Rhys prepares for the Noosa Triathlon


Rhys Tappenden only started competing in triathlons this year, but he continues to build his strength and nutritional knowledge with the help of supports from the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

Four days a week, the 45-year-old Margate man – who is quadriplegic – works with an exercise physiologist with cycling and weights.

Rhys said he decided to start getting in shape when the Covid restrictions started, and he thought it was the perfect opportunity to start focusing on himself, possibly working out to participate. to three triathlons this year, and hopefully even more in 2022.

“I started going to the gym with my exercise physiologist who got me moving,” Rhys said.

“We used to go to the gym up to two days a week but I didn’t want to go to three, because it could get boring, so I thought, what are we going to do? We added a bit of cardio and just pushed on my day chair, but then wanted to go faster than that.

“I took out my old handcycle that I bought years ago and so we started handcycling three minutes walk and three minute break.

“My exercise physiologist then asked me if I wanted to do the Moreton Bay triathlon, but we only had three months to train for it; I did the cycle and it took me just under three hours.

Rhys said he soon set his next goal to do the Noosa triathlon, then added another Moreton Bay triathlon, 40 minutes off his starting time.

“For this year’s Noosa Triathlon, I did the handcycle part, which is 40 kilometers, and it took me about two hours and 40 minutes; I really want to reduce that to two hours, ”he said.

Rhys said having access to these supports helps her lose weight.

“At the start of my fitness journey, I had six sessions with a nutritionist, which really gave me a good understanding and a good balance on what has changed with age and how to keep my weight, ”he said.

“I weighed 105 kg and now I am back to 95 kg, which is roughly the weight I had before my accident; my goal is to definitely fall into the 80s.

Rhys said his mental health had improved dramatically since entering NDIS.

“For many years I was sort of lost, but then got funding from NDIS which allowed me to access an exercise physiologist for the past 12 months who has become an good friend, ”he said.

“It took me from a place where I didn’t really know where to turn and where I didn’t really know what I wanted to do, and then as I set my goals and hit them, they set their goals. goals around you. They are excited and they are as excited as I am. I guess I made a bit of a team for myself.

Rhys has not forgotten his first goal of sitting snow skiing.

“All this basic physical form that I’m putting in is the foundation that I need to be able to come down and enjoy something like that; Then I just make contact with disabled winter sports and organize them to help me set up and rent the equipment, ”he said.

“I would love to go to Thredbo or Perisher because I was doing all that snowboarding back then.”

Rhys also has access to home support, with support workers helping her clean, wash and prepare meals.

Rhys received assistance in applying for and implementing her NDIS funding from the NDIS local coordinating partner of Carers Queensland in the Community Program for the Moreton Bay area.

Rhys said NDIS and Carers Queensland helped him achieve his goals.

“I could use the word revolution; one hundred percent turnaround. I just feel it for now, ”he said.

“It has been huge this year and by being able to call on my physiotherapist, we have achieved a lot of goals.”

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