Five years ago, Kane Patterson was taking ecstasy and cocaine every day, sleeping on the streets and eating out of rubbish bins.
It seemed there was little hope for the foster home kid who started his descent into drug abuse when his heroin addicted mother gave him speed at the age of 14.
Kane believes death was just around the corner when he finally managed to drag himself out of the destructive cycle by sheer force of will, without even setting foot in rehab.
The musclebound 31-year-old from Melbourne is now the poster boy for his own fitness program - eating a healthy diet, lifting weights and educating clients on how to change their lives, too.
Things looked bleak for Kane early on, when he was taken away from his mother in Dandenong, Victoria, at two years old and quickly moved through around 24 different homes, regularly crying himself to sleep at night.
"I started taking drugs at an early age, because my mum was a heroin addict," he told news.com.au. "I moved back in with my mum after foster care and she introduced me to it. I was experimenting with it between the ages of 14 and 15.
"I started drinking, stopped going to school, everything turned real bad.
"I used anything and everything I could get my hands on. I never used heroin because of the s*** I'd been through with my mum turned me off it. I did try ice but it didn't appeal to me the way it does to some people.
"Things weren't going too well, I needed to change."
Kane admits that turning his life around wasn't easy, and there were a few false starts. He began work on "cleaning his act up" at 24, when friends told him they didn't want to be around his escalating addiction any more, but it took until 26 for him to stay clean.
First, he moved away from everything he knew, couch surfing with friends and getting into lifting weights. He found a job at a mine in Port Hedland, Western Australia, but says it wasn't a good environment for a recovering drug addict. He relapsed after six months.
Kane went straight to his boss and asked to leave, moving back to Melbourne and throwing himself into weightlifting with his brother. He studied personal training, met his girlfriend Lisa and started his own business, Lift 4 Life, a program that helps people improve their health through group training, bootcamps and classes in nutrition.
He attributes his own radical transformation to the fact he "was at a point in my life where it couldn't get any worse" - it was either keep going until death or change.
"I was at times through my addiction living on the streets and eating out of garbage bins," he says. "It wasn't a good time. I used fitness to get myself out of that.
"Once I started eating food - you don't eat a lot when you're on drugs - I started feeling better."
It turns out Kane is good at motivating others. He now posts on websites for recovering drug addicts and believes the community atmosphere of his sessions helps. He's running a free fat loss seminar in February next year.
"With healthy food and training, your body will improve," he says. "We're all human, we all have bad days.
"If you spoke to me ten years ago and told me I'd be doing what I'm doing, that wasn't even an option. I was scared of that other life and I didn't want to go back.
"I'm still scared but this is my career, this is my life now, what I want to do. I'd like to get married, have a self-sustaining business and a child who I can give the chances I never had."