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.

With the changes in my physical appearance have been the changes in my fitness level. It’s nothing for me to go out and run a quick thee miles in under 30 minutes. I do it a couple of times a week. Six months ago a three-mile walk would have been a workout. I routinely bike 30-50 miles at a time and my endurance in the pool continues to improve. These accomplishments are things that I had never done before this journey started.

While the physical changes are the most obvious I clearly feel better about myself. I am more active, energetic and confident. It feels weird to not do something active every day. On my “rest days” I’m still active swimming and biking with the family.

Although it may seem like this was easy there has been a lot of hard work. The biggest challenge initially was finding the time to fit this into my life. When I had scheduled times with my trainers I was able adjust the rest of my schedule to make it work. Making fitness a priority has allowed me to be successful. The variety of the workouts has kept the monotony to a minimum and being able to work out and train with others has kept me motivated. This whole process would have been incredibly difficult without the support and commitment of friends, family and trainers.

My original goal for this challenge was to complete the NYC Triathlon. That seemed like a pretty daunting challenge six months ago. Now I have set specific goals for each segment of race and feel confident that I can meet those targets. I know that this will be one of the toughest physical challenges that I have ever come across, but I feel trained and ready.

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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.