Mackay mum's incredible 30kg transformation
LIFE was very different for Mackay's Mellissa Austin back in 2018.
The single mum was 30 kilograms overweight, could not do a single push up and could not run more than 200 metres.
Ms Austin devoted all her time to her son, her workplace, family and friends - leaving no space in her life for anything she enjoyed.
But 2018 was also the year she decided to get her life back on track and become a healthy role model for her young son.
"One day I looked in the mirror and I decided enough was enough, I didn't like the reflection looking back at me, so I started," Ms Austin said.
"I had tried to get into fitness before but was never successful in sticking it out, for no real reason - I was full of excuses - I didn't have time, I was too busy, I was too tired, I couldn't afford it."
The Macky mum admitted she was "petrified" when she joined Red E Personal Training's Little Black Dress program.
But her trainers encouraged her to simply take it a day at a time and commit to turning up just once a week for training.
"So I did. I turned up, every week and slowly began to learn how to fuel my body on a budget and with healthier choices," Ms Austin said.
"I didn't go crazy, I didn't try to change everything. I just chose one thing at a time and stuck to it."
Over the next 18 months, she continued to take on fitness challenges, pushing past her self-conceived limitations.
Last year she entered the push-up challenge for Headspace and completed 3128 push-ups over 28 days.
"The feeling of success I felt following this was like no other feeling," Ms Austin said.
"Those excuses I made during previous attempts to better my health and fitness were no longer."
After that challenge, Ms Austin found herself asking "what's next?".
So, she set, and later completed, her goal to run the half marathon at the Mackay Marina Run in 2019.
That year she also committed to another eight week Little Black Dress project with Red E, dropping 5.5 kilograms and 19 centimetres in two months.
"The weight was falling off and boy did I feel good about it," Ms Austin said.
"I started to love the person looking back at me - she looked good.
"I realised for the first time in a long while, I was genuinely happy with the person I had become, I was kicking butt."
Although she had already lost a whopping 25 kilograms by that stage, Ms Austin felt she needed another challenge to ensure she did not slip back into old habits.
After completing the Mirani Women's Only Triathlon in October 2019, she heard a friend of a friend was working towards completing an Ironman.
Ms Austin's desire to challenge herself kicked in again.
After months of training, in September she competed in the Sunshine Coast 70.3 Half Ironman Triathlon, which included a 1.9 kilometre swim, 90 kilometre cycle and 21 kilometre run.
During her last leg of the triathlon, she recalled not seeing too many other people still left in the race.
She passed other participants who had already completed the triathlon and were heading home.
Their cheers encouraged Ms Austin to finish.
Now 30 kilograms lighter, Ms Austin has offered the following tips for those wanting to overhaul their health and fitness:
1. Turn up - treat your sessions like an appointment and turn up regardless of what your day has thrown you.
2. Choose one thing at a time to change and stick to it.
3. Set performance goals, something you can measure, for example, one push up.
4. Don't make excuses, find solutions. Bring the kids along or include them in your session. Train when they sleep or are otherwise occupied. If you want to find the time, you will.
5. If you become unwell, rest. Two days off when you feel sick will save you two weeks off down the track.