“It’s important to celebrate and to find a sense of humor in things even in these crazy times. Whether you’re going through Cancer or battling this Covid epidemic … it’s important to still find love and laughter in the smallest of things.”Seth Marcus, Cancer survivor and Onnit Challenge champion
According to a recent Finder study, 188.9 million adult Americans or 74.02% of the population say they’re determined to learn something new, make a lifestyle change or set a personal goal in an effort to better themselves in 2021. What often makes the difference between achieving that goal and giving up is the amount of support one surrounds themselves with and luckily, there is plenty to be found, even in Covid times.
Thanks to our virtual world, we are now able to find someone to hold us accountable without ever leaving the house. Seth Marcus found that community in the Onnit challenge, a contest where you sign up to train virtually for 6 weeks alongside other contestants to improve your fitness level. But his is not a typical story, it is extraordinary because aside from persevering and winning the challenge, which he began in March 2020, Seth spent much of 2019 battling cancer.
After his diagnosis of Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in August 2019, Seth traveled to the Mayo clinic for grueling treatments. Throughout September and October, he lost 40 pounds, about a third of his body weight and could barely stand up. By November, he had a feeding tube placed into his intestine to help him survive.
“It’s amazing how quickly life gets turned upside-down. On Saturday I hosted a pool party, on Sunday I went out to dinner to celebrate a birthday and on Monday I went to the hospital with stomach pains. By the end of that week I had been diagnosed and my mom had flown out to take care of me in the hospital.”
Eventually, Seth was able to push through, return home for chemotherapy treatments and as he says, “get back in the game.”
Seth had always been a fitness enthusiast, but life had new challenges now. Not only did his body still have a lot of healing to do, but gyms were closed and with distancing, hiring a personal trainer was out of the question. That’s when his roommate Adam suggested the Onnit challenge. “At the very least, it’ll get us moving and into a routine while we can’t be in a gym,” he said adding, “Best case scenario, you have an incredible story we can share. Let’s show people what’s possible.”
And show people, they did.
Being held accountable to a routine which not only included fitness, but meditating and journaling, was the key for Seth.
“The Onnit 6 challenge changed my fitness level by bringing me back from the most decrepit state I’ve ever been in. It was the best opportunity to restart the fitness I loved when I got sick.”
Seth took what he won from the challenge and gifted it to his mother as a way of saying thank you for all of her incredible support. These days, he is feeling well and busy adjusting back to “normal life.” He returned to hosting his podcast, The MindMill, which he started prior to his illness and is trying to spend as much time with music and in nature as possible.
“I was never afraid of dying. The hardest part of the whole experience was the feeling like I was in utter decay and that I had lost my body and my strength. And being isolated, my mind started suffering too. I’m grateful to have been able to come back and start rebuilding my body. It has shown me that this is just a beautiful time to slow down, try new things and think about what’s most important.”