10 Questions w/ SUMIR SENNIK

Joining the Academy back in 2012, Sumir Sennik wasn’t always prioritizing fitness & nutrition. Focused on his busy law career, Sumir never concentrated on an active lifestyle.  In 2009, Sumir realized that he needed to start being more conscious about his health and fitness. This realization led to the pursuit of a more healthy, active lifestyle.  Below, we get to know a bit more about this Lawyer’s past, present, and future physical aspirations.

1. Coming from a background where physical fitness was not a priority, what clicked to get you motivated to make changes in your life?

I had really let my fitness and health slide away from me once I started working after law school.  I was almost completely inactive, seriously obese and very unhappy for a good portion of my late 20s/early 30s. One day I stepped out of the shower and took a good look at my body in the mirror, which was one of the many things I used to avoid when I was heavier. I realized that I hadn’t looked like this previously, and if I kept going the way I was, it was only going to get worse. That was the day I decided to stop believing my excuses, and start taking responsibility for my choices, my body, and my health.

2. You began getting physically active before Crossfit and Academy. What other things were you pursuing prior to us?

There was a boxing gym around the corner from where I used to live, so I joined and trained obsessively for about a year or so.  At first I could barely do anything, so I just used to try to keep my hands up for the entire class. Over time, my fitness improved and I started to see real changes in my body and feel real changes in my mind, especially my self-confidence. This led me to Bikram Yoga, which I also really threw myself into. The year after that, some friends and I decided to train for some sprint triathlons. Over the course of training for those, I began to realize that I enjoyed running in a way that my friends didn’t, so the next year I trained for a couple of half marathons and my first (and so far only) full marathon.

3. Nutrition was also something you’ve struggled with. When did you start making changes to your eating habits? How do you commit to eating better with all the temptation out there?

I feel like I might always struggle with my nutrition, to be honest.  I started changing my eating habits once I realized that eating better would not only help me lose weight, but would also help me take on the physical challenges I was pursuing. I’m not at all perfect with my nutrition, but I try to eat well and try to be aware of how much I need to eat, and my fullness. I commit to eating better by not being too hard on myself when I eat something that’s less than great for me. Enjoy the treat, and move on with the bigger picture in mind. I track my food, weight and body fat percentage on a daily basis- this keeps me honest and helps me focus on trends & my habits, rather than just stepping on a scale once in a while and (over)reacting to whatever number pops up.

4. What got you to join us at the Academy of Lions? How often do you train throughout the week?

After I finished my marathon in 2011, I felt a huge sense of accomplishment- it seemed so impossible to me just three years earlier. But I was bothered that I still didn’t really feel like I was as strong or as “fit” as I wanted to be, and actually went through a bit of a down period for a bit. A very fit friend of mine suggested I try Crossfit, and I found my way over to the Academy. Currently, I train about 4 or 5 days a week.  I’ve come to appreciate that rest days actually pay off in terms of my progress, especially as my 40th birthday gets closer and closer.

5. You’ve done a couple triathlons, half marathons, a full marathon, Lions Leagues, and Crossfit Opens. Why all the love for competitive training? Was there a level of fear when you started doing these events?

I like having a longer-term goal to reach for that scares me a little, and seems hard to achieve.  It motivates me to plan a strategy to get there, and it focuses my mind on the fact that my success depends a lot on my mental approach to that plan and the little choices I make on a daily basis.  I was terrified when I first started all of those things, but focusing on what’s in front of me (swim to this buoy, focus on this km, this thruster, this pullup, etc.) is the best way for me to stay calm and focused.

6. You recently did the Goodlife half marathon. How did it go? What is it about running that you love so much?

It was really fun! It wasn’t my best time, but it was pretty close to it. And it was the first race I’ve ever run in bad weather, so the experience was huge for me. It was also the first time I’ve ever trained for and run a race with a big group of people I knew, so it was pretty great to see some friends and familiar faces out on the course.

I love running because of the way it makes me feel.  When I run, my mind feels free and I feel happy.  It just makes me smile!

7. How has the Academy, Crossfit, and Running affected your life overall?

It’s all been a massively positive influence and a real source of joy in my life.  When I was unfit I used to try to force myself to do things I didn’t like in the name of fitness, and I would inevitably give up. Now, I feel like I have a true sense of appreciation for the things I can do, and the drive to push myself to achieve new goals. I have made a lot of friends and met some incredibly interesting, positive people at the Academy who support each other in a lot of great ways.  

8. Any upcoming events that you plan to partake in?

I’m planning to be part of the Official Leann Lapp Cheer Squad at Regionals at the end of the month (Anyone got a spare Large t-shirt?)

9. Can you tell us something about you that we may not know?

I’m a HUGE Jeopardy fan, and I would love to be on that show one day. They’ve recently changed their rules and are no longer accepting Canadian applicants, but I’m hoping that will change soon.

10. What are your future physical aspirations? Any other physical activities you haven’t tried that you’d like to check out?

My number one physical goal right now is to lose a little bit of weight, train smart, and get ready for the NYC marathon in the fall. I was lucky enough to get a lottery spot this year, and I’m really excited about the chance to show New York that I’m not the same guy I was when I moved away in 2008.

I would absolutely LOVE to try surfing one day. I read William Finnegan’s “Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life” last year and it had me aching to be out on the water. I’m not even a great swimmer, but that book just moved me!