July 2nd, 2010
05:40 PM ET

Helping others with the Fit Nation Triathlon Challenge

CNN Fit Nation triathlete Stanley Saballett rides alongside cycling great Lance Armstrong

Stanley Saballett, 36, spends his days helping homeless and potentially homeless youth in San Diego get their lives back on track. (Watch Video)

"I'm constantly trying to tell them I understand your struggle...you can make it, you can change your life," says Saballett. "So if I'm asking young people to be healthy, live right, work out, do their thing, and I'm not doing it, there's something wrong there."

His desire to get back in shape and set a positive example spurred him to apply for the Fit Nation Triathlon Challenge. Saballett and five other CNN viewers, dubbed the "6-pack", have been training for more than six months to race the Nautica New York City Triathlon with CNN's Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta.

Saballett  journey has already been transforming. He stopped eating fast food, gave up drinking soda, and started practicing yoga in between his training sessions. Last month, he finished the San Diego half-marathon, something he would have thought impossible back in December.

"Initially my biggest concern was the run but after running the half, I think I can do it now, "says Saballett. "Now I'm just really worried about the swim...we're going to do our wave and I'm going to be with the next wave because I won't be able to get to the end."

Saballett is making good on his desire to help others get back in shape too. He takes some of the youth he works with at San Diego Youth Services to a local mountain for a group hike every Friday. He started an office-wide "Biggest Loser" competition to motivate his coworkers to lose weight.

"It lasted four months and we had to put money in and weigh in every other week," explain Saballett. "So many people got involved in it and it's part of the whole reason I wanted to do this – it's not only so cool that I can work out but I can encourage other people to do it too."

In the final days before the race, Saballett is focused on his training. Even though the New York triathlon hasn't happened yet, he's already planning to race a second triathlon this year.

"Ultimately it really comes down to you. You have to be the one to say 'do it, do it, do it.'"

soundoff (5 Responses)
  1. John Koenig

    Exercising alone or in a gym full of strangers just didn't work for me. I really needed someone to keep me on track and encourage me when I was down. I looked at Exercisefriends and WannaBuddy.com and found a local buddy to work out with me. It made all the difference!

    Don't try to do it alone! There are friends out there to help.

    March 25, 2011 at 18:44 | Report abuse | Reply
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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.