We absolutely love hearing your guys’ stories on how you’ve conquered a big goal in life or changed your view on health and fitness in a big or meaningful way.
Which is why I was so blown away when a few weeks ago, Kuntal’s email landed in my inbox:
“My name is Kuntal Joisher, and I am a 12 Minute Athlete 🙂
Earlier this year, in May 2016, I stood on the very top of the world – summit of Mt. Everest, and became the first Vegan in the world to do so (as far as I can tell).
This was my 3rd attempt. My previous two attempt in 2014, and 2015, weren’t really attempts as both had to be abandoned due to earthquakes and avalanches that killed over 40 people and injured more than 100.
Thank you for creating such a wonderful app that helped me create a Top of the World Body and Mind!”
Kuntal is a 36-year old vegan, mountaineer, adventure photographer, and when he’s not climbing or shooting in the Himalayas, writes software living in Mumbai, India.
He has an incredible story, and has learned some powerful lessons along the way—lessons that apply to any goals in life, even if it’s not your biggest dream to climb Mt. Everest. Here’s more about Kuntal’s story, I hope you find it as inspiring as I did:
When I first created 12 Minute Athlete, it began out of my own desire for a simple, minimal equipment workout program that focused on gaining strength and skills rather than solely on appearance.
I knew that if I was looking for something like that, there must be others interested in a similar approach as well.
Yet I will never stop feeling grateful and stoked out of my mind when I hear your guys’ stories about how 12 Minute Athlete has changed your view on health and fitness and had a positive effect on your life. And when I received an email from Jasper, a 28-year-old teacher, student, and photographer (check out his impressive Instagram account!) now living in Hobart, Tasmania, with the subject line, “How 12 Minute Athlete helped me survive the Gobi desert” I was pretty floored.
Jasper went on to say:
“For three years I was a teacher at a small university in China (I am originally from Australia and have just returned), located in a town in the Gobi desert, about 100km (62 of your miles) from the Mongolian border. To say that it was an adventure is putting it somewhat mildly. I had found by this point that exercise was an excellent way to deal with the stress of living in a very different culture, but found that I really hated long, slow cardio. Eventually I stumbled across your site.
For last year and a half or so, I would do one of your workouts in my tiny apartment before I started my morning classes. It really changed how I looked at working out and fitness in general, and really helped me deal with the frustrations of living in rural China and made me appreciate its benefits even more. There was a fitness park with parallel bars and pull up bars on the university campus and I made full use of it. I even managed to ship a couple of kettlebells out here (shipping in China is actually really affordable).
It was really great to go into my first classes of the day at 7:30 AM and be full of energy while my students were still half-asleep. It kept me in shape through the long, cold and dark winters, where temperatures are often below -20 degrees (-4 in Fahrenheit! haha). I also travelled a lot, and while that usually involved a lot of hiking and general backpacking, your website was a great resource for the days when I had a really long bus or train ride.
I like the inclusive nature of your site, and I like the way you detail your progress as well; ultimately it creates a better dialogue with your readers. There’s a lot of posturing on fitness blogs/sites and the absence of that kind of thing on your site is very refreshing.”
Check out Jasper’s story on his extensive travels and how he fits in exercise no matter where he’s at in the world:
One of my very favorite things in the whole world is getting to watch you guys grow and improve as people and athletes and realize you really can do anything you put your mind to.
Every single email you guys send me and comment you write saying how much you improved at your 100 burpees time, or that you did your very first double under, or your second pull up in a row despite previously thinking you’d never be able to do a pull up in your life puts a HUGE smile on my face (and some of you think I never smile!).
It’s just so amazing to see all your improvement and know that so many of you are gaining strength and confidence in not just your fitness abilities, but in so many other areas of your lives.
One of the people I’ve watched improve so much over the past couple of years is Christina, a 39-year-old visual artist, former flamenco dancer, mom, and future small farmer/homesteader living just outside of Chicago.
Since way before nearly anyone else commented on the workout posts, Christina has been updating us on her progress on an incredibly consistent basis.
I think I have been doing your HIIT workouts for almost two years now. Yesterday I encountered a scale for the first time in about 2 years. People have been commenting on how much weight I have lost and I am at least two dress sizes smaller. Now, get this: I lost 3lbs!!!!! Lol- how amazing is that! It means, as I can attest, I have gained an enormous amount of muscle and lost a whole lot of fat. I am so thrilled! Not that I needed any extra convincing as to how awesome HIIT is. And it all started with one of your handstand posts. Thanks for all you do!
I’ve been so impressed at (and proud of!) Christina’s dedication and improvement over the past couple of years, but seeing this comment, I knew I had to finally reach out and learn more about her story. And I’m so glad I did—Christina is strong, humble, and an awesome inspiration for all of us.
Here’s what Christina has to say on HIIT, going after goals, staying motivated, and more:
I have no doubt that this is going to be tough for some people—it is Fourth of July weekend, after all.
But holidays are no excuse for not getting your workout in—just get it done early in the day and you can spend the rest of your time watching fireworks, barbecuing, hanging out with your family, or doing whatever else you do this weekend.
You’ve got this, athletes!
Before I remind you of the 100 burpee challenge contest rules, I wanted to check in with Corinna, a seriously awesome 12 Minute Athlete reader, personal trainer in Australia and recent new mom.
Corinna had her son Hugo 7 months ago, and although it hasn’t always been easy, has made incredible progress ever since. She recently knocked her 100 burpee time down by 4:03—seriously inspiring!
Tomorrow is the official start of the June 100 burpee challenge. Time to get excited!
But before getting you guys fired up to do the challenge, I first wanted to check in with Erin, last month’s contest winner. Erin knocked an impressive 4:29 off her 100 burpee time from April to May, so I thought it’d be pretty motivating to check in with her and see how she did it.
Because remember, while aspiring to reach a certain time at some point along your fitness journey awesome, it’s really all about YOUR improvement and how hard you can keep pushing yourself to get better and fitter than ever before.
One of the questions I get asked most from readers is whether these short HIIT workouts are really enough to get in shape.
Because until you try them for yourself and realize just how tough they really are, most people don’t believe that 12 (or 10-20ish) minutes a few times a week is all it takes to get fitter and stronger and in better shape than ever before.
Misty was skeptical at first, too. After recently having a baby (her second), Misty says she fell into a bit of a slump. Although she’d always been in good shape prior to her pregnancy, her recent family addition threw off her schedule, and it became more and more difficult to fit in her workouts. So after feeling like she needed a change, she gave the workouts a shot anyway—and I’m so happy to be able to say, got her time back.
No, Misty isn’t some huge weight loss success story. She’s always been pretty healthy and fit. But she no longer has to spend an hour on the treadmill plus a half an hour or more lifting weights—which, for any new parent, entrepreneur, or generally busy person, is incredibly awesome.
Even better, since doing the workouts, Misty says she’s gotten slimmer, trimmer and harder than ever before. Her husband even calls her the Queen of the Kettlebell!
I hope you’ll be as inspired by Misty as I am—she works hard, and it shows. She’s not intimidated by tough exercises, and her fitness level continues to improve because of it. And best of all, she does it in way less time than before, giving her more time for her family and all the other things she enjoys in life.
If you had to ask me the one underlying reason I have for being fit and healthy, it’s not for appearance’s sake, or even athleticism, or being able to do 100 burpees in a row.
It’s so that as I get older, I can continue to do all the things I love so dearly: to have adventures, to always have new experiences, to pla, climb, swim, kick and punch to my heart’s content.
Living a long, healthy, active life is one of my biggest aspirations. And I strongly believe the key to accomplishing this is to stay young at heart—and body—for life.
Graham Sayer is the epitome of fitness, health, and adventure. New Zealand born and now living in Australia, he works out 5 days a week and seeks out adventure at life’s every turn. For his 80th birthday, Graham didn’t just have a party to celebrate—he opted to go skydiving instead.
I hope Graham’s story inspires you as much as it did me. His life is proof that if you stay active, pay attention to what you eat, constantly seek out new experiences, and have a sense of humor about life, you’ll never really be forced to grow old.
It’ll take work, and it won’t be easy, but it is possible.