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Buttabean Beginner

When most of us post selfies on Facebook, we want to look as good as possible, but for 24 year old Paige, posting a picture on Buttabean Motivation's Facebook Page for 6000 people to see was a very public admission that her life needed to change. 

Buttabean Motivation is a unique weight-loss group run by big-mouthed and big-hearted celebrity boxer Brown Buttabean, David Letele, whose own massive weight-loss of 90kgs fuels his fans to transform their own lives. This week, Monty followed David to a Buttabean Bootcamp session to discover how the celebrity boxer's transformation is inspiring overweight Kiwis to lose weight and change their own lives. 

Obesity Statistics

Research conducted by Southern Cross in November 2015 showed that one in four New Zealanders are obsese and 50% of Kiwis are on a diet. 

The survey showed that:

  • 26% of all adults have a BMI of over 30 - categorising them as obese 
  • 57% have  BMI of over 25
  • 28% of respondents described themselves as 'quite a bit overweight', and 40% as 'overweight'
  • 21% of people have had their doctor raise their weight as a concern 
  • 50% of Kiwis had tried to lose weight in the last year, and of those trying to lose weight only half managed to keep it off

Buttabean Motivation

In addition to weekend workshops, healthy eating seminars and school talks, every week Dave holds four bootcamps - two in South Auckland and two in West Auckland. People of all ages from all walks of life and all levels of fitness turn up for the 60 minute sessions. 

The group is not like traditional bootcamps - participants don't get yelled at and they're encouraged to go at their own pace. While Dave still works them hard, the environment is inclusive and supportive, a place where people can feel safe and confident that they're welcome and won't be ridiculed for giving it a go, even if they struggle to keep up.

The bootcamp sessions are based on ZUU -  a series of body weight exercises originally used in elite sports and the armed forces. It is hard but there are a lot of 'regressions' (adaptations to make it easier) for people who are just starting out. This enables them to train really fit people alongside people that have just gotten off the couch. It fits with the culture of the group and beginners working out alongside fitter participants are motivated to improve. 

The group has a highly supportive (closed) Facebook group with 6000 members where Buttabeaners motivate and encourage each other. While the internet gets a bad rap for fat shaming and trolling, the Buttabeaners prove it can also be used as a powerful and positive motivational tool.
Dave knows from his own experience that obesity is not simply a case of overeating and laziness. He acknowledges the powerful psychological, emotional and societal factors that play a part but, when push comes to shove, the group's mantra is simple - NO EXCUSES. Weight gain may have multiple causes but there's no excuse for doing nothing about it. 

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