September 23, 2013
Welcome to the first in a series of success stories from readers and podcast listeners who had life-changing experiences from the information they've discovered here. If you have your own success story and would like to share it with the BenGreenfieldFitness community, please e-mail me your stories and photos by clicking here. I’ll continue to publish these every week as long as they keep coming in!
Today's story comes from Chris Jaeger…
You were a big part of making this happen, so thank you.
The Short Story
In a period of 6 months every major aspect of my life – professional, personal and mental – hit complete failure. In a dark place, in incredibly bad health, recovering from a second lower spine surgery, scrambling after my startup company closed shop, spiraling from an incredibly bad (like Manti T'eo meets Catfish bad) relationship breakup, following a two week whiskey bender in Vegas, my older brother (Michael) answered my social network plea to help me hit the life reset button.
Together we trained for and finished our first 70.3 triathlon in only 90 days. In the process I'm now in the best shape of my life and have achieved a new level of mental clarity and drive.
My 70.3 race goals (in decreasing order) were to
1) finish the half-ironman
2) finish under 6:00:00 maximum
3) finish under 5:45:00 stretch
4) do not walk during the run leg
5) leave with a desire to continue training in endurance multi sports and
6) beat my brother -he beat me in both of our tune-up olympic distance triathlons.
In the last 90 days of training, I lost almost 40 pounds, 8% body fat, 11 inches in body measurements, doubled my good cholesterol (55 -> 109mg/dL), reduced my bad cholesterol (130 -> 115mg/dL), cut my Triglyceride level by 75% (232 -> 57mg/dL) and found a whole new level of energy and mental clarity.
In short, I'm back baby!
As for my race goals, I finished the Rev3 Cedar Point 70.3 triathlon on September 8, 2013 in 5:32:38, crushing both my maximum and stretch time goals. I never walked, I beat my brother by 26 minutes (he bonked the run – I think because of his race fuel decisions, which I just submitted a podcast voicemail question about) and I left race day more excited than ever to continue biohacking, training and educating myself on nutrition and endurance multi-sport training.
Boom! Here's the blood and body fat results to prove it:
The Changes and How I Made them Stick
Much of the nutritional, supplement, and lifestyle changes I made were derived from your podcasts and articles. My older brother has been listening to you for much longer than me. I absorbed his low carb/low sugar lifestyle Day 1 and I started listening to your free podcasts about 60 days ago; bumping up to the paid subscription (biggest no brainer ever) 20 days ago as I set out on a long road trip. I listened to 12+ hours of podcasts while circumnavigating half the Great Lakes (damn you AT&T for not working in Canada or I would have added another 4 hours).
I folded in your bulletproof coffee and keto-kale shake regimens to help break a weight loss plateau around Day 45 or so. I added hot yoga 2-3x a week to force myself to work on my flexibility; I now crave that hour of mind/body focus time more and more – silver back vanilla gorillas like me can reap huge benefits form yoga too – perhaps I should start a series of “Broga” studios or something.
Using a google shared document, my brother and I tracked our weight, body fat, body size tape measurements, and workouts on a daily basis. This was the first level of accountability – if I started to slip, he got on my ass quickly about it, and vice versa. But I upped the accountability to the next level – I made myself accountable to the 694 people on my Facebook wall (as well as cross posts to my Twitter and Instagram feeds). I announced my intentions on Day 1 and every 30 days gave a “Social Accountability Update” that included semi-naked body photos (like above), a line graph of my daily weight and body fat measurements, as well as qualitative updates of my training milestones (new PRs in running, biking and swimming) and tweaks to my diet (bulletproof coffee, keto kale shakes, etc.).
Knowing I had to post an update helped get me off the couch and into my running shoes or on my saddle or in my wetsuit on dozens of days I just didn't feel like training, especially early on. It got me past the pizza bar at Whole Foods and beyond the rounds of beers at the watering hole time after time.
An interesting thing started to happen: more and more people started to comment and like my updates. Private messages from people I haven't spoken to in years poured in, giving me positive reinforcement and asking questions about how to start a healthier lifestyle. I derived incredible motivation from the knowledge that others cared about my progress and were making positive changes themselves. I added short DIY videos on making bulletproof coffee and keto-kale shakes (linking to your longer instructional videos and articles as well) on Instagram and within a few days, six of my Princeton football buddies working on Wall Street were all adding butter and MCT oil to their morning coffee; it is spreading across the Bank of America trading floor as we speak…)
On an n=1 basis, this “Social Accountability” protocol I created for myself has worked incredibly well. Probably my best #humblebrag social networking posts ever.
A Little Background Detail about Me
-31 years old currently living in Chicago
-Ex-football lineman and lacrosse player in high school and college
-Graduated Princeton in 2004 (economics degree and pre-medical studies)
-Worked at Merrill Lynch in New York, NY in investment banking and structured trading from 2004-2010, including a 7 month stint in Hong Kong in 2007.
-Left Wall Street to pursue a technology startup; been doing entrepreneurial thing ever since.
-Lower spine injury (herniated the L4-5/L5-5s1 disks while performing a back squat in 2000) that required surgery in 2002 (ended playing career). Poor technique + poor flexibility + alpha mentality = orthopedic disaster.
-Re-herniated my back during a CrossFit workout back squat in 2012 and went back under the knife last October.
-Max weight: 278 lbs (2001)
-Very amateur biohacker and fledgling triathlete
-Identical twin (whom is 270+ lbs and stubborn, but it is my goal to get him across the finish line of a triathlon next year).
Going forward I will be doing additional biohacking experiments (full keto diet, gut detox protocol, thermogenesis) to try to unlock the superhuman hiding somewhere inside me (I've been asked to start a blog, so that could happen soon). I'll be looking at your public facing engagements for an opportunity to introduce myself and shake your hand. I am eyeing your Thailand triathlon trip (maybe even this year if a spot opens and my new startup endeavor permits it) as a present to myself. Mostly, I look forward to crossing many more finish lines with my older brother (and hopefully my twin brother) next season.
Thanks again for the access to a wealth of incredible information. It changes lives.
5 thoughts on “Couch to Half-Ironman Triathlon in Just 90 Days: The Testimonial of A Totally Broken Ex-Offensive Lineman”
Thanks for your story!! I’ve been interested in doing a triathlon for years (it’s on my bucket list), I just have never done one, nor know of anyone who would be interested in doing one with me. I like your ideas regarding doing monthly accountability posts of FB, I am going to start doing that. Thanks for the inspiration! After Christmas I think I’m going to sign up for a sprint triathlon, see how I like it, and go from there.
We’re is the story is it just s series of articles is there a plan and eating plan
Great job! It was exciting watching you two race. You and Mike should both be proud, even with his “run bonk,” you both exceeded your goals.
Christopher = #BeastMode
I am one of the people inspired by his amazing accomplishments! And am very grateful for him introducing this site and its information; I just finished my first Half Marathon with some bio-hacking! Thanks Chris! Keep on kicking ass!