SPRINTING BEYOND SETBACKS
posted on 20/08/2015 2:07:00 AM
WORDS Kirstin Cuthbert
Most four-year-olds are immersed in learning everything they can about the world around them as they discover new skills, activities and interests. Luke Health was also a typical toddler… until he suffered a brutal blow from a wayward cricket ball. His skull was fractured after the ball, which was hit for six to the boundary, came hurtling in to the crowd and crashed into the little spectator’s head.
Luke’s entire world changed within seconds and he lost his motor skills, exercise and speech. Regular school learning was not an option but with the help of professionals and ongoing family support, he worked hard to recover. The adversities he faced at such a young age taught him the importance of determination: if you want something bad enough and are willing to put in hard work, you can achieve it.
Through hard work Luke began getting his skills back and at age 10 he took up running with the hope of increasing his co-ordination and fitness.
“I ran to challenge myself and prove that I could overcome anything I was faced with,” explains Luke.
By age 12 he had defied the odds; he was back on track and considered to be at a ‘normal’ level of learning. He also began functional strength training, focusing on bodyweight strength.
Despite having been dealt some serious bad luck in his earlier years, Luke harnessed his inner strength at a young age, explaining that he was only four years old when he decided to give life everything he had, and to prove everybody wrong.
“I was going to get back up to speed with my peers and achieve more! From these experiences I learnt that if you have the gift of movement, you can exercise,” says Luke.
At 16 Luke started lifting weights, using basic free plates and a barbell from his garage-based gym to gain power, co-ordination and strength. By 17 he was a top runner in Tasmania, achieving far more than anyone had ever thought possible. The now 37-year-old continues to compete, running for charity and training with state and Australian representatives. He also works as a mentor, discussing training and race strategy.
Luke’s passion for movement saw him enter the professional world of personal training and group fitness in 1997. He wanted to capture a greater audience to motivate and mentor, and viewed the fitness industry as a direct path to helping others see the benefits of exercise.
“Fitness and helping others to overcome what life throws at them are where my passion lies.
EAT LIKE LUKE
Snack: chai latte/fruit
Lunch: leftover Jamie Oliver meal (salad and an awesome piece of meat for protein). I also have one meat-free day per week where I have beans, mushrooms and lentils for protein.
Snack: 2 muesli bars
Dinner: Jamie Oliver meal
Dessert: fruit and yoghurt for dairy and minerals
TRAIN LIKE LUKE
Monday: 3 x 5-minute strength workouts, upper body
Tuesday: Run and sprint training
Wednesday: Longer recovery run for cardio plus leg and core training
Thursday: Arms and sprints
Friday: Rest day
Saturday: 2-3 x 5-minute workouts, cardio/strength plus power ropes and kettlebells
Sunday: Recovery run and core
“I want to reach as many people as I can worldwide and share not only my knowledge, but also my personal experience,” reveals Luke.
He moved to Sydney in 2009, and in 2010 had the opportunity to present group fitness for Les Mills as an elite instructor in his field. In 2011 he created and delivered his own group fitness program, Luke Heath DYNAMIC STRENGTH with the goal of teaching a larger audience about the benefits of super functional, efficient and highly effective workouts.
Luke’s latest project is his fitness app, Luke Heath 5 Minute Workouts, which provides users with five-minute H.I.I.T workouts which can be done anytime, anywhere.
“I am working on making fitness accessible and hope to improve and educate as many people as I can on the benefits of movement. I want it to become the global way of life,” says Luke.
Luke’s constant motivation and desire to achieve more in life come directly from his training and his appreciation of movement.
“I remember what it was like to not be able to exercise when I was younger, so that pushes me to strive and achieve more. Movement is a gift, you need to use it – if you’re not using it, you’re sacrificing it,” says Luke.
Having struggled in his first running training session of wind sprints, Luke has come a long way. Today this is just a warm-up exercise for him and he’s the one leading the sessions.
He is living proof that with confidence, self-belief, strength and determination, you can overcome anything.
“Life doesn’t have to be what you’re told,” says Luke.
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