Family Focused Wellness: The Past, Present, and Future of Genetics and Fitness

Bill Brumbach has always drawn inspiration from family to live a healthy and active lifestyle. From his grandfather, to his daughters, to his ’running-family’ he’s now sharing the transformative power of genetic insights with others to help improve the wellness of generations to come. This is Bill’s #Orig3nStory

Thanks for joining us today Bill. We enjoyed meeting you at a Spartan race and look forward to sharing your journey since then. Could you start by sharing a bit about yourself?

I think most people would consider me to be loyal and passionate. A quick look at my social feeds will show you how much I love running and that I’m the proud father of two girls. Hands down, the best thing ever!

I also think I’m really good at “turning lemons into lemonade” often by making light of the situation and myself. In fact, I was an amateur stand-up comedian for a couple years so a lot of people would probably say that I have a great sense of humor. But, I also enjoy chatting with new people and learning what makes them tick. We’re all unique individuals and learning how everyone can be unique in their own way is one of the best parts of the human experience for me!

Is that curiosity what got you interested in DNA Testing too?

Definitely! I had always been curious about DNA testing for awhile but two things kept me from doing it. The ones I had looked into in the past were costly and were normally done overseas, which made sending the tests especially complicated through customs. After finding your company at a Spartan race I decided to use ORIG3N because you’re based in the United States and the tests are VERY reasonably priced!

So which test did you end up buying and why?

I selected the Orig3n Fitness Test since I compete at a high level in obstacle course and trail racing. I wanted to know about my body and how it would respond to specific types of training. The last thing I want to do is waste valuable training days on training that my body doesn’t respond to.

One of my goals is to maximize my performance come race day; train smarter and train harder! In fact, one of my favorite quotes is “Hard work beats talent when talent won’t work hard.” I live it every day!

So true! Could you share how your DNA Test results added to that inspiration?

I was very surprised with the results! I never considered myself to be a strength athlete, but my DNA Test results showed my body adapts very quickly to strength training. After learning this, I spent the next few months working harder in the weight room and, sure enough, the testing was completely accurate! I now excel at the strength based obstacles! The heavier the better!

I started sharing my results with fellow athletes and they were equally surprised! I’ve always been a strong runner, but always felt the heavy carry obstacles were my nemesis. Having worked hard in the weight room, I’ve changed how I view the term “strong runner”; I run *very* well, but I’m strong now, too! And the extra muscle mass hasn’t slowed me down one bit!

Was there anything else that changed for you as a result of your DNA Test insights?

I totally geek out about exercise science, human anatomy, and nutrition. I’m a total data nerd too, so having additional data from the Fitness test from ORIG3N gave me something to comb over for a while. Now, health and wellness are much more than a lifestyle for me. I want to know all that I can to maximize my longevity and place a continued emphasis on living a healthy and active lifestyle. But perhaps most importantly and passing those values on to my children.

Now with children of my own, I want to be that resource to them because I believe they have the same genetic predisposition to excel in endurance sports! So I’ll be ordering some ORIG3N tests for my daughters to see what their strengths are and how we can work together to help them find the joy in physical activity they’re best suited for.

That sounds like a wonderful legacy to leave with your daughters. Did you have the same experience growing up?

When I was young, I wish that I had a parent who was willing to work with me on finding the value and joy in physical activity and a healthy diet. I look up to my grandfather most. He was a kind, compassionate man who would help people who were down on their luck financially. He was also a multisport athlete and played football for the University of Kentucky under Paul “Bear” Bryant. He left UK to fight in WWII and finished his business degree after he returned. He was also an accomplished endurance athlete later in life, and I remember seeking out his running routes and trying to beat his times.

It sounds like you enjoy the spirit of competition. Is there anything else that motivates you?

I really enjoy the time I take to train. I wake up early every morning to get my training in because that’s my “me” time. I spend this time reflecting and being introspective; it’s my form of meditation. But you’re right that I’m also a VERY competitive individual! It helps compel me to push myself hard is knowing my competition is doing the same thing. I know there are individuals out there who are more talented (genetically) than I am, but I won’t let anyone outwork me!

Part of the Spartan mission statement is that obstacles help shift our frame of reference and make us more resilient. Are there any obstacles you’ve recently overcome?

Actually, yes. For all of 2018, I’ve been battling an autoimmune disorder. I realized it had become a problem when I gained an inordinate amount of weight (10 lbs on small framed is so not flattering), had extreme difficulty hitting times on benchmark workouts, and just generally felt unwell. I dramatically changed my diet and began to feel much more like my former, healthier self. I saw my resting heart rate go down significantly, my heart rate variability go up, and my weight return to normal.

The best part? Beating those benchmark workout times and finding a renewed sense of endurance and speed. I’m still in the process of healing, as there are still physical reminders of my autoimmune disorder, but I know I’m on the path to healing and I plan to get back to full health!

What actions do you do better alone and when does a group help the most?

I honestly prefer running alone. I love to run at my own pace and since it’s my time for introspection and meditation, I don’t really enjoy making it a social event. Although I enjoy running alone, I do believe we need social connections to individuals with similar interests for social interaction. When I first moved to Indiana, I didn’t know many people here and found myself sinking into a social depression. I had access to people whom I could socialize with, but didn’t have much common ground to make true meaningful connections with people.

It was when I started to get into endurance sports that I made those meaningful connections, and these people I now consider family. These connections have fulfilled me and give me additional incentive to go to races to see all my race-family! For me, racing just isn’t a sport, it’s a community that I need to balance me out.

Thanks so much for sharing your story with us. Where can people find you online and do you have any parting words of advice for future generations that want to embrace health and fitness like you have?

If anyone would like to follow me I’m at billbrumbachocr. In closing, one piece of advice I would give is that “your coaches are using endurance running now as punishment, but trust me, you’re good at it and you’ll be better when you’re older. Embrace it now and the punishment will become fun-ishment!”