|Bryce Wylde. (Supplied photo) |
Want to stack the odds for boosting your fitness level?
Then do it for a good cause, says Bryce Wylde, a leading natural health expert and frequent guest of the Dr. Oz Show.
“If you align a fitness goal with charity, you’re so much more likely to do it,” the 37-year-old Torontonian tells Sun Media.
“It’s a win-win. There’s that mental impetus to actually achieve the goal. You’re winning, you’re maintaining some level of fitness and, of course, the charity benefits.
“Where a lot of folks try to find that reason — whether it’s Jan. 1 or fitting into your swimsuit — I tend to believe accomplishing that (getting fit or improving your fitness) probably starts more altruistically.”
And in recent years, the charitable challenges have become downright monumental.
Last year, the respected natural health care practitioner and TV personality climbed Mount Kilimanjaro to raise funds and awareness for mental health.
And this past summer, he hiked 100 km in just under 36 hours in support of Oxfam, an international group dedicated to ending poverty and injustice around the world.
Wylde, a fit 185-190 pounds at five-foot-11, says his most recent charity-related physical challenge — the Oxfam Trailwalker Canada 2012 — was “probably the hardest thing I’ve ever done and accomplished.”
That’s saying a lot for someone who also counts ultramarathons among his extreme summer adventures.
“It was just brutal,” he recalls of the annual endurance walking event that also involves running and jumping. “Everything’s swelling. Your feet are like Shrek. And they’re coming off — literally. I lost half of my nails and the nail beds.”
The Trailwalker, which took place in mid-July, drew 76 four-person teams composed of elite athletes and weekend warriors who relish a challenge.
Rules dictate that team members must “start together, stick together and finish together.”
Wylde captained a team of friends dubbed “Wylde About Health.”
The course began at Wasaga Beach, Ont., and followed “a twisty-turvy, very challenging trail (Ganaraska Hiking Trail) … over barbed-wire fences and up massive hills” to Midland, Ont., Wylde notes.
The health guru and his teammates relied on herbs like California poppy and devil’s claw to help manage pain and inflammation. And they maintained their energy levels with ActivFuel, a sports supplement from Genuine Health.
“It was definitely a challenge of pain threshold — mind over matter,” Wylde says. “I would not have continued on past kilometre marker 60 if it wasn’t for Oxfam. Had I not made a public announcement in the media saying, ‘I’m going to do this and finish this’ … I would’ve given up.
Eighteen of the 76 teams didn’t finish the gruelling race, which continued through the night and well into the next day — and into the day after that for some teams, before being capped at 48 hours.
One member of Wylde About Health bowed out around the 90-km mark. But Wylde and his two remaining teammates persevered, finishing in an official time of 35:56:28.
Only 29 teams registered faster times, according to the online results.
“I’ve done many marathons, but it’s so much harder to do this kind of walking,” Wylde notes. “It was basically brisk hiking.”
The glutton for physical punishment is now training to bicycle across Canada next summer.
Of course, the lofty jaunt will also be for charity — something he urges others to do.
“I would avoid getting into something that maybe exceeds your abilities, but start somewhere and tie it to a charitable foundation, whatever excites you,” he says.
“Attach something beyond yourself to the motivation. Don’t make it about you, as in ‘my waistline’ or ‘because Health Canada recommendations say so.’ Make it about something bigger and you’ll tend to achieve those goals.”
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