Jussi’s Road to Ironman – Toughing It out for Doomsday

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Ironman Jussi

In November 2009, Jussi weighed 330 lbs (about 150kg), had metabolic syndrome, early signs of diabetes and felt really out of shape. Now, five years and 2,042 Endomondo workouts later, he has completed the grueling Ironman triathlon twice, run a 53-mile Ultra Run and has lost over 100 pound! Recently, he rowed second place in the Finnish National Championships! It’s safe to say he’s in terrific shape nowadays.

We were amazed by his 180° lifestyle change, so we asked him a few questions about how he managed to get so fit, and see if we could learn a thing or two from his story:

What made you decide to start getting fit?

I was in the prime of my life, but I didn’t feel so great. At the end of 2009, my health started to go downhill – my blood sugar kept soaring and I had painful varicose veins, so I couldn’t manage to even walk a mile. Finally, my belly button popped out due to the amount of fat I had put on around my stomach. That was my wake up call.

At that time, the Mayan End-of-the-World (21.12.2012) was the hot topic in the news. I decided that on that date, it would be the end of my out of shape days. So, I marked the day and made a plan for myself: by the time the world was supposed to end, I would turn myself into an Ironman.

What kept you going?

Well, I had tried fitness plans before, but I couldn’t keep the promises I made to myself. This time, many little things were different. Not only did I have a specific plan, but I had a great friend who got me back on track when I had doubts. My wife and the family kept cheering me on, and there was now a young, 4-legged personal trainer in the house.

Our dog demanded longer and longer walks, so I had no choice but to take him out. So, for the first year, it was mostly increasing the number of walks, swims… and then I started running. When I noticed Endomondo in early 2010, I immediately started using it. After doing a workout, it was kind of my proof to myself: I really did it. My friends and I shared exercises, and planned future walks, runs and routes together.

But what I did not realize in the beginning is how the importance of Endomondo grew with each workout I did. So far, I’ve tracked a bit over 2000 workouts with it, with heart rate data, speed, maps, etc. Using Endomondo’s stats, I can easily see what I’ve done, and see how it’s affected my progress. When I’m out there running or biking, I like to go with the flow, but I have to admit that I love checking the stats and trying to understand what made the difference, too 🙂

So, what are you planning next?

Since the start, I’ve always had a goal for each 3-6 month period. I am not so much into competing against others, but I like the idea of just squeezing myself through a challenge. Something that seems impossible at first becomes possible on second thought. First, it was a half marathon, then a full marathon, Ironman, Ultra Run, and so on.

Longer, faster, harder – that’s the motto.

This year has been a year of triathlon. I have already done two half Ironman distances this year, the Ironman 70.3 Eagleman in Cambridge, Maryland, USA, and one here in Finland. Next, I am aiming for my third full distance triathlon on the16th of August. After that, I think I’ll drop my triathlon gear and start running. Not yet sure how far, but I am starting to dream about completing my first 100km Ultra run this year.

Jussi has been writing a blog chronicling his journey since November 2009. It’s in Finnish, but he promised to write a little re-cap in English. You can visit his blog here.

If you would like to follow Jussi as he competes in tomorrow’s full distance triathlon, be sure to check out his profile.

Keep it up, Jussi! We wish you the best of luck on your upcoming triathlon.

The Endomondo Team

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