Mark’s Back Story

I was a 255-pound heart attack waiting to happen.

I may not make it through this


I started my quest for health and fitness after my mom died at age 54.

My mom was morbidly obese. The last time I saw her before she died, I squeezed her hand hard and promised her that I wasn’t going to let what was happening to her happen to me. Vegan never could have entered the conversation.

I didn’t know what vegan meant.

Six months after Mom passed, I dieted using Weight Watchers online to get down to 205 in about three months. Thank you

MVP #001 – Tracking Health and Nutrition – Mark Phipps – Mocha Vegan Podcast.

Tracking anything that you want to improve or change opens your eyes to what is really taking place.

I started to exercise, running and enjoying my lighter self.

I my first half marathon in September of 2004. I cried during the race because I thought that this beautiful scene must be the work of my mom, encouraging God to reward me for my efforts.

My first marathon in January 2005.

I had already started my education. Cycling was said to strengthen supporting muscles around the knee and hip joints that hurt so much after the marathon.

I bought a road bike and discovered triathlon.100_1350

Phoenix Zoo Race 2005

Phoenix Zoo Race 2005

My first triathlon was in February 2005, followed a year later by my first Ironman Triathlon in April, 2006. An Ironman requires an individual to swim 2.4 miles, bike 112 miles and then finish off the day with a 26.2 mile run. You have 17 hours to finish.

After five Ironman races, several marathons, other races and countless hours of training, I lost my job in July 2010.

No more riding or races and less running.  My “break” slowly crept up on my fitness.  The holiday season of 2012 culminated with a 218 pound weigh in on February 5, 2013.

It was after the Super Bowl Sunday Run 2013 at Pinnacle Peak Park in north Phoenix when I reached my limit. I had had enough.

I was very soft but determined. I set out on a mission to complete 90 days of TapouT XT.  Things started changing in very good ways for me.

Just setting aside my usual overindulgence in beer and working out six days a week was not enough to make the exercise have the results I wanted.

I started tracking with a food journal. I used My Fitness Pal on the web and on my phone. I logged I ate and understood how I did each day for calorie intake and macro nutrient balance.

My diet was still poor, just “restrained” but, fortunately, I started helping a new friend create meal plans for others.

I didn’t have (m)any of the foods on their plans in my diet!

I have learned more and more about nutrition and whole, plant-based foods. I determined where cholesterol came from and that we don’t need nearly the amount of protein I thought we did. It is truly challenging to describe my process as I have come SO far from where I started in just a year!




Milestones along the way:

Reaching my driver’s license weight of 205.
Getting under 200 so I can jump on our trampoline legally.
Crossing 190 to get my BMI in the healthy range for the first time since 1986.
Reaching the weight I entered the Marine Corps in 1985 at 186 pounds.
February 2014 – ran my first plant-based half marathon in 1:44:14.
(PR’d in fall 2014 with 1:41 half marathon)

Lost Dutchman Half Marathon 2014

Lost Dutchman Half Marathon 2014

Starting the Mocha Vegan Performance Podcast March 20, 2014

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Improved my half marathon PR with a 1:41 in October 2014 on a hilly course.

Today's Wyatt Earp after the YMCA October 2014 half marathon at South Mountain.

Today’s Wyatt Earp after the YMCA October 2014 half marathon at South Mountain.

Time for a MARATHON – It HAS been a WHILE!!

Speed Training –  Run a 5:59 mile by December 28, 2016

Qualify for Boston Marathon by September 2018

Run an ultra marathon by May 2018


Learn to walk on my hands (this one scares me a lot)
Prove that family history doesn’t define your cholesterol if you don’t want it to (working on it every day)

Eliminate drug company advertisements from televisions and magazines by 2020.

Why I want to stay in shape and eat healthy

I want to set a positive example for my family and enjoy life to the fullest.

My Inspirations

  • My kids
  • Everyone who looks like they could benefit from eating better food and moving their body