Monday, March 30, 2015

Fit Nation: Learning to Climb Uphill

Social Shutter Editor’s Note: This story was originally posted on CNN, March 24, 2015. But stay tuned because Georgie is going to be taking photographs and documenting his experience for Social Shutter in the coming weeks and months.

CNN Editor’s Note: Six CNN viewers have been selected to be part of the 2015 Fit Nation triathlon team. They'll race alongside CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta in the Nautica Malibu Triathlon in September. As they train, the six will share their stories about their Fit Nation experience.

Posted by George “Chip” Greenidge Jr, ATLANTA, GA (CNN) -- "Wait up 2015 CNN Fit Nation Team and Dr. Sanjay Gupta-- you want me to climb up Stone Mountain -- that is over 1,500 feet straight up. Are you nuts?" I screamed. Yes. This is actually what I signed up for when I uploaded my video to the CNN Fit Nation website in December.

"But climbing mountains on Sunday morning -- you got to be kidding me," I exclaimed. But it was all part of the process I realized I was going to take on as I learn how to be a triathlete. After our first initial week with a trainer and nutritionist, the six of us were introduced to a whole new way of how to approach fitness and how to incorporate it into our lives. I knew it was going to be a difficult task, especially for someone like me heavily involved in civic affairs and community service.

At Lifetime Fitness, our nutritionist walked us through a number of exercises on how we should look at food, nutrition and our calorie intake. After being on several diets over my lifetime, what he said was simple. To look and review your intake and replace it with other foods such as fruit and vegetables -- these small steps can be major impact on your training. Tackling nutrition and calorie intake can also be exactly how I viewed the climb up Stone Mountain. I put these nutritional issues on the backburner for years. It was pretty much like looking at the mountain that I was about to climb that morning -- where do I start, where do I begin? -- and telling myself that it was going to be an arduous task.

My training schedule has also been an uphill battle. In January and the first weeks of February, I started strong with my gym, running and swim workouts. However, as life pressures got in the way, I saw myself withering off. But luckily I have been inspired by my 2015 CNN Fit Nation teammates to keep me on track. Their updates have been truly inspiring and have helped me think about the struggles I face in my training activities. As I get older, I realize that fitness and nutrition are key to long-term health; however, the support of friends and family is also important to help tackle your health. My team members of the CNN Fit Nation have been there for me. I recently weighed myself when I visited the doctor's office. It has been six weeks since I hit the scale. I actually lost 20 pounds. What! Really!

Uphill battles are hard to see when you are in the middle of them. But you keep moving. Just like that Sunday afternoon in January, I could not wait to be on the mountaintop and see the view from Stone Mountain with the members of 2015 CNN Fit Nation. And guess what? After all this huffing and puffing over the last six weeks, I can't wait to see the view in September at the Malibu triathlon. It's just another uphill mountain to climb.

George “Chip” Greenidge Jr. is a Doctoral student in sociology at Georgia State University. That is, when he’s not training for CNN Fit Nation. He can be reached at