October 2009 Fit 4 Ever Jimmy Page

What Is Possible?

"Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever." – 1 Corinthians 9:25 (NIV)

Next month, 51-year-old triathlete Gary Brasher will complete back-to-back-to-back Iron-distance triathlons in order to raise funds for FCA. Yep, you read that right. A triple Iron! Right now, he's in the middle of training for the big event, which will take place Nov. 20-22.

Going in, Brasher knew that the sacrifice would be intense. I mean, can you even imagine completing 7.4 miles of swimming, 336 miles of biking and 79.2 miles of running in three days? For most of us, that is unthinkable. But that is exactly what he is willing to do for what he feels is an important cause.

Gary Brasher will run, bike and swim 422.6 miles in just three days in November.

For this month's column, I called Brasher to pick his brain about his training routine. May his words inspire us all to take on bigger and bolder challenges for the sake of Christ.

Jimmy Page: How many calories do you eat in a typical day of training?
Gary Brasher:
Not enough! That's probably the biggest challenge. I eat about 4,000 calories, and I really struggle to consume enough to recover and refuel for the next day's training. Fluid intake is huge, but it can also give you the sensation that you are full and prevent you from eating enough. I rely a lot on smoothies to boost my calories and fluid at the same time.

JP: How important is the quality of food you eat in regard to the quality of your performance?
GB: I have built my nutrition on tons of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, eggs and lean protein like fish and turkey. I can't afford to eat garbage, but, every now and then, I allow myself a treat. It's more for mental relief. And sometimes I'll crave a burger, so I'll eat it because it may mean that my body is deficient in something. I really have to listen to my body.

JP: How do you balance the number of hours required for training with family and work priorities?
GB: It really is a matter of priorities and planning. At the end of the day, family always comes first. But I have to be very strategic in using the time when my wife and kids are engaged in other activities. And I also try to take advantage of the early morning hours before everyone else is up.

It's a matter of making choices every day. My wife and I take a look at the schedule for the week and fit in the training. She knows how important this is to me, and we work together to make it happen. While most guys are out golfing, I'm on the bike, in the pool or on the road.

JP: How important is it to have a coach?
GB: The most important things my coach brings are experience, motivation and a plan. He has mapped out my plan so I don't even have to think about what I have to do each day. He makes adjustments and monitors my progress. I bring the passion, and he brings the science so that I don't have to make mistakes along the way.

Inspired by Gary Brasher's training and upcoming triple Iron? Want to join in the cause?
Find out more about the event and sign up to support the cause at tripleiron422.com. While you're at it, keep up with Brasher and his training on Twitter!
JP: With all the focus on physical training, it's important for us to remember that you're doing this to honor the Lord. What do you do for spiritual training?

GB: I get time each day for my personal devotions, and I love the FCA Coach's Bible because it has an annual reading plan. I also meet with my pastor every couple of weeks for prayer and to stay on track. I'm a big believer in praying out loud with my wife, too. That way, we can each see into the heart of each other at a different level.

To some of us, what Gary Brasher is doing may seem extreme or even impossible, but it certainly causes us to rethink what the human body is capable of. And it also forces us to take a look at our own level of training and commitments to health. If what Brasher is doing is possible — and it is — then what is possible for each of us?

This month, ask yourself what you might be willing to do to experience better health. What is one challenge you can take (mentally, physically and spiritually) that will motivate you to get out of bed in the morning?

It's time to take on a new challenge and make a commitment to better health. It's time to discover what you can do!

--Want more? Catch Jimmy Page's 90-second "Fit Life Today" podcasts, now available at www.fcapodcasting.com.

Photos courtesy of Ronald Bruce.

Medical Disclaimer: All information in this article is of a general nature and is furnished for your knowledge and understanding only. This information is not to be taken as medical or other health advice pertaining to your specific health and medical condition. Always consult a physician or health professional before beginning any exercise or nutrition program.