Hi Brad! Please tell us about yourself.
I am incredibly lucky to be Krissy’s husband for going on 17 years as of this July and father of 6 year old Will. I work at the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation in the Spill Prevention and Response Division as the Training and Exercises Group supervisor. I train our staff how to respond to oil and hazardous materials spills and many other topics.
My hobbies include biking, maintaining a 125 gallon coral reef tank, and giving Will as many life experiences as possible. Fun facts about me:
- When I started college I was a music major, but ended up with a degree in Political Science and Environmental Science.
- I can’t eat chocolate because it gives me headaches (you’re welcome!)
- My favorite song to blast in the car and sing along to when I am alone is “Sound of Silence” by Disturbed.
- If there was one thing I would change about myself it would be to be less cynical.
You and your wife Krissy have been working with us for several years. What are the most life changing things you’ve been able to take away from your training with us?
I think a Tibetan proverb I have hanging in my office sums it up quite nicely;
“Eat half, walk double, laugh triple and love without measure”.
I think the most important change to me is that I have become a healthier person who lives a much healthier lifestyle and I have the tools to maintain that lifestyle. That was really my goal coming into FF and I’m incredibly pleased with the results. I know Krissy feels the same. It has been great that we have been able to do this together.
Setting goals and realistic expectations both in the gym and outside of the gym. I’m naturally a big thinker so sometimes I need to pair my thoughts down into manageable tasks in order to make things seem doable or bring people along with me to help implement my ideas.
I have learned to “run my race” and not try to compete with others all of the time. I had to realize that I don’t have to be the strongest, fleetest of foot (won’t happen anyway), or have the most chiseled abs to be healthy. That’s when I tend to have injuries. If I’m being healthy all of that other stuff will happen.
A great coach I have once told me one the best pieces of advice she ever received was to be one step above the energy level of those around you. I use this every day in the gym and outside of the gym, too. It keeps the environment around me positive and productive and hopefully leaves a positive influence on those around me.
You’ve made a profound physical transformation. Can you tell us more about where you started and where you are now?
When Krissy had Will in May of 2011 we both wanted to live a healthier lifestyle. Truth be told, I actually gained more weight during the pregnancy than Krissy did. In 2010 I ran the Mayor’s Marathon at 193 pounds. Just shy of a year later I was tipping the scales at 226 pounds. That was just the number.
More importantly, I could feel just how out of shape I was. I would be out of breath climbing short runs of stairs, didn’t feel strong, and was feeling a bit off mentally. All the questions and insecurities started popping into my head that compounded things. Will I be able to run and play with my son and enjoy it? How was I going to be a positive role model for my son?
I started trying to do exercise more and get back into the gym on my own, but it wasn’t really working. Krissy encouraged me to go to bootcamp with her so I started with FF in 2013 by attending the Saturday boot camps.
Krissy had been attending boot camps, small group classes and personal training when she talked me into going to my first boot camp. I remember walking into the boot camp to everyone groaning and seeing this white board with two words written on it in big black letters… IMPACT CHALLENGE. Krissy immediately started laughing and tried to explain that boot camps aren’t always like this.
Meanwhile, in my head, I’m thinking “What’s the big deal. This is a workout class.” Well, you all know what happened that day so I’ll skip the details and just note that I didn’t puke. I missed a few classes due to my work travel schedule, but came back about a month later and the same thing happened. I really enjoyed the workouts and the people so Krissy and I made it one of the few things we could do together without the kiddo.
From 2011 to 2014 there were a series of health problems in my family that kept me motivated to live a healthy lifestyle. Then, on February 28, 2014, I fell asleep on the couch after returning from dinner at a friend’s house. I woke up about 3 AM and went to shut the TV off when I passed out and hit my head on the corner of the wall. Krissy took me in to the ER for a broken nose, stitches in my nose, upper lip, and chin, and a concussion.
Heart disease has been prevalent in my father’s side of the family and when the ER doctor told me that these episodes are caused by cardiac issues 90% of the time I took notice. After a number of tests and having a loop recorder implanted in my chest for three years to continuously monitor my heart, the cardiologist and I determined that it was unrelated to a cardiac condition, but I needed to manage stress and continue my healthy habits.
By fall of 2014 I dropped to 184 pounds and 9.2% body fat, but I felt my body wasn’t happy with that either. I looked awesome, but I have always focused on how I felt. I didn’t feel awesome. I felt weak at times, I would be really tired about 8PM and then get a second wind about 8:30 and be up past midnight. I needed to listen to my body and find a healthy balance.
Now, I would say I’m getting back into things. I took a promotion at work last August and I have let work get in the way of my lunchtime weights/metabolic conditioning training. I’m still biking every day, but I’m finding that the weight training is really important to maintaining my fitness level where I would like it to be.
I have been able to maintain most of my strength, but need a bit of a tune up to get back into top notch shape. I will be doing the upcoming transformation challenge and have a fat loss goal and meal planning as my primary focus. I’ve had my ups and downs, but wouldn’t really trade any of it because I learn something new at every bump or turn.
Who or what inspires you?
Seeing others accomplish their goals is really inspirational and motivating to me. I’m really competitive with the version of me who walked in the door of last week’s Tuesday night small group. When I see others doing that as well I feed off that energy.
Seeing our FF group focus on what we have in common (a common goal or goals) rather than our differences. There is way too much negativity in the world these days. I believe that if we took just a small fraction of the energy we spend trying to be different than someone, better than someone, or just “right” about something and focused that energy on finding our commonalities, our world would be a much better place. Only we can change that.
The Figarelle’s Fitness community is a great example of building off our common goals and creating a community that goes beyond fitness. I appreciate that every day.
His Holiness The Dalai Lama. I just appreciate his genuine smile, his ability to articulate complex ideas in a very relatable manner, and his philosophy on life. Things are only as complicated as we make them most of the time. He always seems to have a simple answer to a complex situation that just makes sense.
My mom is a big inspiration to me. She somehow found a way to raise me as a single parent from the age of 6, keep a professional job, and get me to all of my baseball games, Boy Scout activities, and play catch with me even though it would really hurt her bad back. Dedication is an understatement. She was always the “team mom” to everyone. I hope I can be as good of a parent to Will as she was to me.
Where would I be in my life without Krissy. She has been my inspiration since we met in college and continues to be as we have built this beautiful life together. Many of you have experienced her positive attitude, her determination, and her willingness to help others. That doesn’t stop outside of the gym. I believe everyone in your life is a teacher and has something you can learn from them.
If it wasn’t for Krissy sharing her life with me I would have never had the experience of doing field work in the Everglades, found my interest in so many hobbies, and known the true meaning of the word love. Thanks for all you have given to me! I love you more than you could ever know!
One of the things I admire about you is that you’re constantly encouraging those around you in a workout. It doesn’t matter their ability level, you take the time to acknowledge someone else and cheer them on. I think that’s an incredible character trait, and as a coach, I really appreciate it. Why is it so important to you to lift other people up?
I feel like if I’m not encouraging others then I’m not giving it my all. It only takes a few seconds of my time to make a difference for someone else. I like to think that what I do for them will last much longer than the time it took me to share my words of encouragement or give that high five. Recognizing others motivates me, too. Success breeds success.
I strive for three things everyday:
- Learn something new from someone around me.
- Teach someone something new.
- Make a positive change in myself, however small it may be.
What are some of your favorite muscle groups to train, and why?
I go through phases. It used to be the upper body “bro workout”. I still enjoy those workouts, but now I’m focusing more on legs and core.
I plan on doing the Fireweed 100 bike race and the Great Cycle Challenge fundraiser to fight childhood cancer again this year. I have learned more about bike racing and will train smarter this year than I did last year. A lot of biking power (us bike nerds measure their output in watts of power) is generated in your core so without a strong core you lose speed and time. I also have lower back pain every once and a while so strengthening the core is important to me along with working on my form.
How about a few of your favorite exercises? What do you enjoy most about them?
Trap bar deadlift has become one of my faves. For me they are more effective than squats and work some of the muscles that complement my running and riding.
Since I have been introduced to landmine squats/lunges/etc. I have been doing them quite a bit. I really like the workout they give me and they help me with my balance/stability. They also work many of the muscles that I use riding my bike. I think that makes the movement more comfortable to me than other movements.
The “bro workout” is a classic! You can’t really go wrong. Those muscles are just fun to work and I feel like a superhero when I’m done.
What advice do you have for someone who wants to make a physical transformation but may not know where to begin?
Every journey starts with a first step however small that step may be.
Some days I don’t feel like getting to the gym, but I find I just need to make it out of my office. Then there is no turning back. It doesn’t even have to be a big step. Just enough to get down the path.
Ask for help.
Making a physical transformation is like learning to play a musical instrument. You need lessons, practice and commitment to be proficient.
Find the right information.
Gimmick diets and fads don’t work long-term. A diet that cuts something out completely is not realistic. If it sounds too complicated it probably is and you won’t stick to it. There are no short cuts. Anything that tracks your activity/heart rate without a heart rate strap is crap.
Don’t overlook your nutrition.
The gym is the easy part for me. I struggle with my nutrition and getting the right balance. I need to be better about eating back my riding calories and staying within my macros.
Tracking my food is PAINFUL for me because my brain just isn’t wired that way. I just need to suck it up and do it. That is going to be one of my big goals for the upcoming transformation challenge.
Set small goals that are S.M.A.R.T (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timed).
I use these all of the time in my professional life when we are planning and conducting our hazardous substance spill response exercises. It focuses you on the key elements of what you want to achieve and helps you be accountable.
Believe in yourself and what you are capable of.
You don’t know what you can accomplish until you try to unlock your potential.
Try to avoid telling yourself that working out or meal planning is something I ‘have to do’. Reframe the statement by telling yourself that it is something that I ‘get’ to do. Also, if you have a weight training session planned for the day, but you feel like going for a run instead go for the run. You are still burning 100% more calories than if you chose not to do anything.
I know contribution and charity work is important to you. Can you tell us about some of your fundraising plans this year?
I will be riding in the Great Cycle Challenge in June for the third year in a row to raise money for the Children’s Cancer Research Fund. Over the past two years I have raised almost $2000 during this event. This year I plan to ride 500 miles in the month of June and raise at least $500. The fundraising starts April 2. Since Will is riding his own bike this year we may also form Team Dunker and have a team goal for fundraising so we do it as a family. Here is a link to the challenge for 2018 if anyone is interested in riding or donating.
Great Cycle Challenge homepage:
My donation page:
I am also running the Lost Lake Race with Team Figarelle’s Fitness and plan to raise at least $500 there as well. Here is another shameless pitch and a link to the team’s CrowdRise page. If you are interested in donating to a great cause and help folks with Cystic Fibrosis this is a great way to do that.
Team Figarelle’s Fitness CrowdRise page:
I will be doing bike tune-ups again this year as a fundraiser for these events. I did this last year and it was pretty successful so if you need that bike tuned up for summer riding or just want the fat bike tuned up and cleaned before you put it away please let me know.
Krissy, Will, and I are also continuing our sponsorship of a child in Nepal through Save the Children. We started sponsoring 8 year old Suraj in 2015 and hope that someday Will can meet him. We are planning a trip to Nepal when Will graduates high school and hope to meet Suraj.
What goals are you most excited about pursuing in 2018?
Being the best husband and father I can be is first and foremost. I want to work towards a better work/life balance.
By 12/31/18 I will be able to trap bar deadlift 300 pounds in a 4×8 set consistently and have a one rep max of 325 by doing lower body workouts at least twice per week.
Focusing on my form and movement in all of my training and exercises. I have gone through the first two chapters of Becoming a Supple Leopard, but put the book down before the holidays. I will pick that back up.
Giving Will new experiences for his birthday instead of just gifts by taking him on a trip out of state and showing him something new. We are planning a trip to Portland and down the Oregon coast to the redwoods in northern California.
Running Lost Lake race with FF team. Personally, I don’t set a time goal for this race. It stresses me out. I just give it my best effort and leave it all out on the course. I took 3 minutes off my previous time in last year’s race so hopefully I can do something like that again this year.