home
RSS
Tri Challenge: The day I changed my life
November 10th, 2011
03:22 PM ET

Tri Challenge: The day I changed my life

Dr. Scott Zahn 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 Zahn has kept up his new healthy lifestyle and recently signed up to race a Half Ironman next year. CNN is looking for viewers like Zahn to join our 2012 Challenge. Click "Share Your Story" to apply.

Anniversary noun: A date that people remember because something important happened on that date in the past, as in a wedding anniversary.

Today I am celebrating a health and fitness anniversary. November 10, 2010 was the day that I entered the CNN Fit Nation Challenge and decided that I needed to make some changes in my life to lead a healthier and fit lifestyle.

The reasons that I entered the challenge were many, but primarily I needed to do it for myself. I needed to take charge of my health. The journey started the following day with a trip to the gym to start the process.
FULL POST


Crossing the finish line
August 11th, 2011
01:42 PM ET

Tri Challenge: 'I still can't believe that I did it'

Scott Zahn wrote this blog a day after finishing the Nautica New York City Triathlon as part of the CNN Fit Nation Triathlon Challenge. 

It has been just over 24 hours since I completed the NYC Triathlon and I guess I can officially call myself a triathlete. I felt confident going into the race, but it was much tougher than I thought it would be. The swim was challenging, the bike felt good and the run was a struggle – but I crossed that finish line.

Over the past 24 hours I have had some time to reflect on my accomplishment. I still can’t believe that I did it. I completed something that a year ago I would have never even considered. The race ended and everyone wanted to know “would you do it again?” My reply: “That water is gross. I don’t know if I want to get in that again.” Fast forward 24 hours and I’m looking at future events and thinking about the next challenge.

Being able to finish the race has been energizing and invigorating. I enjoy working towards a goal instead of just “working out.” Could the 2012 NYC Tri be one of those goals? Now that the taste and smell of the Hudson River is gone I think I could do it again. Before I set that as my goal though there are still other events to swim, bike and run. I am a triathlete and that’s what we do, right?!


Tri Challenge/Scott:  Seeing changes and feeling ready
Scott Zahn poses with two of his trainers, Corey Kunzer and Regan Kust.
August 4th, 2011
03:12 PM ET

Tri Challenge/Scott: Seeing changes and feeling ready

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

"Dr Zahn, are you alright?"
"You look so different. I hope you're not sick."
"I barely recognized you."

Since kickoff weekend I get to hear comments like this every day. Physically I look like a different guy. I have lost about 60 pounds, dropped 6 inches off my waist, and gone from XXL to L in shirt size. I continue to be amazed at the physical changes in my appearance. I actually have muscles! I knew they were there, but I can actually see them now, not a bunch of flab and fat. These changes bring along other changes. All of the clothes that I wore a year ago are either at Goodwill or shoved to the back of the closet. Workout clothes that I bought before Atlanta are gathering dust as they haven’t been worn in months because they are too big. Clothes that I bought for Hawaii don’t fit anymore. I am sure that all my friends and co-workers are getting sick of seeing the same clothes.

FULL POST


Tri Challenge: Checking things off my list
Dr. Scott Zahn after the 100k Titletown Bike Tour, with riders Dan Cibulka (left) and Tim Hoyman (right)
July 30th, 2011
11:00 AM ET

Tri Challenge: Checking things off my list

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.

Lose weight and get fit – check

Set a better example for my patients and their parents – check

Lead a healthier and more active lifestyle – check

Get off my medications – check!

That’s right I am off my medications! My application for the CNN Fit Nation Tri-Challenge was triggered by a visit to my primary care provider for the first time in many years. I left that appointment with three medications, two for blood pressure and one for lipids. Within a couple months I was off of one of the blood pressure medications after losing some weight and having some lightheadedness. I am happy to report that my doctor has now taken me off all of my medications.

FULL POST


Tri Challenge: Rule No. 1 is safety first
Scott Zahn and his relay partner, trainer Junius Ho, after racing the Green Bay Triathlon.
July 15th, 2011
07:15 AM ET

Tri Challenge: Rule No. 1 is safety first

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.

For my next blog, I was planning on writing about the costs of being a triathlete. I had planned to write about how much it costs to be fit. New clothes (my waist size is down from a 40 to less than a 36), equipment, workout clothes, fresh fruits and veggies all contribute to that total cost.

But several recent events have made me think about another cost - injury and death.
FULL POST


Tri Challenge: Fitness becomes a family affair
Dr. Scott Zahn and his family, before he became a part of the Fit Nation Triathlon Challenge. Zahn now weighs under 200lbs. for the first time in more than 20 years.
July 8th, 2011
04:13 PM ET

Tri Challenge: Fitness becomes a family affair

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.

When this whole process started, I said I wanted to do the Tri Challenge for me, for my patients and for my family. A perfect example of how the decision has led to changes in my life and changes for my family happened on the Fourth of July.

The Fox Firecracker 5K is run in Kaukana, WI every year on July 4th. None of us have ever participated in it even though it has been going on for years. My wife and I decided that the whole family should do it. Amazingly, everyone agreed.

FULL POST


Fit Nation Tri Challenge: Breaking down the wall
June 20th, 2011
05:00 AM ET

Fit Nation Tri Challenge: Breaking down the wall

Hello wall, my name is Scott and I saw you coming. I knew that this moment was going to happen. Every athlete has that moment where he wonders if he can really continue.  Will he stop or will he bust through that wall and take it to the next level.? My wall came last week.

That weekend I ran the Bellin Run. My first 10K race and I had more than 18,000 people running with me. My goal was to run 9 minute miles. When this whole process started I thought running 10 minute miles was going to be a challenge. Energized by the crowds, fellow racers and my team of friends and trainers who coached/supported me the whole way I finished the run in 56:18, 9:04 minute miles. Not bad for my first 10K.
FULL POST


Tri Challenge: Evidence of a healthier, happier lifestyle
May 9th, 2011
09:30 AM ET

Tri Challenge: Evidence of a healthier, happier lifestyle

“Evidence-based medicine”

This is a common term. Physicians and other health care providers use evidence-based medicine to guide the way that we treat patients. Which medications/therapies have the proof, or evidence, that they are the most effective to treat that diagnosis?

Today I found more evidence that what I have been doing for the past several months is making a difference. I had my follow-up fitness assessment with my trainers today to gauge what kind of progress I have made. The first assessment was back in January, just before the CNN Fit Nation Triathlon Challenge started. I had already made some changes in my life – eating better and working out more regularly – and had lost about 20 pounds. I was happy with the progress that I had made, but knew that there was a long way to go.

FULL POST


Hawaii training: Excitement, and some guilt
April 15th, 2011
04:46 PM ET

Hawaii training: Excitement, and some guilt

Next week, the CNN Fit Nation Triathlon team heads to Kona, Hawaii, for a week of intense training? Follow along on The Chart and on Twitter, @CNNFitNation

Only a few more days until the CNN Fit Nation 6-pack gets together for the mid-way trip. It will be great to see everyone and discuss successes and struggles. Of course, it helps that we will be doing this in Hawaii! I have seen the schedule and we will not be spending a lot of time sitting by the pool and sipping mai tais. We will be working out a lot – swimming in the ocean, running on the island and some bigger bike rides. We have all been working out a lot at home and it will be great to do it in Hawaii. I think it will be a way to recharge our energy and motivation us for the final push to our goal.

FULL POST


Biking, running going well... Swimming, not so much
March 23rd, 2011
09:41 AM ET

Biking, running going well... Swimming, not so much

As training continues for the 2011 CNN Triathlon Challenge, Dr. Scott Zahn of Green Bay, Wisconsin, is finding success as well as struggles.

It has been almost two months since Atlanta, and exercising and eating healthier have become the routine. The weight loss and increased fitness are quite dramatic from where I started in November when I decided that it was time to get serious and get healthy.

Everyone is amazed at the changes. Comments like “you look great,” and “you’re melting away,” are a daily occurrence. That makes me feel great and the positive reinforcement keeps you going.

Underneath all this excitement there is still one thing that I struggle with – doubt. I have no doubt that I can complete the biking and the running part of the tri, but it is the swimming part that I have no confidence in.

This past weekend I biked 16 miles one day and ran 5 miles the next. I feel very confident that when August 7 comes I will be ready for that part.

I never realized the challenge of the swim portion. It is so different from the other events. First of all you need to think about breathing. If you don’t breathe, you drown and if you don’t do it right you’re going to be swallowing the Hudson River. Nobody wants to do that. It’s very technique driven and uses a whole different group of muscles compared with the other events.

I’m trying to think about head position, high elbows, reach on the stroke, stay level, kick from the hip and, oh yeah, don’t forget to breathe. That’s a lot to think about and harder to do it all correctly. Will I ever be able to put it together? I’m not sure. Am I feeling more comfortable in the pool? Sure, but I am much further along in the biking and running.

It is about 140 days until the triathlon, 20 weeks, which will be about 40 more swim sessions. That’s a lot of swimming. I am sure that as August comes around I will feel more comfortable and a lot of this will become more natural. Right now, that seems a long way off. At least I have the current of the Hudson to push me along. I just hope that I don’t swallow too much of it along the way.


Advertisement
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.

Advertisement
Advertisement