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.

About a month after submitting my video, I got a call from Dr. Sanjay Gupta that I had been selected as one of the 6-pack. It turned out to be an amazing journey filled with excitement, long workouts and plenty of encouragement as we trained for our first triathlon.

From our kickoff weekend in Atlanta, to the incredible experience of training in Kona, Hawaii and a memorable finish at the Nautica New York City Tri, it was a phone call that completely changed my life.

Not only had I completed my first Triathlon, I had lost 30 pounds, I was fit, eating healthy, setting a great example for my kids and I had landed my dream job with a great company. I couldn't have asked for a better year.

After the NYC Tri, I figured the best way to continue my new healthy lifestyle would be to stay the course and enter another triathlon. I am proud to say that I completed my second Tri on November 13 - the Miami Man International Triathlon in South Florida.

The International distance was very similar to the Olympic distance of the NYC Tri with a .6 mile swim, 22 mile bike and a 6.6 mile run. I finished with more energy and feeling stronger on the run than I did in New York.

I also had some first time experiences at this race. It was the first time I had ever charged the water with a hundred other competitors to start the swim, which I must say was quiet the adrenaline rush. I also ran past a variety of wild animals (lions, zebras and elephants) in the Miami Metro zoo which made for an interesting finish to a great race.

I was surprised how much more confident I felt this go around. I had not trained daily but still kept up with a fitness routine and realized that it is not about having a perfect workout plan but ensuring that fitness stays a priority.

I found a way to stay strong and finished the race feeling better than expected. The human body is an amazing machine and I was surprised how much I have continued to benefit from all of the training. I’m now looking forward to entering my first half Ironman in the spring of 2012.

I am so proud to have been a part of the CNN Fit Nation Tri Challenge and grateful for all of the help I received along the way from the CNN crew, coaches, friends and family. I could not have done it without them.

Now I encourage you to give it a Tri.

soundoff (35 Responses)
  1. Anne

    Sweet! Congratulations.My journey from couch potato to endurance cyclist has turned me into a Masters crit/road/circuit racer who prefers to instigate 100-200 mile rides with friends. Maybe a tri is in the cards for me this year.

    November 25, 2011 at 10:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Beginner

    Perhaps you can send me the video you used to be selected? I am very interested and am not sure how to go about doing my video to be selected.
    Please let me know!

    November 25, 2011 at 11:11 | Report abuse | Reply
    • CaitlinCNN

      Hi Beginner! Thanks for your interest in our Challenge! You can upload your video to this link (http://ireport.cnn.com/topics/698509) or check our "CNN Fit Nation" page. The link is also posted several times on the wall. Best of luck!

      November 25, 2011 at 19:40 | Report abuse |
  3. TriHardNinaLove

    Joaquin, LOOKIN' GREAT, buddy!!! This tri sounds like it was so much fun: wild animals, oh my!!! I'm glad you are staying with the fun and fitness! Hello and love to you and your precious family, from me and mine! 🙂 Me, I'll be out for a 5 mile run at 8am tomorrow...brrrrr.... To all of you who are thinking of entering the 2012 FitNation Challenge, get off the square and send in your video- it will change your life, for sure!!!!

    November 25, 2011 at 21:28 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Moh

      about our breed of athlete. We are inntsee, and we are inntsee for a reason. Like someone in a recent post commented, we are inntsee because we have full lives and if i am going to take the time to train, I am going to train to be the best me I can be. Having said that, there is not a better group of people to be around. I have raced in multiple tri's and multiple running events, and the tri people are by far the friendliest. Race day at a tri is the most fun I have ever had in any athletic event, including my first marathon.so whats important?:1. know the rules, nothing on this earth frustrates us triathletes than somebody who doesnt know the rules. Riding on the right means, all the way to the right, not the right side of the middle. 2. All the runners on here who say having a fast bike leg will make you finish faster are dead wrong. A fast bike leg means absolutely nothing if you used all your energy to produce a fast bike split. In the end your run will pay for it. Look at the pro's who have these phenom bike splits, and still lose the race because they blew all their energy on the bike. Its all about finding a pace you can hold. Go out on your bike, find a good pace, fast but not mind blowing, and hold it. 3. Bricks, bricks, bricks. Nothing is as vital as stacking your discipline workouts. Bike your distance then run your distance immediately after, its a great race prep. Plus it gives you a chance to feel what its like to come off the bike and still try to run your pace. 4. Have fun!! I have been a part of so many different sports, and none of them have ever been as much fun as a triathlon. It is a huge accomplishment to finish one, and it is a blast doing it!! Enjoy

      October 11, 2012 at 09:48 | Report abuse |
  4. Dee Cline

    My friend started doing Tri's a couple of years ago and did IMAZ last year, and is registered for next year. Hearing her and her friend's stories, makes me "think" about trying it, but I have no pool within a decent driving range with the price of gas what it is to train in. I do love hearing the great stories of couch taters to athletes.

    November 26, 2011 at 19:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Bicycle4ever

    I ride my bike to work all warm spring, summer and fall for enviromental reasons and its great for your body and mind. I always get semidepressed in the winter from lack of ride time. I get yelled at by fat people in suvs calling me boy and telling me I suck. This only makes me happier. Id go in a tri but running kills your knees and swimming that long does not interest me. Haha Good for you man showing your kids a better lifestyle and when the poop hits the fan in the USA riding your bike will be more "normal." Im 22 and everyone in their big truck and suv can lick my back after an 5 hour ride. I have a Honda crx 45mpg. Eat me fatties

    November 27, 2011 at 11:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. F Poorman


    I'm truly inspired by your article and I hope it will serve as a motivation to others. Sorry about your economic lost but it seems as though you saw the glass half full rather than half empty. I too am overweight and need to loose 50 pounds and so I'm changing my diet by including more raw fruits and vegetable in my daily diet. But, I do need to get into some kind of an exercise regiment. At moment, every time I think about exercising, I would sit down and let the feeling past.

    Ever since I realized that the best way to get 100% of the food values easily in your blood stream predigested is through juicing, I have been on a juicing binge.

    Keep up the good work, we are all proud of you.

    November 27, 2011 at 14:58 | Report abuse | Reply
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