Get Fit challenger finds renewed motivation in wake of adversity

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 Brady O’Brien of TURIS, which is competing in the team challenge. O’Brien’s co-workers Sarah Phillips, Eric Schappe, and Michael Whaley round out the team.

I went into this Get Fit Challenge with a bit of a different attitude than most competitors. I was very apprehensive at first knowing how busy life is already, but my Get Fit teammate Sarah said something awhile back that I’ll never forget: “I say ‘yes’ to almost everything, and then I figure out how I’m going to do it when the time comes.”

To me, that was really inspiring because I overanalyze things so much and usually end up talking myself out of doing stuff. My boss Mike Whaley sent out a company email awhile ago asking if anybody wanted to do the Get Fit Challenge, and this was the first time I just jumped in and said, “Yes, I’ll do it.”

At the beginning of the challenge, our team started off together. We all joined a boot camp class and worked out together on Tuesdays and Thursdays. We participated in this class for about three months, and after that I started to lose a little steam. I kept telling everyone we need to sign up again, but no one, not even myself, jumped in and joined the class again.

I fell off the wagon and life got even crazier. My dad was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer in May. I spent a lot of time in the hospital and then at his house. Any free time I did have I spent worrying about my dad, and I started to feel depressed.

I didn’t realize how bad my depression had gotten until my friends, some of 15 years, pulled me aside and said, “You’ve got to snap out of this.” I was always down, sad, negative, and straight-out mean to some friends who are like family members to me. This was a wakeup call for me. I slowly started my own healing process and started to work on improving my mental health.

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My dad’s cancer treatments didn’t start off very well. But after a couple of treatments and adjustments of his medication, he is doing so much better. He is able to get out to go golfing and listen to bands, and now that football season is here, he’s looking forward to watching the Badgers again — something he and I do almost every week. So with all this going on, I can honestly say I didn’t work out at all really. I did play volleyball on Wednesday nights, which to me is staying active, but when your goal is to lose weight and get fit, it just isn’t enough.

My last health assessment was conducted in late August to see how much I’ve improved since my first assessment. I have to say I was very nervous. I didn’t know if I’d improved much at all. My assessment went okay. I did improve, but not as much as I’d hoped. I came in with less weight. I did more reps in the 10-minute workout, but not as many as if I had stuck with the boot camp. It was a little bit of an improvement, but I would have loved to see what I could have done if I’d stuck with those classes.

On a side note: After my assessment, I was very sore, but it felt good to be sore again. So I decided to stick with my exercise regimen and keep it going, even though the challenge is finished. I still want to get fit. So every day since my assessment, I’ve run, biked, swum, hiked, and done whatever else I can to try to stay more active. It’s now two weeks after the assessment, and I’m still going strong — working out and staying active.

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