041- Spartan racer and PE teacher, Marquel Hatcher, lost his joy for fitness and running. Listen to his inspiring story about how he rekindled his love for fitness and embraced a healthy lifestyle after a wake-up call and strives to be a role model for his students.
Lower weight doesn’t automatically mean you are healthy
Having knowledge about fitness is not enough, you have to act
The importance of being around like-minded people
Finding something that you like so you will stick with it
Marquel Hatcher Marquel is a “Girl Dad” and a PE Teacher from Maryland. He has several years of experience as a personal trainer and group fitness instructor. He has always been an athlete; however, his fitness journey took a detour years ago because he lost his joy. He returned to running & fitness after a wake-up call from his doctor. This has inspired him to lead a healthy lifestyle and to become a role model for his students. Marquel has a Bachelors in Exercise Science and Masters in Exercise Science and Physical Education.
Welcome to Episode 41. Today we’re going to talk about answering that wake up call as a relates to your health. And our guest will share his insights around how lower weight doesn’t automatically mean that you’re healthy. Also, having knowledge is not enough. You have to act and the importance of being around like minded people. Hope you enjoy. Here’s what you can look forward to on this episode of Inspire Virtual Runs Podcast.
Marquel Hatcher 0:31
That was the hardest part. Like that was reality like seeing that, like you hear and see people um I had, you know, I’ve had family members that have had those same issues. But you know, when it’s like you, it’s like, Dude, I am, I’m living bad. Like, I gotta, I gotta get myself together. And, you know, in the doctor, you know, scolding you, you’re too young to have these numbers like this and everything like it’s a lot a lot to digest and like, you know, you’re looking at your kid like, I got kid, I gotta be here for my kid like, it was tough. But I thank God I’m one I came out on the right side.
Welcome to Inspire Virtual Runs Podcast, whether you are new to running or seasoned, get tips and the inspiration that you need to achieve your health and fitness goals. Now, here’s your host, Richard Conner.
Richard Conner 1:32
Hi, everyone. Welcome to Inspire Virtual Runs Podcast. Today we have Marquel Hatcher, and I’m super excited to have him on the show and share his story. Markel is a girl dad, and a PE teacher from Maryland. He has several years of experience as a personal trainer, and group fitness instructor. He has always been an athlete. However, his fitness journey took a detour years ago, because he lost his joy. He returned to running and fitness after a wake up call from his doctor. This has inspired him to lead a healthy lifestyle, and to become a role model for his students. Welcome to the show, Marquel.
Marquel Hatcher 2:12
Thank you. Thanks for having me. So cool. Yeah,
Richard Conner 2:15
super cool. Having here on the show, you’ve got a lot going on here for your story. So definitely want to dive in and get to know you a little bit better and share your journey with our listeners. So you know, maybe we’ll just start from the beginning. And tell us a little bit about how your fitness journey started.
Marquel Hatcher 2:33
Um, wow, started a long time ago in middle school, probably dating myself, but telling this story, but there was a time where you had to run the mile and PE long time ago. And there was a kid in our class that was like, he was a beast. And you know, we did the pretest. And this guy, like, smoked us, like, he ran like, so well, and, you know, all the rest of us out of breath. And, like, gosh, like, I want to do that, you know, this, this is how it all started for me. Like, I just put in work, like, you know, eighth grade, I’m like, Man, I want to run like that. So, you know, I just I put in work, I practiced and worked on my endurance. And when it came time for the post test, I was able to keep up with him. And like my time for my mile was I don’t even know what it was now. But I know it was way better than, you know, on the pretest. So that like laid the foundation for you know, where I’m at years later, like, you know, understand, like it takes discipline and gotta put in some work to get to where you want to be.
Richard Conner 3:54
Absolutely, absolutely. That’s so cool, how you’re inspired by a classmate. Usually, the guests that I have on the show, they’re inspired to run in school basically, because of sports, you know, one sport kind of leads to another and running is kind of the other. So that’s cool that you’re inspired by the performance of another student and motivated to to perform. That’s really cool.
Marquel Hatcher 4:16
Richard Conner 4:18
So So you went along your journey and did you continue running kind of have that same mentality or your your bio says that at some point, you lost your joy? So like, what kind of happened there?
Marquel Hatcher 4:29
I played basketball started young, I thought I was good. I was you know, I played a play hard. You know, my dad was my coach and he played so you know, how when your your parents did something and they want you to follow in their footsteps and things like that. And sometimes if you don’t follow that path, you know, they get a little disappointed, or they’re like really hard on you. So, you know, I played but I started to like, lose joy. So like, like around tenth grade. I didn’t, I didn’t make Varsity that year. So I just stopped playing basketball. And I met some friends who have become lifetime friends. They were they were into music. So I went left, I went into music. So from high school all the way through college, like, I probably played a little bit of basketball, probably exercise a little bit, but I was into music. But then like, you know, this not doing sports, not exercising. You know, it led to like, bad habits, like, I was eating terribly, like, oh my gosh, is bad, just like thinking about it. Now. It’s really bad. You know, I didn’t, I didn’t gain any weight or anything. So like, thought was okay, I was young. But then like, you know, for years and years, I was like, repeating the same cycle. You know, I got sick, like real sick, like, I’m on coming home from the beach. I’m like, you know, thinking I’m gonna die. So, went to the doctor, you know, she’s like, You need to have your physical done. So I’m like, okay, you know, my results come back. And I have high blood pressure, cholesterol, bad and high blood sugar, like, oh, shoot, like, all these bad habits have led to this, like, you know, I gotta do something about that. And by this time, you know, my first child was born, and I’m like, shoot, like, I want to be here for my kids. So I gotta get my act together. And that’s what I did, you know, turned it around and did something about it.
Richard Conner 6:57
That’s really interesting that you did to share that. Because, you know, one thing that you said about not healthy habits, but also not gaining weight. And I think that’s a common misconception, right? If you’re, if you’re gaining weight, and you’re overweight, you must be unhealthy. But not thinking about it the other way, right? If you’re not gaining weight, you must be healthy. Right? You must be fit. And, and and that that wasn’t the case for you? Yes. Wow, that’s really interesting.
Marquel Hatcher 7:25
And you know, you’re, you’re in your 20s. I’m in my 20s. I’m like, I’m good. You know, I’m invincible. And no, I wasn’t that that’s not the case. Right? I had to wake up and realize,
Richard Conner 7:41
yeah, wow. Well, I’m glad that you got that wake up call. Right. And you were able to address it in time before, anything, I guess more serious happened. So So what was that like for you? Like, what did you What did you start to do immediately? Like, was this an overnight change for you? Did it take time or what kind of things that you were doing at that time?
Marquel Hatcher 8:02
it was a gradual, I didn’t go like you know how to think cold turkey and like, just start giving up stuff. But I started changing like, started with like a stop drinking soda. I was a soda head. You know, and I drink like the most sugary sodas like, like orange Fanta.
Richard Conner 8:22
Oh, my favorite. I love those.
Marquel Hatcher 8:29
I stopped doing that and, and stop getting like, fast food. You know, we make some food at home. And then I, you know, started getting back into working out, bought some dumbbells and things and started making some better habits. And then, you know, always wanted to do something with the body growing up, like have a career that dealt with the body. So like I either wanted to be a physical therapist or athletic trainer or PE teacher. So I decided to be a PE teacher. But also like, I wanted to train people. So like, you know, I have this new motivation. I go take ace group exercise exam and personal training exam. So I have the certifications and I was just looking for the right place to use them. So I’m on Facebook one day years ago, and I see this gym called soldier fit that’s here. In Maryland, they were just like starting out and I’m like that is the place that’s where I need to go. So I went there. And you know I’ve taken classes first and then I became an instructor and personal trainer and I started making you know connections with people. And this just like bought out like just joy. I’m just being around these people, and we’re exercising, we’re having fun and taking care of ourselves. That just made me just like, change my mind. Like, man, I, you know, this is fun, like, I missed this, this is what I need to get back into doing. So you know, I did that. And, you know, that led to where I’m at now, like Spartan Races and just running again, like, just all from, you know, going there and connecting with the right people.
Richard Conner 10:34
That’s great. That’s great. And I definitely want to get into two more the running and Spartan Races in a moment. But, you know, just to kind of go back to a few of the things that you said. So first off, nutrition. Super, super important. And you talked about the sugary drinks, and I’ll tell you a relatable story. About five years ago, I stopped drinking soda altogether. And I didn’t intend it to be that way. I just wasn’t feeling well. But went to the doctor doctor said everything is fine. I’m like, I’m not well, I don’t I don’t know what it is. And I knew that I was having way too much soda and already had been on a journey to kind of cut it cut it out. But you you just mentioned some of my favorites. Right? And to soda. All the Coca Cola varieties like I just loved them all. Yeah. And I decided to you know what, for just like one month, kind of a New Year’s resolution kind of thing. One month, no soda. One month came and went. All right, maybe two months, three months. Let me try it. So five years later, later, no soda, and I feel really, really good about it. It wasn’t until I stopped drinking it to realize how I wasn’t feeling well, when I was drinking it, like how it was making my body feel. So you know, I know there’s a lot of thoughts about restricting your yourself and keeping away from things that you really like, and I get all that but there’s just certain things that you realize it you just feel better being without it, or in some cases, just limiting it, you know, quite a bit. If it’s a once in a while thing. It’s definitely different. So, so just wanted to share my story about the the soda thing.
Marquel Hatcher 12:19
I feel you i i can relate all.
Richard Conner 12:24
That’s funny. So you know, you mentioned a couple of other things about buying the dumbbells and kind of getting getting into a workout routine. I think that’s super hard, maybe for some folks to imagine themselves kind of getting started. So like, how did you even know what to do? How did you know, I need a pair of dumbbells. And this is what I’m going to do.
Marquel Hatcher 12:44
Before college, I always knew I was going to be an athletic trainer, physical therapist or PE teacher. So in undergrad I majored in exercise science, grad school, also Master’s in exercise, science, physical education. So, you know, I had all this knowledge, I knew what I shouldn’t be doing. I wasn’t doing it. So when it came time to do it, you know, I just I just used what I know, and just started making programs for myself training myself. And then like, over the years, I’ve started just collecting equipment, like, you know, it’s led to have a rack in my house and barbell and battle rope, like just over time, just started adding these things. And thankfully, I did I never knew there was gonna be a pandemic, but I had all this stuff and you know, I have space in my house where I just come down in the basement and just get it in. And it’s, it’s a good feeling, and that’s my happy place.
Richard Conner 13:53
That’s great. That’s really great to hear. And, you know, just moving along a little bit and some of the things that you talked about when you’re you’re going to the gym at that one point in time and just being around other like minded people and I think that’s that’s super important as well because number one, you kind of it sounds like you kind of formed somewhat of an accountability group right to kind of keep you going but also people who are into the same thing that you are and I think this extends even beyond fitness just in life. Being with like minded people is really going to help you succeed in life. So So that’s really great.
Marquel Hatcher 14:30
Right, you know, like I said, we we became friends, I became friends with people in my classes like you know, these boot camp classes were tough, you know, so I’m kicking people’s butt in class, but you know, then they’re inviting me like, do you want to do this race? I want to do this race so you know, one race led to like five races to 10 races, you know, and I’m still friends with all these people I connected with just through fitness and like said like minded people, we just got connected are still going.
Richard Conner 15:02
That’s great to hear. That’s great to hear. So the races I’m dying to hear about the races like tell us about your running journey there you know who whether it’s in or otherwise interest
Marquel Hatcher 15:14
Okay. So I started first race was a terrain race that terrain race. I did that with some people from from soldier fit. I did it. And first you know, I was scared because I never did that before. You know there is monkey bars over water. And
Richard Conner 15:33
so this is, of course race?
Marquel Hatcher 15:35
Yeah, like all this, you know, crazy stuff trail running. I did it. I had so much fun. So from there, like, the next race I did after that was a Spartan, it was a stadium, Spartan, at Nationals Park in DC. So it was a good good and a bad thing. You know, I’m at the stadium. I’m like, wow, I got this, you know, it took me like an hour to do it like my first time, which was which is okay, but like I was fooled because the next next one I signed up for, and OCR people would know, my second Spartan Race was Palmerton in Pennsylvania. I thought I was ready. Palmer Palmerton humbled me, took me down back down to earth is high that I had like, it crushed my soul. Because I was not prepared for the elevation, the heat. The heavy carries like, Dude, I wasn’t ready at all. So Palmerton made me step my game up like I knew I had to practice on a running, I had to get my grip strength together. I had to be ready for mountains and elevation. So I just like, I scrapped everything I like, went back and got myself together. I took some OCR classes. There’s a gym here called the endurance factory, and again, making these connections made friends with a guy named Ken Peluso at Soldier fit. So he started this gym, and he had this awesome coach, Tiffany Palmer, she had these classes, Tiff got me in gear, and I came back the next year, crushed Palmerton. It didn’t, it didn’t get the best of me, I got I got the best the Palmerton
Richard Conner 17:31
Marquel Hatcher 17:32
Thanks thanks and then just you know, looking at, I’m competitive, so sorry, like, so just looking at those, You know, my finishing times, I’m like, Okay, I need to step up my running game more. So I that’s, that’s what I’ve been working on that just getting my running together. But like from besides that, like, I just, I just feel better just after, you know, putting work in on that. Like, it’s just a great feeling when I go out and run. It’s good. It just feels good. Like, it’s like hard to like put it into words like it. It’s a great feeling.
Richard Conner 18:12
It really is. It really is. And, you know, if you’re if someone’s listening, and they’re not a runner, it might be hard for them to imagine that right? It’s hard for you to even express it in words, but it might be hard to imagine. Wait a minute running. Yeah, it feels good. It’s great. You like but it’s so so but you’re right. I mean, once you once you get into it, and you get past the hard parts because running is hard. It is it’s an obstacle course race or whether it’s regular road race or trail race. It is hard but once you get past that, once you get past the the pain of it, I would say is such a great feeling. Not only physically but just emotionally like having that feeling of accomplishment, I’m sure right. For you.
Marquel Hatcher 18:56
Yeah. And that’s that’s what Palmerton taught me like, I was okay with the physical side, but like that mental side of, you know, you go out there and it’s still tough. Like, don’t quit, don’t quit, or Palmerton has given me that mental toughness, like okay, it’s cold. You know, what can I do to distract myself from the cold to be mentally strong? Listen to some good music, or, you know, I always hear people say stay in the mall that you’re in like, or don’t look at your watch. Just something to distract and keep you strong. So you don’t you know, you don’t give up quit.
Richard Conner 19:38
Mm hmm. I completely agree and completely agree just even thinking about my own runs that that mental toughness is, is really what gets you through, right. I mean, sure, there’s a physical part of it, but it’s really your mind that’s doing most of the work right. That’s gonna get you across that finish line.
Marquel Hatcher 19:55
Richard Conner 19:56
Wow. I love your story, and I love that the tips that you’re sharing. And I’m just wondering through throughout your journey, what would be one of the toughest things that you had to face in your health and fitness journey?
Marquel Hatcher 20:11
I would say, seeing those those numbers, those scary numbers from my physical, it just is just like, you know, my 20s I don’t, you know, I’m just it, like, that sense is like, crushes your ego and brings you down, like, but like, it made me wake up and realize that I had to change my habits, you know, or, you know, anything can happen to you, but like, you know, this could have went another way, you know, I, I could have really gained weight and, like, had other problems. But, you know, I, thankfully, I saw that and stopped and got myself together at the right time. That was the hardest part, like, that was reality, like seeing that, like you hear and see people um I had, you know, I’ve had family members that have had those same issues. But you know, when it’s like us, like, Dude, I am, I’m living bad. Like, I gotta, I gotta get myself together. And, you know, in the doctor, you know, scolding you, you’re too young to have these numbers like this and everything, like, it’s a lot, a lot to digest. And like, you know, you’re looking at your kid like, Man, I got kid, I gotta be here for my kid. Like, it was tough. It was tough, really tough. But that I thank God, I’m one I came out on the right side.
Richard Conner 21:44
You did, you did. And, you know, I’m, I’m thinking about your story. And you had the knowledge on how to be fit, right? And what to do. But for some, I don’t know, for some part of it, it sounds like you’re kind of missing that. Why are really not focusing on that, why and having the inspiration to do something about it. So so that that’s really important, right? If any of our listeners, if they have the knowledge on on the what and the how they really need to think about the why to kind of get them to take that first step. And, you know, I like you sharing what you said, you didn’t really just jump both feet in, you kind of took those small, incremental steps to eventually get to where you want it to be. And that’s really what we need to do. We just need to take that first step. And it doesn’t have to be a big step, but it’s going to lead to, to more and more and bigger, bigger steps down the road.
Marquel Hatcher 22:39
That’s right. Yes. Yes.
Richard Conner 22:43
So thank you so much for for sharing your journey. I love the advice that you shared with the community here with our listeners and sharing your story about kind of how you turn things around. So you know, as we kind of wind down here, what would you say to the community to either help them start running and taking their health and fitness seriously, if that’s where they are, or kind of continue in their journey, if they’ve lost that motivation? What would you say to our, to our listeners?
Marquel Hatcher 23:14
I would say, start small, like I use this advice for a lot of people start small, you know, the, the run-walk technique, there’s nothing wrong with that, um, you know, there’s this misconception that if you walk, you’re not a runner. Totally false. So, if you’re trying, if you want to get into running, you know, start small, like I said, do the walk, run, technique, or like, even if you don’t want to run, if you just want to get into fitness, find something that you like, you know, people, like, you know, first of the years come in, people jump in, I’m going to the gym, you know, seven days of the week, you know, find something that you like, you know, you you don’t have to go to gym, maybe you want to dance, walk, but find something for you. That’s fun. And, you know, you’ll keep doing it. Because if you do something that you don’t like, chances of you, you know, continuing with that are small.
Richard Conner 24:20
Yeah, yeah, that’s great. That’s great advice, great advice for the community. And then, you know, for someone who is a runner today, and maybe kind of lost that motivation, they’re in the northeast, like you and I and it’s cold and they want to go outside or whatever the case may be, what would you say to inspire them to kind of keep running and keep up that their fitness?
Marquel Hatcher 24:41
I mean, if you can, if you can afford it, you know, get it, you could get a treadmill. Do you know again, there’s misconceptions about that too. People call it the treadmill or the hamster wheel. treadmill is a good tool. Sorry for being on my exercise science pedestal. Treadmill. is a good tool for you over the winter. Or like, you know, if you can’t run like, do some other things like I know some people ran across fit. The deck of fit of it is tough but it’s it takes you out of just one run, you know you work on your fitness and your strength. Like especially now it’s like offseason for people like hit those weights, you know, Oregon, same advice, find some find some other kind of fitness that’s fun, that you like that, oh, keep you motivated until it gets warm again,
Richard Conner 25:36
Sage advice for our listeners. Marquel thank you so much. It was such a pleasure to have you on the show today. Thank you again, for sharing your journey. Thank you for sharing the tips with our community. You know, for those listening in, I hope they take your advice and either start something in the in the new year, we’re coming up here just in a couple of days as of this recording, and then stick with it if they’re already some place on their journey. So just want to say thank you again Marquel for coming on the show.
Marquel Hatcher 26:06
Thank Thank you for having me. This was great. I appreciate it.
Richard Conner 26:11
And how can our listeners find and follow your journey online.
Marquel Hatcher 26:16
I’m on Instagram, my name on there. It’s E M, underscore, H underscore fitness. The initials M H were taken when I first sign up for Instagram. So it’s E M, underscore H underscore Fitness on Instagram and you’ll you’ll see all my fitness shenanigans on there.
Richard Conner 26:43
Alright, well looking forward to that. I’ll put that in the show notes to make it easy for our listeners to find you and follow you online. So once again Marquel thank you so much for coming on the show and have a great day.
Marquel Hatcher 26:54
Thank you you too.
That’s it for this episode of Inspire Virtual Runs Podcast. If you enjoyed this podcast, please leave a review. Also, be sure to click the subscribe button so you don’t miss an episode. Thanks for listening