I grew up in south Louisiana just outside of New Orleans living the “Fried Life” as I call it.  My family set me on a path that was not the healthiest pattern of eating and living. I developed patterns that effected me later in life that caused me to slowly gain weight.  I wasn’t the heaviest in our family so I had this false sense of, I’m doing ok, and by comparison I was. I played sports all growing up, mostly baseball, but nothing that pushed me to better my health and fitness.

I was called into the ministry and I entered a Master’s Commission program then went off to Bible college at SAGU in Texas and onto the life of a Student Ministry Pastor. Late night pizza, not much rest, pressures and stress of ministry and slowly gaining 5 pounds a year took its toll.

Sure I dieted and tried everything from Atkins to Fasting. I even once tried to get people to do a Daniel fast with me with the main intention of me losing weight. I would lose pounds and then simply gain them back.  Over and over this happened, each time gaining even more weight than I initially lost.  I was unhealthy, unfit, stressed, exhausted and 50 pounds overweight.

I decided in 2008 that enough was enough. I had gone to the doctor and was told I needed to be on blood pressure meds and that my cholesterol was high among other weight related complications.  Basically I was eating myself to death.  I made a promise to myself that things needed to change.  By this time Amy and I had been married 3 years and our son Mason was just born.  I determined that I was going to live the healthiest year of my life, spiritually, emotionally and physically.   I started eating better and drinking only water, cutting out sugars and sweets and most of all I started running.

It started small. I ran 1 mile and thought I was going to die.  I began to add more and more distance and had an idea to train and run a 5K race.  After running that race I wanted to run more and better my time.  I began to race myself and challenge and push myself to be faster than before. Every time I shaved off even a few seconds it was like I won the Olympic gold medal.  I pushed myself even further and ran my first 10K that year.  In 2008, the year that I turned my health around, I lost over 40 pounds.  Most importantly when I went back to my doctor he told me that my blood pressure and my cholesterol were in great shape and there was no need for any medications.

I wanted to do more, lose more and overall maintain this new healthy lifestyle that I worked so hard to achieve. I refused to go back to the way I was.  In 2009 I ran my first half marathon and since then have completed five more.  In 2011 I ran my first full distance marathon in Denver, Colorado and finished in under 5 hours.

It still wasn’t enough… I continued to push myself. I moved on to the sport of triathlon.  This is where i found what i was looking for.  The drive, the endurance, the training and the pushing your body as far as it can go and then pushing some more.  I started small with the sprint distances and then on to the Olympic distances.  In 2013 I was 65 pounds lighter than I was when i first started this health and fitness journey back in 2008. I had trained and prepared and completed my biggest challenge when I crossed the finish line of my very first 70.3 half ironman event.  I couldn’t believe what I had accomplished, all while leading Youth Ministries and now currently planting a new church in Denver called Connection Church

I am currently coaching for the Fit Pastors Network and training for my second half ironman in 2014 and have dreams and desires to cross the finish line of a FULL ironman event and hear those beautiful words… “Shawn Reine, You are an Ironman”!

Whats YOUR story?  Revelations 12:11 says we overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our Testimony… Our Story… My prayer for you today is for you to take a moment and realize you have a story worth sharing.  Go tell the World!!!