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Jul 21, 201403:32 PMOpen Mic

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Get Fit Challenge tests marathoner’s mettle

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Ten professionals and 10 teams are competing in the 2014 Get Fit Challenge, a spinoff of IB’s popular Fittest Executive Challenge. Who will earn the healthiest marks? Follow along on Facebook and then find out at the In Business Expo & Conference on Oct. 22. This week, IB checks in with Marcus Neumaier of The Employer Group, which is competing in the team challenge. Neumaier’s co-workers Angie Heim, Luke Anderson, and Eric Lowry round out the team.

When The Employer Group’s owner sent out an email asking for volunteers for the IB Get Fit Challenge, I knew it was right up my alley. Health and fitness are not new to me; I have participated in various physical events ranging from mini-triathlons to marathons over the years. I also designed and helped implement The Employer Group’s wellness program, which promotes healthy lifestyle choices among our colleagues. However, I was not always the health nut that I am now.

About six years ago during my freshman year of college, I was completely out of shape. Most freshmen suffer through the “freshman 15.” For me, it was more like the freshman 40. Why? Mostly due to lack of self-control with the all-you-can-eat buffets at the cafeteria, and of course, the staple of all college students’ diets, beer. But one morning I woke up, looked in the mirror, and was disgusted with what I had become. I knew I had to make a change then and there.

My first challenge was to change my eating habits — not the easiest thing to do in college. But I did it. The second was exercise. Luckily, a good friend of mine was on the track and field team, and I convinced him to let me go running with him. The first few weeks of running were a struggle, to say the least. I was not a fan of running. I found out the hard way that getting back into shape was not something that happened overnight. It took time and dedication.

Once my endurance started to pick up, I found myself enjoying running. In fact, running became an escape for me. It was something I could do to clear my mind and relieve stress. Not only did I enjoy working out, I started to see the pounds drop off, and I gained a newfound confidence I didn’t have before. I had been bit by the fitness bug; if I didn’t work out or run a certain number of times in a week, I would start to get the jitters and need to go work out. I still get that feeling today if I don’t work out enough.     

Going into this challenge, I’ll admit I thought I was in good shape. I exercise regularly, eat well, and it helps that I’m young. But boy was I wrong, and I’ll freely admit it. I’m regularly tired, sore, exhausted, and have a hard time moving after our workouts. Sure, I was expecting to be a little sore and out of breath after some of our workouts, but not after every one.

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