After a dozen years of playing footy at the elite level, Kris Massie just wanted to chill.
Having played 131 games for Carlton and Adelaide, one of which was the Blues’ 1999 Grand Final loss, Massie hung up his boots at the end of 2009 and was just looking for a couch so that he could “kick back, watch some telly and eat crap food’’ for a while.
Being the driven character that he is, however, that was just a fleeting phase.
Massie, now 36, had already immersed himself in a role as a mentoring coordinator for Ladder, the non-profit organisation that tackles youth homelessness. And he also spent four seasons coaching at SANFL club Glenelg, initially with the U18s and eventually overseeing the seniors.
But it would be his “day job’’, running a personal training business in Adelaide, that would pave the way for a new direction.
“I’m really driven by getting out the message of what a healthy lifestyle looks like for men,” Massie said. “There are the obvious wellbeing benefits, but also given stats tell us that one in two Australians will get cancer by the age of 80, the importance of prevention.”
Massie set up his Chi (an acronym of Choose, Holistic, Inspiring) Personal Training business about 16 months ago and based it around three core principles: move, refuel and love.
“It’s a holistic business – personal training for corporates as well as nutritional workshops and cooking classes,’’ Massie said.
It was in that environment that he began reflect upon his own choices.
“Now that I’m well into post-footy and I’ve got enough drive to do something, I thought ‘what the hell can I do to raise awareness for men’s health, the importance of prevention and what it looks like to take care of yourself?’’ Massie said.
“I hadn’t really had a major commitment or goal, physically, since retiring from football seven or eight years ago.
“With that in mind I’ve often seen events where people run or ride for a cause, such as cancer research, and I love the concept of standing for something and at the same time showing what a healthy lifestyle looks like to the average male.’’
“I LOVE THE CONCEPT OF STANDING FOR SOMETHING AND AT THE SAME TIME SHOWING WHAT A HEALTHY LIFESTYLE LOOKS LIKE TO THE AVERAGE MALE.”
– KRIS MASSIE
Massie had noted that one of his colleagues at Ladder, former Essendon player Mark Bolton, had completed the 2015 Asia-Pacific Ironman event in Melbourne, and a light bulb lit up.
He wondered about the possibility of gathering a group of men to train for an Ironman event, achieving the twin goals of improving their own health while raising funds and awareness for Ladder. He chose the 2018 Asia-Pacific Ironman to be held in June of that year in Cairns, comprising a 3.86 km swim, 180.25 km bike ride and a 42.2 km run.
“I love that sport atmosphere and environment, and I miss that, so I wondered if there’d be other guys out there who’d be willing to hop on a bike, run the pavement and jump into the ocean,’’ Massie said.
“There’s a fair amount of credibility in an 8-12-hour event, plus there’s scope for that team atmosphere, tapping into the network of former AFL players.’’
Massie hopes to enlist a group of men from around Australia to join up for an 18-month training program, starting in November. The Chi Ironman Crew will be connected through a closed Facebook page that includes a training program, communication, videos and and logistics.
He already has about a dozen men on board, but aims to get 50 men – including several former AFL players – to take part in the event.
“There’s some framework around it but there are no hard and fast rules – some blokes will want to get to a stage where they can complete one leg of an ironman, others will want to do a bit more and some will want to do the whole thing,’’ he said.
As well as training guidelines, the Chi IC network will help group members with advice on everything from the benefits of beach-wading to ways to prevent illness to the best ingredients for green smoothies.
Massie is already enlisting sponsors and has tapped into the Adelaide and Carlton past player groups to help in an advisory capacity.
Asked if he had ever completed a triathlon, Massie replied: “Hilariously, no.’’
He has previously competed in long-distance runs and ocean swims, but said there was scope for men from a range of backgrounds and abilities to get involved.
“And at the same time we can raise funds for something which is dear to my heart in Ladder, which was founded and is still supported by AFL players, and does a great job empowering young people aged 16-25 to break the cycle of homelessness.’’
If you are interested in getting involved in the Chi Ironman Crew, email Kris at kris@ChiPT.com.au
To find out more about Ladder click HERE
To read more about Kris Massie click HERE