My name is Zach McGinnis and I am one of the Athletes vs. Epilepsy ambassadors. For the past 20 years of my life my summer fitness routines have been solely focused on swimming. As a collegiate and professional swimmer I committed my time to 9 workouts a week in the pool and up to 5 workouts a week in the weight room; however, this summer I am officially retired from the sport of swimming and have begun the journey of “life after athletics”.
For a while I struggled to find a routine and new activity I was passionate about. Between my new 9 to 5 job and not having teammates or coaches to push me it was a real struggle to maintain the same work ethic I had in the pool. About 6 months ago I began training Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) at a local gym in Fort Lauderdale, FL. It has taken my body a while to adjust to the physical contact that I never had as a swimmer, but I am finally able to train frequently now. The sport has definitely been a humbling experience for me as I’ve been tossed around and beaten more times than I like to admit (and still counting!), nevertheless it has been a bit of a relief to show up to practice and nobody knows my past accomplishments in the pool or expects me to perform in a certain way. I am learning with every practice and it feels good to have found my next addiction!
In addition to BJJ I find myself continuing to lift weights several times a week as well as staying active in less competitive ways such as surfing, paddle boarding, and playing racquetball with friends from work. Nothing keeps me satisfied quite like staying active and the Summer Challenge of Athletes vs. Epilepsy provides me with the perfect motivation to continue progressing in BJJ and my other activities.
I hope everyone has a great summer and finds the motivation to complete their summer fitness goals!