"To Stay Competitive, You've Got to Embrace Taking on New Challenges."

When NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson talks about what gives him an edge, other racers would do well to listen closely and take good notes. After all, Johnson has earned his place among the greatest in motor racing history. “DRIVING a car does not require much in the way of physical fitness,” says Jimmie. “But RACING a car does. If the cars are essentially equal, then winning is on the driver – and being in your best physical and mental shape makes all the difference!”

“I’m in my forties now and looking to stay competitive against the up-and-coming younger guys in my rearview mirror. That puts even more importance on being healthy. First things first, I have to be careful about what I eat. With my body type, I can put on weight and slow myself down pretty quickly. I really need self-discipline. I try to eat as close to the root as possible, concentrating on fruits and vegetables and lean proteins. But I’m human – I still love pizza and ice cream, so I’ve got to work hard to stay fit.”

“Sticking to a regular workout takes a lot of mental self-discipline. It takes a certain amount of desire and motivation to get up early to train, to put your time in and push, and that carries over into the car. I aim to put in two hours a day, depending on what else is going on in a particular week. That 2 hours is split between swimming, biking, running, and weight training.”

“I think it’s important for families to embrace fitness together. That’s something my wife and I are very aware of.”

Johnson says he puts a lot of emphasis on exercising with his family. “I think it’s important for families to embrace fitness together, that’s something my wife and I are very aware of. We ride bikes with our kids. We get out and are active, play sports, whatever we can do to put fitness into the kids’ mindset.”

What if you just don’t have those 2 hours a day? Jimmie says, “If you don’t think you have time to exercise or have a budget for a gym membership, you can research online for a nutrition plan. In terms of exercise, just try to carve out 30 minutes. It’s amazing what you can accomplish.”

“And if you’re working toward a goal, get a watch to time your exercise, know how far you went or how long you went – then increase those numbers and build the volume. What’s really helpful is to find a running or fitness group, or a friend. You’ll hold each other accountable and it’s great motivation.”

For Jimmie, living fearless is tackling the impossible and discovering what he’s capable of. In January 2015, he completed a 70.3 mile triathlon – a half Ironman – in just over 4.5 hours. He also completed a 103-mile amateur bike race with 10,200 feet of vertical climbing where after 80 miles of biking he still climbed Mt. Mitchell! “I was pretty nervous and scared, but I enjoyed the challenge. Living fearless means doing things I don’t know I can complete.”

Jimmie Sitting for an interview

By constantly challenging himself as an athlete, and with the support of a great team, Jimmie has won 7 NASCAR Cup Championships.

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