What inspired you to adopt a healthier lifestyle?
Spartan Races, my big brother Vince, and my girlfriend. Last June I was barely able to run a mile without getting absolutely gassed, and had no idea how quickly my fitness levels were about to improve. My brother invited my girlfriend and I to run a Spartan Sprint (3 to 4 mile long race with roughly 20 obstacles) with him. I was the weakest link on the team for sure, and it took us 2 hours to complete it. Something about that race, the camaraderie on course, the statistics you see when finishing, the incredibly entertaining obstacles… It set a blaze to an unexpected wildfire for me.
Had you tried other things in the past that did or didn’t work for you? What was it about “this time” that helped you stick with it?
Yeah. I did Tae Kwon Do for 10+ years, and I think that gave me my base of fitness. Eventually I burned out of that and never felt like going anymore. I knew I needed to stay active, though, so I tried using home-workout apps from the play store that would ask what equipment you had available and create workouts based on your goals were and what body areas you wanted to target. With no one else doing these workouts with me and no community surrounding me, I burned out quickly from those. Then I became a professional Scuba Diver, and that kept me extremely active for 2.5 years and seriously improved my base level of fitness. After my diving career had to go on a brief pause, there were a couple things that really helped me stick with my training this time around. First, I immediately became addicted to Obstacle Course Races and always had one booked and planned on the horizon, so I always had something to be training for. Secondly, having Coach Sarah from Sonic Boom on my team helped tremendously. With our weekly Monday check-ins always happening, and knowing I had a coach for me that was really excited and couldn’t wait to hear about my PRs or new obstacles I’d crushed at a race, there was a base level of motivation that was always there to give everything my all, be it my training or a race itself. Motivation is a bit like bathing, you need it daily to keep going, or you might find yourself starting to stink. Having an excited coach from Sonic Boom cheering you on is a great motivator and a great way to stay accountable and on track.
What’s your favorite activity or challenge within the Sonic Boom program?
I enjoy when we get some specific exercise challenges popping up, like I think I remember one day was a battle-ropes challenge and one day was a lunge or squats challenge – those types of challenges are my favorite to read about and participate in.
If you’ve experienced weight-loss, how much have you lost and over what period of time?
Actually, I’ve experienced a very positive weight gain! I’ve been between 135 to 140 lbs since like… 2009 or 2010. Now I find myself floating around 150-152lbs and the extra weight looks great. Nice lean muscle mass in my biceps, and my back muscles and abs are looking better than ever. I’ve gotten a lot of compliments about the muscle I’ve been putting on, even from people who had arms that were bigger than mine proudly admitting that mine have gotten even bigger than theirs now. I’ve had compliments about my abs too. That stuff feels so great to hear.
Sonic Boom isn’t only about losing weight, but living an all-around healthier lifestyle. How has yours improved?
I’ve seen incredible, measurable differences in my athletic ability for sure, and definitely have improved my confidence. Last June, I couldn’t even run a full mile without getting gassed. I thought my brother telling me about his 13+ mile long obstacle course races with 30+ obstacles was INSANE, and thought a race like that would be completely out of reach for me without the daunting idea of training for YEARS. Since then, I’ve completed 16 Obstacle Course Races, with the longest being a 22.50 mile race with almost 4000 feet of elevation gain and 100 obstacles. I’ve tackled 3 of those 13+ mile / 30+ obstacle races that I previously thought were insane, with my first one having a reputation as being the “World’s Baddest Beast” race. My times kept dropping and dropping, from my first 13 miler being over 6 hours to my 3rd one breaking the 4-hour barrier by about 10 minutes. I went from failing 2 to 3 obstacles a race to consistently running clean races. One of my performances at a recent race qualified me to compete in the age-group category at the Obstacle Course Race World Championships in October 2020. My personal-best mile time dropped from an 8:33 mile all the way down to a 6:39 mile. And now I’ve got my eyes set on my first ever Ultramarathon Obstacle Course Race in Hawaii, taking place in August of 2020.
Is there anything you’d like to say to help inspire other Sonic Boomers? Tips, tricks, or motivation?
RUN. RACES! And grab a SB Coach! You can start your races off just like I did, walking 90% or more of the race! No one’s gonna be out there telling you that you have to be running the entire time. (Even Pros have won marathons by walking through water stations or stopping to tie their shoes … seriously) Just get out there and get started with races – any distance, any kind. Don’t like running on the road so much? Think running on its own is boring? Find an obstacle course race near you! It’s like a walk through the woods at a park with some really fun obstacles set up in your way, like monkey bars or spear-throws. Obstacles help break up the walking / running. You’ll get pushed out of your comfort zone. You’ll have a date, a target, a very real reason to train. And the camaraderie on course will blow your mind, how many strangers will be ready and willing to give you a hand when you need one. It’s amazing. Couple that with a coach from Sonic Boom cheering you on, being there for you to ask for tips about injury prevention, get workout ideas from them, have some one to help hold you accountable, having them set up great trackers in Sonic Boom for you to use to keep yourself on target. You will be unstoppable.
Anything else you’d like to share? Feel free to elaborate on any key aspects of your journey to a healthier lifestyle – especially through Sonic Boom.
Fitness and a healthy lifestyle doesn’t have to be about getting to the gym and pumping iron, and eating foods you hate. I think one of the most critical ingredients to my success was finding a new sport I truly fell in love with. Make fitness fun! Seek new experiences, find an activity that resonates with you, and let that be your new gym! And choose who you surround yourself with. Find people with similar goals to you, or people who have completed goals you want to complete, and get their input, experience, and ideas.