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From Dumbells To Diamond-Interview with Author And Entrepreneur.

Bob Cheek was broke, and running a money-losing business. His heady days as a journalist and politician were over and his dreams of landing a happy retirement seemed dead. But Bob was not one to give up or accept failure. After a series of false starts and a comedy of mishaps, mayhem and failure, he eventually developed a formula for success, launching a chain of 24-hour gyms; eight years later he sold out for more than $50 million.

‍So what was his secret? When most people are heading into golden years of golf, gardening, and grandkids, how did Bob turn dumbbells into diamonds without borrowing any money?

‍Get the inside story with Bob’s 33 workouts to mega-wealth in his new book, “Dumbbells to Diamonds'' achieve the same result with luck, timing and good old common-sense. His laugh-out-loud story is brought to life with cartoons by legendary cartoonist John 'Polly' Farmer.

Continue reading for an exclusive interview.

Can you tell us about your background?

I was born and raised on a farm in the small country town of Evandale in northern Tasmania, Australia (next stop from Tasmania is the South Pole so it really is “down under down under”); professional Australian Rules footballer; journalist, newspaper editor, TV commentator; State politician and Tasmanian Liberal Party Leader; fitness and leisure industry developer and entrepreneur; married with three children and six grandchildren.

You’ve been both a journalist and politician. What made you dive into the world of fitness?

It was a natural progression from football and believed in helping people live longer, healthier, happier lives.

Did you have an “a ha” moment that made gyms pivot from failure to success? How would you describe your book Dumbbells to Diamonds?

Running one loss-making health club in Tasmania and during trip to US discovered small box 24-hour gyms which were unknown in Australia. Defining moment as I went back and built 37 company-owned gyms in eight years.

The book is part memoir of my fitness journey, revealing the dark underbelly of the industry and the pitfalls and traps for the unwary. It also shows you how to be successful if you want to enter the now desirable health and wellness space with 33 business workouts - complete with real-life anecdotes - to help you build wealth and happiness.

You collaborated with legendary cartoonist John “Polly” Farmer in the book. Can you tell us about your relationship and what role he played in the book?

John is one of Australia’s leading cartoonists and a good friend. I worked with him for many years in the Australian media. We decided that instead of photos the book would be best served by his genius in depicting my triumphs, tragedies and vital messages through humorous cartoons and cutting-edge drawings. They are funny and yet carry hard-hitting advice. Just what I wanted.

How would you compare running a business to a gym workout?

Business is just like a gym workout: the harder you toil and sweat, the better the result - provided you have the right exercise prescription. That’s why I’ve called my 33 golden rules for success workouts not chapters. In gym lingo, you’ll learn how to be a “smart” bell not a “dumb” bell!

What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs?

Read my book! Just remember if it was easy everybody would be doing it. So never give up. As my old Dad said when I lost my temper as a child: “Don’t get off your bike son - keep pedaling.” If you stay on your bike you’ll reach your goal.

Are you working on any other books or projects?

Yes I’m working on my third book which is an autobiographical novel about growing up in a small Australian country town in the 1950s. I’m also looking at further opportunities in the health and wellness area.

Anything else you’d like our readers to know?

I’ve been in the health and fitness industry for nearly 40 years. Surprisingly, there are very few books in this area written by insiders who can trace the evolvement of the industry - from being despised to becoming fashionable; and can tell you what to avoid and how to become successful through 33 easy-to-read and understand verbal workouts.

For more info on Robert please visit


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