Feeling Hopeless, Stunted, & Unrecognizable | Austin Naylor Transformation Story

Austin Naylor went from being a motocross star-in-the-making to breaking both feet in one fatal accident. An unflattering photo and inner resolve helped fuel his body transformation.
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Austin Naylor lived and breathed motocross. He was a serious competitor, and though he had suffered countless injuries, they had all healed well enough. Then everything changed on August 10, 2013, when his bike mis-shifted, he hit a triple jump in the incorrect gear, and he came up short.

“I went to the track just like any other day,” he says. “I was doing my routine, not really focusing because I’d been riding so much and hew the course and jumps. Then I came around a hill and faced the biggest jump on the track. I was in the wrong gear and my mind didn’t even catch up until it was too late and I was in the air. I landed on my feet and knew instantly that they were broken.”

From that point on, Austin’s life changed forever. To move forward, he had to take a serious look at his health, and also his physical training, which had been totally focused on his sport–and often included beer and cigarettes after a run.

This is Austin’s story.

Were you always into bikes?

I grew up in a motocross family. It’s funny, because we lived two seconds from the beach but were always driving to the desert. My dad owned his own dirt bike when he was younger and put me on my first bike when I was about five. It’s in my blood, for sure. When I was younger I’d get pulled out of school on Fridays to go out to the desert and camp out with friends and family. It was one of the best memories of my life. It’s a little scary at first, but once you learn to embrace the adrenaline rush you want to get better at it. I guess it’s like what Arnold says about the pump—there’s nothing else like the crazy euphoria it brings. You just want to do it again and again. It’s definitely addicting.

Lightness means speed in a sport like this, I imagine. Did you have to be seriously cardiovascularly fit to compete at motocross?

Yes, but you also have to be strong to ride dirt bikes. Ultimately it’s a cardio sport because you’re trying to go for 20-30 minutes gripping and holding on as hard as you can. A lot of people think it’s really easy and you twist the throttle and the bike just goes, but you got to realize that you’re holding onto this 250-pound machine that’s trying to rip out from underneath you. It takes every muscle in your body to control it.

Still, I was mostly focused on cardio when I was younger. I never really lifted weights. I would always go run, but after my run I’d go pick up a cigarette and some beer, watch TV, and call it a day.


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