He’s the man marshalling Australia’s economic comeback after the coronavirus pandemic – and Josh Frydenberg is also enjoying a renaissance of his own.
The 49-year-old federal treasurer, who delivered the nation’s second pandemic budget last week, has noticeably lost weight this year by cutting out fast food, sleeping more and cycling for 45 minutes every morning.
Mr Frydenberg steadfastly refuses to reveal how much weight he’s lost, spuriously claiming he never steps on the scales – but experts say he appears to have shed six to eight kilograms, a significant amount in just five months.
‘One can only hope the exercise regime holds and I don’t revert to type,’ he told Daily Mail Australia.
New year, new me: Treasurer Josh Frydenberg running with wife Amie in Canberra last weekend. The pair met at a Melbourne bar in 2008 and share two children
Back on court: Former tennis ace Mr Frydenberg (left) played this weekend with Senator Anne Ruston (rear) in Camberwell, Victoria to announce funding for Get Skilled Access
Last year Mr Frydenberg (pictured in September) put on weight as he struggled to find time to exercise and ate poorly
Josh Frydenberg’s fitness overhaul
Diet: Last year the treasurer gorged on hamburgers, Coca-Cola and lollies – but now he eats balanced meals and has swapped fat and sugar for protein and veggies.
Exercise: Last year Mr Frydenberg barely did any exercise because he was so busy. But now he does a 45-minute cycle every morning and also runs and plays tennis when he can.
Sleep: The treasurer has admitted that he slept much less than usual last year because it was a ‘hard slog’. But now he has resumed a more regular sleeping pattern.
As a boy growing up in Melbourne, Mr Frydenberg was sports-mad and almost dropped out of school aged 15 to pursue a professional tennis career.
But last year his fitness dropped to an all-time low as he gorged on hamburgers, Coca-Cola and lollies, gave up on exercise and struggled for a good night’s sleep because he was working so hard during the peak of the pandemic.
On a Christmas break with his family at their home in Hawthorn, in Melbourne’s inner east, Mr Frydenberg had a light-bulb moment and realised he had to change, and fast.
The father of two, who is married to employment lawyer Amie, resolved to ditch junk food and adopt a more balanced diet, swapping sugar and saturated fat for protein and vegetables.
He also gets up and 6am every morning to cycle on his exercise bike for 45 minutes before starting his hectic working day.
The result is a noticeable weight-loss that has left him feeling happier and healthier.
In the days leading up to his budget speech last Tuesday, the deputy Liberal leader received glowing compliments from family, friends and colleagues, all impressed by his trimmer physique.
Talking about his rapid turn-around, Mr Frydenberg told Daily Mail Australia: ‘Last year was a hard slog with less sleep and a diet worse than usual.
‘Burgers, Coca-Cola and lollies were my main food groups.
‘Fortunately, Christmas provided an opportunity for downtime with the family and some much needed exercise.’
The former investment banker, who became the member for the wealthy Melbourne suburb of Kooyong in 2009, said there’s still work to be done but is pleased with his fitness progress.
‘So far, so good,’ he said.
Left: Mr Frydenberg circa 1989 when he spent a year after high school playing tennis. Right: The Treasurer competing in a charity fun run
As a boy growing up in Melbourne, Mr Frydenberg (pictured on court) was sports-mad and almost dropped out of school aged 15 to pursue a professional tennis career
Dietitian and Exercise Physiologist Kate Save, the CEO of Be Fit Food, said the Treasurer appeared to have lost six to eight kilograms.
She said his efforts to improve his diet, exercise and sleeping patterns have all contributed to his success.
‘Consuming foods that have poor nutritional quality, are highly processed or contain high levels of saturated and trans fats can cause weight gain and lead to other chronic conditions,’ she told Daily Mail Australia.
‘Poor sleep can cause low productivity, poor immunity and increase risk of developing obesity.
‘And exercise remains crucial when trying to follow a healthy lifestyle as it decreases cardiovascular risk, manages stress, improves mood, delays dementia, eases chronic pain, and reduces weight,’ she said.
Ms Save recommends 30 minutes of light to moderate exercise every day.
Dietitian and Nutritionist Lyndi Cohen said said stress and lack of sleep can seriously impact weight and health.
‘Politicians tend to work very long hours and have high stress jobs that can make being healthy trickier,’ she told Daily Mail Australia.
‘Stress and a lack of quality sleep can impact on hunger hormones, increasing cravings for high energy foods.’
She recommends eating more vegetables, finding enjoyable exercise and having alcohol-free days.
‘The best way to find your healthiest weight is to find exercise that you enjoy. Having a partner or friend to exercise with is a great way to stay motivated,’ she said.
The Treasurer (pictured in Cairns in March) has been exercising every day to keep fit
Amie Frydenberg hands her children Gemma and Blake a piece of chocolate as they listen to their dad Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg handing down his third Federal Budget
Mr Frydenberg became treasurer in 2018 when Scott Morrison was made prime minister following Malcolm Turnbull’s ousting.
He was born to two Jewish immigrants in the the wealthy Melbourne suburb of Kew and studied at Monash University before completing a master’s in international relations at Oxford and becoming a political advisor.
In 2003, Mr Frydenberg left former prime minister John Howard’s office to become a junior jackaroo on Commonwealth Hill sheep station in South Australia’s north, citing exhaustion for the dramatic sea change.
After moving back to Melbourne and working for investment bank Deutsche, and completing a masters in public administration at Harvard, he turned to politics and quickly rose up the ranks.
Last week, Mr Frydenberg delivered another extraordinary budget that contained huge spending measures with the aim of securing Australia’s economic recovery following the pandemic.
Ten million Aussies were granted a tax cut of up to $1,080, while tax breaks for businesses such as the instant asset write off were extended and money was splashed on essential services such as aged care.
Most Australians who lost their jobs when the pandemic hit have found work again and about 75,000 more people are in work now than before March 2020.
‘Jobs are coming back, the economy is coming back, Australia is coming back,’ Mr Frydenberg declared on budget night.
Mr Frydenberg became a junior jackaroo on Commonwealth Hill sheep station in South Australia’s north in 2004 because he wanted a break from politics