A former top rugby league player and boxer who has shed half his body weight through fitness and a healthy diet shared his story with Horowhenua youth last week.

David Letele has led a colourful life, not without its ups and downs, and he gave a candid speech to more than 100 young Polynesian youth at Jandal Jam in Levin in the hope that it would inspire them to not only keep fit, but to strive to become better people.

Within reach was a table full of fresh fruit.

Letele had helped thousands of people lose weight through healthy diet, exercise programmes and support. He himself was once 210kg, and now weighs less than half that amount. His mantra was "no excuses".

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Sporting a lean and fit physique, during one of the fitness drills at the boot camp he used the fact that some students were brave in participating, while others were reluctant to join in.

"This is exactly what I am talking about. Too often we stand back and laugh at others who are trying to achieve. It has to stop," he told the youngsters.

Earlier this year the now 40 year old broke the world record for the number of people (1711) doing squats at once, at Eden Park in February.

Letele, who is of Māori and Samoan descent, had a tough upbringing. His father Dave joined a prominent Auckland gang at just 13 and was president by the time he was 19.

As a youngster Letele had a highly promising league career cut short by a succession of broken bones. He turned his hand to boxing and travelled the world.

What followed was a battle with obesity, a messy break-up, and the collapse of his once successful supermarket chain.

Letele came through those setbacks, and it strengthened his resolve to help others.

Fale Pasifika Horowhenua organised what was the 8th Annual Pasifika Youth Jandal Jam, a Day Programme and show spectacular for Pasifika young people, and said they were honoured to have Letele attend.

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There was a cultural performance at Levin Performing Arts centre that night.