Journey to the Ironman: A Blind Date with Passion

Written by Jonathan Mackintosh

So I mentioned in my previous post, that my journey to getting healthy was driven in part by Passion. Passion sounds romantic when it comes to building towards a goal, but what happens when passion is not easily conjured out of the air?

When I started this journey in the Summer of 2011, my wife and I had a 5 month old little girl. For those of you who are parents of small children, you can understand how life can get a bit “interrupted” by 20 lbs of crying midnight madness. Don’t get me wrong, I love my daughter exceedingly, but new parents can attest that you are at the mercy of insanity that first year. Passion for the journey to getting healthy was far from a reality, simple survival was the goal.

I certainly had desires to be different, I believed that I had the potential, but I wasn’t “passionate” about the process it would take to get there. How do you feel passionate about something that is big, scary and lives under your bed at night? No, I was freaked out about the sacrifice it would take, I was scared of failing again, I was scared that this was another yo-yo diet session and I was afraid of the effects it would have on my family.

Blind DateI equate the process, loosely, to a blind date. To go on a blind date, you are somewhat at the point of desperation, can’t find your “soul mate” even though you have tried many times to make it happen. You may have found the dating process to be arduous and daunting so you can’t imagine this will be any different. Yet, you meet the date anyways. Not because you have a passion for dating and not because you have a passion for the person you are meeting, but because you desire the potential outcome. For the sake of the story, somewhere during the initial awkwardness you see a glimmer of hope. Slowly your apprehension gets out of the way, you begin to build a relationship and it slowly stops feeling so much like an uphill struggle.  Passion takes over and you stop looking at it as a journey towards something and realize you have arrived.

So I have a point. Hopefully. Exercise, eating healthy, being disciplined, these were means to an end when this all started. I looked at them as part of the uphill struggle to get healthy. But I also saw it as temporary. I would do this, it would produce these results and I would be done. That’s how I started. I had always said I hated running. It was not my thing and as a 6 foot 2 inch 275 pound man, I didn’t think that was the way to ease into anything. So I took baby steps.  I found something I halfway enjoyed (biking) and worked it into my routine. As I got past my initial fear of exercise, I began to desire diversity and took on the “big scary monster”, running. As time progressed, I hated it less, learned to like it and eventually even saw trickles of a long-term relationship in the works. Eventually I looked around and realized that this means to an end, had become a passion.

That doesn’t mean there still aren’t tough days when I don’t want to get out of bed. It just means I no longer see healthy living, running included, as a temporary fix, and now recognize it as a long term relationship.


In the coming weeks, my passion will certainly be put to the test as I take on the Ironman training. Currently, I am building the base exercise structure that prepares me for the more intense training regimen. My brother (who is crazily joining me on this endeavor) and I will be working through the fairly well known program, 13-weeks to a 13 hour Ironman.

Our weeks leading up to it primarily consist of core focused workouts including, weight-lifting and plyometric training. See Core Performance Training for more details. We also work in swimming, biking and running to ensure our endurance is up to snuff when beginning the main program. I will be sharing more details as the training intensifies.


I mentioned I am using the Nussentials products for nutritional supplements during my training. I had been primarily using Less as my protein shake after workouts, adding non-fat milk and vanilla Greek yogurt to the mix. I have been very satisfied with my workout recovery.  I was finding though, that I was feeling extremely tired during the day and suspected that I wasn’t getting enough nutrients from my current diet, so I added in Nussential’s Core product. The added B12 in my diet, plus all the other nutrients, has vastly improved my post workout energy and I no longer find myself nodding off in the middle of conversations with my wife. Always a good thing to avoid.


As previously promised, I am sharing with all of you my absolute favorite meal of all time. It happens to be incredibly healthy too, so it’s the feel good recipe of the year.

Follow the link for the Sweet Sassy Sausage Soup (created by Reba Mackintosh, my wife)


4 thoughts on “Journey to the Ironman: A Blind Date with Passion

  1. Great analogy about dating. That really makes a lot of sense. You don’t train for an Ironman because you think the training will be rad. Because it isnt. Especially if you have a wife and kids. Finding time in the heavy volume weeks is a killer. I have a recent post about how to swim the Ironman that might give you some idea what to expect here. Lot’s of luck to you my friend, and don’t lost that passion!

  2. Thanks Ironmanandrew. It certainly takes a village to raise a kid AND train for the ironman. Great post on swimming, I will be sure to follow your advice..

  3. Jono,
    Daily, Phil and I can hardly believe the transformation in you physically and mentally with how disciplined you have become with your health. We love seeing the every day challenges and goals being accomplished by your success with your lifestyle change. You are an inspiration. May God Bless you throughout Iron Man. We already know He has with your beautiful life and family.

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