January 8th, 2010
05:12 PM ET

A journey about to begin

By Matt Sloane
CNN Medical Producer

A couple of months ago, we announced that Dr. Sanjay Gupta had commited to competing in the Nautica New York City Triathlon in July 2010. We also announced that we'd be picking five of you to train with him in the six months leading up to the race.

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/01/08/laura.cozik.sm.jpg caption="Laura Cozik will coach the CNN Fit Nation Challenge participants who will participate in the Nautica New York City Triathlon."]

To help our lucky winners make the transition to full-on triathletes, we needed a real expert.

That's where Laura Cozik comes in. Laura, owner of the all-female triathlon "Team Lipstick" seemed like just the right person for the task. With 25 years of fitness coaching experience, 10 years of competitive ballroom dancing experience, and voted one of New York City's top trainers, Laura knows how to motivate ordinary people to accomplish extraordinary tasks.

By ordinary, I certainly don't mean to insult any of our applicants, readers or viewers, but the reality is that most people can't just roll out of bed and run a triathlon. But with Laura's help, I hope the people we've selected can overcome their everyday challenges to accomplish this incredible goal.

Laura will also be helping all of you get fit! Each Friday, Laura will answer questions from you, from our Fit Nation Challenge participants and our producers competing alongside Sanjay and our winners. Her posts will appear weekly here on the Paging Dr. Gupta Blog. We'll also share the same training schedules that our participants are receiving, so you'll have the opportunity to train right along with them, and you're more than welcome to come cheer on Team Fit Nation July 18, 2010, in New York City.

Will you train with us? The journey begins Tuesday on American Morning at 7:30 and 8:30 a.m. ET

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soundoff (30 Responses)
  1. Rod Burrow

    Kudos to the New York Health Commission for taking a stance on the effects of drinking soda. The American Beverage Association is way off base in response to the PSA produced by the NYHC. You can not state that a product that is essentially "fat free" will not promote weight gain. The statement of "calories in/calories out" is right on point. Fact: Soda is loaded with sugar. Fat derived from the intake of sugar is a huge problem in America.

    I was once a huge soda drinker and stopped last year as "part" of my new years resolution. Results were seen within one month with the loss of 10 pounds. Realizing how easy it was I became more vigilant in scrutinizing my sugar intake. Now: 53 pounds later (6'1/230lbs/age 39) and still a work in progress. My blood pressure went from 180/99 to 116/57. I vowed to not to go through my 40's and 50's like I did my 20's and 30's.

    Why can't we get this message out to the rest of the nation? This is so simple. Quit the soda first and get off the couch!

    I'm thinking about writing a book about my struggle with weight as a result of drinking soda. Let see where this takes us.

    Rod Burrow Jr.
    Revere, Mass.

    January 10, 2010 at 10:42 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jennifer

      Good for you Rod! It's good to see people changing their lives for the better. Soda is such a huge enemy, and the world consumption of it is staggering. Fun to drink, but as an hourly thirst quencher? I would be interested in reading a book about that, so good luck! There are quite a few people in my family that could stand to read information such as that as well.

      I've also went on a weight loss journey, starting at 180 lbs, and I'm now down to 140 in just a few years. Trying to push off those last stubborn pounds!!! AACCK!

      August 16, 2010 at 14:10 | Report abuse |
  2. Kathy Lahue

    I am 65 years old and in Oct. 2008, I had a quadruple by-pass-a surprise. I have struggled with my weight all my life but you wold think the bypass would have woken me up. I dislike exercise but love the way it makes me feel; I love to cook but don't always pick the healthiest recipes. Listening to the Triathalon interviews this morning has given me hope and a goal. I will follow this blog and plan to use this as my motivation. wish I had paid closer intention and had applied to be a participant.

    January 12, 2010 at 09:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Serena

    Hello. A friend suggested I join her in training for a sprint triathlon in 6-months so it is interesting and helpful that you have a segment on triathlons. I want to know if 6-months is enough lead time for someone as out of shape as I am. I weigh 260, I'm 5'4", and currently being treated for high blood pressure. I am scheduled for a physical but have been cleared for regular exercise. I want to do this but wonder if I should shoot for longer training period. I am taking swimming lessons and biking in the gym and using a treadmill. It is 1/2 mile swim, 17 mile bike, 3.1 mile run (I plan to walk). Currently I can only swim 1/2 lap continuously, (down and back) and it takes me 20 minutes to ride 1 mile and 30 minutes to walk one mile. Is a sprint triathlon an achievable goal in 6-months for someone with my stats?

    January 12, 2010 at 21:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Gloss Vakum

    Laura – happy that you will be helping so many of us to get fit and run triatholon! I hope you are ready to answer questions... because me and my friends have many. I know that as a Fit Nation Challenge participant, I should focus on doing, and not on winning, triatholon but I hope your advice will help me to do very well. Please touch upon in your upcoming posts such subjects as do we really need to wear wetsuits during the race, do we need a bike or we can only run, and can my aunt (just recovered from liver transplant and currently a bit overweight with small cardiac issue) train and race with us for this iron man triatholon?

    January 14, 2010 at 18:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. GF, Los Angeles

    @ Serena I think you could do it if you push yourself these 6 months. Afterall, the Biggest Loser contestants had 6 months to train and they had to run a marathon. At the speed you're going with just the run and bike part it'll take you at least 5 1/2 hours. I don't know if there is a time limit but after doing some research the avg. time people run is 30 mins for 3 miles, 25 mins for the 12 mile bike ride and 15 minutes for the swim. Time to push yourself.

    January 21, 2010 at 20:38 | Report abuse | Reply
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    I just love to do ballroom dancing specially during my free times. dancing is my passion.`-~

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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.