A former reality television star visited Armidale on Friday to provide inspiration for an indigenous fitness group.
Sharif Deen, who was a finalist on The Biggest Loser in 2006, was invited to run a training session for the group because of his indigenous background.
About 22 people are registered for Armidale’s Blackest Losers fitness program, which is being run as part of ‘The 16 week KO challenge’ put to members of Aboriginal communities statewide.
The challenge, run in conjunction with the Australian Rugby League and the NSW Aboriginal Rugby League KO carnival, has teams competing for $70,000 to put to use in their community.
The group holds training sessions on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday with zumba and kickboxing sessions held on Thursdays.
Mr Deen lost 72.5kgs during his time on the show and is now a fitness trainer.
Mr Deen said he was keen to lend his support to the Armidale group after being approached by program coordinator Robert Waters.
“I understand the challenges that Kooris down here have in terms of the impact of modern lifestyle on our bodies,” he said.
Mr Deen said he was proud of his weight loss achievements but ashamed that he needed to go on the show to motivate himself.
“What I get inspiration out of is seeing people like the guys in this group who don’t have the luxury of getting to go on TV and be locked away for six months,” he said.
“It’s real people doing real things and doing it without any real assistance, except for the fact that they’re doing it within the model of a 16-week challenge.
“People that are doing it at home is much more admirable than a group of us that are at such a low point that we have to go on TV to do it.”
Mr Deen said he was keen to impress on people wanting to improve their health and lose weight that the most important thing is simply to get moving.
“What I say to people is that 50 per cent of something is better than 100 per cent of nothing,” he said.