Fight Your Limits

Fight Your Limits

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Fight Your Limits

After participating in season two of ESPN's Search4Hurt, Andrew Pap fell in love with ultra-endurance. Now he puts his passion to the test with a 250km run across the Simpson Desert.

Interview: Erin Leckie | Images: Brock Rushton


IN JUNE THIS YEAR, ANDREW “PAP” PAPADOPOULOS WILL TACKLE AUSTRALIA’S FIRST AND ONLY 250KM, MULTIDAY RACE: THE BIG RED RUN. Starting and ending at the iconic Birdsville Pub, the Big Red Run will take Andrew through the searing heat of the Simpson Desert, completing a massive six marathons in just six days. He’s not doing it for the glory, and he certainly isn’t doing it for fun… he’s doing it for charity.

Luckily for Andrew, he has experience in these insane kinds of endurance events, after winning his way onto the 2014 television show Search4Hurt. Andrew and his co-star Leah Richardson performed a multitude of punishing endurance events and extreme training sessions including a 24-hour mountain bike race, a 48-hour adventure race, a 12km stand-up paddleboard race and a 100km North Face run through the Blue Mountains. It might sound crazy to us mere mortals, but for personal trainer and seriously fit human Andrew Pap, this is just another day.

We caught up with the man himself to ask the one question that is surely on everybody’s mind… how does he do it?

Hey Andrew, thanks for chatting with
us! Can you start by telling us why
you’re doing this 250km Big Red Run in June?

During my time on Search4Hurt I discovered these events and just found I got so much from them! I also think it’s always good to give back to the community and do something for someone else. The Big Red Run is for a great cause, to help juveniles who are suffering with type-1 diabetes. I’m going to do six days of hard work but it’s going to help someone in need, so everyone wins. The landscape is to die for and I know the people I’m going to meet will just be incredible so while I’m definitely getting something out of it the experience is so much richer knowing someone else is benefiting too.

It’s certainly going to be a tough six days, how do you prepare for something like that?

The running is really important, obviously, as is how you prepare yourself. When I first started the program I might have done a 10k run in the morning, then a 10k run at night and then a 10k run the next morning. You’re learning to back it up again, and then back it up again, which is what you’re doing with these multi-day runs except on a bigger volume. I’m working myself towards that. This week alone I’ve done 72km and then I’ve got 16km to do tomorrow. It will get to a point about a month prior to the event where my largest volume maybe 100-120km a week, but then you have to taper off because you don’t want to be sore starting out, you want to be nice and fresh and recovered.

Wow, that’s a lot of training! Do you ever have a day off!?

Yeah I absolutely take rest days – you’ve got to train smart. I’ve trained dumb (train, train, train, train!) but then you just fall apart and you’re out. A lot of my friends have gotten chronic fatigue and their adrenal glands have just worked too hard and so you’ve got to train smart. Training smart also includes looking after your nutrition.

How do you fuel your body for such high volume training?

I believe you should source everything from whole foods first, and once you’ve got that sorted you can look at supplements. I think pretty much almost everyone is deficient somewhere, whether it’s minerals, vitamins or calories. I’m sponsored by Isowhey Sports and they’ve got some really good stuff. Prior to that I was with somebody else and it was just kind of really generalised, tasted like milkshakes and they added everything. Now I’ve got my protein and I’ve got my pre-workout, but only for when I’m feeling flat, I definitely don’t take it day in day out. I also supplement with glutamine, fish oil, vitamin C, ubiquinol and magnesium. I just lose so much during training, I sweat so much and I use so much energy that even with good nutrition and enough calories there is always something I need to replace.

You also run your own group training program called Battle Fit Australia, tell us about the success you’ve had there and how that started.

What happened was I was training down at the local park, I had my sand past the six-hour mark or the 12-hour mark, you have that constant self talk. If you can achieve it, if you come out of the other side and complete it, it gives you that sense of empowerment. Then you start asking what’s next. That’s why I really encourage people to step out of the comfort zone and try something new.

You’ve got a fantastic relationship with your Battle Fit clients, how do you create that community?

I think it’s an important thing to be authentic. I really care about the people who come to Battle Fit and I want to see them succeed. They see the things that I do and they know that I’m legit. So when I tell them to push past their boundaries, they know I’m not messing around, they’ve seen me do worse. The last thing I would ever want is for someone to question “why are you yelling at me when you couldn’t do this?” I want them to feel like I’m in the trenches with them. It develops respect and if you gain the respect of your clients, family, friends then you’ll get the most out of them.

This is an extract from Men's Muscle & Health Magazine issue 10. To purchase your copy, email or subscribe online today.

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