Even before COVID-19 struck, America had huge health problems. Many of them come down to widespread sedentary lifestyles and highly processed diets. But rather than vapidly blame everything on iPads, some individuals are using this Technological New World to spread positive messages – and ‘tough love’ speeches – which seem to be really resonating with people.
Enter: David Goggins. David Goggins is an ultra-marathon runner, ultra-distance cyclist, triathlete, public speaker, author and retired US Navy SEAL.
He comes at you with such passion, he inspires you to go that extra mile. In many cases literally. In fact, he has inspired various people I know to do such things as run a marathon with no training.
He even inspired me to run further than I ever have in my life – a feat which I found hugely positive mentally and emotionally, but which admittedly left me a little injured, and physically worse off than if I had built up to it properly.
Not that Goggins explicitly tells you to do things without training, but after listening to some of the insane things he has done (like destroying himself with a leg weights workout session the day before running an ultra marathon) then it’s hard not to be inspired to try something extreme yourself.
It appears I am not alone, with Goggins yesterday reposting a bunch of his followers’ Instagram posts, which show their fitness journeys over the last few years, and the progress they have made, and which they attribute to embracing Goggins’ “stay hard” mentality.
Fortunately, most of these people appear to have taken a more sensible approach than myself, and have trained consistently over a number of months and years to achieve some encouraging results.
Take a look at the transformations in the video below.
David Goggins’ followers show off their body transformations (motivational rant comes first, then the photos)
“The comfort zone is where dreams die,” Instagram user @jzamora__ wrote, posting a before photo from March 2021 and an after photo from September 2021. “If @davidggoggins getting after it everyday then so am I.”
“2 different paths, which will you choose,” Instagram user @jjxmtz wrote, posting a before photo from March 2020 and an after photo from July 2021.
“Daily reminder to go to the gym and change your mindset,” Instagram user @thejacoballen wrote, alongside a transformation image comparing how he looked in February 2019 and September 2021.
Another Instagram user, whose transformation Goggins also reposted, spoke to DMARGE about what inspired the change.
Chad Raymond is a full-time fitness instructor in Washington DC. He told DMARGE: “My 1st impression was that David is insane!”
“Honestly, I did not start out as a David Goggins fan I thought he was ridiculous.”
“But over the 2020 lockdown I gained weight for the first time in my 52 years without intent and started to feel sorry for myself. And that’s when David’s voice started to ring true in my head.”
“One day I woke up and just decided it was enough!!! When I don’t feel like getting out of bed, I hear David‘s voice. When I don’t feel like doing the extra reps, I hear David‘s voice. When my knees start to hurt, I hear David‘s voice… You get the picture.”
The reason Raymond thinks Goggins resonates with people so much is this: “Once you dig into what David has gone through in his life, you know he speaks from experience. He is just a regular dude that pushes himself harder than anybody else is willing to.”
“I get the feeling he pushes his body so hard, with such intensity, not fearing death because he knows neither heaven or hell wants to deal with him (haha).”
As for what he would say to those that worry Goggins’ advice might inspire people to bite off more than they can chew, Raymond told DMARGE he was once of that perspective but has since shifted.
“Fuck em… At first, this is why I wasn’t a fan of David’s, I thought he gave bad advice. But he isn’t, he’s not telling you to run 100 miles, he’s telling you to stop being a f*cking b*tch!”
He added: “I hate the glorification of obesity and that [sic] we’re supposed to except being inside an unhealthy body.”
“It’s OK to love yourself, but you should always want to improve. As a fitness professional, it’s frustrating!”
This is a tricky issue, with many people laying praise on this kind of tough love message promoted by Goggins (and which has worked well for Raymond), saying that it worked for them.
Many others, however, reckon that we need to reduce the stigma around being overweight, because it feeds into a negative cycle, and makes overweight people less likely to do anything about their situation. The proponents of this point of view argue that the body positivity movement is actually a more effective way to spark overweight people to lose weight, because you’re more likely to pick up healthy habits when you are happy rather than when you are depressed.
That’s a discussion for another day though.
Another Instagram user, @pattopit, whose transformation was also reposted by Goggins, wrote: “one year into discovering what I’m capable of, you’re an inspiration @davidgoggins, 180 to 150lbs #willneverbecivilised.”
User @fijipinoallen wrote: “Stay hard – taking souls.”
@_daviddingman, posting two photos, one from January 2021 at 412lbs and another from September 2021 at 280lbs wrote: “January 28, 2021, I got sober and decided to rewrite my origin story. It’s still being written. Every m*f*n day.”
Further users who shared transformation photos included @letsgopuzzlez, who wrote: “throw back never wanna be this depressed again – ‘if you choose to do something attack it'” and @therealdesertgypsy, who wrote: “75 days, 401 miles, 265 workouts, 94,929 calories burned, 10, 838 min worked out, 30 lbs, 24 inches.”
“75 days ago I went to war with myself for the last time.”
“The most important conversation you have is the one you have with yourself.”
Finally, @spicyalexfitnessjourney wrote: “2019, 2020, 2021, consistency is key, two years of dedication and each better than the next.”