My name is Ben Coventry and I’m an age group triathlete.
People tend to be shocked when I tell them that I used to hate cardio and I was never “fit” growing up, but that’s the truth!
As a kid, the one sport I always had some sort of natural talent in was swimming. I used to attend swim squads in primary school every Monday and Wednesday morning but being the only fat kid in the squad had its obvious battles… “Haha you swim like a whale” … “Ben try and not make tidal waves when you swim”. As you can imagine these things pushed me away from the sport which made my weight issues worse.
In my later years of high school, I never got involved in school sports like Rugby, Basketball, Swimming or Athletics and drifted towards Golf.
At the age of 17-18 I was really good at Golf and looked at taking it to the US to play for a college but the issue I had was being 120kgs overweight. Mum kept on hinting to me that her personal trainer would be able to help me train in the gym for golf as he did some research on the exercise routine that Tiger Woods was doing.
Initially it was never about losing weight but more about getting fit and powerful for Golf. But as it turned out after 9 weeks of eating well and training, I lost 16kgs.
After losing that first chunk of weight my confidence started to build so I just kept it going, I started to enjoy training and eating well and even jumped in the pool for cardio sessions! Two more 9 week blocks later and I got down to 81kgs and was on top of the world!
Within the last 2 weeks of my third 9 week block my trainer at the time was doing the Port Macquarie half Ironman challenge. Unfortunately, due to cramps, he didn’t finish and upon his return to the gym that following week he said “Mate, that was the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life”. I responded with “Wow really I’d love to give it a go” he laughed and said “I’m not joking it’s so hard you’d be lucky to finish”.
Not long after that I entered the 2011 Nepean Tri in Penrith, in November. I completed that race, it wasn’t pretty, but I completed it. I will always remember the last 2km coming towards the finish line, thinking about all the guys that put me down in school, all the fat nicknames I got and most of all how many times I was told that I couldn’t do it. Ever since then I’ve had the bug.
Triathlons have given me my passion for swimming back! And they have both gone hand in hand to help me stay motivated and focused on my health and fitness goals. Swimming helps me de-stress when life and training gets a little bit too hectic whether it’s in the pool or out in the open water with some mates.
I now run Inspired Performance personal training; my own personal training business where I train people trying to achieve their own goals from weight loss to body composition to endurance events! I give each client the same advice: get in the water! My favourite tools for building your fitness in the pool are the Zoggs Hand Paddles and Pull Buoy. You can use them all at once or each individually but they all help build the upper body strength in the water but also makes you use your core. It’s good to de-stress and it’s the best exercise to build your cardio vascular system without getting injuries.
Obviously, swimming is the one form of exercise that scares people away because they might have their own body issues and I can definitely relate to that. I always reassure those clients and people that if you keep at it those body issues will slowly fade away as you keep swimming/losing weight and by you getting in the pool and giving it a go, you are leaps and bounds ahead of anyone sitting on the coach at home.