Every day we make conscious choices that effect our overall well-being. Thomas Cooper made a conscious decision that he would lose weight in a safe manner and began his process. He had a big gnarly goal to also complete the Murph workout and finish a milestone. Check out Thomas story as he begins his path and despite meeting obstacles along the way – he continues to work around them towards his goal of living a healthy athletic life.
SGPT: Tell us about yourself? Where are you from and where do you train?
TC: I’m originally from Little Falls, New Jersey and currently live in Locust Grove, Virginia. I served in the US Navy from Aug 99 until Aug 08. I’m 41 years old and married with 3 kids. I train at home where we have a lake and also at Culpeper CrossFit in Culpeper, VA.
SGPT: Did you have an athletic background growing up?
TC: Growing up I played soccer, basketball, and football. I also trained Taekwondo as a teenager.
SGPT: How did you train and finish your first Murph?
TC: I decided in 2022 that I was going to improve my health and I set a goal to finish my first Murph on Memorial Day weekend 2023. I started with SGPT’s Never Quit 60 day Challenge.
At first getting into the swing of things was difficult, I had to overcome the mental aspect of training everyday no matter what. After the 60 day challenge I signed up for SGPT 365.
Setting time aside in my day to workout eventually became habit and battling the mental aspect of tiredness and soreness became easier. I also deep dived into the CrossFit community articles about the Murph workout and preparing for it. I joined Culpeper CrossFit, the daily WODs I was doing combined with SGPT’s workouts was great and difficult all at the same time. I really enjoyed the challenge of pushing myself to complete exercises at the prescribed times and improving my run and swim times.
SGPT: You have lost 40 lbs training for the Murph. Tell us more about your healthy choices and nutrition?
TC: Before deciding to change my life I would eat anything and everything. I wasn’t eating because I was hungry it was because I was bored. I wasn’t doing anything but sitting on the couch and eating.
I started eating clean on November 22nd weighing 325. I had finished the SGPT 60 day challenge by then and started SGPT 365 program. I started eating clean because working out wasn’t cutting it alone for losing weight. I realized that my diet was an important part of what I was trying to accomplish. I’m currently weighing in at 268.
I based my diet on 40% protein, 35% fat, 25% carbs. I cut out all sodas, alcohol, and sugars. I started eating mainly fish and chicken, and only had red meat once a week. One thing that I didn’t grasp at first was how much to eat. It’s important to look at the nutritional information on packages and follow the portion size guidelines.
SGPT: What was hardest part of losing the excess weight?
TC: Losing weight is a process and if you’re following the diet and doing your workouts you will lose weight. But it doesn’t happen overnight. You have to make the decision to lose weight everyday at every meal. And for me that was difficult, initially I didn’t have the mental toughness to say I’m going to follow my diet at every meal but overtime the healthy choices become habit.
SGPT: What was the hardest part of the Murph workout?
Murph is a mental challenge as much as a physical one. There are times during the WOD that your brain is telling you ok that’s enough, I like to visual the voice being connected to a switch. Every time that voice starts to creep in I visualize turning the switch off. That visualization is what helped me finish the Murph.
SGPT: What kind of boots did you use for the event?
TC: I used the Reebok 8” Side-Zip Tactical Boot.
SGPT: Any tips for up and coming athletes that want to lose weight in a healthy manner and do their first Murph?
TC: When it comes to losing weight it important to set both short and long term goals. Plan your meals for the day ahead of time and set a short term goal of sticking to only those meals. Set a long term goal of reaching a certain weight. Then set smaller attainable goals of X lbs every month until your long term goal date.
It works the same way in training for Murph. Set short term goals on X amount of pushups, or pull ups, squats and then a long term goal of setting a personal record (PR) in 30 days. Or cutting a minute of your run time in 30 days.
SGPT: What is your next big goal?
TC: I’m registered for the next Joggin’ for Frogmen 5K. My goal is to finish that race in under 35 minutes with a 20 lbs vest.
SGPT: What good book or podcast are you reading/ listening to now?
TC: I’ve been listening to Jocko Willink’s podcast and I’m reading Rich Diviney’s book The Attributes. A great book where I learned that failure is just as important for progress as success.
SGPT: Many thanks for the interview Thomas. Thanks for your military service to this great country. All the best to you in your continued pursuit of a healthy and strong life. 1% better!
TC: Thank you Coach Brad, 1% better
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