By Omar Ochoa, Owner and Founding Attorney — Omar Ochoa Law Firm
Working full-time doesn’t always lend itself well to a healthy lifestyle. Most days, you’re so exhausted after a hard day’s work that you don’t want to go to the gym — much less prepare for an Ironman triathlon. It takes a particular motivation to overcome this stress and exhaustion to help yourself become healthier. Although it may be difficult at first, you will quickly start to feel significantly better after you embrace this new routine.
Before I decided to make this change, my lifestyle was particularly unhealthy. Working at the Texas legislature for a state senator, we were often gifted with free food from lobbyists and interest groups trying to get attention. I was eating a donut a day, and while I’m sure we all prefer donuts to apples, they do not keep the doctor away. Combined with the fact that I was essentially working around the clock, my unhealthy habits eventually started to take a heavy toll on my body.
Deciding to change your lifestyle
Fast forward to when I moved to Detroit, working as a senior financial analyst for General Motors. I was surrounded by people who were almost obsessed with healthy lifestyles. My job wasn’t any less demanding — I was always busy assisting the CFO with creating financial presentations — but I was around other people who were motivated to live healthier lives, despite having such an intense work life.
One day, I just felt inspired to do something different for myself. I’d spent so little time focusing on my health in the past that it was time for me to invest in my body. I went to one of my co-workers in my department, who was a marathon runner, and asked him what the hardest thing I could do would be. His answer was the Ironman triathlon. I registered a year in advance and set out on this insanely difficult journey while still working a demanding full-time job.
Pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone
I’ve always loved to push myself out of my comfort zone to do things I never thought were within reach. While the sentiment may be a little cheesy, you truly can do anything you set your mind to, so long as you dedicate yourself fully to it and have a plan for how you will conquer the task. The Ironman was a monumental undertaking, but I managed to complete it with perseverance and a training plan.
This desire to challenge myself was a big part of what inspired me to go back to law school and start my own law firm. I decided to pursue my legal career during that year while I was training, and it was really helpful for me. As a result, the Ironman became more than just me emphasizing a healthy lifestyle — it completely changed my life for the better. Without this drive to consistently better myself, I would still be a couch potato right now.
The biggest challenge that I faced while preparing for the triathlon was finding the time to train without sacrificing any other aspect of my life. My main leisure activity was reading, so audiobooks served as a perfect way of bridging that gap. I would put on some waterproof earbuds while going for an hour-long swim and listen to books. It made the whole experience more enjoyable because I was both training and enjoying the activities I love doing.
Balancing a full-time job with training for a monumental undertaking like the Ironman triathlon is difficult, but my experience proves that it can be done. I am grateful that I had this experience. It has shaped my life, inspired me to continue to pursue amazing things, and endure through all of the obstacles that life has thrown my way. Any major change in your lifestyle is difficult, but the rewards that setting out on a goal like this has on you physically and mentally are more than worth the challenge.
About Omar Ochoa
Omar Ochoa is an award-winning lawyer, certified public accountant, financial expert, and founder of Omar Ochoa Law Firm. His legal specialties include: antitrust, class actions, insurance matters, securities, oil and gas, trade secrets, construction law, environmental law, qui tam, the Fair Credit Reporting Act, employment matters, private equity transactions, and breaches of contract. When he played an instrumental role in uncovering a global automotive parts conspiracy, he not only helped car buyers recover millions of dollars, but also won Outstanding Antitrust Litigation Achievement by a Young Lawyer from the American Antitrust Institute.
Before founding his law firm, Ochoa was an attorney at Susman Godfrey LLP and completed federal clerkships with two of the nation’s top judges – Judge Amul Thapar of Eastern District of Kentucky and Judge Raymond Kethledge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. Before attending law school, he served as a senior financial analyst for General Motors in Detroit. His numerous degrees include a Doctorate of Law, Masters in Professional Accounting, and Bachelors’ degrees in business administration, accounting, and economics, all from The University of Texas at Austin (UT). He has also made history as the first Latino editor in chief of Texas Law Review and the first Latino student body president at UT.