Australian Ninja Warrior competitor Christopher Chan CA is on a mission to help children get fitter and stronger.
- Topdeck Travel accountant Chris Chan made the semi-finals of Australian Ninja Warrior.
- Chan is running Ninja-style classes to help children get fitter and healthier.
- His ultimate goal is to be the first Australian to conquer Ninja Warrior’s Mt Midoriyama.
Whether he is checking general ledgers or hanging off obstacles during an appearance on the hit television show Australian Ninja Warrior, life is a balancing act for Chris Chan CA.After recently competing on the Channel Nine program, which pits athletes against each other on an infamously difficult obstacle course, the Brisbane accountant and fitness enthusiast is working to remind everyone from professionals to children that they can pursue a life in which family, friends and fitness all have a part.
For Chan, a balanced lifestyle is the key, not an obsession with health.
“‘Healthy’ has a connotation that you sacrifice a lot, which I don’t really do,” he explains. “I just put time aside to train and get it done. I love my career, I love what I do, I love spending time with my wife, and I love having brunch. Those are things that I won’t give up.”Chan, a finance business partner with Topdeck Travel, fell off the baskets obstacle in the Australian Ninja Warrior heats but made it to the semi-finals, where the rolling log brought him unstuck. “I just remember falling in and going ‘arrgghh’ … [But] overall, I was quite happy because it was my first year, and if you’d asked me a year ago if this could have happened I’d have said ‘no’ because I couldn’t do many pullups.”
Enjoying his new role at Topdeck after formerly working in financial reporting and analysis roles at Youfoodz and Infinity Holidays, Chan is relishing the chance to put his commercial acumen and IT strengths into play.
“It’s like the role was created for me,” he says.
His hectic business life means Chan’s fitness training is very targeted. He spends up to 40 minutes five to six times a week in gym, rock-climbing or parkour sessions. General strength and agility is crucial, but the Ninja Warrior experience taught him that mental strength is just as important as physical prowess in what can be an intimidating environment.
“That’s what a lot of people don’t see. There’s a mental side to it, so that when you do have those bright television lights, when you do have those cameras panning around you, that you don’t get fazed by it.”
“The boy asked me, ‘Are you training for (Ninja Warrior)?’ and when I said ‘yes’ his eyes lit up.”
As well as encouraging accountants to exercise (see panel), Chan is determined to get children to be more active. He runs weekend classes where he puts 6- to 16-year-olds through Ninja-style drills.
It was a chance meeting in a park during his own training, when a child approached him, that convinced Chan to apply for Australian Ninja Warrior.
“The boy asked me, ‘Are you training for the show?’ and when I said ‘yes’ his eyes lit up. It was at that moment that I knew I had a special chance to give back to the community.”
What does Chan hope to achieve? More children kicking footballs and running around outside. More children with the strength to use monkey bars at the park. Fewer children slumping around in their rooms playing video games.
Buoyed by his new job and fitness aims, Chan has set his sights on next year’s Australian Ninja Warrior series and trying to conquer Mt Midoriyama, the show’s pinnacle obstacle.
“My goal is to get all the way to the top – to be the first person in Australia to finish the whole course.”
Chris’s training tips for accountants
1. Be clear about your goals. Do you want a six-pack or just to be fit enough to play soccer with your children? That decision will determine how you train.
2. Schedule time to train. “If you don’t put the time aside in your diary, it will never happen,” he says.
3. Make your training count. Put in quality time, rather than just quantity.Cameron Cooper is a freelance journalist who is based in Brisbane.