Jason Murphy — or "Murphy," as most know him — had been over 300 pounds since the day that he turned 18 — over 20 years ago. Since then, he'd been slowly gaining weight until, at the beginning of 2019, he had reached his highest weight to date: 456 pounds. Since then, he's battled constantly with his mind to get motivated and make a change.
"In the last two years I have spent a lot of time trying to figure out why I let myself remain at that size," Murphy says. "But the short answer is that I suffer from a near crippling case of impostor syndrome, that constantly reminds me that I am a failure and a loser, and that putting any effort into my own life or body is a colossal waste of time."
Despite his size, Murphy had always been able to maintain a great deal of mobility — an ability that he took pride in. But in April 2019, the civil engineer from Portland, Ore., began noticing that it was taking three or four tries just to tie his own shoes. At about the same time, he was also coming to the disheartening realization that nearly all of the items on his bucket list — namely skydiving — had hard, non-negotiable weight limits of around 250 pounds or less.
"That triggered the thought of, 'I can't lose my mobility,'" he says. "So I decided to start trying out a fitness program."
The Road to 240
If Murphy was to start checking epic activities and accomplishments off of his bucket list, he knew that he'd have to get below that 250-pound mark. That April, he began tracking and writing down everything that he ate, which led him to become more aware of the meal choices that he was making. He also incorporated more nutritious, whole-food fuel and began working out.
Inspired by an online weight-loss video, "Arthur's Transformation," Murphy took up the practice of DDPY, or Diamond Dallas Page Yoga, which allowed him to build a fitness baseline, even at his then-current weight.
"DDPY is a strength, flexibility, and cardio workout that takes basic yoga moves and adds dynamic resistance and old-school calisthenics," he says. "It's almost zero impact because most of it is just standing still and flexing."
For someone whose knees and calves were unable to sustain the impact of consistent walking and running, low-impact calisthenics were the perfect challenge. The stronger he got, Murphy began to push past parts of his impostor syndrome and became so committed to his own cause that by April 2021, he celebrated 200 pounds lost through hard work and an undying drive to complete every item on his bucket list. And by July, he finally broke the 250-pound barrier that had been holding him back from his dreams for far too long, reaching 245 pounds.
That's when he signed up for a Spartan race.
Murphy Becomes a Spartan
With that amount of grit and perseverance, it'd be insane to say that Murphy wasn't already a Spartan. But on Aug. 7, 2021, he made it official at the Washougal Motocross Park Spartan Sprint, just outside of Portland.
"Since I was a kid watching Double Dare on Nickelodeon, I've wanted to do an obstacle course race," Murphy says. "I had made the decision that I wanted to go into the Sprint blind as a baseline to see what I could do and what might be possible in the future."
The new Spartan completed 14 of the 20 obstacles on the course, two more than he anticipated completing before the race. After his astonishing weight loss, Murphy knew that he could walk a 5K. But finishing an entire obstacle course race has given him a newfound confidence in his own abilities, and it inspired him to keep climbing the Trifecta totem pole.
"I'm doing things right now that wouldn't have been possible even six months ago," he says. "When I crossed the finish line, my first thought was, 'If I really put the work into training specifically for this, I could probably survive a Super.' I know what I need to do."
Nowhere But Up
Now that he's over 200 pounds down, Murphy is confident that his life will be strictly up from here on out — he'll fine-tune his grip strength, continue building his now-impeccable balance, and hopefully sign up for his skydiving session sooner rather than later, having met the weight requirement. But perhaps the most powerful benefit that he's gained throughout the two-year process is the determination to never miss out on another opportunity to do something challenging and rewarding.
"My journey has taught me one important thing," Murphy says. "I can do anything that I really want to, as long as I am willing to put in the work and can get around that horrible voice in my head telling me, 'No one cares.'"