MacDougall's 'Man Challenge' breaks down barriers
Former Newcastle Knights legend Adam MacDougall is on a mission.
It's a mission he's been chipping away at for the past two years.
Simply put, The Man Challenge is a 10-week process of 10-minute video workouts per day developed by MacDougall.
Currently a browser-based app, The Man Challenge isn't limited to exercise, with the program including accompanied meal plans, demonstration videos of proper excercise techniques and cooking tips as well as other motivational content – like the chance to come up against former NRL players.
Not limited to 10 minutes of exercise either, there are extra options to focus on, particularly body parts, as well as the availability of Pilates and yoga components.
For MacDougall, The Man Challenge is a way to break down barriers towards exercise; the impetus behind the idea coming from the passing of a close mate.
"My best friend died of a heart attack suddenly and like most guys and women out there, he thought he'd get fit tomorrow but the reality is most of us don't have the time, the motivation or the access to a gym," MacDougall told NRL.com.
"When he passed away I thought 'I'm going to cut through all the crap for people' and just show them that they don't need to be extreme and they can get healthy and fit in as little as 10 minutes a day.
"For me it's about encouraging guys to be the best they can be. There are no excuses, everyone has 10 minutes they can find a day, and you're not limited to 10 minutes either. You don't have to train like an Olympian. You just have to train to be fit for life.
"If I knew it was going to take two years I probably wouldn't have done it but I'm so glad I stuck with it. It's been more rewarding honestly, without sounding corny, than winning premierships. There's no better feeling than giving back and helping people."
Targeting males over the age of 30 to participate in The Man Challenge, because training "next to a 20-year-old flexing in the mirror at the gym" isn't ideal, MacDougall's post-NRL career has seen him garner a greater appreciation for life away from the game.
"As I get older I wake up in the morning sometimes and I go 'what happened?' But I get it now. It's easy for people to talk about being healthy and fit when that's all they do for a job, but now I have a real job and a family and like everyone else I'm time poor," said MacDougall, who battled through 28 surgeries in his 195-game career.
"I know what it's like now to have a sore back or sore knee. I realise now I can't do what I did when I was 20 but no programs out there cater for those over 30 either.
"We have teamed up with a number of experts: a physiotherapist, a human movement expert and we have designed programs so that if you do have a particular injury you can swap out an exercise for something else instead.
"The meal plan is the same – we realise for example that not everyone likes salmon so we have that flexibility in the program."
Having carved out a partnership with the NRL, in name of teaching fans healthy fitness habits, the synergies between MacDougall and the competition were too good to refuse.
With MacDougall acting as an NRL One Community Ambassador for 2016, the now 40-year-old is hoping his initiative goes full circle in teaching children healthy habits also.
"One of the greatest things about retirement has been the chance to give back to the community. Being an NRL ambassador, one of the main things I talk to the kids about is 'Eat Well, Play Well, Stay Well' and the importance of health and exercise," he said.
"The one big impediment I've found though are the caregivers in their deliverance of such messages, they are the real keys to success in children's health and fitness.
"Parents are role models and kids never fail to imitate what their parents do so we need them to take on these messages. This is where this program will hopefully set a good example, where kids will see their parents being healthy and fit."
The Man Challenge officially kicked off on Monday, but those interested in signing up have up until the March 6 to do so.
Visit The Man Challenge website for further details.