Triathlon is a lifetime sport. One of the biggest incentives to get involved is the fact that there is never a wrong time to start. There is no base fitness level requirement, no age limit or lifestyle preference, there is no password to an elite club in order to join or judgement from longtime triathletes if someone suddenly decides to enter their turf. On the contrary, the sport is one of the largest growing sports in the world because the triathlon community is easily one of the most welcoming and encouraging for newbies.

It can be intimidating for new triathletes to start out on the swim, bike and run journey. Tackling one discipline can be a challenge, let alone conquering all three at one time. However, no matter the skill, speed, age, fitness or ability, with just a little bit of effort, the root of the sport is meant to nurture every triathlete into adopting a lifestyle that pushes a person to be a more healthy, strong and determined version of themselves.

Grand Rapids local celebrity Brody Carter began his triathlon journey looking for exactly that. The Fox 17 News Anchor realized that he needed to make a healthier lifestyle change after finding out that his mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. As a smoker for nearly 20 years of his life, the 30-year-old decided that life was too precious and he no longer wanted to take it for granted.

“I quit smoking on my 30th birthday after 18 years. The motivation came from my faith and family to be better. Not smoking was the first step in this road to a new me,” Carter said. “Getting healthy means I’ll be able to enjoy my marriage longer than if I continued smoking. Maybe one day I’ll be a dad and get to watch my children grow. Getting fit is a plus but it’s really about my family.”

The next step in the road for Carter was adding “become a triathlete” to his list of healthier living. Taking on an endurance sport is a great way to combat the years of smoking and while in Carter’s eyes, triathlon has an x-f

actor, which is what initially intrigued him to the sport, it also is an inviting atmosphere for people who have lived similar lifestyles and are wanting to change. So that x-factor was worth the discovery of putting in the hours of training and pushing himself to ultimately reach new levels of physical, mental and spiritual health.

Carter’s chose that his first triathlon will be the Grand Rapids Triathlon. This year the GR Tri will host its 10th-anniversary race and since it is known for its reputation of being one of the biggest triathlons in the state and best for beginners, deciding to race in his hometown was a no-brainer. However, as every triathlete knows, training can be hard, especially for triathletes during the wintertime who live in West Michigan.

He said, “The most challenging part of training has been running/biking in the bitter cold and finding a pool that’s open and not too pricey. However, I’ve really enjoyed the community built around the sport. Triathletes love to give newbies advice and the encouragement has been wonderful.”

One such advice was getting his performance testing done. As a newbie, Carter has a lot to learn about his racing style and the ways he can improve his training. He went to the Mary Free Bed Sports Rehabilitation Lab and had his VO’2 Max testing done with Dr. Todd Buckingham. Learning that information has helped him create a better training plan and feel more prepared for what to expect come GR Tri race day, well except a few unknown race day surprises.

“I’m looking forward to being prepared and well trained so I can enjoy the race and not be afraid of it. The only thing I am nervous about is nature calling during the race and having to answer,” he said.

But with just under five months of training left until race day on June 14, 2020, the anticipation for Carter is growing and the excitement of what triathlon has already done in his life is a true testament of how the desire to want to live healthier and challenge yourself can be the biggest motivation for not only yourself but for those around you.

“A wise man once said to me, “Welcome to the fishbowl, everyone’s watching.” This is true in my faith, my career as a journalist, and every single decision I make. I hope this decision to train for a triathlon encourages others to be a positive example. You never know who you might be influencing with the choices you make.”

You can follow Carter’s journey on Fox 17 online.