November 25th, 2011
07:12 AM ET
Joaquin Brignoni was one of six CNN viewers chosen to be a part of the 2011 Fit Nation Triathlon Challenge. He trained with Dr. Sanjay Gupta and raced the New York City Triathlon on August 7. Since then Brignoni has kept up his new healthy lifestyle and recently raced in an international distance triathlon. CNN is looking for viewers like Brignoni to join our 2012 Challenge. Click "Share Your Story" to apply.
Last year around this time was probably one of the lowest points of my life. I had endured some pretty tough economic losses, was 30 pounds overweight and felt defeated. Not only was I disappointing myself but the example I was setting for my children was not good. I was sick and tired of feeling out of shape and frustrated.
So, I decided to Tri. What I mean is that one year ago I submitted my entry video to CNN Fit Nation for the Tri Challenge. I was ready to make a change and was hopeful that this could be my turning point.
From our kickoff weekend in Atlanta, to the incredible experience of training in Kona, Hawaii and a memorable finish at the Nautica New York City Tri, it was a phone call that completely changed my life.
Not only had I completed my first Triathlon, I had lost 30 pounds, I was fit, eating healthy, setting a great example for my kids and I had landed my dream job with a great company. I couldn't have asked for a better year.
After the NYC Tri, I figured the best way to continue my new healthy lifestyle would be to stay the course and enter another triathlon. I am proud to say that I completed my second Tri on November 13 - the Miami Man International Triathlon in South Florida.
The International distance was very similar to the Olympic distance of the NYC Tri with a .6 mile swim, 22 mile bike and a 6.6 mile run. I finished with more energy and feeling stronger on the run than I did in New York.
I also had some first time experiences at this race. It was the first time I had ever charged the water with a hundred other competitors to start the swim, which I must say was quiet the adrenaline rush. I also ran past a variety of wild animals (lions, zebras and elephants) in the Miami Metro zoo which made for an interesting finish to a great race.
I was surprised how much more confident I felt this go around. I had not trained daily but still kept up with a fitness routine and realized that it is not about having a perfect workout plan but ensuring that fitness stays a priority.
I found a way to stay strong and finished the race feeling better than expected. The human body is an amazing machine and I was surprised how much I have continued to benefit from all of the training. I’m now looking forward to entering my first half Ironman in the spring of 2012.
I am so proud to have been a part of the CNN Fit Nation Tri Challenge and grateful for all of the help I received along the way from the CNN crew, coaches, friends and family. I could not have done it without them.
Now I encourage you to give it a Tri.
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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.