Inspirational Operator

More than two thirds of Australian adults are classified as overweight or obese. Obesity and lifestyle related chronic conditions place considerable burden upon individuals themselves and the conditions are often complex and long-term.

Research shows that FIFO workers are significantly more likely to be overweight or obese than other workers but working away from home doesn’t have to be a choice between being FIFO and being fit. At Macmahon, it’s entirely possible to do both.

Macmahon’s mental and physical health ambassador, Soa “The Hulk” Palelei is encouraging the company’s entire workforce to live healthier lives and recently this approach extended to a trainee candidate.

John Rivers presented as an ideal trainee with all of the key attributes, personal values and passion to enter the mining industry. Just one problem, John was 170 kilos. With the maximum weight limit for a truck operator set at 120 kilos, the challenge was on to help John reach his goal and receive a formal job offer from Macmahon.

Over the course of the next 5 months, Soa and John got to work and became a formidable team. John committed to Soa’s weight loss program which included a strict nutrition program and tailored exercise plan. While weight loss was the main objective, it wasn’t the only goal. Improving his strength and flexibility were also vital in preparation to successfully pass the pre-work medical.

No stranger to overcoming adversity and taking on challenges through his previous UFC career, Soa turned to his passion for health and helping people reach their goals. As with any task this great there were minor set backs and times to reflect and refocus.

“John’s determination and commitment was truly inspiring. It’s not an easy task turning your life around and taking on such a huge challenge but he did. He never gave up. I take my hat off to him”, said Soa.

Fast forward to today and John has passed his medical with flying colours and now works full time as an Operator at our Mt Morgans site for Dacian Gold in WA. As you would imagine, John’s overall health has also improved. He’s managed to regulate his blood pressure enabling him to be free of the daily medication for his previous health concern.

In terms of his physical fitness, John is proudly planking for two minutes and can complete more than 20 chin ups.

“My physical self has changed dramatically; I was told I would need surgery to lose the weight and have done so through diet and exercise alone. Soa has shown me and my family that when you set out to achieve something, no matter how big or great, you really can do it. It’s all about believing in yourself,” John said.

“I can’t thank Soa enough, he is a mentor, trainer and a lifelong friend,” John said.

Today, John is living his dream – he’s now enjoying a life worth living playing football with his son and supporting his family with the income he’s earning working for Macmahon.

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