Regularly seen on site, talking with management and tradies about health, hydration and diet, THORZT’s Australasian Category Manager and Olympian David Rhodes is well positioned to discuss the parallels between athletes and industrial workers and how the THORZT program has been designed.
Forty one year-old David Rhodes is the image of good health. Tall, lean and strong he looks like a man who spends a lot of time working out.
Yet these days, ‘Rhodesy’ doesn’t train like he used to. The 41-year-old is busy with his three young children and teaching the foundations of health and wellness to blue collar workers and the next generation of Olympians.
“I coach the North Burleigh surf club, looking after the ski program,” said Rhodes, who himself competed in the 2004 Athens Olympics in the K21000-metre kayak and finished agonisingly close to a medal.
“I get on the water four days a week [for about an hour]. That’s as much as I want to dedicate to it now,” he said, adding that he still competes in ‘The Aussies’ – Australia’s National Surf Life Saving Competition on the Gold Coast – called off in 2017 due to Cyclone Debbie.
Despite not exercising as much as he used to, Rhodes said keeping fit and healthy is not rocket science.
“It’s being brilliant with the basics. We overlook it and overcomplicate it most of the time.”
“Number one, set up your day right,” he said, speaking of consuming a healthy breakfast and hydrating before work.
“Number two, consume the right food and hydration at the right time.”
That doesn’t mean being a monk, according to Rhodes, who abides by the 80-20 rule.
“It’s about life balance. Eighty per cent of the time I eat really well. Twenty per cent of the time I enjoy a beer, red wine and pizza. Pizza with the kids on a Friday night is a ritual.”
But are tradies athletes?
Rhodes said the workload and often extreme conditions that tradies and other blue collar workers face on sites – especially in the tropics – are not dissimilar to those he faced as an athlete.
“We identified really early on the parallels of being an athlete and industrial workers.”
He said this is what makes the THORZT program – which was created along with three other professional athletes – so successful.
“Everything we learnt from being athletes is the foundation for the program,” he said, adding that worker education and awareness are vital to its success.
“By spending extended periods on worksites we’ve been able to fine tune the program specific to the industrial worker.”
“When guys discover that if they put the right fuel in at the right time, their body can deal with the workplaces stresses and recover better, it’s a game changer.”
“It is still a long day, they can’t escape that, but they don’t have to go home and suffer in silence,” he said, citing the tough guy culture prevalent in blue collar industries.
“We could all have better food choices. But we get busy. We make poor choices and we push the body until it doesn’t do what we want it to do.”
He cites the THORZT program as not just providing products but also the education so workers and management understand how to implement the program and measure its success.
“We provide the guys with hydration and cooling solutions. We help them understand the benefits and we provide tools so they can see those benefits.”
Case studies analysing implementation of the THORZT program can be found here and here.