No Name Sup­per Club, Los Angeles

Men's Health (South Africa) - - RELATIONSHIPS -

The am­ply bearded chef of the quasi-se­cret sup­per club No Name opened his first restau­rant 16 years ago. Like all new busi­ness own­ers, Jared Si­mons was on the job ev­ery morn­ing and night. He pounded kilo­joules, drank too much, and worked into the wee hours. He bal­looned to 91kg, way too much for his 1.79m frame. “One day I woke up and felt like death,” he re­calls. That was nine years ago.

Then a friend in­tro­duced Si­mons to five-day-a-week high-in­ten­sity train­ing. He dropped most of the weight, so he could at least eat and drink without guilt. He was happy, Si­mons says – for a while. “I think I looked pretty good from the out­side,” he com­ments.

In the au­tumn of 2015, he saw a story online about the “Ve­gan Iron­man”, singer John Joseph of the punk-turned-thrash band Cro-Mags. Here was a man in his 50s, Si­mons re­calls, who was “crush­ing triathlons”. So Si­mons bought a bike, picked a doable race (an Olympic-length tri ), and set a time­line of four and a half months (see p96 if you want to train for a tri your­self).

As an early riser who didn’t have to be at work un­til the af­ter­noon, Si­mons’s prob­lem wasn’t time. He wor­ried most about fuel. He was 38 years old, and wanted to find a way to stoke his en­ergy and stay healthy. “And I kept com­ing back to Joseph’s story and a plant-based diet.”

Si­mons adopted a strict ve­gan diet, de­spite working full-time in a place that served rich food. Five weeks later, he says, “I felt amaz­ing.” He was leaner and stronger. His wife said he was no longer snor­ing. He felt more en­er­getic, even though he re­quired less sleep.

En­cour­aged by the changes, Si­mons kept pushing. He joined the LA Triathlon Club, hired a coach, and went gonzo on train­ing. He was spend­ing two to four hours a day run­ning, bik­ing, swim­ming, and working out. The gym he built in his Hol­ly­wood Hills garage has TRX straps, a Con­cept2 rower, a Keiser spin bike, and weights. A year later, he had fin­ished three Olympic-length triathlons and a half Iron­man.

Si­mons isn’t fin­ished yet. He’s just en­tered his first full Iron­man race, Sonoma County’s Iron­man Vine­man.

“I lit­er­ally feel like I’ve be­come su­per­hu­man,” Si­mons says of his new body. “Do­ing all this has brought health back into my life. I’m not just working out so I can look good. It’s now a life­style, and it’s about how I feel. I’m prob­a­bly adding years back to my life.”

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