Beyond the Badge – Practitioner Profile: Michael Czaplowski

Kate Williams Exercise for Cancer, Exercise Oncology, Exercise Physiology, Movement Against Cancer

Take us down the path that led you to become an EP?

Growing up I played every sport under the sun and I wanted to channel this love of sport into something I could do on a day to day basis. Unfortunately, I was slightly above average at multiple sports but nothing I could make a career out of. During my journey I found a love for helping improve people’s lives through the application of exercise. I enjoyed listening to their story and becoming a part of their recovery journey – Exercise Physiology was a perfect chance for me to combine my love of all things exercise as well as helping others.

What’s the best thing about working in Exercise Oncology?

The people you meet along the way – everyone has a different journey that has brought them to attending our clinic. I find that our group classes are not only a great opportunity for getting people to be more physically active, but also a chance for people to share their stories and build lifelong friendships with others who are going through similar (or completely different) circumstances. 

I also love working in a field where everyone has the same goal – and that is to improve the overall quality of life of people living with cancer

What does your own exercise routine look like?

As much as it may make people cringe, my favourite type of exercise is long distance running. However, as I am currently dealing with my own injury, running has been put on the backburner and my current weekly routine involves 2-3 non-weight bearing “cardio” exercise sessions (bike, rower, swimming and boxing) as well as 2-3 strength-based gym sessions (where I mix it up and try to be as creative as possible) – some of these sessions are completed around our gym here at DNA during my lunch break. I have also recently taken up golf and when the weather is nice you will also find me out exploring bush trails or going on hikes.

What motivates you and challenges you when it comes to exercise?

I would say that my main motivation for exercising regularly is for the mental health benefits as it keeps my mind sharp and keeps my mood stable. Most people around me will agree that I’m a happier person when I’m regularly exercising, so not only does it benefit me, it also benefits those around me as well!

I have to admit that there are some days where I just don’t feel like exercising even though I know it will make me feel good (Mondays anyone?). On days such as these I use the mantra “something is better than nothing” and will start with something small – such as 10 minutes on the bike – which more often than not leads to getting me out of the rut and lead me in to my usual routine. My tip for everyone else is to identify a type of exercise that you really enjoy (this might be walking your dog) and use this as something you can lean on during those days where our motivation is lacking.

How do you like to spend your time outside the clinic?

I like to consider myself a bit of a social butterfly so outside of the clinic I like to keep myself busy by catching up with friends, exploring new local cafes, getting out in nature, playing golf, and sometimes all of the above. The beach is my haven and there is nothing I enjoy more than a walk along the beach and a swim (only if Melbourne weather is playing nice). You will also often find me patting the nearest dog and taking my own dog, Millie, for walks around my local parkland.

How is 2020 shaping up for you?

I am hoping for 2020 to signify a year of stability for me. Having recently moved to full-time hours here at DNA you will likely see my face (and hear my terrible jokes) more regularly around the clinic. I also hope to start planning my next overseas trip with New Zealand currently at the top of the list. In terms of my exercise goals for the year,  having suffered an injury to my foot following my first half marathon mid-2019, my goal is to get back to running (maybe just not as far) and hope to perform my first triathlon by the end of the year. 

FAST 10:

1: Workout playlist of choice: Heavy metal, I swear this makes me work 20% harder

2: Exercise I loath: Burpees but doesn’t everyone?

3: When I was growing up I wanted to be: A forensic scientist

4: Signature dish: Satay tofu stir fry 

5: Next travel destination: New Zealand

6: Guilty pleasure: Terrible reality TV, the worse the better

7: Secret talent: I can whistle and hum at the same time

8: I’ve always wanted to learn: Spanish (or any other language other than English)

9: Irrational phobia: Listening to the car radio on odd numbers

10: Favourite quote: “If you think you are always right, you will never listen, never learn and never improve” – Richard Branson