Ben Hanly is my name and currently I work in the Clubs industry in hospitality. I have also pursued an acting career since my early twenties. My fitness journey has been lengthy and varied. I am almost 37 years old and over the course of 20 plus years, I have been a member of at least 6 gyms. I first started weight training in my early teens, using a bench press and weights I set up at home. After a while, the next step was joining a gym and serious training with guys I played footy with. I did whatever it took to bulk up. This lasted until I was 18, when a busy social life got the better of me. I lost my size within a couple of years. Later, my mid twenties saw me do a complete flip where cardio training became key for me. I would happily run or cycle 15 or 20 kilometres each day. Weights became secondary, if at all.
My ethnic background is of a Vietnamese mother and an Australian father. I grew up hanging around with all the fair haired kids who hung by the beach. Looking different sometimes came with racial taunts and it took me a very long time to learn to love myself. All I wanted was to look like them.
At 19, a modelling agency took me on. I never landed a job. How could I have, when I had no I idea how to appreciate my own self? Acting on the other hand, was a chance for me to escape into a character. When I first started acting, I would book a couple of commercials a year. Mostly these were for the Asian market, but suddenly I felt wanted.
This played a big part in helping me deal with my appearance. What very few people know about me is that I suffered an eating disorder from about the age of 15, on and off until just before I turned 30. I have been with my wife for over 7 years and married for just over 3. I have been happy, comfortable and carefree. The exercise has been little and the indulgence the opposite. In the last few years, after piling on weight, I actually booked more acting jobs than ever. Someone told me I must have been more relatable and I used that excuse to stay overweight. I have been bulky, skinny, ripped and fat. My wife and I have a daughter who is 2 years old now and high energy! This was one of a few reasons for me to want to make a change and throw away that excuse I had been living by for a few years. A huge reason to get fit was also seeing the amazing transformation one of my friend Emma, had made by stepping in to Vision.
Having stepped on the scales on Christmas Day of last year and topping out at 104kgs, it was easy to make a new year resolution for 2017. I signed up to a 6 week weight loss challenge at a Cross-fit gym and successfully lost 12 kgs. I was excited to be on the fitness path again and then the gym closed down. Now I needed a new gym! Emma had Chris the Manager of Vision phone me and it turned out I knew him from school days. I was a bit unsure at first, but it honestly didn't take long to feel right at home. The warmth of every Trainer there and the sense of community is unlike anything I have experienced. After the last 9 week weight loss challenge, I managed to get down to 80kg and more than halved my starting body fat percentage from January down to 15%.
I have loved entering into events with the Vision Bondi crew (City to surf, Blackmores 10km, Tough Mudder to name a few) and recently completed the MS Gong ride.
I am loving my training and the way I feel now and can and wait to enter my next event. I want to continue to improve my eating and fitness. I must thank my Trainer Patrick Koutsoukis for keeping me accountable each week along with the positivity of all the Trainers at Vision. I have probably always been possessed an all or nothing attitude. However, I feel that I am now of an age where I can focus on having a balanced lifestyle with balanced training. I still strive to be better than I was, but at the same time, I'm more realistic now. This story was not an easy one for me to tell, however, reading the success stories of other Vision members has definitely been inspiring in telling my own.