Ben Davis: An Everyday Role Model

Ask any young child who their role model is and they’ll be quick to blurt out names like Michael Jordan, Serena Williams or Michael Phelps.

And then reality sets in.

We grow up and realize we’re never going to be 6’6’’ tall, we notice our hand-eye coordination is terrible, resulting in more missed balls than ones that actually make it over the net, and we recognize that our short arm span and asthmatic tendencies don’t help propel us through the water at record-breaking speeds.

After we pick up the pieces of our shattered dreams, we re-evaluate our personal definition of a role model and begin to search for someone real.  We look for someone like ourselves; an average, everyday person who can inspire us.

Enter: Ben Davis.

Ben Davis has been an inspiration of mine since I began reading his blog over a year ago. His journey is one of courage, commitment and overcoming adversity.

Up until three years ago, Ben’s life was spiraling downhill – quickly.  At 22 years old, he was severely overweight and depressed.  All it took was one simple question from his grandmother, “Are you happy with your life?” for him to decide to do something.

Ben’s method of weight loss is running and he chronicles his journey through his BenDoesLife blog (powered by Tumblr).  His site autobiography is simple and powerful: I have lost 120 pounds, run seven marathons, completed two Ironmans, and gone from depressed recluse to motivational speaker.

Even someone like me, who isn’t necessarily looking to lose weight but instead to become healthier, can still be motivated by Ben’s story. The most important piece of advice I take from Ben’s blog is that the journey’s not going to be easy, but the end results are worth it. This can be applied to anything in life.

Ben’s inspirational journey involves weight loss and weight gain. He jokes about bloody nipples and shamelessly posts shirtless photos of himself posing like an Abercrombie model. He talks about running and then stopping and then running again. He posts about his love life (Congrats on the recent engagement!), his addiction to gambling and other non-fitness related activities. He allows himself to be vulnerable and real and that is what makes Ben Davis so relatable and lovable.

Since his blog went viral, Ben’s YouTube video “My 120 Pound Journey” has received more than 1.5 million views, he was a guest on NBC’s “The Today Show”, started his very own “Do Life Movement” across the United States and was featured on the December 2011 cover of Runner’s World Magazine.

Ben’s advice is simple, “If you want to do it, all you have to do is do it.”


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