By Adam MacDougall,

This TV star admits he was “the unhealthiest guy you’d ever met”. That was until he was challenged to take on Hugh Jackman.

We all take our inspiration from somewhere, but TV star Darren McMullen’s came from the

unlikeliest of places. The spark to finally start his fitness journey arrived with a set of sharp metallic claws and a pair of the best sideburns this side of Abraham Lincoln.

Darren says he was unfit and largely unfazed by it, but the unexpected opportunity to take on X-Men star Hugh Jackman in a virtual bike race was way too strong a temptation to resist.

“It’s a little ironic that I’m here talking health and wellness, because just two years ago I was

probably the unhealthiest guy you’d ever met in your life,” he says.

“I ate terribly, I was allergic to gyms, and the even idea of exercise made me physically ill.

“But I’m also quite an impulsive guy, and I saw this commercial for this peloton bike, an exercise bike that sits in your house, but with a TV monitor that streams live spin classes and lets you compete with people from around the world. I’d seen a couple of articles about Hugh Jackman using it, and I decided I was getting one.

“I became obsessed with it. Tracking my fitness growth has been huge for me. And I found myself drinking less and eating better because I wanted to be able to get up and kick the Wolverine’s ass on the bike the next morning.

“That bike changed my way of thinking about exercise. It made it fun. So that’s my biggest hack; find something you love doing, that you’re inspired to do, and it will open the door for you.”

This week, we’re hacking the power of a positive mindset with McMullen. Because after hosting TV shows across Australia and the world, including the wildly successful The Voice, it might feel like McMullen was always destined for a career on the silver screen. But as is usually the case, it wasn’t as easy as it looked. And in his career’s earliest days, he says everyone he knew tried to talk him out of television and into a more secure career.

“Even my dad said to me, ‘You can’t be a TV host, give up that silly dream.’ I had to remind him that he was the man who taught me that I could do anything I wanted to do into life, and to not let anybody crush my dreams. And here was the very person who taught me that trying to crush my dreams. He was speechless for the first time in his life,” he said.

“Years later I bought my parents a house to retire to in America. We were sitting around having a whiskey, and he said ‘not a day goes by I don’t thank God you told me to get stuffed when I tried to crush your dream’.

“Here was this big Scottish man crying, which then set me bubbling. It was just a beautiful moment between us.”


• Your mind matters: “I meditate twice a day for 20 minutes. I do a guided meditation, and I’m loving it,” McMullen says. “Back when I was doing season one and two of The Voice, I was heavy into meditation, and the amount of grief I got from people around me was hilarious. But years later, they all meditate themselves!”

• Health is wealth: “I look at people who spend all that money putting premium petrol into their car, but they ignore their own billion-dollar machine, filling it with junk,” McMullen says. “You’ve only got one body, so you need to fuel it right. I want to live to 100, and I can’t do that on a diet of alcohol and fast food.”

• Record your wins: “The five-minute journal has really changed my life,” McMullen says. “Every morning I write three things I’m grateful for, three things that would make the day amazing, and my daily affirmation. Then I take stock of it at night, remembering three things that made my day great. If you’re always chasing the next thing, you forget to enjoy the present.”


Hi Adam,

It seems like every day I hear more about meditation, but I don’t even know where to start. Is there and easy way to get started?


Meditation is one of those catch-all words that means something different to everyone. But the

basic idea is taking a moment to calm your mind. But that doesn’t mean you have to carry our breathing exercises while listening to a guided meditation. It could mean a calming walk or a swim in the ocean, or even just some time sitting quietly.

Adam MacDougall and Darren McMullen are exclusively managed by The Fordham Company.

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