Originally written on Midwest Sports Fans  |  Last updated 3/2/12

NEW YORK - AUGUST 29: Mardy Fish returns against Bruno Echagaray of Mexico during day three of the 2007 U.S. Open at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on August 29, 2007 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

Who doesn’t love a good comeback story?

This one has all the classic elements. An aging underdog sidelined with a devastating injury works hard to achieve personal and professional goals and to the surprise of almost everyone comes back better and stronger than ever. Sounds like a movie? It’ll probably be made into one someday, but for now it is the very true tale of Mardy Fish, the No. 1 ranked U.S. Tennis player.

Mardy Fish (Photo by Steve Schy via Wikimedia Commons)

Mardy Fish Improved Fitness, Becomes World #1

This inspirational story of a tennis veteran with a “yes I can” attitude starts back in 2000 when Mardy Fish first joined the professional tennis tour. While he did win some singles and doubles titles, he lacked the consistency and fitness level needed to win bigger tournaments and Grand Slam events.

After a season-ending knee injury in 2009, Fish was at a crossroads. To continue playing, he needed to recommit himself to tennis excellence. No easy task considering at 30, he was nearing the age most players decide to hang up their rackets professionally.  But the injury that would have devastated most players only served to motivate Fish. He rededicated himself to the sport and did a complete lifestyle reboot. Under this new found sense of purpose, Fish flourished. In April of last year, he overtook Andy Roddick to become the No.1 American in the ATP rankings. As of February 2012, he is ranked number 8 in the world.

It was an intense process to get there. After his knee surgery, Fish worked with physical therapists undergoing Cryotherapy, electrical stimulation, ultrasound, laser, deep-tissue work, and fascial scrapings to get ready for the court. But the key element to his injury recovery? Weight-loss.  The knees bear a tremendous weight burden, so it’s important not to load them down with unnecessary baggage. Fish began a diet and training regime focused on strength and weight loss.  After six months of healthy eating on a modified diet, Fish dropped 30 pounds and reduced his body fat from 21 percent to 7 percent.

As with most people, Fish needed to learn healthy ways to eat to stay on top of his game and credits his success to having made major changes to his diet. Mardy shares his own personal stories that helped him adopt a healthy lifestyle in the ‘BeeWell for Life’ webisode series featuring himself and celebrity chef Scott Liebfried.  Launched by Bumble Bee Foods as part of their ‘BeeWell for Life’ interactive program, the short videos inspire people to exercise, be active and eat healthier.

In each webisode, Chef Liebfried works with Mardy to show how healthy eating doesn’t have to be boring or complicated by sharing easy-to-make recipes, and suggests ways to live a healthy lifestyle. Bumble Bee’s BeeWell for Life registered dietitians, Stephanie Clarke and Willow Jarosh, also provide tips for consumers to make small changes at home to promote big changes in personal wellness.

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“I’m excited to share my story through Bumble Bee’s BeeWell for Life web series,” said Mardy Fish. “It’s been a long road to get to where I am now, but I hope my story will help inspire people to towards changing their lives for the better.”

The simple changes to his daily eating and exercise habits are things everyone, not just professional athletes can benefit from.

“Mardy’s transformation and continued success is really an inspiration to anyone that has a goal, whether big or small,” said Bumble Bee SVP of Consumer Marketing Dave Melbourne. “Bumble Bee is committed to providing real solutions for consumers to live a healthful lifestyle. By giving people a firsthand look at Mardy on the court, at home and at play, coupled with Scott’s expertise creating easy, affordable and nutritious meals, we hope to help show people how they too can implement and lead a more healthful, balanced life.”

Expect to see more partnerships like this in the future. Al Silvestri, SVP of Marketing and New Media Strategies for Lagardare added, “Today’s sports marketing landscape continues to change rapidly as fans expect deeper, relevant and more meaningful engagement with athletes. The BeeWell for Life series with Mardy Fish is the first of what we hope will be many great brand initiatives that re-think traditional sports content to build credible relationships between brands, athletes and fans.”

*****

Michael Goldstein oversees Stun Media’s web consulting and audience creation tasks in Los Angeles. He has a long history in branded content, social media and Internet marketing, combining the technical resourcefulness of a geek, the creative instincts of a gallery owner, and the curiosity of an eternal student. He can be reached at mg@stunmedia.com

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