Ep67: Using Fitness to Overcome Parkinson’s and Become a Ninja | With Jimmy Choi, ANW

Jimmy Choi is a motivational speaker, an advocate for Parkinson’s research, an ultra-endurance athlete, a Parkinson’s patient, and a 2-time American Ninja Warrior. But most importantly he’s a father of two, a devoted husband, and a friend to many.

Jimmy was diagnosed with young onset Parkinson’s at the age of 27 (in 2003), and for the first 8 months he lived in complete denial. So much so, in fact, that he didn’t even tell his wife for months. He spent the next several years of his life ignoring the problem hoping a single pill would make his disease go away, and at one point he gained over 70 pounds, topping out at a whopping 240 pounds.

Then one day a single event changed Jimmy’s life forever, and ultimately the lives of thousands of people along with it. On that day when Jimmy literally hit rock bottom, he decided something needed to change. And since that moment he has transformed from an obese person with Parkinson’s disease who could barely walk (even with a cane) without repeatedly falling over to a decorated ultra-endurance athlete, obstacle racer, and ninja warrior.

Jimmy’s secret is incredibly simple: His only goal is to be ‘Better than yesterday.’ And in this episode you’re going to learn the mindsets and tools that Jimmy uses every single day to make incredible progress despite what should be a debilitating disease.

Parkinson’s Disease or not…this is friggin’ HARD

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Here’s What You’ll Learn:

  • Processing a Parkinson’s diagnosis
  • Misconceptions about Parkinson’s disease
  • Learning that everything you do should have a purpose
  • The moment when Jimmy learned that he needed to take control of his life
  • Setting goals that are not overwhelming but still inspiring
  • Taking pride in even the smallest progress
  • Re-evaluating our excuses for the things we can’t do
  • Find a way to tell your story

Useful Resources Mentioned:

The Fox Ninja

Jimmie’s Tedx Talk

Changing Course

Our Generous Sponsors:

This episode is made possible for you by Ergodriven, the makers of the Topo Mat, my #1 recommendation for anyone who stands at their workstation. The Topo is super comfortable, an awesome conversation starter, and it’s also scientifically proven to help you move more throughout the day which helps reduce discomfort and also increase your focus and productivity. Click here to learn more and get your Topo Mat.

Guest Bio:


Jimmy Choi, a member of The Michael J. Fox Foundation (MJFF) Patient Council, was diagnosed with young onset Parkinson’s Disease at the age of 27 in 2003. With symptoms rapidly affecting his daily life, he “did nothing” for the next 7-8 years and just went through the motions. One day while carrying his infant son, they both fell a full flight of stairs which triggered fear of the future and fear for his family. He vowed to himself that he would do what it takes to take back control of what Parkinson’s has taken from him physically, mentally, and emotionally.

Jimmy transformed into a new person with an action-minded positive mindset using exercise to manage Parkinson’s Disease.
In 2012, joining Team Fox, the grassroots fundraising arm of the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s research and completed his first marathon – and he hasn’t stopped! a 2-time competitor on American Ninja Warrior, showing all that Parkinson’s does not define him. He continues to share his story to spread awareness and
fundraise towards high impact research that will lead to a cure in his lifetime.

Show Credits:

This episode was edited by Curtis Fritsch, and the show notes were prepared and published by Elyse Rintelman. The original music in the opening and closing of the show is courtesy of Joe Trapanese (who is quite possibly one of the most talented composers on the face of the planet).

Note: I believe in 100% transparency, so please note that I receive a small commission if you purchase products from some of the links on this page (at no additional cost to you). Your support is what helps keep this program alive. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Zack Arnold (ACE) is an award-winning Hollywood film editor & producer (Cobra Kai, Empire, Burn Notice, Unsolved, Glee), a documentary director, father of 2, an American Ninja Warrior, and the creator of Optimize Yourself. He believes we all deserve to love what we do for a living...but not at the expense of our health, our relationships, or our sanity. He provides the education, motivation, and inspiration to help ambitious creative professionals DO better and BE better. “Doing” better means learning how to more effectively manage your time and creative energy so you can produce higher quality work in less time. “Being” better means doing all of the above while still prioritizing the most important people and passions in your life…all without burning out in the process. Click to download Zack’s “Ultimate Guide to Optimizing Your Creativity (And Avoiding Burnout).”