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Former AFL star shares his health & fitness tips

Weight loss


Adam caught up with former AFL great, Barry Hall, talking all things health and fitness. And about how he manages to stay fit after AFL life as he gained weight with retirement.

IT’S hard to imagine Barry Hall ever being out of shape but, a couple of years into retirement, the AFL champion was shocked to discover he’d become his commentator nickname of “big, bad Barry Hall”.

“I didn’t think I was fat but when I tried on a pair of pants and they didn’t fit any more I realised I had to lose a few extra kilos. It was a big turning point for me,” he said.

“I’d been exercising too, which just proves that you really can’t out-train a bad diet. I knew I had to get serious about what I was putting in my body.”

Barry started by dropping the high-energy foods that had been such a big part of his diet in his AFL days for the Saints, the Swans and the Bulldogs.

“We used to have to carb-load before training, but now that I can’t do much aerobic work any more because of injuries, I have to eat to counteract that,” he said.

“The first thing I did was cut down the sugar. Now I have no sugar in my diet and I try to watch and regulate the carbs.

“It’s a bit of a juggling act, but you need to know your own body and that what you’re putting in will benefit you. I eat really well now.”

“It’s taken me a long time but you can get there.”

Barry is living proof of that. Back at his playing weight now, he’s fitter than ever and ready for anything.

“People keep asking if I’m going to return to boxing for a pro fight and I never say never. Imagining that I might have to step into the ring one day soon helps me to set goals and stay focused on my health and fitness,” he says.

Portion distortion

If you want to look as good as Barry, pay attention to what’s on your plate.

“The most important thing you can do for your body is watch what you put in your mouth, and the key is portion size. Start with a palm-sized portion of meat and load up the rest of your plate with vegetables,” he said.

By piling on the vegies, Barry ensures that he gets all the fibre, energy and essential vitamins he needs to power through his day.

Train how you feel

Because of his injuries, Barry has had to get creative when it comes to training.

“I can’t run much, but I box and get a bit of a cardio session that way. You have to tailor your fitness program to what you want and need. There’s no excuse — everyone can do it,” he said.

“You don’t even need a gym. You can get a great workout down at the park in 10 minutes. It might not sound like much but you can really get a sweat up doing a combination of body weight exercises like push-ups, squats and sit-ups.

“I love walking away from a session feeling like I’ve accomplished something.”

From the look of the muscle he’s packing, Barry is certainly accomplishing something with his workouts. But the benefits are not only physical.

“I always train for the mental side of things as well,” he says. “It’s a great way to zone out and get away from stress. I put the iPod in, work hard for 10 minutes and come away feeling better. It lifts the weight off your shoulders.”

Barry's day on a plate


Poached eggs with avocado and spinach leaves


Meat, fish or chicken, and salad


Meat and veg

Fast Five with Barry Hall