30 June 2023

Gym team achieves 3144 push-ups each to raise funds for Lifeline

| Shri Gayathirie Rajen
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People in a gym

The team at Wagga’s HIIT Republic completed The Push Up Challenge by completing 3144 push-ups each. Photo: Supplied.

Gym trainer Ben Vlcek reached his goal of 3144 push-ups this month to raise money for mental health. The number equals the number of people who died by suicide in Australia in 2021.

The Wagga HITT Republic manager formed a team of six from the gym and participated in the Push for Better’s The Push Up Challenge from 1 to 23 June in which each member performed 3144 push-ups. The team contributed $500 towards $14 million in funds raised nationwide.

“It was their (Push for Better) biggest month since they started (in 2021) and we donated to Lifeline,” Ben said. “All good things for mental health.”

Ben said the challenge helped create a community and raised awareness.

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“I am the same as everyone else … always been affected by mental health,” Ben said.

“The biggest thing for us by creating that community gave those involved the realisation that if they needed help they could speak to someone from our community.

“If you are having troubles with your mental health, there’s always somebody there to help out and there’s always the support whenever you need it.”

Ben said his team achieved the push-up goal by following an app that provided the participants with a number relating to something to do with mental health every day.

“It’s tough. Some days you’re doing over 250 push-ups in a day. This sounds like a lot but it’s not too bad when you break it out over the day.

Ben Vlcek

Gym trainer Ben Vlcek, manager of HIIT Republic, finishes up his fundraising for mental health. Photo: Supplied.

“Our biggest day was like 290.”

While it was Ben’s third year of participating in the challenge, it was the first year he created a community by getting some of the members from his gym involved.

“It’s good not only to raise awareness but also get people who aren’t involved in fitness partake in it as well,” Ben said.

Born and raised in Wagga, Ben travelled around before moving back home and becoming the manager at HIIT Republic.

When he was younger Ben was involved in sports but due to a bad injury, he had to take time off.

At the end of high school, he started to gain weight.

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“I was like 138 kilograms and I got back into fitness and lost up to 40 kilos,” he said.

“It was also the time my mental health wasn’t great because I wasn’t looking after myself.”

Afterwards, Ben got back into fitness and received his qualifications. It made him “feel better”.

“I always wanted to help people become the best version of themselves,” he said.

“I wanted to make people feel better and make them understand that it’s not just about how you look physically but how you feel mentally.”

Follow the link to find out more about Push for Better Foundation and its push-up challenge. To find out how to join HIIT Republic click here.

Anyone experiencing distress can seek immediate advice and support through Lifeline (13 11 14), Kids Helpline (1800 55 1800), or the digital mental health gateway, Head to Health.
If you are concerned about suicide, living with someone considering suicide, or bereaved by suicide, the Suicide Call Back Service is available at 1300 659 467.

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