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February 9th, 2011
04:17 PM ET

Father of 3 needed to 'tri'

In the 2011 Fit Nation Triathlon Challenge , six selected viewers will  participate in a six-month training program. Each will receive all the gear, training and nutritional support necessary to complete the race and will compete alongside Dr. Sanjay Gupta on August 7 in the Nautica New York City Triathlon.

As a married father of three young girls, Joaquin Brignoni is a busy guy.

“We spend a lot of time in the dance studio with the girls,” he said. “Just about everything in my life is pink!”

But in the haze of pink tutus and tap shoes, Joaquin realized he was neglecting his own health.

“Racing around from one activity to another, fast food meals and no exercise have become my daily grind,” he said.

Adding to the situation, Joaquin recently lost his home-remodeling business to the recent economic downturn.

“My mental and physical health is in need of a major overhaul,” he said. “I started asking myself questions like will I be healthy when my children are older? What kind of example am I setting for my kids when it comes to healthy living?”

So after a night of selling concessions at a local sports stadium to benefit his kids’ dance troupe, he says, reality finally hit home.

“I started thinking about how much soda I drink, how much soda I was serving to people, and how much unhealthy food people eat at those kinds of events,” he said.

He left the stadium frustrated that night, and logged onto CNN.com to read the news. He came across an article on the growing sport of triathlon, and a link to sign up for the Fit Nation Challenge.

“I decided I had to make a change, and I thought this might be the best way to do it,” he said. “It had been on my mind, but after I read that article, it prompted me to enter. I submitted my video that next day.”

Once he was selected for the team, Joaquin immediately cut the soda from his diet and lost 5 pounds in just two weeks. With the help of his trainer, triathlon coach Eric Reichwein and Fit Nation Athletic Director Laura Cozik, he is now running, swimming and biking, and he’s confident that he’s on the path to success.

“I'm excited because it will be a year of positive change both mentally and physically,” he said. “Routine exercise and healthy eating will now be a priority for me.”

And Joaquin says he can already feel his body and his mind changing.

“The cloud of despair and worry is being replaced by hope and excitement about the future.”


soundoff (22 Responses)
  1. LEB

    Way to go, Dad! Include your daughters even more by encouraging to participate in relays when they're old enough. Even participating in just one part of a triathlon is a big accomplishment!

    February 9, 2011 at 20:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Jim S

    Go Joaquin! Wishing you the best on your journey to NYC!

    February 10, 2011 at 09:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Ninalove

    Joaquin, looking GREAT, dude! You look like a rock star in your pics – I know your girls are proud of you (all 4 of them!) Hope all is going well with your training – see you in April! Nina 🙂

    February 10, 2011 at 21:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Kas

    Doing this for your kids is the best thing any dad can do. What an inspiration! Looking forward to our workouts the next 6 months.

    February 11, 2011 at 14:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Dad

    Joaquin
    I am proud of you and the possitive efforts and determination you apply in everything you do.
    You are already a winner with me and the girls ...............Go Joaquin GO!!!

    February 11, 2011 at 18:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Kendrick

    Hey Joaquin! You will be such an inspiration to you girls, just keep up the good work!

    February 12, 2011 at 17:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Kailee

    Brother-in-Law! I am so proud that you are doing this not only for my wonderful nieces and sister but also for you! You have more determination and drive than anyone I know. I know the girls are so proud of you and so is your little sister and the rest of the family. We can't wait to see how far you go! GOODLUCK and we will be supporting you through it all. WE LOVE YOU JOAQUIN!!!

    February 12, 2011 at 22:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Rachel

    Joaquin – I am so excited for you. It is an honor to be married to you and I wish you the BEST! This is an opportunity of a lifetime and I will be supporting you all the way to New York this August. I love you!

    February 13, 2011 at 09:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Gabriella

    Hi daddy! I am the littlest reason that you are doing this and I am lucky to have you as a daddy! You can do it! I love you!

    February 13, 2011 at 09:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Amalia

    Hi dad! Thank you for stop drinking soda. It makes me happy to see you eating healthy! You are the best and I love you! I also want to thank you for taking me to DANCE every day! hugs and kisses!!!!

    February 13, 2011 at 09:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Raena

    Hi dad – you are good at swimming with your team and I notice that you are losing weight and eating healthy. Good job!

    February 13, 2011 at 09:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Mary

    Joaquin- I am really proud of you for taking this giant step. What an inspiration you are to Kyle, your girls, Rachel and me! I love knowing you are thinking of your own health for the sake of my family. You are a geat son-in-law and I am excited to support you and follow your steps preparing for this triathlon. I look forward to seeing you cross the finish line in New York!

    February 13, 2011 at 10:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Magali

    This is awesome!!! I am so glad that you are participating in this huge accomplishment and I hope I can do a marathon with you down the road! You have definitely inspired me to ge back on track with that goal. Love you big brother!

    February 13, 2011 at 19:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Teena

    Joaquin, Wow what an inspiration! What an amazing thing to do! I too have been working on making changes in my eating habits and working on getting more physically fit. It is not an easy thing to do but you are off to a great start and I know you can do this. I will be cheering for you! Never Never Quit!!! Your friend, Teena Thomas

    February 15, 2011 at 21:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Dad

    Joaquin...........hoping and praying for your spirit to be free and blessed to keep you strong focused and inspired by all of us who love you and believe in you.................and giving of yourself to excell!!

    February 18, 2011 at 16:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Cynthia Brignoni

    My dearest nephew. I am very proud of you and know you will achieve all your goals. If your father was here he would also be proud of you too. Keep it up.God Bless You. Love you.

    February 18, 2011 at 20:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Cynthia Brignoni

    Your Mom. Son, I am so proud of you for doing this triathlon. This is a good thing for your health and an inspiration to others. I love you. Good luck!!!

    February 20, 2011 at 15:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Nicole

    Congrats Joaquin! Very exciting.

    February 22, 2011 at 22:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. magali

    Hope training is going well and that we can go for another jog this weekend!

    March 2, 2011 at 18:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Jennifer Geno

    Hi Joaquin! Your wife is so proud of you! We talk about your journey at work all the time. So exciting! Best of luck on your training! I am following your progress.

    March 7, 2011 at 15:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Alex N. (Gismo)

    Champions aren't made in the gyms. Champions are made from something they have deep inside them, a desire, a dream, a vision. In my eyes.....you are a Champion! You have all the qualities which it takes to be the best you can be. You have determination, confidence, passion and you are a true leader. This is why I am very proud to be your brother!

    March 8, 2011 at 19:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Eric

    Joaquin, It is fun training with you and watching your progress. You are doing great!!!!

    March 24, 2011 at 07:33 | Report abuse | Reply

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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.