These profiles are of athletes of all walks, disciplines, and levels of fitness and competition. What I always found inspiring to myself were the average guys, the guys like me that figured out how to balance life and training to achieve a heightened level of fitness. Whether that is just losing weight or training for an event. I rarely looked to elite athletes for inspiration, rather I looked for inspiration in those seeking to better themselves not for recognition but for themselves.
Now let me clarify, I do listen and seek advice in nutrition, training, equipment from many experts and elite athletes, but my goal here is to highlight the people who work and train just as hard under the radar. These folks are just as heroic to me as any Tour de France winner or Olympic champion. So here we go:
I met Jeff through an obstacle course race team about 2 years ago. We had both joined this team online and discovered we lived near each other. Through that we have become friends and participated in a few races together, but more importantly I have seen Jeff grow as a person and an athlete through his efforts. Whether he admits it or not, he has become a force in motivation and inspiration for many. Currently leading the Illuminati OCR team, his efforts have led to hundreds (seriously) of people getting involved in fitness in one way or the other, and at the very least, bringing like-minded folks together to make fitness and training fun. (And he just recently squatted a ridiculous 515#!!!)
Name: Jeff Barnes
Hometown: Mt. Vernon, IN
Occupation: Healthcare IT Consultant
Hobbies: Lifting, Running, OCR, writing.
When did you start your fitness journey? I was born into the martial arts. My dad was an 8th degree Grand Master in Tae Kwon Do. I have always been in the martial arts but often times overweight and not in shape. In 1995, I was a heavy weight kickboxing champ. Later in life after opening my own schools, worked a full-time job and struggled with weight. My father passed away five years ago; when he passed my health took a nose dive. Next month represents my second year in changing my health and starting good fitness habits. I bought my first pair of running shoes from Ultimate Fit and haven’t turned back.
Why do you train? I am still looking for the body image I want. I am strong, I can run, but still carry excess weight. Slowly but surely, I will get there. Diet and consistent training is the key.
What do you hope to accomplish with your training/fitness? Next year I want to compete in NAS Strongman Nationals, and I want to run a sub ten minute mile for a 5k race.
What do you think a healthy lifestyle has added to your life? Happiness, experience, great memories… I am not sitting in my lazy boy waiting to die. Now, I go out and make things happen, I enjoy my body and challenge it to do things others think are crazy.
Cheat food? Chips and Salsa
Music or no music to train? Five Finger Death Punch… nuff said
Injury setbacks? This year has been the year of setbacks. I have had ankle and Achilles issues. Make sure you get to the doctor and get examined. I went recently and found some interesting lab results. I am now addressing those. Amazingly, I feel so much better.
Biggest race accomplishments? Dances with Dirt Devil’s Lake 50K
Next race or fitness goal? 600LB Deadlift/600lb Squat/400 Bench
Advice to beginners? Do something, whatever it is, get out there and just try it. Who cares if you fail, failure IS the journey.
One fun fact no one would guess about you! I have written several books (fiction and nonfiction) and working on my next Novel
So there you have the amazing Mr. Jeff Barnes! I am serious when I say this dude is a force! Not only in his kind nature, but in his work ethic to train and motivate others to be the best “you” they can be. It is a privilege to know and race with this guy.
Jeffrey “Previously Fat Guy”