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COLUMN: WHO INSPIRES YOU?

One of the key reasons I’ve been able to make the successful transition from obese-to-athlete
over the last few years is because I’ve been fortunate enough to have inspirational people in my life. Some who I’ve admired from afar; some who I’ve been fortunate enough to get to know. Ask me who inspires me and I can give you a list right off the top of my head. In fact, I’d wager that any of us who has ever overcome a major obstacle in our lives did so, in part, by drawing inspiration from someone else.

So I ask you, who inspires you? Does anyone come to mind? If not, than you need to get
inspired, because when it comes to losing weight, staying in shape, eating and living healthier, the importance of surrounding yourself with positivity cannot be underestimated.

Having inspirational people in our lives is critical because they serve as a very simple but
powerful reminder of what is possible. Over the last few years I’ve gotten to know a handful
of elite athletes who, as it turns out, used to be obese as well. And what that did for my own
journey was plant the seed of, “well, if they can do it… than I guess I have a shot at this too!”
And that’s been absolutely critical to my success. I hope that you have some inspirational folks in your life who encourage you to keep pushing onward and upward, but if not than allow me to tell you about someone whose story has inspired me immensely! And I know that it will be a source of inspiration to you as well; because, really, once you learn about this guy? You’ll have no excuses.

Let me introduce you to JASON LESTER. Unless you’re glued to the world of elite ultra-
endurance sports you likely haven’t heard of him. But Jason is an elite triathlete who not only races Ironman triathlons (2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, 26.2 mile marathon run all in succession in one day), but also races double- and triple-Ironman triathons (yes, you read that correctly). Not only that, but in 2010 he had the audacity to dream up and actually accomplish the “EPIC 5 CHALLENGE” along with athlete Rich Roll (another incredibly inspiring athlete as well) where they actually tackled and successfully completed 5 Ironman-distance triathlons on the 5 big islands of Hawaii in just one week. Everyone told Jason he was out of his mind, that the physical demands of something like that were beyond what the human body could handle. But Jason and Rich did it anyway.

Here’s the kicker: Jason only has use of one arm. At age 12 he was struck by a car while riding his bike resulting in 21 broken bones, a collapsed lung, and a paralyzed right arm. Right after that his father, and sole caretaker, passed away. But Jason somehow kept pressing on, using sport as a motivation to keep going and become a top-ranked high school athlete by the age of 18. Shortly thereafter he became hooked on the sport of triathlon and has simply found ways to pursue and accomplish his dreams regardless of his disability. I have absolutely no idea how Jason swims miles in open water and bikes hundreds of miles at a time
with just one good arm… but he does. His motto is “Never Stop.” Well said. In 2009 he was
awarded an ESPY for his spirit and achievements. Last year, Nike signed him as an athlete. Smart move. Inspirational. You can learn more about Jason on his website: WWW.JASONPLESTER.COM

SO. WHO INSPIRES YOU?

 

This is the latest installment (for the week of 3/1/2013) of my weekly syndicated column “THE PARENT ATHLETE” – a Health & Wellness Column for Busy Parents. You can read it in print and online in over 20 locations. If you are interested in carrying my column in your own paper or website, please contact me at column@benmurphyonline.com.


Image source: The Roosevelts

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