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Fitness Spotlight: David Goggins

Is David Goggins the Toughest Athlete In the World?

He may or may not be, however the more you learn about him, you start to believe that he is at-least in the discussion.

His story is amazing and is captured in several quality peices online (including a Runners World cover feature).

  •  Spent four years in the Air Force, then spend a few unsuccessful years attempting to break into pro football (weight = 280 pounds)
  • Decided to apply for the U.S. Navy SEALS, however the recruiter warned that a man of his size/weight would never make it through the grueling training (also known as "Hell Week").
  • In less than three months, he returned to apply weighing 190 pounds and eventually completed SEALS training in 1998.
  • Goggins is the only member in the U.S. Armed Forces to complete SEALS training, U.S. Army Ranger School and Air Force tactical air controller training, and has also faced combat in Iraq.
  • In 2005, tragically lost several friends in the armed forces to a helicopter crash in Afghanistan.
  • To honor them, Goggins vowed to find a unique way to raise money for Special Operations Warrior Foundation, providing college funds for the children of fallen soldiers.
  • He Googled the 10 Most Difficult Feats in the World - and stumbled upon the Badwater Ultramarathon (135 miles).

The only problem was - the Badwater Ultra required approval of application by a standards committee, and Goggins had never even completed a regular marathon (26.2 miles) before.  Four days after making his decision, he entered his first 100-mile ultramarathon - and broke several bones in his feet, as well as suffering kidney failure.  For most of us, this would have sent us hurrying for an alternate fundraising plan, however for David Goggins, it only reaffirmed that his path was the correct one.

Goggins completed the Badwater Ultra in 2006,  then just three months later he competed in the Ultraman World Championships in Hawaii. He placed 2nd in the three-day, 320-mile race, cycling 261 miles in two days on a rented bike.

Before training for the Ultraman Worlds, he’d never biked in a competitive event. Goggins returned to the Badwater in 2007, finishing 3rd. Over the next two years, he competed in another 14 ultra-endurance races, with top-five finishes in nine events. He set a course record at the 48-hour national championships,  and earning a spot among the top 20 ultramarathoners in the world. 

As of spring 2010, Goggins had earned more than $300,000 for the Special Operations Warrior Foundation.  His hard work and relentless dedication for the cause are almost super-human - as is shown by his typical daily schedule.

  • 3:45am -- 15-20 mile run followed by biking to work (25 miles)
  • 8am --  begin work day
  • Lunch --  brief 4-5 mile run if time allows
  • 6pm --  bike home from work (25 miles) - weight training (with his wife)
  • Midnight --  bedtime

We all attempt to balance work life, family life, social life, and other miscellaneous interruptions.  For those trying to start 2011 off on the right note from a fitness perspective, hopefully a glimpse at the amount of training David Goggins manages to fit into his schedule while balancing married life plus the immense duties required of a member of the U.S. Armed Forces will provide some motivation.  After seeing his typical work day, setting my alarm clock an extra thirty minutes early to squeeze in a workout does not seem so heroic by comparison. 

My words cannot do David Goggins' story justice, so for better illustration here are a couple video features:


Fitness Spotlight: Regular People (vol. 3) - Philip Ciccarello

It's been a while since I have highlighted an everyday person that provides a great fitness example for the rest of us, but I met one recently in Philip Ciccarello

We "met" originally through Twitter, which is one more testament to the power of social media.  By day, Philip is the Director of Technology for the Charlotte Regional Partnership, an economic development organization. His real passion however, is running.

As you can tell by his photos - Philip is a very in-shape dude.  His blog highlights a wide variety of things, but among them you can find shoe reviews, and several informative running/training recaps.  He's also a fan of the post-long run ice bath (which I can attest is one of the true signs of both physical and mental toughness).

I'm always up for learning new things from people more experienced or knowledgable than me, and Philip has put me on to a couple good online training programs for my upcoming half-marathon, in addition to the littany of running information on his blog.

Philip is one more example that despite having a regular everyday job and busy schedule, you can make time to get out on the road or in the gym for exercise and still find balance to fit it all into your lifestyle.


Fitness Spotlight: Max Wettstein

One of the toughest parts of life for someone dedicated to fitness pursuits is creating a balance between workouts/exercise and an every-day occupation.  Max Wettstein is one of the greatest examples of creating that sort of balance. 

If you've never heard of him, odds are you've seen him on a magazine cover even if walking past the newsstand at the grocery store.  In addition to being one of the premiere fitness models in the industry, Max Wettstein is also a Captain for Jet Blue Airways in his "spare time".  Maintaining elite-level fitness and 6% body fat while flying all over the globe (plus being a husband and dad) is clearly impressive, but Max Wettstein has enough of an internet presence to share his tips and key learnings with us.

He keeps a super-clean diet that's predicated on organic foods, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and lean proteins with health as a primary focus before aesthetics. You can check out a sample of his daily eating plan here.

In addition to his main home page - Max Wettstein maintains a pretty diverse YouTube channel, with content dedicated to a variety of activities from fitness tips, ab workouts, PLENTY of outdoor activities and workout ideas, or even exercises that can incorporate the kids. 

Fitness pro Jamin Thompson also recently posted a two-part interview with Max Wettstein on his website that you can check out here




Fitness Spotlight: Jamin Thompson

Jamin Thompson wears many titles.  Fitness model, fat loss expert and consultant, and motivational speaker are just a few.  He was an ATP world-ranked tennis player growning up and played collegiately at both Miami (Hurricanes) and Clemson, and now resides in Malibu.  His website is a gateway into a few of his fat loss courses and various peices of literature, but there's also an informative blog and e-newsletter with tips and key learnings on nutrition and training as well.  His e-book "The 6-Pack Secret" is a best-seller online. 

I've actually learned quite a bit from his e-newsletters and have passed information onto a few friends who are badly in-search of such things.  He's pretty active on Twitter also - which is where he advised me to combine salmon and eggs at breakfast some time (he was right, they go well together).

Those who know me are aware how much I stress the importance of diet, not only for fat loss and the pursuit of the elusive "six-pack", but for overall health.  I was impressed to see that Jamin Thompson stresses many of the same points of emphasis as well.  In-fact he rarely does any pure "cardio", which will shock some, but it further emphasizes the point that your nutrition makes up far more ground in body composition than hours spent on the treadmill.

His diet is very similar to mine (though his abs are obviously much better...) and is made up of lots of lean proteins (chicken, tilapia, tuna, salmon), vegetables, and strictly complex carbs like brown rice. 

I'm always big on learning from people whose bodies and fitness are worth emulating.  Jamin Thompson is one of those people, and I think his e-newsletters and resources will be helpful to most out there trying to win the fat loss battle. 



Fitness Spotlight: Apolo Ohno

As the 2010 Winter Olympics draws to a close, I figured this was a good occasion to spotlight the workouts and nutritional habits of both a men's and women's competitor.  For the men's spotlight, let's take a look at short-track speed skater and gold-medalist Apolo Ohno. 

After viewing one of his training videos courtesy of Strength Performance Network,I noticed that Apolo's training style was very reminiscent of explosion and plyo drills I learned during my time running track & field in college.  The neuromuscular requirements of sprinters and speed skaters are very similar, both require explosive power along with fast-twitch muscular endurance.  Apolo's workout also features a big emphasis on hip flexor strength, which is another immediate similarity to a track & field sprinter philosophy.

 As I expected, Apolo Ohno seems to have a solid understanding of what sorts of foods make his body perform optimally.  Other than Michael Phelps, I don't think many of us can run efficiently on pizza, pancakes, and grilled cheese sandwiches.  Ohno apparently fuels with complex carb sources like oatmeal and brown rice earlier in the day, good lean protein sources like chicken, and of course plenty of leafy green vegetables.      

Ohno's coach, John Schaeffer deserves a ton of the credit, having helped Apolo Ohno shed 16 pounds in preparation for the Vancouver Olympics by closely monitoring his meals approaching the final phases of