People always wonder how someone got to where they are in life. How did you get so successful? What’s your secret? Dr. Jedidiah Ballard is definitely one of those people that many look-up to. Ballard is not ashamed to talk about his humble but sweet beginnings in Columbia Falls, Montana. He says this foundation shaped the man he is today. The man he is today is an emergency physician at a level one trauma center with board scores in the top 2% of the nation, an assistant professor of emergency medicine, an Army Special Operations combat vet, 2016’s Ultimate Men’s Health Guy and most importantly a loving son, brother, uncle and friend.
If you ever get to meet or speak with Ballard, the first thing you will notice is that he’s a genuine guy. He has a love for life and truly cares about helping others and does it with grace and humility. He puts his heart in everything he does. Another example of what your life can be when you live with love and good intentions for yourself and others. For Ballard living the best life with purpose requires faith and a positive outlook. He’s not one to dwell on what isn’t but rather what he can learn from life’s lessons and what can be done to move forward.
If you have ever wondered “where have all the good guys gone?” Dr. Ballard is a reminder that they do indeed exist. He exemplifies the idea that it’s what you put into your life, this is what will determine what you get out of it. Your story is always changing, therefore, be the change you would like to see. The joy you seek is within you and the life you want can happen if you work for it and believe in yourself. In addition, it’s the people you surround yourself with, the people that help you along the way, always remember to show your gratitude. Ballard does all of this effortlessly. He understands the importance of giving back and giving people a chance because it takes one moment to impact someone’s life in a positive way.
TTIWIK: You grew up in Columbia Falls, Montana, how did growing up in a small town shape you as a person?
DR. JB: Where you grow up has a huge impact on your values. Growing up in small town America where hard work, honesty, and personal responsibility was valued helped instill these principles in who I am today.
TTIWIK: You are 2016’s Ultimate Men’s Health Guy, how does it feel?
DR. JB: Every time I made it another step further in the contest I was excited and surprised- the cut to the top 100, top 10, then making the top 3 and getting to go to New York for a few days and do a cover story with the other 2 guys was incredible. I Really enjoyed hanging out with the Men’s Health team and fully support what they are trying to achieve which is helping men be the best versions of themselves. If you watch the YouTube clip of finding out I won live on the Today Show, my shock and excitement is very evident. Tommy and Hoop, the other two finalists, are great men with incredible stories and I was incredibly honored to have won.
TTIWIK: You have a lot going on, you’re an emergency physician at a level one trauma center, an assistant professor of emergency medicine, you volunteer your time for various causes, what tips do you have for managing stress?
DR. JB: Making sure I give myself the time to have a slow peaceful morning, even at the expense of sleep. I am most clear when I first wake up and do my “God Time” first thing in the morning generally while sipping coffee or tea and sitting out on my balcony watching the sun come up. Regardless of your belief system, there is huge value in being in your head (meditating etc) first thing in the am to clear your mind and start your day right.
TTIWIK: How can people who don’t have time to go to the gym or attend a class meet their fitness goals? What’s a great workout to do at home or while traveling?
DR. JB: People have time for what they prioritize. Period. I fully agree it is harder for some than others, but if it matters enough to you, you will get it done. How many of you didn’t eat yesterday? Fitness doesn’t have to be very time-consuming. Consistency is of paramount importance, however. I generally workout 6 days a week, anywhere from 20-60min a day.
I travel a lot and consciously do not neglect my body on the road. This is a really simple total body workout you can do at any park with something to hang off of and do chin-ups is:
5 burpee’s with 2 pushups while down (instead of the standard one) followed by 5 chin-ups. Just repeat that as many times as you can in 20 minutes.
Less advanced option but still a great total body workout is repeat cycles of 10 squats, 5 pushups, 5 bent over dumbbell rows as many times as you can in 20 min.
TTIWIK: What’s are two fitness myths that bother you?
DR. JB: I hear from girls all the time that they don’t want to lift because they are worried about looking like men. Women have different hormone levels and genetic set points. Muscle is healthy, muscle is sexy, it will increase your resting metabolic rate so you can be less careful and stay lean. The vast majority of female bodybuilders either have incredibly rare and gifted genetics or take hormones. Most woman will gain strength, health, confidence and improve their body by adding weight training to their workout regime.
Separating out egg whites. I used to do it. Nature made the egg complete and healthy with good fats, proteins, and vitamins. I used to do 6 whites when I was young and less informed. Now I eat 3 whole eggs almost every breakfast.
TTIWIK: Sprinting is one of your go-to workouts, what’s your routine?
DR. JB: Sprinting is wonderful. Sorry, I am gonna nerd out on you for a sec- It depletes glycogen stores which increase your basal metabolic rate for many hours after you finish the workout, releases endorphins and helps you remain athletic. After high school, most people loose their ability to run fast and jump because they stop doing it. I would challenge you to find one college level sprinter male or female who does not have a desirable build. This is not true among distance runners.
One of my go-to workouts is to walk, jog, run, sprint for 100 M each- one lap on a standard track. I’ll do that for about 8 laps, sometimes adding 20 pushups as soon as the sprint ends to keep my heart rate near max a little longer.
TTIWIK: As you know diet is very important when it comes to staying fit and healthy. Everyone wants to know what you eat. What does your diet consist of?
DR. JB: “Forest not the trees.” I do not count calories, I do not weigh food. I eat a balanced meal every 3-4 hours, getting protein, carbs and fat at each meal. I generally avoid baked goods, pop, and highly processed carbs (crackers, chips, candy etc). All vegetables are great, and I eat a fair amount of fruit. If I am trying to lean out I only eat protein in my last meal of the day. What you’re eating should be pretty consistent, then change the portions if you are trying to loose or gain weight. Also, I eat generally healthy, if pizza is the only thing around, no need to be weird, just watch the portion.
TTIWIK: If there was only one thing you could eat, that’s it, what would it be? Why?
DR. JB: My dad’s black 2-pound pancakes…we kinda feared them as kids, still don’t know exactly what was in them, but they had ample protein, healthy fat and every grain I can think of. Would be my best chance of avoiding a nutrient deficiency on only one food.
TTIWIK: What motivates you?
DR. JB: The same things that make me happy. I love a good hero story, print or film. Getting outside and feeling the majesty of nature. Seeing someone with fewer advantages than myself happy and doing well. People that are great at what they do regardless of their task- there is an art to being a great custodian.
TTIWIK: What’s the most rewarding thing about your job?
DR. JB: A ton. I feel incredibly blessed to have grown up without medical care, starting in community college and becoming an Emergency Physician. It sounds kinda cliché but the decisions I make at work literally saves lives right in front of me on a pretty regular basis. I also am surrounded by intelligent passionate people and get to teach the next generation. If I did it all again I would choose the same path.
TTIWIK: What do you wish you knew 5 years ago that you know now? What would you tell yourself if you could go back in time?
DR. JB: I am happy where I am at and feel like I am where I should be in life. That said though there are some experiences over the past 5 years I don’t want to relive. US Army Ranger School, losing a girl I thought I would marry etc. I don’t think I would talk to myself as I wouldn’t want to alter my here and now. You need to walk the valleys to appreciate the peaks.
TTIWIK: What would you tell the little boy who once lived in a barn, who got stuck in the mud?
DR. JB: It blows my mind looking back sometimes, from being cold and hungry at times as a child to where I am now. The US has many issues, but I have traveled a good portion in Asia, Latin America, and Africa. Here I grew up poor, was academically gifted and able to remain in school as long as I wanted to literally become whatever I wanted to be. In most of the world, talented kids without the means to pay for education are not that lucky. Some nations finances aside, just being the wrong gender or race is enough to stamp out opportunity. Now I did work my ass off along the way- 3 jobs through most of college, I still study medicine daily 7 yrs after graduating med school, but I am very aware of the opportunities that I did not earn.
TTIWIK: Where do you see yourself 5 to 10 years from now? What do you hope for?
DR. JB: I am very happy with my career right now. I love Emergency Medicine, I love teaching, I love fitness and have been getting to work that into my career on huge formats including Men’s Health and The Doctors TV show. My 5 yr and 10 yr plan is to keep doing what I am doing and see where it goes. I am happy but open to change and opportunity. I legitimately enjoy my single life, but do at some point hope to be a good husband and strong father; eventually be at peace with a partner and grandkids visiting our land in the country. I feel young and strong and don’t have a timeline for when that needs to happen. More about the who than the when for me.