by Connolly, Chris

Men's Fitness
September 1, 2008

Arkady Hagopian;
Case study

Arkady Hagopian (it's a Russian name, although Arkady's Armenian)
didn't just go from out of shape to in shape. He went from out of
shape to incredible shape. And he did it in just less than a year
and half. Eighteen months ago, a trip down the stairs left the Los
Angeles business analyst huffing and puffing. Today, he's gearing up
for a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike race, and a 26.2-mile run--an
Ironman Triathlon (he plans to complete three events this year).

Hagopian has dubbed his transformation "from fat to fit to
iron fit," and he's chronicled his experience on his blog: For the former chubby Californian, the blog,
and the attention it generated from both well-wishers and people
trying to imitate his success, was a major source of inspiration. "It
turned out to be a real tool for me," he says. "It definitely kept me
on track. When peoplestarted to e-mail me asking me how I was doing,
that really kept me motivated. I still look at the blog two or three
times a day to remind myself where I was and where I'm going."

Overweight nearly all his life, Hagopian weighed 240 pounds with
nearly 40% body fat at the age of 27. His blood pressure was soaring,
and diabetes was looming on the horizon. "One day I tried to go for
arun with my girlfriend, and she just smoked me. She's not even a very
fast runner, and I couldn't stay close to her," Hagopian remembers."I
think that was a wake-up call."

The single step that began Hagopian's great journey was just that--a
step. He found running at 24-0 pounds painful for his ankles and knees,
so he started walking. He deliberately parked his car as far aspossible
from his destination and went hiking whenever he could. "I had to
lose some weight before I could start losing weight," Hagopiansays,
laughing. But once he pulled off that paradoxical trick, he was off
to the races--literally. "Once I started seeing some progress, I got
addicted to exercise," he recalls.

Buoyed by his embrace of the "pain as pleasure" principle,
Hagopian pushed himself beyond any place he had targeted at the
outset. "Ironfit is the term I use to describe what I'm shooting for
now," he says. "It's the ability, and the desire, to push yourself
for 11, 12, 13hours at a time."

Hagopian is now healthier and happier than ever. He spends weekends
in motion--a 60-mile bike ride followed by a 22-mile run is not
uncommon--and he continues to inspire others with his story. "By
trying to help others, I end up helping myself," Hagopian says. 'Tm
keeping up the blog, and I'm also trying to start a nonprofit
organization dedicated to helping overweight kids from low-income
families. Everything has changed for me in the last couple of years. I
feel more attractive. I have better relationships with my friends and
myself. And I want people to experience that kind of change as well,
because if you put the work in, everybody can do it."

Arkady's 3 Tips for Success * Surround yourself with positive, driven
people * Track your progress religiously * Don't just exercise. Train!

TALE OF THE TAPE Name Arkady Hagopian Hometown Fresno, Calif.

Age 29 Height 5'9" Weight Before 2140 lbs Weight After 160 lbs Do you
have a tale that qualifies you as a Success Story? E-mail it to us
at [email protected] or write to Men's Fitness Success
Stories, One Park Avenue, 3rd Floor, New York, NY 10016. Include
your name, address, telephone number, and any pictures that document
your transformation.