Jamie Langstaff’s life revolved around combat sports for as long as he can remember. Both his father and grandfather were combat athletes, and as a result, Jamie grew up dreaming of being a professional boxer. Jamie dedicated most of his life to different combat sports, becoming an amateur and then a professional fighter. He credits his success not to any particular athletic prowess but simply because, as he puts it, “I could always take a punch.” 

Jamie moved to Memphis from South Florida in 2005 and coached mixed martial arts at the YMCA, then at Shackelford’s Mixed Martial Arts Center in Olive Branch, and finally at Memphis Judo and Jiu Jitsu, where he served as mixed martial arts and Muay Thai coach for years. Despite his passion for coaching, Jamie decided to retire in 2019, so he could enjoy having nights and weekends free to spend with his wife and kids. 

Upon reflection, Jamie realized he may have enjoyed relaxing, eating, and drinking a little too much after retiring from coaching. Jamie recounts, “I took a family vacation to the beach and did not like how I looked in those photos.” 

These photos and his uncomfortable lethargy led him to delve into motivational podcasts, which inspired Jamie to recommit to his fitness by starting 75 Hard in November of 2022. While this challenge became synonymous with weight loss trends, 75 Hard is more focused on general mental toughness, from exercise and diet commitments to journaling, reading, and other activities focused on well-rounded mental and physical health. 

Through this challenge, Jamie recognized that “if you do the hard things in life, your life gets easier later on,” meaning if you take the time to exercise your body and mind, you will be happier in the long run. 

Jamie focused on weightlifting, eating a primitive, carnivore-based diet, and cutting out alcohol, which all helped him drop weight and develop his physique. However, he has found the mental benefits to be even more rewarding. 

Jamie starts his day by making a “Power List” of tasks he wants to complete that day; by accomplishing even small daily goals, he recognizes the benefits of showing up for himself and fulfilling commitments, which he calls “winning the day.” 

He continues to stick to the program for the most part and has not lost his self-discipline. He lifts weights at the gym with his 15-year-old son and has found their camaraderie with each other and their other gym friends have made working out that much more enjoyable. Jamie and his son are training for the Spartan Race in Nashville this October, which combines running and strength training. 

Jamie tells me, “I will never go back to how unmotivated and undisciplined I felt before. I don’t even remember that version of me.”

By Zoe Harrison

Photo by Tindall Stephens