OCR Transformations- Jules Smith

ORM presents the series of stories on OCR Transformations. Runners and athletes whose mind body, and spirit have been altered through obstacle racing.

Author’s Note: The following transformation story is being told by Jules herself. No better way to see the impact of someone’s story than through his or her own eyes. Enjoy this month’s OCR Transformation brought to you by Jules Smith!


My name is Jules Smith and I was born and raised in Shreveport, Louisiana. Shreveport is in Northeast Louisiana about three hours from Dallas (to give you a generalization). Although we have a great deal of traffic coming and going to the major cities around… this is actually quite a small city. Most everyone knows everyone, has gone to school with, or knows someone you know.

I had a more normal childhood than most. Saying this because I know that there are kids who are born in more difficult situations than I. The problem I faced most was the wanting to be accepted and understood. I tried hard to fit in growing up despite being made fun of because I was the biggest kid in class. One of my problems that spurred from this was noticing the way other people would look at me. This was very uncomfortable and unnerving.

Young Jules

Little did I know that the way people looked at me when I was younger would still haunt me later in life. As I grew up I reached a point where I stopped trying to be understood and stopped caring. By the time I reached high school, my over all care for anyone or anything was gone. I started rebelling and making youthful teenage decisions. I’m sure if you’re thinking it right now, I probably experienced it.

I struggled in high school everyday and stepped through the entire five years (yes, I did say five not four). My poor choices were not just in the foods I ate, the negligence towards my school work, but also in the company I kept. Everything stemmed from one place, this one circumstance I faced and had no control over… my body. I was angry all the time because I was not like my friends and other girls. If other girls were playing sports and on diets, they had the body results to show for it. Not me. I loved sports too, but I hated the way my body felt playing sports. It’s not the pain from sore muscles that bothered me, but the way my body felt as my weight shifted while playing them. This had to be the most disgusting feeling in the world to me. Not to mention the way my skin rubbed together in the humidity and heat down here. I was a walking dermatologist text book. So naturally I didn’t like wearing short sleeve shirts, or even gym shorts at school. I remember how as a child every time I was called fat, ugly, pathetic, loser, sloth, disgusting slob, POS… I would go straight for the things that made me into this. I ate my weight in feelings. Granted most of the time I was being called these things was because I was mean. I was mean because I was unhappy and I was unhappy because I was overweight. The only time I was at peace was when I was creating art. “I AM MY OWN VICIOUS CYCLE!”

Jules in Highschool


Youthful teenage decisions we all face, yes we all face them in some sort of slightly altered manner, lead up to a moment in my life that would be one that changed me forever. Not just change in one sense, but in many more ways than I would ever expect. After my first year in college, struggling with acceptance still, I came home for the summer and with no ambition or want to proceed in anything in life. Not even a month later, I found myself with what I call a party favor. I WAS PREGNANT!

There was no father, I was not financially stable, I didn’t have a job, I didn’t even have a car. Worst part was having to break my parents heart by telling them I had failed my life again. These were the thoughts I had going through my mind when I found out. However, 9 months later with loving support from my entire family… I realized I was not alone.


My whole family… aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandfather all helped me. My mother was a saint and taught me step by step and day by day how to be a mother. A year later we were celebrating my daughter Ariella’s first birthday. What a year it had been. It had ups and downs. There were days where I would fight with my mother to be a mother. There were days where I would consistently praise my mother for being a mother. It is very difficult being a new mom, not only being a new mom but a young mom at that. My daughter was a joy, she was never problem. I knew one thing with her and that she was a blessing. I have always known this. Not because she didn’t cry for 10 months. She cried when she needed something but as soon as her needs were met, she was always satisfied. Always smiling and always happy. We even used a program much like the baby Einstein’s, “Your Baby Can Read”, and she would read the flash cards and respond to the by point to a nose or clapping her hands. She loved attending church with my parents. Her favorite part was attending the children’s church and seeing all of the other kids.

At around 10 months old, she started getting sick. I think over the next three months I took her to see about 7 or so different doctors. I even took her to her pediatrician several times. It was a couple weeks after her first birthday, I took her back to her pediatrician demanding an X-ray on her abdomen. She had a huge bulge protruding from her stomach. That day was the last time I napped with my daughter. From that doctor, we were sent to another, then another, before she was admitted into the hospital. The next day going against medical advise, I left with nothing but the clothes on my back for St. Judes in Memphis, Tennessee.

They had already accepted her before my plans of travel had even been made. I never realized that this blessing bestowed upon me would ever have a one in a million disease. A cancer so rare that there are only two cases in the United States per year and that only one would end up at St. Judes. Theres my “Million Dollar Baby”. I arrived on a Saturday and she was admitted into the ICU that Monday. Two and a half weeks later, she passed away from a second one in a million disease that forms due to more intakes than the body has outtakes. Kidneys had shut down and dialysis wasn’t working. The body had to release the toxins the only way left, through the skin. That’s my “Two Million Dollar Baby”. My blessing, dying in my arms. All the nurses would call me such a humble person. I had no idea what they meant. This was one of the first times in my life that people called me anything that wasn’t negative.

I didn’t know how far this word humble would come to play in my life. After that my will to try and get healthy for her, to find her a father, give her the family she was supposed to have..was gone. I remember, its been six years since her passing for those reading this article, people at that time would bring over trays and trays full of food. Dishes, casseroles, and SWEETS!!! My mother, was always good about telling me when I was over doing it on eating. Normally, I would stop but the day of the funeral, I came home after being around friends all night and went straight to the kitchen. I did what I always knew how to do best. I looked at all this food sitting out and started with that one brownie. When my mother saw me that night she reminded me as always, that I was over doing it, I just remember turning to her and saying, “Mom, I just lost my daughter, now please let me eat my feelings in peace.” She did and I did.

The impact of losing her on me was so much more weight than the 250lbs of fat I carried on my skeletal system. First off is the everyday routine. I mean I should say “what everyday routine?” now. I went from waking up to a baby needing to be changed and fed a bottle. To “whats the point of waking up?”. I think for the first week or two all I did was eat and cry. I didn’t even know what to say for the longest. Someone had given me a book at the funeral, “Surviving The Loss Of a Loved One.” I thought it cliche, trivial, demeaning to my situation. I read that book not longer after. That book helped me to find a routine. You see… that book was about the impact that a wife and husband had to endure after loosing their child. It was not at all what I perceived it to be. Just like those stares I got growing up, I would become more than what they all perceived me to be. This was the first time in my life I began to stop judging everyone and everything around me. Before I got half way through the book, I remember asking my mom, what is my everyday routine? In the book this family had other children, this was their everyday routine. My mom replied to me, “Wake up, shower, brush your teeth, brush hair, and get dressed.” There are days where I still wake up lost and confused even now. I wake up, shower, brush my teeth, brush my hair, and I get dressed. I got that down, then decided I might as well go back to work. It could have possibly been too soon but I needed to be doing something aside from looking at her face in pictures trying to understand why my blessing would be taken from me. Why would God, bless me then take from me. Work was all I had left.

Going back to work, stocking merchandise seemed like the only other plausible answer. After a couple of weeks, I was pulled aside and was told to make a decision, either I needed to pull myself together for the job or I needed to resign. Working that day, I thought and debated plenty in my head. The reason I had that job was for her. To get discounts on children clothes and house hold items, I would need to start my family. I don’t have a family anymore, the one person I thought would never leave me, is gone. She’s not coming back. So I resigned and decided to go back to school. After all I have the time now to focus on my studies instead of worrying about my daughter and her needs.

I have a different outlook on life now, maybe it will be a better experience going back to college. Maybe I would mentor troubled kids. That year was even harder than I thought it would be. Although it was tough being away from my family, I needed to rediscover who I was. All I discovered was more trials and more food. Now I started facing real health concerns. I was not able to eat certain foods without getting very sick. I had no idea what was going on. I went to a couple different doctors before one discovered I had gallstones the size of lemons and the only option was to remove my gallbladder. They did laparoscopically.

My mom sat with me the whole time (this was beginning of that spring semester of 2011). Not long after, her and my father began talking to me about this surgery they wanted me to have to help me with my weight. They had mentioned it numerous times before when my daughter was alive, but I lived in fear and worry then. I was afraid of something happening in surgery and leaving my child without a mother too. I didn’t realize that I was already facing these issues being obese. When they mentioned it would be preformed the same way my gallbladder was removed, I said to myself, what else do I have to lose at the point. Aside from the obvious (my daughter), I was about to lose over 100lbs and an entire person all together. I decided to have a gastric bypass. Meaning, I had made the decision to have my stomach stapled down to keep my from eating.

Jules Modeling

I still continued being angry for a long time. Even after the surgery I can remember my mom cooking for the family and being so angry at how good the food smelled, this was during the first month of my recovery when I was only allowed to have water, broth, and juice. I swear I didn’t think General Sao’s chicken could ever make me so upset from just the smell. I think I stayed in that anger phase for almost the entire next year. I was so angry that everyone around me could eat and I couldn’t. I even wrote across my mirror a new motto, “I eat to live, I do not live to eat.” This still holds fast to today. I retaught myself portion control, because at this point, it was no longer an option choice for me, but a life or death choice. I followed my recovery diet to a T and lost 125lbs. I no longer eat certain things either because it. I thought I would miss beef. I really don’t.


After a couple months into recovery I became a nanny. I needed to do something, work, anything, to get out of the house and keep my mind off of the FOOD I could no longer have. My grandfather always says a busy mind is a healthy mind. This holds truth for me in so many ways. When I transitioned into being a nanny, it had been a little over a year since the loss of my daughter. I had time to think. So much time to think. I wasn’t able to keep my mind busy during that first year. Some days were better than others. Some days all I could do was think about that everyday routine and think about what I would be doing if she was still with me. One of the things I came to have a realization on was, even if I were to have another child in my life, they would not be her. Nothing will replace her. I always had a void in my heart due to this as well. Not having a child to focus my love on was part of this void. When I became a nanny, I found that void being filled. It was replaced and she’s always in my heart but the emptiness I had inside me after her death was being filled. Like planting new seeds in an old pot. These children, even though they were all boys and not babies, put seeds of faith back into my heart. Where I would once cry, I now began to laugh. I now was laughing so hard I cried. I started hoping again.

Jules Flex

By the time, I reached my goal weight, I was new again. I lost that 100 lbs of hurt, I lost that anger, I stopped being so mean all the time. I started giving. I gave these children what I always wanted to give to my daughter. I gave them a care taker who was happy, fun, and was for once in her life excited to play games outside! I wanted to run. I wanted to do more than I had ever wanted to before. I WANTED TO LIVE! I wanted to give to those in need. I wanted to make laugh those who cried. I wanted to inspire those who’ve lost hope. Because coming from place where I had no faith and no hope, I saw come to pass the blessing I felt promised in my heart for so long. I knew there was something inside me when I was younger, but I wasn’t able to have the faith I needed to see it through. Promising myself after she passed away, that there’s a reason for this. Even if I spent everyday of my life after determined to create a reason why in that day. She Died So I Could Live.

Not long after I felt the urge to go back to school once again. Taking courses strictly for my own knowledge. I took weight training thinking it would help me gain the definition I was now seeking. I started searching everything online from workouts, programs, to even athletes. I wanted to become more. I have such a strong desire to become great now, it can be scary to those who’ve never met me. I always felt held back because of my weight that I feel now, there is nothing holding me back from anything I want to achieve. This digging lead me to Spartan Races. I wanted to be a Spartan. They were tough and over came challenges. I knew enough about the races to get me started or so I thought. Weight training was causing me to plateau. I was keep up with average standards but I wanted to be above average. I took yoga next. This will help me tighten up this loose skin and give me that muscle definition I am seeking. Lets face it although I can fit into a bikini, I still didn’t look good in one. I was also nervous about training my core without instruction. I was told to be very careful after my surgery not to pull a staple or I would internally bleed out so to speak. How am I ever going to be strong enough to climb a rope or jump a huge wall?!

Jules Crossfit 1

I had no initial formal fitness training. Before sports were a way to try to fit in and make friends. Now it’s about the will to thrive. BUT HOW?!!!! Then I found out about Joe De Sena and soon discovered his book, Spartan Up. Reading that gave me what I had been looking for. Theres no correct way to train for a Spartan Race. But the next best thing that could help would be Crossfit. It wasn’t long after finishing my yoga course, did I find that we have close to seven Crossfit gyms in the area. Now which one and how do I choose. I choose one that a friend of mine was going to at the time. I went in to check it out and a couple months later, I became a member of Crossfit SBC. This has been the best decision I have made for my life since deciding to have the gastric bypass. When I started my journey, I wanted to be thin. When I became thin, I wanted to be defined and strong. My goal when I started, was to loose the weight and after a year, the weight was gone and I had a new goal. I wanted to be strong and I wanted to be a Spartan.

I started at 250 lbs and got down to 125 lbs. I started as a person miserable with herself. Now I am 155 lbs with muscles I never knew I had. I heard through out the last five years about how strong I am. Today though, I feel strong. I know I am physically stronger than I was when I started out. July 7th this year I will have been doing Crossfit for two years. I have now an entire Crossfit Family. They’re not just friends you work out with. These people, who I worked very hard day in and out for months to prove that I wanted to be in that gym, have become my family. They do not just encourage me in the gym but also in life. Crossfit while is very intimidating to people looking in, has taught me to be proud of the shell I live in. My gym has taught me to love my body for what it is. Crossfit taught me that while things may seem to be this way on this day, with hard work and consistency, it wont be the next day.

I say things in generalization, because I take what I learn in the gym and apply it to my everyday life. We all face events and unexpected occurrences in our life, yes everyone’s is different from each other’s, but the one thing that holds constant is our reaction towards these circumstances. When in the gym if you can’t get that last rep, you don’t cry about it and give up. Like life, when misfortunate events happen, you don’t cry and give up. You dust yourself off, pick that bar back up and you try again and try harder. My goal while it started as just to become thin, has changed so much. I wanted to be a Spartan so I started training like one. I always dreamed I would become a model and show those who doubted me what I was worth. I have been modeling since last fall. With that has come opportunity after opportunity. Even now, I still look and search for that motivation and inspiration.

Jules Powerlift

I never stop seeking guidance and wisdom from mentors. Some of the things I like to do are listening to Podcasts, reading books, finding mentors, and above all asking questions. Podcasts have got to be the best. I like to listen before bed or in the car. Actually I started with Joe Rogan Experience, then found OCRMedia, and after reading Lewis Howes, The school Of Greatness, found him on podcasts. I also read a great deal of Joel Osteen, he’s a feel good preacher and he makes me feel good. He also part of that mindset I keep so that when I feel stressed or anxious, I can turn those negative feelings into positive ones. His books aren’t the only way to gain this type of mindset either. I have been expanding my spirituality as well. This journey while is about fitness, is also one about faith and hope.


I owe all my success to God and my parents. Without their constant support and guidance I would not have become the person I am today. They have always pushed me to do the right things. Make the right choices. Be the bigger person. All these morals and values they bestowed upon at a young age were what shaped me into a God fearing young woman. A woman who is grateful and not selfish. A woman who is loving and caring. A woman who is patient and kind. I find these qualities make me richer than any dollar ever could. I also want to say thank you to my mentor Andy Shaw. Starting as my fencing coach at 15 years old, has never given up on me and always been there for me as a coach, friend, but most of all a mentor. He saw the real me when I could not. I’d like to thank my teacher Darrell Chitty for believing in me as a student first but for also unleashing the model within me, that I always wanted to be. Last but of course not least, I just want to say thank you to my coaches, Angelina Moreno and Tyler Bray, you guys have stuck by me from the beginning of my Crossfit journey until now and I know I would not be where I am right now writing this article without you both. Y’all helped me to build that strength I wanted from the first day starting out with that 15 lb training bar. Having people like you all in my life aid me into becoming a stronger, faster, more inspiring athlete and model. I am so grateful to not just know you all but have you batting on my team.


As far as an obstacle race, I have yet to sign up for my first one! I am so ready to be a Spartan, that I am willing to do it alone. I started to sign up last summer but couldn’t get my registration to go through on the website. I have been trying to get my gym to start a team but I haven’t gotten the feedback I am looking for. I know I will be doing plenty of penalty burpees and walking some of the race but to be called a Spartan is worth every burped.

On a usual basis I train at my Crossfit gym every Monday, Wednesday,and Friday 5:15am-7:00/7:30am. Tuesdays and Thursdays I was going at 7:00pm-8:30pm but now I’ll try to get in there during lunch from 11:00am-1:00pm. With my new job, trying to find a happy schedule is key for me. If I can’t make it to my Crossfit gym, I’ll go to a regular gym or try to run over to the high school stadium and do stairs. I have quite a few different things I like to do when I cannot make it to Crossfit. My previous weight at my biggest I think I was close to 270 lbs. They made me lose around 30 lbs before surgery and pre surgery I weighed in at 248 lbs. Now Im a solid 155 lbs. It will fluctuate between 145-160 lbs.

Where this started as a story about a fitness journey, and with careful thought upon many rewrites, I wanted to convey a certain point throughout my story. The message I wanted my readers to gain from this is one of hope and faith. Hope in something and have faith that it will come to pass. While we cannot control the circumstances we are faced with, one thing holds constant, that is our reaction towards these circumstances.

Jules Transformation 3

Follow Jules on Instagram and Facebook!

OCR Transformations- Tarren Soukup

ORM presents the series of stories on OCR Transformations. Runners and athletes whose mind body, and spirit have been altered through obstacle racing.

Author’s Note: The following transformation story is being told by Tarren herself. No better way to see the impact of someone’s story than through his or her own eyes. Enjoy this month’s OCR Transformation brought to you by Tarren Soukup!


My weight was never something I had to work at. I was always little. 5’1 and maybe 105 lbs. I was never very active, partly because I didn’t have to be. That all changed when I became pregnant with my son. I was 22 years old, and extremely naïve about the whole thing. I had it in my head that the second I gave birth, I would return to a size 0. The first 5 months went pretty smooth. I didn’t gain too much weight, and I felt good. However after my wedding, my health started declining.

The first indication that something was wrong, was my blood pressure spiking. The doctor’s felt it was too early for pre-eclampsia, so they sent me home with instructions to take it easy and follow up. Over the next few weeks, my family watched helplessly as I worsened. I started ballooning out in an almost comical way. I felt like the blueberry girl from Willy Wonka. Later we learned it was my body filling up with fluid because my organs were failing. By the time the Doctor’s finally realized the severity of the situation, I had already lost function of both kidneys, and was in the midst of liver failure. Just about 2 months prior to my due date, I was being taking to the hospital in an ambulance, with a shaky prognosis.

Tarren Hospital

After several more complications, I had an emergency C-Section. Despite the trauma of it all, I birthed a healthy, albeit tiny baby boy. He would be my only child, as the risk was too great to birth another. When all was said and done, I went from 105 lbs, to 196… nearly doubling my weight.


The next several years were fraught with yo- yo diets and inconsistent workout routines. Despite being married to a professional athlete, I couldn’t seem to make anything work. I would go through bouts of depression, not recognizing the girl in the mirror. Even after a corrective surgery, to restore some of the damage done abdominal wall, I was unhappy.

I remember one time in particular. I was on vacation with my family, and feeling a bit more confident, as I’d recently lost some weight, being the lightest I’d been in years, which was somewhere around 145 lbs. On this day, I was walking down the beach with my husband, and we were laughing at something my son had done. I remember looking up to see two young women walking past us. Tanned, and toned. Beautiful. They were looking at my husband…and then at me. One turned to the other and asked why he was with that.

Tarren Beach Before


Unfortunately, that wasn’t enough to fuel the change for me. I hovered around 140 for the next few years. I worked out sporadically, and only to keep up with my family. I did some road races with my husband, and a few triathlons. It was still a struggle. At this time, my husband found a new love. OCR’s. As a former professional downhill mountain bike racer, he was always looking for the next thing. He started Spartan races in 2011. The Killington Beast was his first. I remember hearing him recap his experience and thinking “oh hell no” no way would I ever do that.

Then last year he talked me into doing the Tuxedo Sprint. He would run the elite wave in the morning, and then again with me. When it was time to jump the wall into the starting corral, I need a boost. It made me feel insecure, as though I shouldn’t have been there. Despite struggling through the course, with the help of my husband, I didn’t do terrible. And crossing the finish line was a feeling of pride and accomplishment that I hadn’t felt before. It made me want more.

That summer, I did three more races including the Palmerton Sprint (killer) and the Barre Sprint. While I wasn’t training as much as I should have, I would get excited about the races, and felt as if they brought me closer with my husband. The day before the Barre race, I was outside with my dogs. One was roaming free, and the other attached with rope lead. I was tired after working all day, and not paying close attention. I threw a ball for the dog running loose, will the other ran for it. Unbeknownst to me, his rope was wrapped around my ankle, and when he ran, it cut me nearly to the bone. However being the stubborn person I am, I taped it up and raced anyway.

Tarren Spartan

I was hospitalized later that night with a severe infection. The antibiotics weren’t taking, and there was a real threat of having to amputate me foot. Luckily they got control of the infection before it reached that point. Yet the recovery was a rough one. I was on a crutch for a few months following that, and started eating like crap. Over the next few months I had gained 20 lbs.


In December of 2015 I had enough. My marriage was on the rocks, and I was miserable. I knew that the only person who could change that was me. So I signed up for cross fit at a local gym, Pioneer Valley Cross Fit. I started going 3-4 times a week, and absolutely fell in love with it. The coaches were super helpful, and felt extremely invested in my success. Although I felt myself growing stronger, I didn’t change my poor eating habits, so the weight didn’t really change.

I did not truly have my “ah-ha” moment until the Socal Super of 2016. It was my longest Spartan race to date, and didn’t do very much training for it. And boy did I suffer. I huffed and puffed along the rolling hills, dragging my tired body over the obstacles. I was unable to get over any of the walls unassisted, and failed many obstacles. When I crossed the finish line, I felt an overwhelming disappointment. It was in that moment I swore to myself I would never feel like that again. This was something I could control. I didn’t have to be a slave to complacency. I would become the person I felt I was meant to be…leaner, faster, stronger.

Immediately upon returning home, I did something that would ensure that kick in the ass I needed. I signed up for a bikini competition. It was a training program I had done before with real results, and the trainer was a former body builder, Bonnie Lefrak. She had the nutrition down to a science. Along with my nutrition program, I continued doing cross fit 4-5 times a week, and cardio at least 5 x a week. I began incorporating hill work, and mountain climbs. In the first couple weeks I dropped 10 lbs and felt unstoppable. With the mentality of “Go big or go home” I signed up for the NJ Beast. I was seeking redemption.

Tarren After

By the time the Beast rolled around, I was down to 125 lbs, and was stronger than I had ever been. I was still unprepared for how well I would do at the race. I nailed most of the obstacles, including the rope climb (thanks to my Cross Fit coach) and powered through the entire course. This time crossing the finish line, I felt like a god damn super hero.

The people who helped contribute to my success are first and foremost my husband, Jason Soukup. His drive and motivation keeps me going every day. Also Ryan Katz, and the team at Pioneer Valley Cross Fit, for helping me find a love for weight lifting, and providing an amazing community of support. And Bonnie Lefrak with the Fitness Asylum. Bikini Boot camp will whip anyone’s butt into shape.


My current work out routine is 4-5 days of cross fit, 3 days of elevation work, 2 days of running, and I try to walk for at least an hour on my lunch breaks. I am training for the Killington Beast, and am hoping to do the Montreal Beast and Super as well. I am trying for a triple Trifecta this year. My weight February was 141.3. Today its 120.

Tarren Transformation

Follow Tarren on Instagram!

OCR Transformations- Jason Gelleny

ORM presents the series of stories on OCR Transformations. Runners and athletes whose mind body, and spirit have been altered through obstacle racing.

Jason grew up playing all types of sports. Weight lifting and baseball were his main concentrations through high school and he had hoped to earn a scholarship. However, a major back injury during his senior year eliminated his chances for a scholarship to the states to play University baseball. Without a real back up plan from playing sports, Jason quickly joined the work force after high school. He struggled for years to find his calling, but he eventually found a career in Emergency Medical Services.

Jason Beach before


The job market for an EMT was extremely competitive and typically takes several years to your first full time job. The first few years, Jason often spent his time working for multiple companies in casual employment positions including some volunteer positions. His shifts would end up all over the place anywhere from 24-96 hour shifts at times. This crazy routine took a toll on Jason’s life in more ways than he realized. There were periods when Jason would have to work for four different EMS services and travel all over for stretches up to 31 days at a time. This lifestyle caused him to make some pretty poor decisions for his health which ended up becoming bad habits over the course of three years. His social life diminished to just the people he was working with any given day due to his sporadic and hectic schedule. Jason had also stopped working out and his eating habits had taken a nose dive. His meals would consist of gas station quick stops, to fast food, or even hospital vending machines. His weight and overall health took a negative turn and before he knew it he had gone from a size 28 pant to a 38. His weight had also gone from a healthy 150 pounds to an unhealthy 210 pounds and at 5’6” he was considered pretty overweight.

Jason Fishing


Jason was finally motivated to change his years of bad habits once they all added up and he hit his all-time low. It had gotten to a point where his stress levels were mounting, his health was poor, his confidence was shot, and he did not feel like he had much control over his own life. Thanks to his best friend who had stuck by Jason’s side through the ups and downs… he was motivated to get back into the gym once again.

Starting back at the gym was a little uncomfortable for Jason, but he knew that if he kept going that he would eventually get his feet under him again. The gym used to be his comfort zone and the place where he felt at home, but it had become foreign to him and he now felt like an outsider. What kept him going was realizing that although he felt that he had lost control of his life… the one place he could regain that control was in the gym. As Jason continued to get back in shape his confidence was slowly coming back and he was able to find happiness once again.


After seeing an ad on Facebook one day, Jason decided to sign up for his first Spartan Sprint. He wanted to challenge himself and try something he had never done before. The event took place in Red Deer Alberta and Jason remembers a time where he was all alone running through the trail and he fell in love with the trees and environment around him. With only the wilderness and the sound of his heart beat surrounding him… Jason found himself again and knew that this was going to be his new life.

Jason Beach


Jason’s second race was BattleFrog Race Series elite heat in Las Vegas back in February 2016. He was able to take plenty of time to prepare for this OCR event because he wanted to test his limits and see how hard he was able to push himself. He even hired a personal trainer in January to better prepare himself for the race. For his second event and first elite heat, Jason really proved himself by finishing 15th of 77 men in the heat. This success gave him hope that maybe he could really get good at this sport. This was the turning point for Jason’s training that took him from a body building program to full on OCR addict.

Jason crawling


In the past year since starting his transformation journey, Jason has been very fortunate to have such a great group of people contributing to his success. His best friend who got him back in the gym, his family who have supported him through it all, his colleagues who supported his crazy workouts between calls, his trainer who continues to bring out the best in him, and his sister who he trains and runs with. Recently, he had the chance to attend an OCR training camp where he got to meet some amazing people who inspired him to push harder in his own training.


Currently, Jason trains with his friend and personal trainer Kory Allen who designed his program. The program consists of mostly two-a-days with sprint circuits, EMOM’s, and 60km of running a week with a ton of grip work mixed in. April 2015, Jason was 210 pounds and dropped to a healthy 150 pounds by November 2015. He is now about 160 pounds with muscle mass and specialized training built in.

Jason Transformation Pic

Follow Jason on Facebook and Instagram!

OCR Transformations- Nicholas Hoyer

ORM presents the series of stories on OCR Transformations. Runners and athletes whose mind body, and spirit have been altered through obstacle racing.

Nicholas was overweight as a child, but his battle with obesity did not begin until after high school. Over the four years of college, his weight went from 235 pounds to 335 pounds. At the age of 26, Nicholas hit his max weight at 425 pounds.

Nicholas College


Since the age of seven, Nicholas had been made fun of because of his weight. He ate to feel better and gained more weight as a result. Luckily his outgoing personality helped him to make friends along the way, but they all enjoyed the same bad habit…food. Nicholas played golf all four year of high school at Varsity level, but his insecurities hindered him from going out for any other sports. Once he reached college, his busy schedule caused him to eat out more and more causing him to gain 100 pounds his first two years out of high school.


Nicholas’ mindset changed drastically once his daughter Avery was born in 2005. He wanted to be a major part of her life and he knew he needed to lose weight and change his lifestyle in order to do so. His biggest motivator was to not be an embarrassment to his daughter when she got older. Nicholas recalled a dream he had when Avery was just a baby, “I went to drop her off at school and she asked me to keep going and drop her off around the corner so she didn’t have to be seen with me”. That was one of his biggest moments that convinced him to take control of his life.

Nicholas and Avery


When she was six months old Nicholas decided to go to the gym and eat healthy. His diet initially consisted of Clif Bars, Smart One frozen meals, and salads. For a year straight he did not stray from this routine and was able to lose over 100 pounds. The only cardio he would endure was the elliptical machine which he built his time from 15 minutes to 90 minutes a day within the first year.

Nicholas First OCR


The first goal he set for himself was to one day do a Tough Mudder. He saw videos of the event wanted to be a part of the fun. He would run and lift weights in order to train for the first race, but his biggest struggle was making sure he did not over eat. After completing his first Tough Mudder he felt a sense of accomplishment, pride, and motivation. It was one of the best feelings of his life. From this point on Nicholas set new goals for himself to continuously work hard and continue making a difference in his life. Since his first Tough Mudder, Nicholas has participated in many OCR events as well as marathons (full and half).

Nicholas Spartan Transformation

Nicholas has several people in his life that have helped him in his journey. His wife Lisa has become his running and training partner and Carl Hultgren who owns PFT Pure Form Gym where Nicholas is now a trainer.

Nicholas 4 way Transformation


Nicholas currently does HIIT training Monday through Friday for one hour a day and runs about two to three miles those days as well. On Saturdays he coaches a Spartan workout which is a circuit for an hour and on Sundays he runs six to twelve miles. Nicholas also loves adding some basketball games to his training routine to mix things up!

His highest weight was 425 pounds and his is currently a fit and healthy 198 pounds.

Nicholas Final

Follow Nicholas on Facebook!

OCR Transformations- Katie Purcell

ORM presents the series of stories on OCR Transformations. Runners and athletes whose mind body, and spirit have been altered through obstacle racing.

Katie grew up in Fairfield County, the suburbia of Connecticut which many would reference as “the OC of the East Coast”. Although she lived in a great location on the outskirts of New York City which allowed her to go to the city on the weekends and to the beach in the summer…the pressure of fitting in to a certain “norm” was very predominate. Social influences started shaping Katie’s future at a young age which would haunt her for years to come.


One day during lunch in the 8th grade, Katie remembers her friends talking about dieting, starving themselves, and making themselves throw up in order to look a certain way. At the time Katie thought they were a bunch of attention crazed young girls, until the trend kept catching on among her group. Before she knew it, Katie was getting sucked in to this diet “trend”. From that point on she experienced the slippery slope of dieting which became easier for her to hide her habits when she was transferred out of town for high school.

Katie Before 3

Katie began to literally eat just a single apple a day and then the next day she would binge and purge. This vicious cycle took a toll on her mind and body. Katie would spend countless nights crying herself to sleep not knowing if she would wake up the next day from the lack of nutrients in her body. The whole experience put a lot of stress on her relationship with her family. Katie even had thoughts of not being able to graduate high school or succeed in college. Her college social life was also hindered by her eating disorder because she would constantly avoid social outings where food was involved (very limited time to hang out in college).

Katie Before 2

The stress and pressure of her habits came to a head when she dropped out of college halfway through her freshmen year. Once she got home, Katie went in to therapy for 6-8 months for general depression which in turn brought to light her eating issues that needed to be addressed in order for her to move forward in her life.

Katie Before 185


A few years ago, Katie was able to finally start going to the gym and take fitness more seriously (other than elliptical sessions to burn calories). Her friend Kristi asked her if she wanted to sign up for a Spartan Race that November. This gave her something to train for and she was able to tailor her workouts toward prepping for the Fenway Park Spartan Sprint. Having a goal gave Katie more motivation to work out in the right way so that she could develop strength enough to do the obstacles.

Katie Sand Bag

The impact of Katie’s first obstacle race left her with an indescribable feeling. In that moment, she was the proudest of herself she had ever thought possible. She felt invincible and grateful for how far she had come in order to get to that point. She knew that from finishing her first race, she was able to open an entirely new chapter of her life. She was now ready to take on any obstacle that came her way (literally). Previously, Katie was the girl who would actually black out just walking up stairs from being so unhealthy and nutrient deprived. After her first event, she knew that all of the hard work she had done for herself was paying off. The emotional, psychological, and physical growth Katie endured allowed her to complete the course. This event marked the moment that all of her baggage and pain was able to melt away…Katie was finally able to move forward with her new life.

Katie Back Flex


The more she competed; Katie noticed that her race stats were actually pretty good compared to others. She was also able to deduct that her performance was better when she provided herself proper nutrition verse the days she didn’t. The experiences of OCR also helped Katie shift her priorities because of how proud she began to feel after finishing a race. She felt like she accomplished something while having healthy fun and her new healthy hobby allowed her to focus on the person in the mirror and not on the number on the scale. The new friendships she had developed at OCR events made her want to be a part of something instead of taking herself out of the game.

Katie Rope Swing

There was a memorable weekend for Katie that truly helped drive home the fact that in order to race efficiently, her health and nutrition had to be her number one focus. She did an event that allowed her to race the same course/ same location two weekends in a row. The first weekend, Katie had not taken care of her nutrition the way she needed to leading up to the event. This caused her to struggle with everything from the hills, running, and even some of the obstacles she would usually excel on. The second weekend, Katie was able to properly prepare and it was like night and day the experience she had. Her mind was better and she was able to overcome all of the challenges she had struggled with the previous weekend.

Katie Wall


Katie’s parents have been incredibly supportive throughout her journey. Her race buddy Kristi is the one who first inspired her to take the next step in her recovery by signing up for an event. That push gave her hope to start something new and consider going out of her comfort zone. All of the “race friends” she has met along the way have also aided in her success. She also thanks her Spartan boyfriend Luke Walsh, Danielle Rheinhardt (founder of the non-profit Bigger Than The Bully), and others who have continued to be positive influences in her life.

Katie BF


Katie’s current training schedule varies because she likes to change it up. She currently works out about five to six days a week, but takes her rest days VERY seriously :). Her active days vary between OCR Bootcamp classes, long runs, Thai Kickboxing, HIIT, and a mix of cardio kickboxing and bootcamps. Katie is 5’7 and her lowest weight was 105 pounds, her highest weight was 185 pounds, and now she is a healthy 135 pounds.

Katie’s 2016 goals consist of completing five Spartan Race Trifectas, to earn a Spartan Coin to compete in Spartan World Championships, as well as compete in OCRWC (she recently placed 3rd at the Bermuda Triple Challenge which earned her a spot). She is also going back to school for her MBA. Katie has also earned a 2016 sponsorship with Honey Stinger brand.

Katie Transform 2

You can follow Katie on Facebook and Instagram!

OCR Transformations- Colin Menzies

ORM presents the series of stories on OCR Transformations. Runners and athletes whose mind body, and spirit have been altered through obstacle racing.

Colin grew up in a tiny village of about 500 people in a remote part of New Zealand. His house was nestled at the base of the hills and was surrounded by bush. On the hilltops where it plateaued out, the ground was all swampland. Colin and his friends would spend every hour they could hiking through the shrub, into the hills and onto the swampland to collect sphagnum moss (which was used to put in flower arrangements in the mid 1970’s). Each of them would take two coal bags at a time and fill them. Then they would carry them back down to the shed at Colin’s home where they would then clean the moss. The round trip was probably about 5-6km and each filled bag of wet moss weighed about 30kg. At seven years old, that was almost their entire body weight.

From the age of four, Colin played Rugby every weekend. He spent most of his youth as a very active kid which resulted in him being pretty slim while growing up. Colin has a ton of great memories spending time sleeping out in the bush, out on riverbanks, tubing down rivers, and doing fun community events. In school, Colin’s focus was to be either a geologist or an astronomer.

When Colin was 12, his parents split and he moved to the city. The city was the complete opposite of what he had known his life thus far. Suddenly, there were three people living in a tiny one-bedroom apartment surrounded by more apartments and lots of concrete. Without the close support of the community, Colin withdrew from life and really hid within himself. Colin’s grades started to drop at school and he was finding it difficult to make friends. Also, without sports to keep him motivated and involved…he started to drift.

When Colin was thirteen he had enough of city living and he wanted to go to the home he had known for years. Colin hopped on his bike and started pedaling. He remembers that there was a mountain range that divided the South Island of New Zealand and the city where he was from was on the other side. All Colin knew was that he needed to reach his home. After about three hours of cycling and realizing that the mountains kept getting taller and taller…he finally stopped and turned back around. Colin remembers this day as the day he became a quitter. On this day, he started giving up on overcoming obstacles in order to reach his goals.

Colin 1


At the age of 23, Colin got on a plane and ended even farther from his goal of getting back home. Now half way around the world, he would find work through manual labor while traveling. At the end of each week he would relax by getting drunk and needless to say his health and fitness deteriorated over the next ten years.

In 2005, Colin moved back to New Zealand and after a mental decline…he was hospitalized for three weeks with severe stress and anxiety. “Is this me? How long am I going to be here staring at a wall?” thought Colin. One day, Colin left the hospital…better, but on prescription medication which he would continue to be on for the next decade. He enrolled in classes to help deal with anxiety and stress such as yoga, nature walks, etc… in an attempt to enjoy his life more. Colin struggled through the next seven years in a daze.

Taking medication every day for ten years took a toll on his body. He gained 30kg and at 5’10, being 100kg was hard for Colin (he was used to being 70kg soaking wet). Most of his weight gain occurred within the first two years and it felt impossible to make a change.

Colin 2


In 2009, Colin moved from New Zealand to Australia and he was lucky enough to live opposite of one of the most famous beaches—Bondi Beach. Unfortunately, there were days when Colin could barely muster up the energy for a swim. Side effects of his mood enhancers and thyroid medication caused him to live in a “zombie” state of mind. Even getting through the day was a constant battle for Colin.

In 2012, Colin had enough of the chemical therapy. He told his wife, “I’m going to be off this stuff within two years”. His wife was concerned for him to remove the medication from his program, but after overcoming his stress and anxiety trough programs and meditation…he knew that now was the time to transform him physically.

Colin 3

Things fell apart once again for Colin in 2013. After embarking on a failed business venture, his emotional and financial health was tested. This test of his strength helped guide Colin down the path he needed to follow all along. He went back to school and studied to be a Personal Trainer.

A week after graduating, Colin was looking for PT work in the local magazines. The first ad he saw read “blah blah blah…please send a photo as I don’t want to be trained by anyone fatter than me”. At this point, Colin knew he wasn’t going to get any clients without making a change. This is the point when Colin decided to be his own client.

Colin 4


When he began his fitness journey, Colin weighed a little over 90kg and had 23.5% body fat and he could barely run 400 meters. Almost a year later, he dropped about 12kg and felt much better about his overall physical and mental health. Another wrench was thrown into his plans when they had to leave Australia and go to North America. His Visa didn’t allow him to find proper work so he had to find another avenue to keep himself busy. With some research, Colin found Obstacle Racing.

Mud Mulisha was hosting a series of three races in his area at the time…so he signed up for all three. As added motivation, Colin signed up for the elite races with the simple hope of finishing. Before he knew it, he was throwing himself under logs and through mud! Within 100 meters he was hooked. This was the first time that Colin had participated in a sport as an individual and he managed to cross the finish line in 4th place!

Colin 5


Colin’s new renewed sense of achievement allowed him to unlock his internal ability to train for his next race. He focused on motivation and how the top athletes trained for the sport. Within a few weeks, Colin had completely changed his training routine.

The second part of the race series ended up being cancelled due to a forest fire, so this gave Colin plenty of extra time to train in between his next event. He bought ropes, built climbing walls, made sand pits for hand strengthen, anything he could build he did it.

Through the physical challenges that obstacle racing brought…Colin realized that it was also helping overcome all of the stress, anxiety, and childhood memories he had been fighting so hard against for years. Obstacle racing truly taught him how to overcome life’s obstacles and how to grow from challenges presented to him.

Colin was seeing life in a new way. Rope climbing was now his way to climb out of the physical numbness he was left with after years of medication. The barbed wire crawl taught him that sometimes you have to crawl through your pain to get to your goal.

For the next race, Colin wanted to be standing on the podium. The race was fast and he wasn’t prepared for the adrenaline rush and nearly drowned at the take-off across the water obstacle at the starting point. He also wore the wrong shoes that day which made it nearly impossible to run in. While running through the woods…Colin kept stumbling on tree roots, slipped on all of the mud, and couldn’t get a grip on his breathing. He just kept reminding himself to have fun and everything will fall into place.

Colin 6

On that day, Colin crossed the finish line in 3rd place. The warm welcome at the finish line reminded Colin that he did not have to go out of his way to get recognized in life. Obstacle racing taught Colin that enjoying life was enough and that the people on the OCR community just enjoy seeing people do what they love!

Colin had another mental transformation at the Spartan Beast in Sun Peaks 2015. He went there to qualify for the OCR World Championships, but a string of nerves overtook him at the starting line. He remembers seeing the mountain that they were meant to run and he hid away in the back of the elite starting wave just in case he decided to chicken out at the last minute. He remembers that everyone took off at the start while he was still fidgeting with GPS and by the time he walked across the start line…the rest of the pack was out of sight. All Colin could do at this point was run and run hard and that is exactly what he did…finishing third in his age group.

Colin 7

With the support of his family, Colin has been able to turn his health around in eighteen months. He has committed himself to proper training and has made it his full responsibility to be mentally and physically fit for his family. All of his hard work and transformation helped him build a joint business, The Fitness Doctor and Warrior Fitness. Colin wants people to realize that setting physical goals and reaching them can also help you find your peace of mind. “OCR is an awesome way to be active, test your-self, and have fun”, says Colin.

Colin 9


Colin is currently preparing for this year’s OCR World Championships. He has already registered for both short and long courses in the elite masters heats with a six day a week training plan. When Colin first landed in New Zealand again in 2005 he weighed 160 pounds (73kg). Within two years of taking his medication, Colin reached nearly 220 pounds (100kg). In July of 2014, after graduating as a personal trainer, he was able to get down to about 198 pounds and by the time of his first OCR in 2015 he weighed in at 174 pounds (79kg). Currently, Colin weighs in at 163 pounds (74kg) with about a 14% body fat index. Most importantly…his mental health has been renewed through his transformation process.

Colin Transformation

Follow Colin on Facebook!