“You become different the moment you decide to change. And everything gets better.”
As he prepares to embark on the first ever Do Life Tour, a 31-city series of 5K event, we caught up with Ben Davis for a Q&A session.
Ben is the inspirational leader of the both the tour and the Do Life Movement. The Movement began as his own personal journey to a better and healthier life. Three years later, it's message has inspired thousands around the world promoting the virtues of fitness and happy living.
AllSport GPS: In your blog you talk about how your grandmother lit a fire under you by simply asking if you’re happy. What was it about that one question that motivated you to make a change?
Ben: Anytime someone pushes to ask you something that forces you to face struggles you might be having, the natural instinct is to become defensive. And I did, at first. But lying in bed that night, I kept facing myself--kept being honest with myself, and realized that it was time to put into action the things I knew I needed to do.
AllSport GPS: How did you decide what methods you’d undertake to get healthy? You chose running to start, but with so many weight loss options available, what made you choose this?
Ben: It was dumb luck that I found something immediately that I fell in love with. On the way home from my grandmother's house that year, I called my brother (who also needed to lose weight) and he was just as excited as I was. His first instinct was to sign us up for a 5K and he did--and we ran it, and we fell in love with it the sport. I was very fortunate.
AllSport GPS: How often did you want to give up? What powered you through to keep going?
Ben: There were a few times when things got tough. I remember the first and worst time was about five months after I'd started and the newness and novelty had worn off. I was down about 90 pounds and started to become content with myself and I backslid a little. I was lucky, though, because a couple weeks into my funk, my father called and told me he had been inspired to start running and he joined the team, and it became a way for all of us to spend time together and do these incredible races together. That's what has kept me moving forward; doing this day in and day out with my dad and brother. It makes it a lot easier.
AllSport GPS: When did you first notice a real change in yourself? Not just physically but overall attitude? When did you realize you were happy again?
Ben: There wasn't one specific moment, but I realized really soon after starting, maybe two or three weeks, that I was smiling a lot more and had become a different person in the way I acted with my friends, family and classmates. That's one big misconception about life-changes. The natural thing to assume is that we will become happy once we hit our goals, whatever they may be, but I've found that that's not true. You become different the moment you decide to change. And everything gets better.
AllSport GPS: What was the hardest thing about your path to losing 120 pounds?
Ben: The diet. Eating has always been my biggest downfall and I still struggle, but luckily I'm consistently training and running so maintaining my weight hasn't been too much of an issue.
AllSport GPS: What was the easiest?
Ben: None of it is exactly "easy" but having a team--my brother and dad-- makes it A LOT easier to stick with it. It's an important point to make: we have to have a support system. We can't do it alone.
AllSport GPS: What was the biggest surprise?
Ben: The emotional changes. I used to lock myself in my room and avoid human interaction, now I'm traveling the country, speaking to groups and meeting people every chance I get. It's a complete 180 and it's the coolest thing about this whole journey.
AllSport GPS: What’s next for you after the Do Life tour?
Ben: More and more tours. Working on making them better. Figuring out new ways to get out there and spread the message of happiness. That life can be exciting. That's what it's about. On a personal note, though, there is a book and more speaking engagements in the works. So that's super exciting. Getting to make a career of writing and speaking and meeting people on a daily basis--it really is a dream come true.
AllSport GPS: What made you want to share your story with others?
Ben: I made the blog to primarily keep myself accountable and to provide myself with a running journal that I could always look back on. Plus, you know, it’s fun to have everything logged. But once people started reading, and we struck up online relationships and communicating back and forth and sharing stories, I realized: THIS is what it’s about. Doing these things, and doing them together. I’m not just sharing my story with others, we’re sharing stories with each other.
AllSport GPS: Based on that success in inspiring others, you started the Do Life Movement. What exactly is Do Life Movement to you?
Ben: The Do Life Movement is an idea that life doesn’t have to be ordinary or inconsequential. To that end, my father, my brother and I have decided to take it to the streets in every sense of the phrase. We’ve found happiness in life through running and, more importantly, running together. The Do Life Movement is a community of people who are committed to replacing the bad habits or the unsatisfying areas of their lives with fitness—running, cycling, swimming, whatever it may be. If we do these things, and do them together, life can be incredible.
AllSport GPS: What is the biggest obstacle for the 21 million Americans who are struggling with obesity?
Ben: Without a doubt it’s technology and the fact that most of the things we do now, we do in front of a computer screen. I’m as guilty as the next person and obviously technology is not a bad thing; we have to make it a priority, though, to occasionally get outside, get moving and stay active.
AllSport GPS: You have inspired more than one-million people on YouTube and now others have signed up to Do Life. What does grandma think now?
Ben: Meemaw has been incredible. On a daily basis she is keeping me in check or just checking on me. She has all our blogs bookmarked and is always commenting or texting me to encourage me. She’s a constant source of inspiration; she’s 84 and hasn’t slowed down. It’s remarkable.
Get the complete tour date schedule here.