TB12 Spotlight: Greg McEachern
Growing up in Worcester, Massachusetts, Greg McEachern was known more for being the creative kid than the athletic kid.
“I played sports when I was younger — but it wasn’t really ‘my thing.’ I was really more into art, so I wasn’t ever really an ‘athlete,'” he explains.
His focus remained on his artwork throughout his childhood. Then, after his freshman year of college, there was a shift.
“I had just turned 19, I was out of shape, and the freshman 15 was probably more like the freshman 30 for me. Up until that point, I didn’t care about what I was eating; I wasn’t working out — and I felt like I had no reason to.”
So he started getting into fitness, which for him meant running.
“I got into a pretty good groove with it. I wanted to be health conscious, so I started working out, started thinking about what I was eating more, and I adopted a pretty healthy lifestyle there for a while.”
Around the same time he began adopting a healthier lifestyle, he started working at City Sports in Boston.
“It was my first job out of college, and at the time I was getting even more into fitness, so it was a perfect fit. Then I became a footwear buyer, so I got really into running shoes — like, I started totally geeking out about running shoes which made me learn more about running and got me even more into it.”
From 19 to 27 years old, he ran three Boston marathons, one New York Marathon, and countless other races. But after the 2006 Boston Marathon, he suffered an IT band injury that kept him from running.
“I basically just had to stop running and started putting on a lot of weight. I wasn’t really active so, I started to go down the path where, you know, you start feeling sorry for yourself and that sort of thing.”
After that injury, the healthy lifestyle he was living in his early to mid-twenties fell by the wayside.
“Too much drinking, eating bad foods, not prioritizing sleep — really it was more like what college should be but just in my late-twenties. So it was a little backward.”
But in 2011, he decided he was going to start biking to work. The 24-mile roundtrip commute became his way of getting back into exercising. He rode his bike to work almost every day until he started working at Spartan Race in 2014.
“The real turning point was in the summer of 2014. Through the process of building the brand and the marketing, I started to adopt the ethos of the Spartan way of life. It was about embracing obstacles, looking at them as opportunities for growth, and understanding the importance of being uncomfortable.”
Shortly after starting at Spartan, he signed up for his first Spartan Race, the Killington, VT Beast — a 15+ mile, 35 obstacle race.
“I probably had no business doing it at the time. I was still biking to work, but not really living healthy, so I wasn’t in great shape. But it was awesome, it took us over 9 hours. I started doing a few more races in the next year and a half or two years, but it wasn’t to push myself, it was almost more of a social thing.”
But on July 19, 2016, he had a revelation that it was time to make a more permanent change.
“Since around Halloween of 2015, I was still drinking too much, and I wasn’t eating the right food. For like 9 months I just wasn’t living the right way. Then on July 19, 2016, I just woke up in the morning and was like ‘I’m done with this shit — I can’t do this anymore.’ So I made a decision that moment that I’m done with drinking and I will be more cognizant of what I’m eating.”
It wasn’t about setting unreachable goals or unrealistic expectations. He was focused more on changing his mindset.
“Change happens in an instant. I kept coming back to that phrase — and the change does happen in an instant but takes a lot of time to get to that point.”
From that point on, he focused on getting back to a healthy lifestyle. That started with running a few miles a day at night.
“There was something about being out at night. I probably lost 15 pounds in the first few weeks. Then one day I decided that I was going to run home from work instead of biking home. It took me a while, probably two hours, but I did it. I felt pretty amazing and was really proud of myself.”
That sparked the idea that maybe you can do more than you think that you can.
“I got into the mindset where I started tricking myself into thinking that distances I thought were long actually weren’t. Then I was all in.”
From that point, he has used his lifestyle as a way to show his kids how to live.
“You should just start doing stuff. I wasn’t starting a huge goal. It was one step at a time. All life is, is a bunch of little decisions that become big. I love being able to show my kids the importance of staying active. Fitness is so important for kids, and I feel fortunate that my kids have many opportunities and are healthy. I want to be able to share that — being a father now — with kids who might not have the same opportunities is a really good thing.”
Now, as the VP of Brand at TB12, McEachern is set on living out the ethos of the brand — doing what you love better and for longer.
“I really wanted to run Boston again. When I ran back in the early 2000s, I wasn’t training like I have been in the past couple of years. I want to go back and run it again this year — I’m turning 40, so I have this vision to come back and do it better than I did before. As I approach 40, I’m thinking more about longevity — I’m learning to be okay with sometimes taking a day off and prioritizing recovery more.”