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Fit Fam Feature – Manuel Zavala

memphis-fitness-feature-manuelName : Manuel Zavala

Age : 42

Currently living In : Memphis, Tenn.

For work I : am an assistant category manager at AutoZone, managing categories for our stores in Brazil.

Smile2GetFit member since : About two years

Motivation to start living healthier : Freedom. From antidepressants, from feeling and being overweight, from depression.

What’s been easy along the way? : Good question. I don’t think anything has been easy. All worthy things require patience and consistency. However, the things that were difficult at first, are now easier (meal planning, exercising, doing burpees, etc.)

What’s been the most difficult? : Acknowledging that I was my own roadblock. After that, starting and staying focused on the goal.

What are you most proud of? : Oh so many things! It all started with losing weight 🙂 I set a half-marathon PR in November in 1h 52m, with a pace 8:30 m/mile. My previous official half-marathon was in May and I finished in 2h 14m, with a pace of 10:15 min/mile. Shaving 22 minutes was hard, but very rewarding 🙂 I also finished my first marathon in December in 4h 44m 🙂

How do you celebrate milestones? : With friends, and a beer 🙂 because life is about balance.

Favorite way to get fit : I love running, that’s my go-to exercise and favorite activity (road and trails!) But I definitely try to do other things that get me off my comfort zone. For example, in July I did indoor rock climbing and bouldering and loved it! On a typical month, I’d go sometimes to the YMCA and swim.  This week I attended a one-hour kick-boxing class and I had a blast!

First word that comes to mind when I say Burpees : Lauren!!!!! 🙂

Go to healthy meal : I have three: apples, oranges and baby carrots.

Favorite food you didn’t like before : Hmm. I eat everything 🙂 but I’d say mixing my shake with frozen fruit and sometimes with coffee 🙂

Favorite “fun” food : Pizza and beer, of course! Always with friends, too!

What makes you smile? : Running makes me happy. Seeing the amazing scenery I experience when running makes me smile. I learned over the years to just stop and take it all in. Sometimes I take photos of it, and sometimes I just embrace the memory. There are amazing things everywhere: on trails and on city roads. Sometimes it’s sunsets, the light glowing through the trees, a butterfly, leaves on the ground or falling from trees, or rain. I also love running with my friends. That also makes me smile 🙂

Being healthy is a journey – What’s next? : Becoming an ultra runner 🙂 I have signed up for three races this year: two 50K races (one in January and one in February), and one 50-mile race in November.

Where can we bump into you? : Breakaway Running in Midtown on Thursday nights, Shelby Forest trails, Shelby Farms trails, downtown (walking or running), Barnes & Nobel and The Booksellers 🙂

What can we call you for help with? : Pretty much anything 🙂 but running is what I love 🙂 or when you want to learn to speak Spanish or Portuguese 🙂

Favorite Manuel-ism : Saying that my name is Bob or Fez when I go to Starbucks 🙂

To keep in touch :