This Man Lost 74KG And Is Now A Cycling King
From “Tiny” To Titan
A nickname sticks with you for life. It’s a label your friends bestow upon you as a sign of camaraderie; sometimes it even feels weird when they call you by your real name. Tony Haralambous earned the nickname “Tiny T” for being anything but small. In 2016, he took the first steps to deflating his belly and pumping up his muscles. This is his story:
- Location: Cape Town
- Occupation: Pilot
- Age: 23
- Height: 1.80m
- Weight Before: 152kg
- Weight After: 78kg
- Time To Goal: 24 Months
“I was always a ‘big’ boy growing up, and losing weight had always been a struggle for me. Playing in the front row for my rugby team made it seem acceptable to be bigger than everyone else. But as I hung up my rugby boots, the weight piled on uncontrollably. I went from 115kg to 152kg in the space of three years. At the end of 2015 I was 21-and-a-half years old, weighing in at a whopping 152kg.”
The Lesson: Sport should not determine your health. Even if you’re playing in a position that requires a larger body, you shouldn’t let that distract you from keeping healthy and fit.
“As a pilot, I have to meet a medical standard. At 152kg, there was a high risk of my career coming to an abrupt halt. And in 2016, I bet a friend I’d finish the Durban Ironman 70.3. I asked my father to fund the entry; he looked as if I’d asked for a ticket to the moon. There was no way
he would fork out just so I could say I’d entered (and not finished) the Ironman. For the first time in 21 years I felt a real sense of doubt from my own father towards me – and that sparked the fire.”
The Lesson: We often neglect the importance of our well-being, and don’t realise that we can’t reach our goals if we don’t have good health.
“None at first – for the first two months, things went in the opposite direction. The whole “change” seemed like a dream that really couldn’t come true. It only clicked after the Cape Town Cycle Tour in March 2016.
I came to terms with the fact that in life, nothing is easy – including lifestyle change. But the more time and effort you put into something, the more you reap the rewards. As soon as I realised, things started to change; the weight plummeted, and I started to enjoy the process.”
The Lesson: If you need change, accept it. Overcome the fear of failure, embrace the unknown, trust the process, enjoy the result.
“I completed that half Ironman in June 2016 weighing 97kg; little did I know this was only the start of something quite surreal and unthinkable. I acquired the support of a coach, who put together weekly training plans. Since June 2016 I’ve completed a number of events, including seven more Half Ironmans, the 2018 Cape Epic, and the 2018 Ironman African champs in PE. And now I weigh 78kg.”
The Lesson: The “before and after” physical differences catch the eye, but everybody misses the internal changes, in the mind – it’s hard to explain. True happiness comes only from living through the process.