August 5th, 2011
08:41 AM ET
Since January, six iReporters have been training in the Fit Nation Triathlon Challenge. We’re following along as they prepare to compete alongside Dr. Sanjay Gupta in the August 7 Nautica NYC Triathlon. During their last week before the race, we asked each of them the following questions: What's the biggest change you've seen in yourself since kickoff weekend? What are your personal goals for the tri?"
This weekend, "Sanjay Gupta, M.D." will be live from New York at 7:30 a.m. ET Saturday and Sunday. Watch the culmination of our team's training
A couple of years ago, I was worried I had become too complacent and full of too many excuses. A bowl of ice cream was justified almost every day. Hadn’t my day been so busy? A little treat was warranted. Exercise was always the first thing to fall off the map with a busy work life and a house full of three small children. “Tomorrow will come, and I will make a change,” I kept telling myself. Problem is – the tomorrows always came, without fail. And, the changes never happened, without fail.
I needed a reset button, and I had a pretty good idea how to do it. It would need to be drastic, in my case. It would also have to appeal to my inner competitive spirit, and changes would need to be visible immediately. I decided to sign up for a triathlon, and to tell everyone about it. After doing that, I would need to own it.
Two years later, as I finish training for my second triathlon, which is this Sunday, I write this blog as a changed man. Besides the obvious fitness benefits and the compliments from my wife, which come more frequently, I have become better at managing my time, setting priorities and practicing what I preach. My diet improved, because it had to improve. I simply felt too sluggish during a training ride if I had indulged the night before. I came to enjoy exercise, relish it, almost need it. Remarkably, despite adding another significant time commitment, I found I was getting more done in my life overall.
That’s the thing about making big changes in your life. It can cause significant unexpected and positive changes, in places you least expect it. I have been thrilled to share this simple lesson with viewers from around the country, and our six-pack – six viewers and readers we selected to join us.
Kas Seerla (@TriHardKas) had never done anything athletic in her life. She told me she was so focused on academics, she never had time. A few weeks ago, she swam a full mile across Lake Michigan while being a full-time mother of two small children.
Kendrick Henley (@TriHardKendrick) works in the health care profession, yet had a hard time eating anything other than fast food. Just 25 years old, he was quickly on his way to becoming an abominable statistic. He biked 30 miles and lost even more pounds over the last few months.
Dr. Scott Zahn (@TriHardScott) a pediatrician, now weighs what he weighed in the mid-1980s. More importantly, he has been able to demonstrate the use of exercise and food as health therapy. He is off all his medications, including one for high blood pressure and cholesterol.
Like me, Joaquin Brignoni (@TriHardJoaquin) has three daughters, and he was worried about balancing family, work and training. His strategy: have his daughters train with him. Now they all eat healthier: one of those pleasant, unexpected consequences.
Stasia Cirricione (@TriHardStasia) is just 23 years old and wanted to make changes not only for herself, but also for her husband. He joins her on bike rides now, instead of sitting around and watching television.
None of us are complacent any longer, and I feel like we have all learned a secret that we want to share with you. Hit the reset button, and watch the changes unravel in front of you. I promise you this, you will never regret it. Just make sure to own it. Wish us luck this Sunday, as we start another chapter in our lives.
About this blog
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.