Travis Mead Completes 1,000 Hero WODs in 365 Days Despite Recent Type 1 Diabetes Diagnosis

June 20, 2023 by
Courtesy of: animal181 |
Enjoying Morning Chalk Up? Access additional exclusive interviews, analyses, and stories with an Rx membership.

Had 36-year-old Travis Mead abandoned his plan to challenge himself to 1,000 Hero WODs in 365 days, nobody would have blamed him. The four-time CrossFit Regionals athlete, and owner of Iron Valley CrossFit in Clackamas, OR, was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes last spring.

But Mead did just the opposite. He decided to push on with the 1,000 Hero WOD challenge, which he started on June 1, 2022 and finished on Memorial Day of this year (May 29). 

The details: Completing 1,000 Hero WODs in 365 days requires more than two on several of them—2.73 WODs per day, to be exact. Mead’s original plan was to front load his year to make the second half a little easier, all the while taking Sundays as rest days.

All went well for a while. He was logging three to four Hero WODs each day for a number of months until he had completed 600, maintaining what he said was usually about a 75 percent intensity effort, which allowed him to focus less on his overall times and more on just “moving smoothly and consistently,” he explained. 

Worth noting: Mead also threw in a 24-Hours of Murph Challenge in August, where he completed 13 Murphs in a 24-hour window. 

But at around the 600-workout mark, Mead was then hit with a back injury, he believes, due to not warming up enough one day. “I literally couldn’t get up,” said Mead, who spent two weeks largely in bed and whose Hero WOD journey was derailed for a whole month. 

Undeterred, when his back was healed, Mead recalculated his plan and committed to doing five Hero WODs a day for the following 22 days to get back on track.

  • “After then I kind of paced it out after that with two or three a day…and then the final month I went out with a bang. I did a Murph everyday for the last month of May,” he said, adding that he took some liberties by substituting movements like push-ups for handstand push-ups and pull-ups for chest-to-bar pull-ups on the days he was feeling like an additional challenge. 

It all ended on Memorial Day with a triple Murph followed by one final workout, Clovis, a 10-mile run plus 150 burpee pull-ups.

  • “It was kind of surreal…When I finished that last burpee pull-up, I hit the ground and (it was) a sigh of relief. I had people around me cheering me on. It was great,” he said. 

What he did next: Although everyone around him told him to take a rest week, that sounded like a lot for Mead. Instead, he took just one day off before getting back at it, his next goal being to train for a Strongman Marathon, which he intends to complete this October.

The Strongman Marathon involves logging 26.2 miles, 13 of which are done as a run in a weighted vest, while the other 13 are a smorgasbord of other types of miles, such as one mile of tire flips, one mile of yolk carries, one mile of handstand walking and one miles of a sandbag carry, to name a few. 

The diabetes layer: Though Mead said his life is certainly more challenging than it was before his diabetes diagnosis, as the last year unfolded, he became more and more in tune with his body, his blood sugar levels, and when his body requires insulin.

There were times when he had to stop during a workout because he could feel his blood sugar levels getting too low, but he always has glucose on him, in a fanny pack if he’s out running, to bring his levels back up again before continuing. 

  • “At times it’s stressful, but I have kind of gotten used to it. It’s just kind of annoying more than anything really (because) I had this set lifestyle and now I had to alter it. I can’t just eat something or do a long workout without testing my sugars. I have to do a lot of steps to be able to get that meal in, or get that workout in,” he said.
  • “But I have gotten to the point where I can kind of feel it coming on before my alarm (in my body) goes off,” he added.

But generally, he said his diagnosis was but a “speed bump” in getting through the monumental challenge he completed in the last year. 

The big picture: When Mead was first diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes, everyone told him it probably wasn’t smart to attempt 1,000 Hero WODs in 365 days. 

  • “Oh, you should stop doing what you’re doing,” he said of what many people in his life told him. But this only made him more determined to push through.

And although Mead said he “doesn’t recommend” most people attempt 1,000 Hero WODs in one year, his message to anyone who is diagnosed with a disease like he was is that it doesn’t need to derail your dreams.

  • “My thing is don’t let something like this define you. I got this disease, I owned it. It’s part of me now. You can literally (still) do anything you want. You just gotta put the work in…Just get up, you know, put one foot in front of the other and make steps to achieve what you want.”

He added: “Whatever comes my way, I’m going to smash through it and keep going…I needed to finish what I started.”

Go Deeper

Get the Newsletter

For a daily digest of all things CrossFit. Community, Competitions, Athletes, Tips, Recipes, Deals and more.

"*" indicates required fields

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.