Challenges in life are inevitable and can feel unbearable at times. That doesn’t mean you should feel defeated by them.
We spoke with Neilson Eznack, an advocate of living a healthy and holistic life who’s been using SUPCASE Unicorn Beetle cases since 2018, about his career as a firefighter, pivotal points in his life that made him take his health seriously, and how he values family time above everything else.
Firefighter at Heart
He’s been a firefighter for 24 years and it’s anything but a walk in the park. Every day at work is never the same. But how did he get into this career?
I had a baseball scholarship at university but didn’t want to be a professional baseball player. I was also not sure what job to take on after graduation.
My grandfather and father were retired firefighters in our small town. I figured that I didn’t really need a degree to be a firefighter. My dad even told me why don’t I give it a shot so I went ahead and took the civil service exam. Got in the job when I was 20 years old and didn’t know it would be a career for me.
After his son was born, he and his wife bought a house when he was 31 years old. That shut down all the hobbies and extracurricular activities that supported their active lifestyle.
Sometimes, I worked from 7am until 7am next morning. There were also times when I’d go home while the sun was coming up. Being in fire service, you eat what you can, when you can. We all ate the best we could. Rice and gravy! Not the greatest thing in the world.
Catalyst for a Healthier Lifestyle
When asked what the catalyst in his life was to take his health seriously, it was after he gained a lot of weight.
I was always in shape in my 20s-30s, playing competitive softball every weekend but after not being as active as I used to be, I gained a lot of weight by eating terribly. Cholesterol was higher than ever due to mainly fast foods. I was 185 and out of shape. Starting CrossFit was one of the best decisions that I’ve ever made. In my first year competing in the 40-44 division in 2017, I came in 97th in the world. In 2018, I came in 158th in the world.
I got older and became captain at 36 years old. I had to start fighting fires again. I noticed one night at a fire I was getting out of breath which had never happened before. There was a lot of adrenaline involved when fighting fire.
I can say it was not safe since I had gained weight on my small frame. I just wasn't in my 20s anymore nor was I in the shape I used to be in. many pounds heavier at 170-180 lbs. I had a fellow firefighter/buddy ask me to come and do CrossFit with him.
He started getting into the habit of going to the gym with the in-house fire department facility for 3 months but wouldn’t do it on off days. Right after he saw the benefits, he joined another gym for 4 years and discovered how much better it was than playing softball.
Crossing Over to Crossfit
After 3 years, he tried the Crossfit open at 40yrs old and placed 97th in the world. When he turned 45, he completed in the open and ranked 27th in the world and even placed 19th in the world on one of the 3 workouts. Some of the workouts he beat the some of the top guys in the world which made the the podium the year before.
It has been 7 years since he started his fitness journey. He also has a coach, @sarahschollathlete which takes care of his nutrition and programming.
Family Comes First
With everything that he’s accomplished in life with his career and fitness journey, here’s what he mentioned that he considers his greatest accomplishment in life:
My family is my biggest accomplishment. It’s still going. Bought a home. 4-5 years, remodeled and made it our own. And when my son was 1-2 yrs old, we built a house. It’s been 12 years since we started. There’s always a family aspect of everything. watch my son grow up in this house. A blessing in disguise. We have the income to do what we want. To save money. Build what we want. Seeing us not struggle is a great thing because my time is limited already. In November, after 25 yrs as a firefighter… At 48 years old, I can retire.
And he bonds with his son through fitness activities together.
My son is a big boy. I was a small boy. I was really fast for baseball. But he’s 200 lbs at 13. I see that’s totally opposite of me and it’s fun to work on. He’s enjoying doing CrossFit with me. In fact, he’s down to 155 lbs now.
Tough Phone Case to Boot
We also asked him how he found out about SUPCASE and what made it stand out from other cases he’s known before.
You remember those bar phones that didn’t have texting features? I didn’t worry much about my phone back then. But now,smartphones are so fragile. We’re always really careful dropping it on the first month but, once the second month hits, we’re not as careful with it so we gotta have a phone case that can withstand drops. So I was happy when I found SUPCASE. I even have extras at home and just buy it from your Amazon store.
This was the best case that I found that time with a built-in screen protector. I got a UB Pro for my Samsung Note 9, Samsung Note 20 and iPhone 11. My job involves sliding the phone in and out of my pocket. I’ve dropped the phone, the case cracked, but the phone is perfectly fine. I passed down the Note 8 to my son. Then I got an iPhone for him later which was good. My wife got a case for her Note 20 and she got a Unicorn Beetle without a screen protector. I don’t know if I could’ve done that.
I tag SUPCASE on my Instagram posts. And that firefighter 25% discount is a nice gesture from you.
With a phone case and personality this tough, Neilson Eznack is ready to conquer his goals one day at a time.
(Photos in this article were provided by Neil Eznack and cited from his Instagram account @nezff.)