My schedule hasn’t allowed for much blogging, but I feel compelled to share this story with all of you. This is the story of Andy Barron and the Foster Challenge.
I was asked by Foster the People to take part in a documentary featuring Andy Barron, their longtime photographer and friend. Andy’s goal was to lose 80 lbs. in 8 months. And my role was to help him get there.
With a little more than a month to go, Andy’s weight-loss had plateaued. Following the exchange of many emails and a number of phone calls between Marshall, the documentary director, I agreed to fly out to California for the last month of the challenge. When I met with Andy, he needed to lose 16 more lbs. in a little less than a month.
I landed in LA excited and ready to focus Andy’s workouts to help him win his challenge. Neither Andy nor I took the remaining weight loss lightly. We resolved to ramp up all activities to make sure that Andy emerged victorious in the challenge. He texted me a few days in, saying that his weight was still unchanged. I was discouraged and disappointed in myself. I re-centered myself and decided that Andy was going to win this thing. I texted him explaining the changes that had to happen. I ended the text with: “I’m not worried. We will get it.” Andy’s response, which was a huge turning point, was: “Cool. I’m not worried either.” Feeling his shift in attitude, I felt that I could now ratchet up the intensity and produce excellence. We were now in this together.
The next day, we pushed way harder. We ran more; we did hill repeats and ran steep steps. We did circuit training. We started to fine-tune how and what Andy was eating.
The days following that first grueling workout continued to get harder and more intense. I found myself watching this man being pushed physically to the brink. Andy started to demonstrate a calm yet fierce focus on not giving up.
He started to lose weight. Fast. For the next week, Andy stuck tenaciously to the plan. He continued to challenge himself. He started to find ways to exceed even the heavy demands I had placed on him. After a full day of strenuous workouts he would text me about food and the fact that he was going to jog some more.
The last few days of April (closing in on the end of the challenge period), Andy’s weight fluctuated from morning to night. In the morning he had hit his goal but at night his weight would creep back over. That’s normal and there are a ton of factors that come into play. But Andy and I both wanted to make sure that he would remain below the target weight without question.
We raised the bar even higher. We absolutely killed it the last two days. Andy’s friends showed solid love and support throughout this experience—even joining us for one of our last workouts.
The last day before the official weigh-in, Andy stepped on the scale and it read 206 lbs. His victorious smile told the story. He had lost 19 lbs. in just 18 days. An astounding feat.
It is clear to me that Andy’s strength and determination was steadfast during the last few weeks of the Foster Challenge. Andy discovered how to couple his mind and his body to produce amazing physical and mental change. Andy’s perseverance was exceptional and impressive to watch and foster. I am in awe. We did it. Andy did it.
As I write this, on my flight back home, listening to Holocene, I am overcome with joy about this whole experience. I feel privileged to have taken part in this great journey. This experience has nurtured me. It has reassured me that this whole process we endure—this whole life experience—is ultimately perfected by building relationships and making lasting friendships. It points again to the truth that we can, and should, help each other to live healthier, happier lives; that by helping each other, we each receive benefit.
I can’t wait for this documentary to be released so that the world can see the hard work, the humor, the great friendship and the ultimate triumph of the human spirit. Thank you Foster Challenge. Love you Andy. You can do anything.