Here at TeamWILD we are really excited to have the opportunity to start working with IronAndy. He’s just super inspirational and he’s very dedicated to fitness and having a solution-focused attitude about diabetes and wellness, which are in total alignment with what we do here at TeamWILD. Expect to see more about IronAndy here on the TeamWILD website! Thanks Andy for doing our interview!! We love learning more about you!
Andy was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age 36. He was determined to overcome this disease and decided to do something extraordinary in an effort to motivate and inspire other people struggling with diabetes, or any chronic disease. Despite never having done a triathlon before and not knowing how to swim, he accomplished what most consider to be the ultimate test of mental and physical endurance: the Ironman triathlon.
How do you define “Athlete”?
Someone who is committed to being pro-active with their health – eating right, exercising on a regular basis…but who takes that lifestyle to the level of competing with others. Whether it’s a local 5k road race, charity bile ride, or full Ironman.
What inspires you?
I am constantly inspired by the children and young adults who are living well with diabetes. This disease is relentless and oftentimes mind numbing. So, to be able to stare that down at such young ages and still live without limit is what inspires me and pushes me to do what I do.
How do you move past obstacles to your fitness goals?
I live, and preach the mantra that there is only one thing in life we have complete control of – and that is our attitude! Moving past fitness goals, living an extraordinary life, inspiring others…all in the face of diabetes is only possible with a positive attitude!
How do you reward yourself?
If you are committed to eating right, exercising and pushing yourself 90% of the time…I feel strongly that you need a 10% off-switch. You need to have balance, and reward yourself. For me, that usually means a great meal out and a few glasses of wine.
What advice would you like to give someone just starting to think of him/herself as an athlete?
If someone is just starting out as an athlete, I would tell them to become an expert in THEIR disease, and get a good handle on how exercise effects their blood sugar across many forms of exercise and in many situations. I would also tell them to get good at changing and adapting, since this disease always changes. Finally, being someone who had to learn diabetes and learn how to be a triathlete on my own…I would urge them to seek out a coach and/or training program. Being an athlete with diabetes is too tall an order to “wing-it” or go it alone.
What is something about you that might surprise us?
What might surprise people about me, after learning that I am a 7-time Ironman Finisher – is that when I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of 37, I had never done a triathlon before, I didn’t own a bike, I wasn’t a runner AND I didn’t know how to swim!
WILD stands for We Inspire Life with Diabetes. How do you GO WILD in your life?
The way I go WILD – I feel lucky that I didn’t have to deal with type 1 diabetes as a child. Everyday I think about a new child being diagnosed and having that prevent them from being extraordinary – so everyday I try to improve myself and reach new goals so I can inspire children to use diabetes as a catalyst to be extraordinary.