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Why a Triathlon Should be Part of Your 2022 Goals (Even if that Sounds Crazy)

December 4, 2021
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I’ve been involved in athletics my entire life to some extent. Constantly competing.

Once I graduated high school and “retired” from traditional sports I needed to find something to fill that void. Initially what filled the void was lifting weights. Competing in the gym on a daily basis with my training partners.

Over the years I competed in multiple bodybuilding shows, strongman competitions & powerlifting meets. I absolutely loved it. It kept me focused & always pushing myself to the highest level.

My vision was to reach “pro” level in all three of those sports. Physique, strongman & powerlifting.

I was well on my way to doing this thanks to my best friend & coach Zach Homol. One of the best in the entire world when it comes to strength sports.

In March of 2020 this vision was derailed when I blew my knee out in a freak accident unrelated to training. It was a pretty traumatic injury that required surgery & a long recovery process.

A few months into the rehab I realized that I no longer cared to become a pro strongman, powerlifter or even physique competitor. At that point I just wanted to be a fully functional human being again as I couldn't even walk for many months.

My vision shifted towards “functional training”. Healing my body & becoming the most athletic version of myself possible. Not necessarily the strongest deadlifter or the most muscular guy on stage at a bodybuilding show.

In May of 2021, 14 months post injury, Zach Homol approached me about competing again. At this point I was still recovering, but was healthy enough to start pushing myself.

Here’s where things got interesting.. Zach wasn’t asking me if I wanted to compete in a strongman competition or a powerlifting meet like he would have in the years past. Rather, he proposed the idea of doing a Sprint Triathlon together.

Immediately I felt my heart speed up & my palms get a little sweaty. The idea of competing in a triathlon was a bit intimidating at first. But it was in alignment with this new vision I had for my body & training.. So I quickly responded back “I’m in” & we were off to the races.

We gave ourselves about 16 weeks to prepare for the race. Maintaining our foundation of weight training as always, but adjusting our programming a bit towards the triathlon training.

I began running a few times per week. Just a few miles at a time. But even that was quite a change for me as I hadn’t really run in about 10 years. Since high school track. I thought I HATED running because I did hate it when I was younger. But this time around was different. I was actually enjoying it!!

I began crawling much more. Doing more bodyweight work to condition my body for the race.

We introduced some swimming into our training as well. This was what scared me the most about competing in a triathlon. I’ve always been a weak swimmer. But it was a great challenge. I quickly realized how great swimming is for our bodies. More on the swimming component later in this blog.

I thoroughly enjoyed the prep process for this race. It was exactly what I needed to reignite a fire in me to compete again. Especially coming off of a blown knee. I was excited about training for the first time in a while. Motivated was an understatement. It was a new challenge!

It forced Zach and I to step out of our comfort zone once again. Something we’re constantly encouraging others to do.

Eventually race day came and we were PUMPED!! We had pushed ourselves mentally, physically & spiritually to new levels over the previous 16 week prep. Now it was time to go out there & compete.

We had such a great time out there competing!! Zach and I both said that it was more fun than any other competitions we had done in our lives.

Being out in nature on a beautiful Saturday morning competing with other men & women.

We were hooked right away!! I will be competing in many more Sprint Triathlons in my future. And I would encourage you to give it a try as well!

I work with men at all levels of physical fitness, here are three common rebuttals I get when I recommend they consider a triathlon.

Reason #1 “But I’m a Strength Athlete.”

As my friend Zach Homol put it “when I was ‘strong strong,’ I could barely tie my shoes.”

Being strong is GREAT. Strength is never a weakness. But there’s certainly a point of diminishing returns that I’ve experienced in my past. And you may have as well depending on how long you’ve been a strength athlete.

You can be strong, jacked AND functional. Being able to deadlift 500+ lbs while also being able to touch your toes & run a 6 minute mile.

Here are three big benefits to this type of training that I've experienced personally.

1. Longevity.

  • Ever since I blew my knee out this has been my #1 goal. I wanna be HEALTHY. Short term & especially long term. I wanna be able to hike mountains with my grandkids when I’m 100 years old

2. Balance in life.

  • Balance is everything for me. When I was a purely strength based athlete I didn’t have a ton of balance in my life. I was focused on eating as much as I possibly could every day. Stuffing my body full of food in order to try & keep my weight up. Or if I was prepping for a bodybuilding show, I had to be so incredibly strict with my food intake for months on end. Which would really affect my day to day life.

3. Not getting bored.

  • After spending 10 years in the gym doing the same old thing every day.. I got bored!! Eventually feeling very uninspired. This shift in training was exactly what I needed to light a new fire under my ass. And it may be exactly what you need as well

Reason #2 “I Can’t Swim”

This was a BIG hurdle for me initially. As I mentioned earlier, I've never been a strong swimmer. Growing up I didn’t do swimming lessons. I knew how to not drown. But that was about it.  

So when Zach initially presented me with the idea of competing in a triathlon my mind immediately went to “well shit.. How am I gonna complete the swimming portion?”

I spent a little time each week leading up to the triathlon learning how to properly swim. There are a ton of great tutorials on YouTube to learn from. Anyone can learn. It just comes down to putting in the time & effort.

To be honest, I was no Michael Phelps out there in the lake the day of the competition. Far from it. I was one of the weakest swimmers in the group. But I finished & didn’t drown! And that was a big confidence booster for me. It was a base to build from.

So no matter how weak of a swimmer you may be right now, you can do it!!

Reason #3 “I Just Don’t Have Time”

Yes, you do have the time!!

You may be thinking to yourself.. “This sounds like quite a large time commitment.”

To be honest it really wasn’t too much more time than I was already committing to my training. Five to six days a week of training. Four solid weight training sessions. Plus two full bodyweight days including swimming, running & crawling.

If it’s a priority, then time certainly won’t be a barrier to entry for you. Now that being said, this is a sprint triathlon. It’s a fraction of what a FULL triathlon would require time wise. When you get into full triathlons & Iron Mans you’re committing to a part time job at that point. Different ball game. But this isn’t that.

Here’s a great tweet from my girlfriend Lea breaking down how much time we all likely have. We just have to leverage it efficiently.

If you’re interested in competing in a Sprint Triathlon in 2022 i’m here to support you!! You’ve got this!! There’s absolutely nothing stopping you from doing it.

It completely changed my life & I think it may do the same for you.

If you do decide to compete and are looking for a coach. I highly recommend my friend Ryan Dreyer. He’s one of the best triathlon coaches out there.

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