The Habit Project: An Inspirational Journey from Workaholic to Professional Athlete
Every so often, you hear a story that makes you sit up and take notice. Something about a person’s determination and perseverance that fills you with that OMG feeling, and perhaps a good measure of motivation. That’s how we felt when we sat down with Sarah Piampiano.
Sarah is a Professional Triathlete – one of the top-ranked in the world. But it wasn’t always that way. Seven years ago, she worked 90-hour weeks, smoked 2 packs of c*garettes a day and travelled 14 days a month working in the banking industry for HSBC. She was consumed by the corporate rat race, eating poorly, and had no work-life balance – a lifestyle we are seeing more and more of.
“I wanted to be active, I wanted to have better fitness, I wanted to stop smoking, but there wasn’t anything that was really motivating me to make those permanent changes”, Sarah told us when asked about what started it all. Then, in 2009, a late-night bet in a bar with a college friend became a life-changing moment. The bet was that she could compete in a triathlon, with no training, “On a whim, I went and did this triathlon with a friend from college, and that was my trigger to start making changes. I was so inspired, so motivated, and so excited by the experience I had doing that first triathlon that I just quit smoking on the spot, and I started eating better, and made a point to start working out”. And that was just the beginning.
As time went on, the competitive itch got stronger. Sarah started training more intensely, and eventually reducing her work schedule to 30 hours a week to make room for more training. A year later, she quit her job and became a professional athlete. Now, with numerous half and full Ironman wins and podium finishes, Sarah has now has her eyes on the Ironman World Championships in Hawaii on October 8th.
All of this is impressive in its own right, but the story doesn’t end there. Two years ago, driven by the desire to help others make lasting changes in their lives, Sarah founded the “Habit Project” – an online community targeting topics in four specific areas: Fitness, Nutrition, Life Balance and Triathlon.
For Sarah, this is personal. “This was inspired by my story – I wanted to do something that was authentic and genuine, and would really inspire people [….] We try and choose one topic for a week, then provide supporting information, tips and challenges around that topic.”
Taking a look at the project’s website, it is easy to see the passion. Driven by a team of athletes, coaches and nutritionists; and with contributions by fitness experts and specialists, the project offers tips and strategies from fitness newbies to seasoned athletes. And that is the goal – no one becomes a pro-athlete overnight – sustainable health & fitness requires deeply ingrained habits to be changed, and this project gives its followers the tools they need to instill positive life-changing behaviors.
To close the conversation, we asked Sarah for one piece of advice she would give to someone who wants to make a change and join the path to fitness: “Start small. People who have been successful at habit change make small goals and build off them – people get motivated when they can check off these small wins. These goals can be simple, like bring lunch to work 2-3 times per week, or go for a walk at lunchtime 2-3 times per week. Do that, and you’ll be motivated by your own success.”
Sarah Piampiano will be a guest speaker at the Mountain View Fitness Fair on September 15th 2016, 3pm-7pm. The event will be taking place at INTENTIO Fitness Coaching, located in downtown Mountain View, CA, and will feature a wide range of health & fitness related professions, including fitness coaches, a movement-specialist chiropractor, BodySpec full-body composition scanning, personalized nutritional supplements, and so much more. For more details, and to register to attend (pre-register and get a free T-Shirt), visit us at https://www.intentio.com/fair.