My wellness journey

Anytime Fitness CEO Richard Ball shares his prediabetes story and explains why his company is teaming up with Diabetes NZ.

Richard Ball puts Diabetes NZ’s business development coordinator Jo Chapman through her paces at an Anytime Fitness gym.

Richard Ball puts Diabetes NZ’s business development coordinator Jo Chapman through her paces at an Anytime Fitness gym.

Late last year, prompted by the declining health of some close friends, Richard Ball decided to undertake a full medical “WOF” and received the news he neither expected nor wanted to hear – his doctor told him he had prediabetes.

“My initial reaction was that it was impossible, I am too fit and we are pretty careful as to what we eat,” Richard recalls.

But this did not alter the reality he now faced – he was at risk of developing type 2 diabetes and joining the ranks of nearly 250,000 New Zealand children and adults living with type 1 and 2 diabetes.

Highly motivated by his family and wanting to be a fun and fit grandfather, as well as supporting a special needs adult daughter with a diabetic condition, Richard and his family set themselves more firmly on a course to a healthier place.

A social family where large gatherings and the “big boil up” are a point of celebration, the key to positive change in Richard’s own health  profile was balance.

“We still enjoy family celebrations but there is an increased consciousness around the kind of food we choose to serve and eat,” he says.

“As well as making wiser food choices, I also increased my daily physical activity by walking to and from work.”

Already a regular at the gym, Richard changed his workout schedule to focus on increasing cardio fitness, along with strength training, both of which are proven to be effective in weight management and reducing insulin sensitivity, when combined with healthy eating.

Living with diabetes in his family and having embarked on his own wellness journey, Richard decided he wanted to do more to help stem
the rising tide of diabetes.

Anytime Fitness gyms can be found in local communities throughout New Zealand with a network of friendly clubs that offer programmes and expert advice for anyone looking to improve their health and happiness.

The work Diabetes NZ is doing in the community to raise awareness
and help people manage their diabetes resonated with Richard and the Anytime Fitness family.

Regular exercise and improved cardio-fitness reduce insulin sensitivity in people with diabetes and prediabetes.

In July, Anytime Fitness NZ will be running a Cardio Challenge to raise awareness and funds to support Diabetes NZ’s work. For every kilometre its members pedal, row, run, walk or step, Anytime Fitness will make a donation, with a target of achieving 250,000 cardio-kilometres in one month – representing 1km for every Kiwi adult and child living with diabetes.

Go to to find a club near you.

Richard shares his story in the Winter issue of Diabetes Wellness magazine. Subscribe to Diabetes NZ today to receive your copy.

To read back issues, visit here

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Jo Chapman