps, a number of days spent in the pool, or just about anything involving an aquatic activity as long as you are raising money and having fun doing it. I have set myself a target to swim 65km this month, which roughly works out to about 2.2km each day. In previous months I have only been swimming around 4km each week, so this is a pretty big step up for me, but with the help of sponsors and support from family and friends I should be able to do it no worries. At this point in time I am sitting just ahead of schedule with a total of 21km under my belt. I have also managed to raise $170.00 which personally I think has been a great effort from all of my sponsors.

Men’s health awareness is an important part of Swimtember, as the program aims to increase the awareness of preventable health problems and encourage early detection and treatment of disease among all males. Prostate cancer is one of the biggest killers in Australia, and early detection of the cancer is the best way to deal with it.

In hindsight I may have bitten off a bit more than I can chew. I am not what you would consider to be a swimmer by nature, and am much more at home with a pair of runners and an endless view of pavement ahead of me. I have never been part of a swimming club or anything like that and as a result of this my swimming technique tends to be “all arms.” On the other hand, I do scrub up pretty well in a pair of Speedos, and being the competitive, sport-loving guy I am, I have enjoyed the challenge and the fitness benefits I am gaining from the experience. Swimming is a great workout that incorporates the entire body as you move you way against the resistance of the water. Regular swimming can build endurance, muscular strength and weight loss, and contributes to developing a healthy heart and lungs. It is also a great option for physical activity because it is a  low-impact cardiovascular workout, as opposed to running which can put a lot of stress on the leg joints. This makes swimming more accessible to people who are undergoing rehabilitation from injury.

I am now able to swim 3km straight in under an hour, which is a very long time in the company of your own thoughts.

If you want to participate in Swimtember or make a donation to this great cause, visit, or go directly to my Swimtember fundraising page, Up For A Paddle.

Arnold Sculptornegger

“Good body builders have the same mind when it comes to sculpting that a sculptor has.” – Arnold Schwarzenegger

Before we go analysing Arnold’s ability to string a sentence together, he makes a good point. It is a good way of thinking about body building, and it gives the sport a greater appreciation from those who are not overly impressed by it. Think of yourself as an artist, using dumbbells and barbells to create a masterpiece.

Boxfit class is a knockout

If your brain works in a similar way to mine, the word “boxing” makes you think of a cheesy inspirational fitness montage to the theme of a Survivor classic. While there is nothing wrong with this perception, it would be foolish to think that boxing is just for the Rocky Balboa wannabes. A variation of the sport designed for fitness is rapidly growing throughout the industry, commonly known as “Boxfit.” I’m sure there are other names for it, but for this article we will refer to it as that.

Boxfit is a non-competitive group exercise class where participants will partner up, one with gloves and the other with pads. The person with gloves will face opposite their partner and throw combination punches at them which the partner blocks with their padded gloves. After a period of time the instructor will then signal for the partners to swap roles. The best benefits come from good technique rather than strength, and participants will be taught how to punch properly by the instructor. There are three main moves: hooks (side punches), jabs (straight forward punches) and upper-cuts (punches going upwards). The instructor dictates which combinations you’ll be doing, and may also get you to change partners part-way through the work-out.

Boxfit is a great workout, with participants receiving benefits of weight loss, increased agility and coordination, muscle tone and greater overall fitness. It is common for people to think that boxing is all about the arms, but it is actually a cardio work-out for the whole body. Boxfit is a high intensity, full body workout that encourages constant movement the whole time. When you’re not throwing a punch, you’re ducking and weaving, doing squats and working your abdominals. And the best thing about these classes is that you are not limited by yours or anyone else’s fitness level. The workout you will get depends on how hard you are willing to push yourself, and with a motivational, high-energy instructor, participants are likely to push themselves far beyond their own limits.