BENDIGO fireman Jaron de Prada is happy to be called a loser, taking out a weight transformation award inspired by Biggest Loser trainer Michelle Bridges.
Mr de Prada won the Lean and Strong category of the Michelle Bridges 12-week Body Transformation program at a national ceremony in Perth.
After lifting his weights regime and shedding seven kilograms, Mr de Prada edged out thousands of contestants from across the country for the title.
He said the program had changed his lifestyle and given him a renewed focus on his health.
“It’s more than an exercise program, it’s a mindset thing as well. It’s educating you about food and thinking about what you’re putting into your body,” he said.
Mr de Prada’s 12-week fitness regime involved weight sessions at Lifestyle Gym on the way to work each morning and a full day of punishing exercises every Saturday.
The most difficult part, he said, was resisting the temptation for sweets at the fire station.
“If someone’s working overtime they’ll bring in a Boston bun or cakes. I copped a fair ribbing from the guys for not eating any of that.
“The guys were eventually pretty supportive, I think they are pretty proud of me. They’ve just declared I’m not allowed to take my shirt off at jobs.”
After three months of disciplined exercise and healthy eating, Mr de Prada improved 18 seconds on his one kilometre time trial, and reached 80 push ups per minute, up from 55 at the start of the program.
His wife, Kate, got him onto the program after completing it herself, and said she was overwhelmed to find out about the award.
“When I saw about the nomination I called him to tell him at work, but I could barely speak I was that excited,” she said. “I was screaming like a teenage girl at a One Direction concert.”
Mr de Prada said a group of fellow Body Transformation contestants from Bendigo joined in the trip to Perth for the awards night, with increased local interest in the program.
He said the group members were inspired to improve their own lifestyles and help tackle the growing epidemic of obesity.