FFF 123: Living With Cystic Fibrosis, Game of Thrones & Being Thor – with Ben Mudge

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This week, Scott and Ben Mudge talk about cystic fibrosis and its impact on one’s health. Having such condition, Ben shares about what cystic fibrosis is, its symptoms, and what he does in terms of training and nutrition. Additionally, he gives us a glimpse of his experience with Game of Thrones before entering the fitness industry and why he stopped competing in bodybuilding

A native of Belfast, North Ireland, 28-year-old Ben has been a coach for the last eight years. He started with one-on-one coaching until eventually building a subscription-based website, allowing him to reach more people.

A Stint in Game of Thrones

Ben got involved in the Game of Thrones working part-time as an assistant director but he eventually left. Two of the many reasons for leaving was because of the unhealthy environment he was in, and second, he was suffering from cystic fibrosis so he couldn’t keep himself healthy.

Dealing with Cystic Fibrosis and His Definition of a Hero

Cystic fibrosis is a genetic illness, characterized by the overproduction of mucus and sodium in the body, and affecting all the major organs of the body. But the main killer is when degeneration of the lungs occurs, damaging the entire lung tissue, eventually leading to death.

Ben is an organ donor. He further explains that if you donate your organs, you’ve given your life to save someone else’s. And this, to him, is the definition of a hero.

If you haven’t yet, you can register online to become an organ donor. You can actually even choose which specific organs to donate. In certain countries like Scandinavia, in fact, organ donation is a default.

The Life Expectancy and Symptoms of Cystic Fibrosis Patients

In the UK, the life expectancy of someone with cystic fibrosis is around 40 years old. Because it’s a genetic thing, the severity of it may vary and there are different types of mutations.

That being said, the symptoms are similar. However, there are some people who have gone through their 50s and still haven’t been diagnosed. In Ben’s case, his digestion is affected because his pancreas doesn’t produce lipase. Hence, he has to take digestive enzymes with everything that contains any form of fat (which is pretty much almost everything!)

For instance, Claire Wineland was popular in the cystic fibrosis community who passed away when she was 21. Ben admits being scared thinking about someone who has passed away at such a young age. And seeing a lot of people younger than him die from it gives him a sense of guilt.

How Cystic Fibrosis Affects Ben’s Daily Life

Ben keeps himself healthy through nutrition, sleep, and training. But it’s his stomach that affects him the most and he describes the pain as crippling. He stresses the importance of sleep. He also takes certain medications, including one that has the ability to go into the mucus cell in his lung, which changes the DNA structure to make it more viscous.

Resonating with Captain America

Although physically resembling Thor, Ben would consider resonating the most with Captain America, who went through the super soldier experiment. He got picked because he was weak and frail, so when he was given strength, he appreciated it more than someone who has had strength all their life.

With Ben, he appreciates what he’s got. In his head, he’s always that small guy who never got picked for any team or always the last one to be picked because he wasn’t big or strong enough. So now, he appreciates his body and strength every day because he worked so hard for it.

Ben’s Training Routine and Nutrition

Ben lifts three days a week, doing full body split as he’s preparing for American football. And for off day, he’d do some conditioning. So he’s pretty much in the gym five days a week. Good thing, too, that Ben has never liked drinking so he rarely drinks alcohol. In terms of diet, he’s intuitive. 80% of his food come from nutrient-dense single ingredients and the rest from fibers. In fact, he’s eating raw peppers like an apple.

Why Ben Left the Bodybuilding Arena

Having seen its repercussions on people, Ben decided to stop bodybuilding. He had seen its backlash, having affected his eating – from strict eating to binging that can last for months. So his relationship with food was terrible as well as with training. The use of steroids was the final nail on the coffin and that’s when he knew he was done with it.

Ben’s Next Fitness Goals

Piper is a little girl with cystic fibrosis and his dad set up Piper’s Angels, a foundation to raise charity money and raise the awareness to cystic fibrosis. His dad paddled from the Bahamas across to Florida on a paddle board. This has been an annual event which is getting bigger each year. Ben took part in the event this year, helping them promote it as well.

In terms of fitness, his goal is just to be ready for anything that comes up. Recently, he was shooting in a TV show. Another LA show he auditioned for dropped the ball due to some legal/visa issues.

Final Words of Wisdom

Ultimately, Ben says that if someone has an issue with what you’re doing, it’s their issue, not yours. And once you realize that, it just frees you so much. Acknowledge that you’re not going to be liked by everybody. Just do what you want and enjoy!

Lastly, pre-order Scott’s book, 101 Ways to Lose Weight and Never Find It Again, to get some no BS, evidence-based ways to shed off those pounds.

Highlights
  • Getting involved in the Game of Thrones and why he didn’t like the job
  • What is cystic fibrosis?
  • An organ donor is the real hero!
  • What is the life expectancy of cystic fibrosis and its symptoms
  • Ben describes living with cystic fibrosis as a kid
  • Why he resonates the most with Captain America
  • Ben’s training and nutrition
  • Why Ben decided to stop in bodybuilding
  • Learn about Piper’s Angels
Quotes & Take-Aways

Cystic fibrosis affects pretty much all the major organs in the body

If you donate your organs, you are a hero. You’ve given your life to save someone else’s. In my opinion, that’s the definition of a hero.

Because it’s a genetic thing, the severity of it does vary quite a bit… there’s different types of it. There’s different mutations… but the symptoms are pretty much all the same.

It’s a scary thing to think of and it hits me hard every time I hear of someone who has passed away at such a young age.

I get compared to Thor all the time, but Captain America’s story is the one that resonates with me the most.

I appreciate every single day that I have this strength and this body because I worked so hard for it.

Unfortunately, I see a lot of people falling in that trap where their self-worth is wrapped up in their physique and their appearance.

If someone has an issue with what you’re doing, it’s their issue, not yours. Once you realize that, it frees you so much.

Connect with Ben:
Instagram
@benmudge_

Website
@website

Thanks for listening and the support – if you enjoyed this episode, I hope you can leave the podcast a rating and review on iTunes, and if you haven’t subscribed yet, this is the best time to do that too. This will help the show to get up in the rankings.

Scott Baptie

Scott is the owner and founder of Food For Fitness. He is a fat loss coach, speaker and fitness writer with a masters (MSc) degree in Applied Sports Nutrition.