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My second triathlon was a huge success... Now it's your turn!
November 25th, 2011
07:12 AM ET

My second triathlon was a huge success... Now it's your turn!

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.
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For 6-Pack, a landmark day
August 7th, 2011
04:22 PM ET

For 6-Pack, a landmark day

They did it! CNN's Sixpack,  Joaquin Brignoni, Stasia Cirricione, Kendrick Henley, Nina Lovel, Kas Seerla, and Scott Zahn,  are officially triathletes after successfully completing the Nautica New York City Triathlon on Sunday, as part of the Fit Nation 2011 Triathlon Challenge.

The adventure began bright and early when the group met at 3:40 a.m. to be shuttled over to the race site. It was pouring rain and a little chilly but nothing could dampen the morning's excitement. After a delayed race start, the Sixpack jumped in to the Hudson around 6:40 a.m. All finished the race, with Joaquin Brignoni coming in first for the 6-Pack.

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Tri Challenge/Joaquin: Moving the goalpost forward
August 5th, 2011
10:02 AM ET

Tri Challenge/Joaquin: Moving the goalpost forward

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 kick-off 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

Six months of intense training are about to be tested and I can't wait to experience my first triathlon.

The journey to get here has been filled with ups and downs but all worth it. From struggling to wake up for 4:30 a.m. training sessions to making major lifestyle changes including going from a struggling self-employed business owner to a marketing director for a water conservation company all within those six months.

Looking back at life from our kickoff weekend this February I have undergone some major life changes.

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Tri Challenge: Strength in numbers
July 29th, 2011
03:28 PM ET

Tri Challenge: Strength in numbers

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.

Well that's it. I've completed my last long workout before the big race and I must say it was the best weekend of training I've ever had. It all came together like never before: swim, bike and run.

My coach Eric called me during the week to tell me this would be my last big workout before the race. I was excited to step up to the challenge but a little nervous as well. I knew how important it would be to make a statement, not to anyone else, just to the guy who use to live in my body. If I had any self doubt I planned on crushing it this weekend.

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Tri Challenge: Taking Dad's training to heart
Joaquin Brignoni's young daughter Amalia joins her dad in the pool during his tri training.
July 18th, 2011
12:48 PM ET

Tri Challenge: Taking Dad's training to heart

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.

My original three reasons to Tri are now trying right by my side.

My daughters have become very interested in my training, and since I started the Tri Challenge my two oldest have learned how to ride bikes and swim.

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Tri Challenge: My Father's Day duathlon
June 24th, 2011
12:18 PM ET

Tri Challenge: My Father's Day duathlon

All the hard work and hours of training for the NYC Tri were tested like never before on Father's Day weekend. A fitting holiday to challenge myself because my children were the reason I entered the Tri Challenge.

My coach was out of town and so was my wife with our two oldest daughters at Dance Nationals in South Carolina, so I dropped off my youngest daughter at her abuela's house, grabbed my super powered CNN jersey and went off to the race.

As I pulled out of the driveway I remembered the words of my coach Eric, "This is a gift to yourself" and immediately I felt a rush of excitement run through me as I drove toward Moss Park.

I arrived, checked in and got my race kit. My first duathlon was about to begin. The run was on dirt roads in the woods and the ride was completely flat but I learned a ton of do's and don'ts as a newbie.

The top three things are be prepared, be patient and be ready to adapt.

Newbie Tip #1: Know the course before you race
I had no clue which direction the course would go which added a lot of extra stress and took most of my mental energy as I focused on  staying on the right course. Next time I will be prepared.

Newbie Tip #2: Pace yourself
At the start of the race everyone took off. I had to realize I had my own pace which built up as the race went on. I had to be patient with myself and my own pace.

Newbie Tip #3: Go with the flow
The ride was flat and the run was on dirt. This is the total opposite of what I had been training on so I had to adapt quickly.  It was a change in the landscape and I had to go with it.

Overall, I finished strong. I won second place for my age division which was a total shock. I have my coaches to thank for the great advice and preparation over the past few months.  I felt great and realized all the hard work is truly paying off.


Fighting the voices in my head
June 8th, 2011
05:14 PM ET

Fighting the voices in my head

Things have been a bit difficult lately, and I'm not sure why. Hawaii was great, training has been exhilarating, exciting and I feel better physically, mentally and spiritually. So what’s wrong?

It’s battling the voice that tells me to stay in bed when I hear the alarm go off at 4:30AM.

Battling the voice that tells me my body is too sore today and I need a day of rest (although it's in the middle of the week and I don't typically take weekdays off of training). FULL POST


Gupta joins triathletes in Hawaii
April 22nd, 2011
03:48 PM ET

Tri Challenge: Personal bests during mini tri

Do you remember the first time you swam in the ocean? Kas Seerla does, that's for sure. It happened here in Kona, Hawaii, two days ago. She braved the waves, the current and lots of anxiety to swim nearly a quarter of a mile. And then she did it all again yesterday during this week's capstone workout: a mini tri where the 6-pack swam for 20 minutes, biked for an hour and ran for 20 minutes.

Yesterday was hot, hot, hot, but that didn't stop anyone from completing the race. Even Kendrick was able to swim, bike and run the course - stitches and all.

Collectively, the 6-pack came here with only a few miles logged on the road bike, a few lengths in the pool, a few miles of running. But they're leaving Kona each having experienced a personal best of some sort. For Joaquin, it was swimming almost a half of mile when before he hadn't been able to swim more than two pool lengths. Stasia and Kas swam in the ocean for the first time. Scott, Kendrick and Nina collectively biked 65 miles in a day - a huge improvement from the short rides they had been doing.

As each person continues to change their life and become stronger and healthier, we'll continue to bring you their journeys. We hope you'll be inspired to start changing your life, too!


April 20th, 2011
06:16 PM ET

Tri Challenge: Golden strokes

One thing 6-pack member Joaquin Brignoni learned during kickoff weekend was that he needed to work on his swim stroke. He'd never had any formal instruction up until that day and struggled to get the fundamentals down. Now after two months of training, he's improved to the point that he was leading the pack in their first open-water swim


Hawaii: Day one
April 19th, 2011
01:27 PM ET

Triathlon 6-pack: Together again, fitter than ever

This week, the CNN Fit Nation Triathlon team is in Kona, Hawaii, for a week of intense training. Follow along on The Chart and on Twitter, @CNNFitNation

One of the most rewarding parts of planning the Fit Nation Triathlon Challenge is watching our 6-pack be transformed from largely sedentary to seriously competitive amateur athletes.

When we first met this year's group in early February, we were very impressed with the work they had already done to change their lives. Some had lost weight before getting to us. Most had started to exercise regularly, and they were all starting to adopt better eating habits.

But, the changes they've made since then have been nothing short of remarkable.

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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.

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