Transforming Health: TJ Simon’s Journey from Diabetes Diagnosis to Triathlon Training

From facing a daunting diagnosis to championing his health, TJ Simon showcases the power of determination and expert guidance. Here’s TJ in action, embodying the change he chose for a healthier, happier future.

Not long ago, TJ Simon of Minnesota faced a daunting diagnosis: diabetes. This was the same condition that had afflicted his mother at his age and contributed to her demise two decades later. “It felt like a death sentence, saying I only had 20 years left,” TJ recounted.

Despite past achievements in running triathlons, TJ often reverted to unhealthy dietary and exercise habits post-competition. The wake-up call came when a life insurance application was denied due to his elevated A1C levels, a measure of blood sugar. Ignorant of what these metrics meant, TJ decided it was time for a radical change, not just for himself but for his family’s future.

The Learning Process

The shift began when TJ’s wife introduced him to a podcast featuring Arvada-based personal trainer Colby Knepp. TJ was drawn to Colby’s comprehensive approach to fitness, which emphasizes balanced nutrition, regular exercise, and accountability. “It’s about integrating healthy practices into your life while still enjoying it,” TJ explained.

Over the past five months, TJ has engaged in weekly virtual meetings with Coach Colby, focusing on goal-setting, progress assessment, and motivational support. Although remote, TJ’s consultations have been creatively adapted to ensure consistent communication and guidance on nutrition and training.

The Prescription

TJ’s journey began with a habit-based eating program aimed at instilling new skills and behaviors around food. Initially, he focused on learning to eat slowly and recognize his hunger and fullness signals. This foundational skill was crucial for him to gain control over his eating habits. After about 16 weeks of mastering these basic skills, the focus shifted towards increasing his protein intake. Once these habits were well established, TJ and Coach Colby progressed to a macro tracking plan, gradually reducing his caloric intake to foster further health improvements.

Additionally, TJ integrated a structured strength training regimen written by Coach Colby, consisting of full-body resistance workouts three times a week, each session lasting about 30 minutes. This physical training component was essential in complementing his nutritional adjustments and accelerating his health improvements.

The Results

Since starting with Coach Colby in the fall of 2022, TJ has seen transformative results:

  • A weight loss of over 60 pounds.
  • His doctor confirmed the reversal of his diabetes.
  • Improved A1C levels, indicating better health.
  • Regular exercise and enhanced dietary habits.
  • Training for an upcoming triathlon.

Despite these gains, the journey was not without its challenges. TJ highlighted a seemingly simple yet difficult change: slowing down his eating. This adjustment is crucial for better digestion and overall well-being, resisting societal pressures to rush meals.

Moving Forward

TJ’s dedication to his health transformation has made him a testament to the power of determination and disciplined lifestyle changes. He has set further goals, aiming for an even lower A1C at his next evaluation in May. “Hearing that my efforts have been effective was thrilling,” TJ remarked.

With Coach Colby’s ongoing support, TJ remains committed to his wellness journey, proving that with the right guidance and mindset, significant health improvements are achievable.