Find your fitness passion
Tim Le is running toward good health -- one footstep at a time
A diagnosis of high blood pressure and the start of three blood pressure medicines at age 27 prompted Tim to get in shape. For motivation he began running, and it changed his life. Since 2012, he has completed six marathons and two Ironman triathlons, which includes swimming 2.4 miles, biking 112 miles, and running 26.2 miles all within 17 hours. His advice: Plan long-term goals, but also plan short-term goals and celebrate achievements along the way.
Twenty-seven is young to have high blood pressure. Were you surprised?
Hypertension runs in my family, so it wasn’t a total shock. When I was younger, I focused on school and wasn’t really active. I also had an injury, which made it even harder. I developed some pretty bad eating habits in pharmacy school, too.
What did you do?
Houston has a great running community. A lot of my friends were runners, and I figured I could do it with them. I thought, “Why not?” and just joined in. It was a lot of fun. But I was a real couch potato, so it took some work.
Then I got more and more involved. Once I saw I was getting healthier and losing weight, I wanted to push myself even farther.
What have you done so far?
I’ve competed in two Ironman triathlons, which includes swimming, biking, and running. I’ve also run in six marathons and several half marathons.
What are you doing now?
I’m focusing on more time in the gym, working on cardio and building muscle. I still run, but not as much. I go to the gym four days a week for about an hour and a half.
Besides exercise, what’s the biggest wellness change you’ve made?
About two years ago, I started meal prepping. It has changed my life. Once a week, I cook and prep all my lunches and dinners for the week. This has saved me a lot of money and, most importantly, time. I have so much more time to focus on my family and my health now.
Give us an example of a typical day’s food.
I try to eat every three hours to keep my metabolism going. But that’s sometimes difficult at work. For breakfast, I usually have a shake made with whey protein. I usually eat eggs or yogurt for a small snack before lunch. For lunch and dinner, I have vegetables, like broccoli or green beans, and lean protein, like chicken or turkey. I try to get 100 to 150 grams of protein a day, and when I’m training for a race I increase carbs.
Do you ever feel like you just want to skip a day?
If I overdo it or my body just isn’t up to it, I take a mental health day. I don’t want to burn out. I think cheat days are OK, as long as you get back on track quickly.
How do you stay inspired?
I have a “fat pic” of me on my phone. When it comes up, I am reminded of why I do this.
Any words of wisdom?
A good support group is a plus, whether its friends, family, or online social media. You will always find people with similar health goals. They can give you a pep talk when you need it.