40kg IN 12 MONTHS: Desan pushes up the ante
AFTER developing a running habit over the past 12 months, Desan Padayachee decided it was time for some upper body work.
"My end goal is to be built like Terry Crews," Desan grins.
Last year, aged 42, he received the wake up call of his life when he was diagnosed with diabetes.
Tipping the scales at 120kg, he decided it was time to focus on his health, and so for the first time in his life he started running every morning.
"I've been getting into the fitness because of the diabetes diagnosis on 7th of July, 2019," he said.
"I've been working myself up to running further, beating personal bests, and feeling better."
Trimming down and locked into the new habit, Desan started to entertain the idea of varying his fitness program to include strength work.
Right on cue came a nomination to attempt the 25-Day Push Up Challenge, in which nominees must post a Facebook video of themselves doing 25 push ups every day for 25 days, to help raise awareness for post traumatic stress disorder, anxiety and depression.
"Normally I read straight past those chain mails and challenges," he said.
"But I've seen a few people doing the push ups challenge and when the nomination came through from a friend, given fitness is the new hobby of mine and for a good cause of mental health, I thought why not.
"I needed a kick in the backside to start the strength work because I really got addicted to running.
"But as soon as I started the push ups I felt the muscles getting stronger."
Like the running 12 months earlier, it was a completely new concept for Desan, and the agonising final few push ups on day one are almost painful to watch.
"The first days I took some rests, but then I started to feel stronger and see the time reducing."
Desan is well known in Grafton as a charismastic entertainer who has little trouble getting a laugh from audiences whether it be as an actor on the stage, stand up comedian, MC for the annual Jacaranda Queen Crowning Ceremony, or simply in casual conversation.
So it was no surprise that in typical community-minded fashion his daily push ups soon took on a life of their own, morphing into a scenic tour of Grafton, incorporated into his morning walks with his wife Misty, daughter Paisley and two boxers cheering him on, each time signed off with his infectious flashy smile.
"The first couple I did in the lounge room. But every morning (after the run) I walk the dogs with the family, and my wife Misty actually said why not do it here in front of the bridge?
"Every day we just started doing it at a different spot and friends started commenting on it.
"She wouldn't have seen the new bridge, then we thought now we've got to do one at the Clocktower.
"We were at the skate park and the sun was just rising, and we thought 'silhouette push ups'. They're actually my favourite because it looks one-handed.
"Then I started doing it outside some of my favourite shops that I have a connection to."
During his 25-day challenge Desan ticked off a major milestone - a total weight loss of 40 kilograms.
"A year to the day, down to 80kg," he said. "I'm off medication and according to blood levels no longer in the category of diabetics.
"A week ago I got down 79.6 and Misty said that's ridiculous, now you're scaring me."
Desan may start having trouble staying under the magic 80 kilo mark as he steps up his new body building regime kicked off by the push up challenge.
"I've even cut down running to every second day and on the off day doing strength work.
"I started off with no weights, just to get a feel for the technique and using new muscles.
"My end goal is to be built like Terry Crews."
Meanwhile, the daily push up tour might just become a permanent thing too.
Not only did Desan crack the 25, he did so three days earlier than he realised. Some investigating on his Facebook page revealed he doubled up on days 11, 12 and 21.
As Jacaranda Festival vice-president, it was fitting that he finished the challenge outside Jaca HQ in Prince St. However, this was actually day 28, and day 25 came at the new exercise equipment at Ellem Oval.
"I remember voting online for that equipment, with the least moving parts and least likely to get vandalised," Desan, who has hinted at a future in local politics, said.
Since then Desan has ticked off Ellem Oval with his dad, The Daily Examiner carpark and among the breakers on the rocks at Yamba.
"I might just keep going," he said.
Where will Desan pop up next?