Henry Tupa at his new favourite hangout – the Tupapa Fitness Centre. 20111903
Henry Tupa is not afraid of death and when the fear of it beckons, he believes and trusts in his Catholic faith to guide him through.
early months of 2019, Henry Tupa endured an endoscopy at Rarotonga hospital;
tissue from his stomach would be sent to New Zealand for tests, and the doctor
had cautioned him saying it “could” be cancer.
waiting for the results, he immediately called a meeting with his wife Rae
their son Tupa, their daughter Lesley and her husband Eddie Nicholas.
wasn’t afraid to die, but I was so disappointed in myself, that I had let
myself, my family and my body down,” Henry says.
Catholic I accept our belief in the resurrection and I believe in my faith,
when you trust, when you have faith, you know where you’re going to go.
kept feeling so disappointed in myself for not looking after myself properly -
it was just laziness.
always supported Men’s Health awareness campaign, but I wasn’t looking after
health scares began last year with migraines so excruciating; he would stay
overnight in hospital.
so painful, I could barely move, just lie there…”
months later he experienced agonising twisted stomachs pains that sometimes
would go on for 12 to 24 hours, “I couldn’t stand up, all I could do was lie
down in the hospital bed.”
the pain came, I didn’t care who could hear me, I couldn’t stand it, I cried
out with the pain that would go for a few minutes; then a few minutes of relief
like nothing was wrong, then it would start again.
they decided to put a tube in my throat and into my stomach (endoscopy) to have
results came back negative.
didn’t really believe the results and flew to New Zealand for more tests that
also read negative. Relieved he returned home.
was still in denial about his health and stubborn, “the doctors kept saying I
was overweight, but I wouldn’t listen…
telling myself ‘oh no I’m fine, I’m all good’, weighing at 140kg.”
back at the hospital for knee surgery in August 2019 and in November for a
surgical procedure for an ingrown toe nail.
January this year, Henry began to feel more uncomfortable and lazier, dragging
his weight around.
“I thought, I’d better do something, so I
started walking and working harder in our vegetable gardens and normal home
chores, but I was still gaining weight.”
February, he was keen to be more active and tagged along with his wife to her
Cardio Combat classes at the Tupapa Centre.
walked in thinking, surely there would be guys around, but there were only four
guys in their little corner and the place was dominated by all these energetic
felt like running from the room.
couldn’t, because my wife was pressuring me to stay and I felt so embarrassed;
I pretended I was okay but I couldn’t keep up with the ladies, so I made
excuses to skip the rest of the class.”
Johnson classes were also happening at the time, but Henry wasn’t interested.
months ago, his boss, Internal Affairs secretary Anne Herman spoke about the
Johnson 8-week challenge and encouraged staff members to join.
good, she pushed me to join the classes, if it wasn’t for her, I’d still be
struggling with my weight.”
weighed 132kg at the time with a goal to reach 120kg.
he signed up, “I was good, it’ll be like a walk in the park… it wasn’t.”
an early riser, used to waking up at 2am to cook doughnuts for their Hartel
the 5am class because no one goes to the gym in the early hours of the morning.
I was wrong, so I joined the intense and extreme 4am class, it’s popular too.
was my turning point, when I realised there are people out there that are
really pushing and challenging themselves, I was so excited and really wanted
to be part of the team.”
hooked up with police officers in the class with Leighton Boaza as a training
partner. “I used to coach Boaza back in the days in the Premier A grade for
guided me through the different training and kept on encouraging me. Sometimes
I felt I was holding him back on his fitness training, but he was determined to
help me and got me through challenge.
Johnsons class, you never know what you’re going to get, like a can of fruit
salad, every class is a different 45 to 50 minutes hard out workout.”
his body ached all the time and felt unbearable, he kept at it.
first two Johnsons weeks were crazy.
training sets look simple but you have to look at your options, or you’ll end
up with feeling like I did,” Henry says.
pushed himself so hard that sometimes he would hurl.
extreme sweat that poured from his body was astonishing.
easily drinking 3 litres of water in one session (but now I can just sip the
hard out, at times it would run into my mouth and eyes, onto the floor and I
would slip over.”
breath he would fall to the floor from exhaustion, without a care who was
didn’t care who was around me as long as I completed the set at that time.”
the training session, Henry says he would feel pain, like a truck had run over
couldn’t reach my backside, or bend over properly and my arms feel numb and
would shake when holding a glass of water.”
cramps or a pulled muscle disrupted his sleep, but determined he would pretend
nothing painful had happened and continued to attend classes.
two weeks, he lost 6kg and participated in the 10 mile run/walk during the
Rarotonga marathon. “I was so happy with my result, I knew that things were
definitely changing for me, for the better.”
biggest challenge was the food planning and changing his diet.
started eating porridge it tasted like plastic, horrible; today I’m ok with it
as I know it’s goodness for my body.
to be honest with myself and have the right attitude or else it’s a waste of
time doing Johnsons. There is no magic potion or special secret for weight
loss, I just need to be patient and take things slowly day by day.”
next two weeks, he lost two kgs and felt utterly disappointed in himself.
he strictly got back on the food programme and achieved a weight reduction of
13 kg at the eighth week.
was a big achievement for me, from 132kg down to 119kg; my clothes sizes have
changed from 5-6 XL to 2-3 XL and it is still coming down.”
only eats twice a day, a big breakfast and a late lunch. with plenty of salad
cut out all sweets like fruit, cake and chocolate.
my ice cream and chocolate, my whole family loves chocolate, but no I’ve cut it
of beehives he also has fresh honey to use for his meals.
don’t drink anymore,” he noted.
currently in the Johnsons six weeks’ challenge with a target to lose 9kg to
reach 110 kg.
he loves challenging the younger guys.
happy that his whole family has joined the Johnsons classes and enjoys the
Cardio Combat sessions on Saturdays.
had tried in the past to get me to lose weight, but I wouldn’t listen; now I’m
the one who is strict with our food.
116 kg, Henry can now easily run up the flight of steps to his house.
to stop and gasp at every step and sometimes even had to walk sideways to get
up my stairs … now I’m like gliding up,” he grinned.
encourages others to join in the Johnsons, Cardio Combat or exercise sessions
in the community.
please, take your doctor’s advice, do something about it, don’t be stubborn
like I was – at the start just going around and around in circles until you
fall down again…”
also great to see the Minister of Health Hon. Rose Brown and her husband Taoro
Terry Strickland (Dr Johnson) and your wife, your staff and the hundreds of
freaky mates in my classes, meitaki maata, I’ll see you all apopo.
nephews who are doctors and my sisters in Australia who are nurses, I’m doing
so much better now.
happy, my wife is happy and my family we are all healthier. The only thing is,
now we fight over her pair of shorts,” he adds with a laugh.