Racing to a healthier lifestyle - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Community Focus

Racing to a healthier lifestyle

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Posted: Wednesday, June 12, 2013 1:46 pm | Updated: 12:29 pm, Sun Jun 30, 2013.

When it comes to fitness, some people have their own agendas on why they want to get off the coach and start shedding their unwanted body mass.

For Ahwatukee resident Ben Sexton, getting into shape was rooted from one aspect in his life: aging.

This July Sexton will be turning 40 years old, yet he walks around looking like a young man in his 20s, and decided to spend his later years getting fit.

He says jokingly that the gray stubble from his beard is what really ages him.

Sexton, a software developer at Grand Canyon University, has been making fitness his commitment over the past year to be able to compete in obstacle-based runs that test him physically and mentally.

Primarily, the races Sexton participates in are the typical mud runs and running the Spartan Sprint and Tough Mudder this past February.

While competing in Tough Mudder, Sexton was able to complete the race in a fast time to be able to participate in a race called The World’s Toughest Mudder, which will be in November on the East Coast.

In the mean time, Sexton is focusing all his training on his upcoming event that will surely push his body further than it has already gone.

The Spartan Death Race, which he will compete in on June 21, is different than any particular race Sexton has participated in.

The race is a grueling 48-hour run, testing the participators to the brink of exhaustion and keeping only a fraction of the competitors reaching the finish line.

“The Spartan Death Race is considered an elite event and it’s not really set up like any typical obstacle race where the obstacles are known. We have no idea what’s facing us,” Sexton said. “All we know is when we will start, and the organizers do anything to try to make the race hard to make people quit.”

Sexton said The Spartan Death Race will be the most challenging hurdle he has voluntarily participated in his entire life.

To get his body in the best physical form to compete in his races, Sexton does an array of different workouts consisting of fitness boot camps and participating in different workouts at his gym, preparing him for what’s in store during The Spartan Death Race.

“I work at Grand Canyon University in the West Valley and they have an athletic department and they have been hosting fitness boot camps, so I have been doing that for little over a year now,” Sexton said. “The boot camps are similar to the concept of cross fit, which is a combination of cardio, running exercises and any type of cardio exercises.”

While participating in these various fitness camps, Sexton began noticing he was getting in better shape and the excess weight began to rapidly decrease.

When Sexton began making fitness his top priority he was well over 200 pounds, but over the past year he has lost more than 60 pounds and walks comfortably in a 162-pound frame.

Working out tirelessly is only half of the battle for Sexton to be able to prepare himself for his competition.

A healthy diet has elevated Sexton to top physical form and has gained him more endurance to complete his workouts, having his body fat almost nonexistence.

“I discovered quickly that what you eat before a workout makes a huge difference on how you feel during and after a workout,” he said. “I started experimenting on what I can eat and when I can eat it.”

Sexton said that he wants to see how far he can push himself and see what his limitations are.

“I don’t feel that I have any limits, so I want to see if that is true by putting myself through these extreme physical and mental challenging situations,” he said. “I want to see if I have the gumption to get through and finish.”

• Daniel Ochoa is a senior at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University. He is interning this semester for the AFN.

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