FRESH START: Nathan Goodchild has started working at Snap Fitness in Kingaroy after his battles with depression.
FRESH START: Nathan Goodchild has started working at Snap Fitness in Kingaroy after his battles with depression. Matt Collins

Fitness fanatic lifts the weight of depression

MENTAL illness affects nearly 50 per cent of Australians, but as one Kingaroy man found out he was able to completely turn his life around by getting into fitness, so much so it has become his new career.

Mr Goodchild has struggled with mental health issues for many years and it had become quite a burden on his mental health and his physical appearance.

"I suffered from depression for a long time and I was very overweight," he said.

"I got up to 128 kilos and I can tell you, that wasn't muscle."

The Kingaroy man was in a dark place and he couldn't see any way out of that hole.

"You compensate for feeling bad by eating more and then it just snowballs," he said.

Not that he knew at the time, but it was a chance encounter walking past the doors of Snap Fitness in Kingaroy that changed Mr Goodchild's life forever.

"I was just walking past and thought I would have a look in."

Mr Goodchild didn't take to his fitness regime initially, and only stuck at it because of the professional and supportive staff.

"At first I absolutely hated it, I was really self-conscious," he said.

"But the team took me under their wing and now I work here so I absolutely love it."

Thanks to some much needed support from the Snap Fitness team and his job agency, JobMatch, Mr Goodchild started paid employment at the Kingaroy gym three weeks ago.

"Daniel at JobMatch was great and Lason, the gym owner was lovely, straight away they wanted to give me a chance," he said.

"I am currently doing public relations, maintenance and memberships.

"I'm learning new skills everyday."

The budding gym manager said while he wasn't a trainer yet, he looked forward to achieving his dreams, especially considering it wasn't long ago he didn't have too much to get excited about.

"I have never had goals before because when you are in that dark state of mind you are just trying to survive, you aren't thinking about the future because you don't think you have one," Mr Goodchild said.

"At some point I'd like to own my own gym, or at the very least manage one."

Mr Goodchild is grateful for the opportunities he has received and is looking forward to giving back to others.

"I have been at rock bottom and I don't believe you can truly help someone unless you can relate to them," he said.

"You have to start by admitting there is a problem."

Mr Goodchild is very open about his mental illness challenges and wants to help others who may be in a similar position that he was in.

"I think there is a real stigma surrounding mental illness, especially with men and even more so in country areas," he said.

"It can be a tough area and we are supposed to be tough guys and we don't normally talk about our feelings.

"I want to open that up because I have lost quite a few friends to suicide."

When asked if he had any advice for someone who may be in a similar position to where he was, Mr Goodchild said you have to keep going.

"Just don't give up, suicide is a permanent solution to temporary problems," he said.

"All suicide does is prevent you from allowing things to ever get better.

"Things will get better, turn those negative emotions into positive actions and you will change your life."

Snap Fitness Kingaroy will be involved in Australia's largest mental health walk, Walk for Awareness fundraiser, which will be held on Sunday, October 7.

To support the cause and to get involved contact Snap Fitness Kingaroy.

If you are experiencing mental health issues, phone Lifeline on 13 11 14, the Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467, or the MensLine Australia on 1300 789 978.

If it is an emergency, phone 000.

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