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Wednesday, Jun 7, 2023

Executive Goes From Fat to Fit, Up Next is Ironman Triathlon

Note: This is a corrected version of the story that originally identified Spitz as CEO of Natrol. At the beginning of 2007, Natrol Vice President and General Counsel Steven Spitz was out of shape and tipped the scales at 250 pounds. Going through a divorce had left the onetime athlete unfocused on being physically fit, despite the fact that Chatsworth-based Natrol is a nutritional supplement company. As Spitz’s 12-year marriage came to a close, however, he decided to shape up once again. Nearly two years later, Spitz has not only shed pounds, he will also participate in the 30th Ironman Triathlon World Championship in Hawaii in October, thanks to Natrol’s decision to sponsor him in the event. “I decided at that time to make some personal changes,” Spitz said of his turning point early last year. “I had a bad tendency of snacking at night after dinner. I was doing that on a regular basis along with a few other things. I lost a little weight, and, at the same time, my running partner who had recently had a baby, her second baby, was getting back into shape as well, so we both kind of motivated each other.” Spitz and his partner began to walk together. Then, the walking turned into jogging, and before long the jogging turned into running. “I slowly started to increase my physical workouts, and I started to see some pretty nice results, and I had the help of a dietitian to go to for questions,” said Spitz. By late 2007, Spitz reached what he calls “a pretty comfortable and stable weight.” To date, Spitz has lost 90 pounds. When acquaintances of Spitz noticed his weight loss, they wanted to know his secret. He told them, “There is no secret. It’s all hard work. I work out really hard and diligently.” Natrol CEO Craig Cameron was one of Spitz’s colleagues who couldn’t help but notice his drastic weight loss. “It’s amazing to see this man transform himself in such a short amount of time,” Cameron said. “It’s a credit to him. It’s a credit to his exercise regimen, and it’s a credit to the products he was using to help him get there.” Specifically, Spitz took supplements made by Natrol subsidiary Medical Research Institute (MRI) called Tonalin CLA, which is supposed to prevent muscle loss, and Pro-NOS, a protein supplement. Of the latter Spitz said, “I’ve worked it into my diet consistent with my exercise regime for the last year.” Partly because the supplements aided his exercise regimen, Spitz approached MRI about sponsoring him in the Ironman Triathlon World Championship on Oct. 11. Athletes from all 50 states and 50 counties will compete in the event. “This is the 30th anniversary and arguably the world’s single toughest one-day endurance event,” Spitz said. “It starts with a 2.4-mile ocean swim. Then you follow with a112-mile bike ride. After you’re done, you run a marathon of 26.2 miles all in the same day within 17 hours.” Spitz, 40, completed his first triathlon 20 years ago but always dreamed of participating in the Ironman World Championship. “It’s the Super Bowl of triathlons,” he said. Competitors in the contest qualify in three different ways,by their ranking in other triathlons, by winning a lottery to compete or having someone sponsor them for charitable purposes. In Spitz’s case, Natrol decided to provide the funds necessary to sponsor him in the event. “What Steven has achieved is an inspiration for all of us,” Cameron explained of the decision. “We’re very proud of his accomplishments, very proud of his success. We’re especially delighted he’s showing the rest of the world the benefits of the MRI product. The reason we’re sponsoring him is really we’re just showing him we have our support.” Though Natrol is sponsoring Spitz for charitable purposes, he still had to prove that he had the wherewithal to compete in the event, which he did by completing the California 70.3 Ironman Triathlon in late March. Spitz and his running partner also competed in the Long Beach Triathlon last year, coming in first in their respective classes. Spitz is using his participation in the world championship to draw attention to a charity called Vitamin Angels. The Santa Barbara-based nonprofit provides vitamins and minerals to children in developing nations to combat malnutrition.

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