MENTAL HEALTH WITH DAN CONN // MEN’S HEALTH WEEK 2019
Ex NRL star turned fitness guru and founder of the 30DC wellness program discusses his own experience with mental health and breaks down the stigma surrounding mental health in men.
Talk us through what you do to stay healthy both physically and mentally.
It’s a balance between each other, yet one stems from one to the other! (try saying that a few times!!)
Being mentally fit & happy doesn’t just happen, it takes time to form habits that allow you to practice gratitude, reflection & self-talk. So too does achieving physical fitness. I move my body daily in order to stay strong both physically & mentally. For a long time, we have understood the need to be physically fit but more than ever wellness is now about mental fitness too. You can’t reach your peak fitness without a positive mindset to match!
How have you seen men’s health and fitness culture change over the years…
It’s changed dramatically= It used to be ‘Solely” about lifting, sweating, veins in the muscles, outa control training with limited methodology, power lifts that don’t represent the real powerlifters… but don’t get me wrong there’s a HUGE space for that and it’s growing. But now we see a holistic approach. Mindset, motivation, physical fitness, nutritional fitness from the inside… And the most exciting thing is that it varies for EVERYONE! .and I love THAT!
For men who are just starting their fitness journey, do you have any recommendations for staying motivated and committed?
Well thought & achievable goals for both mental & physical fitness, structure & routine… You don’t just become THE ROCK or DAN CONN all of a sudden!!
(thought they matched pretty well ha-ha)
I’d love to hear a bit about HUSTLE. What is it and what sets it apart from other gyms?
It’s the most iconic and advanced customer experience matched by training, people skills, community function and is pure elite in every area.
Fitness and staying active has been attributed to improving mental health and resilience. How do you see fitness playing a role in affecting the wellbeing of a person?
In today’s society of high achievers, time is of the essence. So, we jam pack our days with endless to do’s! Don’t get me wrong, most of us nail it. But with that comes the stress to achieve, mental fatigue, the pressure to constantly excel really! Fitness allows you to put the time back in to the most important project you can ever have which is you! It allows you to build a strong mental resilience in facing things that perhaps you would have otherwise steered away from due to fear. Training allows you to break down physical and mental blocks & barriers, breaking them down, understanding them & pushing past them growing as an individual! This feeds off into your mental health, your physical health & into the way you approach & live life! I haven’t even mentioned the instant effects training does to your brain, body & mind. Moods increase instantly due to the increase in blood flow & happy endorphins! Moving every day, no matter the occasion is vital & you will absolutely feel the vitality from doing so!
What resources are available to men who are struggling with a mental health issue?
There is a lot of numbers and text options out there, but nothing beats one on one interaction and that’s why we want to keep the focus on the people face to face instead of just the phone
What has helped you the most with your own struggles with mental health?
Exercise and food. Support from those around me but just being around people. Not needing conversation but just having people there made me feel like I can get through it… and I do!
You talk about leading a balanced lifestyle. What does this entail?
It means having a balance in all parts, but let’s face it that’s absolutely BULLSHIT! You have perfect diet, perfect routine, perfect job that allows you to be catered… Your Mrs can do you head in!
Balance, to me, is about having enough of the good stuff and enough of the little thing SO that if this went wrong the ‘balance out’ effect would work.
Perfect example: I missed my morning workout… Do I stress about it all day? Or do I eat super early and try and get an OB tomorrow…
You’re a leading advocate for mental health awareness. What has been one of the most rewarding breakthroughs/achievements in this regard?
The ones no one else gets to know about. The one’s where people are going through real day to day struggles… Then I hear their brief battles and routines … In that single minute it gives me goose bumps, it warms my heart. This person that’s shouldn’t ever thank me, I should thank them!
What are some signs men can look for who may be struggling with a mental health issue?
For me it’s
. low moods
· Low sex Drive
· Urge to gamble
· Urge to binge drink
· Struggling to fit in and willing to do what ever it takes to do so
· Always quiet
· Becoming more reclusive
· Not talking to mates besides small talk
· Think thoughts that scare me personally