Back in May, we launched the Spartan Spirit Awards, celebrating the people who truly embody the key Spartan values: grit, determination, and perseverance. One of this month's Spirit Award winners is Hodari Bahati, who used Spartan to live a healthier life, become a stronger leader, and further his career. He shared his personal and professional journey with us.
Hodari Bahati is motivated and in great shape now, but it wasn’t always that way. The 40-year-old from Northern California found himself at something of a crossroads about a decade ago. He wasn’t sleeping well and was constantly exhausted and drained. His stomach aches were also a constant nuisance. The cause? Self-admitted years of dreadful eating habits. Knowing that he had to make a change, the father of two (5 and 3 years old) dedicated himself to fitness and turned his life around. Bahati worked his tail off and dropped 40 pounds, and he’s never looked back.
Five years ago, Bahati did his first Spartan race following an invitation from a friend, and he was instantly hooked. It wasn’t long before he incorporated his passion for the Spartan lifestyle into his professional life. A regional account manager in the tech/wireless industry, he began to form corporate teams with clients, and the rewards were plentiful. He displayed leadership and furthered his contacts in the business world, all while doing what he loves and getting in incredible shape. With five races for his corporate team under his belt and three more currently on the schedule — the Lake Tahoe and Southern California Beasts, as well as the Sacramento Super and Sprint — his teams are committed to 1-2 races per quarter, guaranteeing at least four a year.
We chatted with Bahati about how corporate racing has improved his career, how to effectively start a corporate team, and his big plans for the future.
Q&A With Spartan Spirit Award Winner Hodari Bahati
Spartan: How did this all start? Hodari Bahati: I was having a lunch meeting with one of the directors I support, and fitness and getting in shape came up in conversation. I shared with him my experience with Spartan and how I use it as a motivator to train. I asked if he would be interested in doing one, and I asked if his team would be interested as well. He said that it could be a great way to spend time with his new team. We raced, and it just grew from that point on.
Spartan: What motivated you to continue organizing corporate teams? HB: I felt that it was a great way to build and establish strong relationships. In Spartan, you spend hours on the track separated from traditional work life, and you get to know people’s true strengths and vulnerabilities. In essence, you become part of these great “I accomplished it” memories that last forever.
Spartan: What has the response from clients and colleagues been like? HB: Outstanding. The team continues to grow every race. Three have completed a TRIFECTA (conquering a Sprint, Super, and Beast in one calendar year), and they never thought they could do something like that. They have said on many occasions that they attribute their accomplishments to my motivating them.
Spartan: How have these experiences furthered your career? HB: Because of my leadership during the races, I have built trust and value, and have gained access to exclusive meetings and summits. It’s allowed me to have a seat at the table in the industry.
Spartan: Many people would like to form corporate teams at their office, but they don’t know where to begin. How would you advise them? HB: Find co-workers that are leaders, are into fitness, or are looking to get into fitness, and align Spartan with their goals. Make it more about the event and less about work. The work component and its impacts will come on the back end. It’s more about the relationships and the experiences with the individuals.
Spartan: What does the future hold for you and your Spartan team? HB: More races and more people added. They will be influenced by their peers, and I definitely see this growing with additional folks outside of the territory I support. Others will come from the territories that my peers support. The goal is to transition from a Northern California team sponsorship (15 team members) to a West Coast team sponsorship (50-plus team members), including Southern California, Northern California, the Pacific Northwest, the greater Los Angeles area, and the mountain states.