Hola, that’s me up there, Daniel Henry (Flahiff), Head Honcho at New Strength and 6-Minute Habit Hacks where we help everyday athletes kick more ass.
Here’s more than you probably need to know about me:
I’m a 3X USA Triathlon Age Group National Championships qualifier, 1X for the USASS (Snowshoe) Age Group Nationals, and in 2013, I represented the United States of America in Auckland, NZ at the ITU World Aquathlon Championships (swim/run), racing with some of the fastest age-groupers in the world as a member of Team USA.
From trail runs to marathons to Ironman® events, I’m an endurance sport junkie and a Type II Fun fanatic.
Basically, if it’s outdoors and out of my comfort zone, I’m all over it.
But less than three years before ITU Worlds I could not climb a flight of stairs without breaking into a sweat.
While I was relatively fit in my twenties, over time my health deteriorated, and my weight fluctuated dramatically. I tried everything—diets, shakes, Jenny Craig, infomercial workouts, South Beach, Zone, Atkins, Paleo, etc.—and actually, they all worked, for a while. But the weight and fatigue always came back.
By the age of 44, I tipped the scales at just over 230 lbs., BMI 32, clinically obese. My cholesterol was 280, so I was on statins. My sleep apnea meant using a CPAP machine. I could not control my alcohol abuse, and I eventually found a therapist with a liberal prescription pad and was soon addicted to the anti-depressant merry-go-round.
Add raising two young boys, keeping a small business afloat and trying to be a sensitive, understanding husband, and you get the picture. I was a tired, fat, depressed drug and alcohol addict, at risk of cancer, heart disease, diabetes and a host of other ailments. I was on the elevator headed to the basement.
No bolt of lighting. No clap of thunder. Just an average man who looked up one day and said, “How did this happen?” It was time for a change.
What kept me from hitting bottom? My bicycle and my God. It went down like this:
Pulling a late shift at work one night I read a cryptic Facebook update. It read simply, “December. Time to start training for the STP.” If you don’t already know, the STP is the Seattle to Portland Bicycle Classic, a 200-mile bicycle ride in July that about 10,000 people ride in one or two days.
Reading that Facebook post, I thought, how ridiculous! But I was in a rut, and I knew that nothing I did in that chair in that office was going to get me out of that rut. I didn’t have the answer, but I knew that simply walking out the door—doing something different—would be a step in the right direction. I turned my focus from inward, to outward. And I let go of the outcome. It was a step of faith.
I dusted off my old, red mountain bike and headed down the hill. It wasn’t pretty. Eight sweaty miles later I had to push my bike back up the hill to my house, exhausted and ashamed. I could only hope my boys and their friends didn’t see me.
But two days later I went back out the door for another ride. And I just kept going back out that door.
Was it easy? Of course not. Some rides were so cold I couldn’t feel my feet for hours.
But after six months of following a simple plan, replacing old habits with new, a raft of prayers, and a few profound discoveries along the way—on July 28, 2010 I finished the STP. With a smile!
You can do everything I have too, and more. It can start today.
Accept yourself right now, no matter how heavy or out of shape or depressed you feel. Own it and forgive yourself. God has. And He is the God of second chances, is He not?
Even if you’ve started a hundred times before, you can take that first step again. Today. In faith.
And if you don’t know where to start or if you think you could benefit from the help of a coach and mentor who has been there; if you are serious about radical body transformation, get in touch with me. I’ve been there, I’ve helped others do it, I can help you do it too.
Along with my lovely wife, two boys, and our cat named Winston, I live just outside of Seattle in Washington State.
When I’m not coaching, writing or spending time with my family, you can find me swimming, biking or running single track in the Cascade Mountains.