MS Fitness Challenge Podcast

MS Fitness Challenge

Your source for the best, most inspiring, and up-to-date information concerning all things related to MS, fitness, and health. Tune in weekly to get insights from real people who have MS as well as industry experts who understand the disease and how fitness, diet, and wellness all factor into healthy MS lifestyle. Together we can keep pressing, keep striving, and conquer MS.

Grace & The Great Divide


Grace & The Great Divide: The Grace Ragland Story

June 7, 2022

Kris Wheeler is an award-winning documentary filmmaker currently in the production of a feature-length documentary about an MS Warrior who spent a lifetime defying odds while impacting countless lives with joyous inspiration. The film is titled Grace & The Great Divide-The Grace Ragland Story.

The film tells the story of the inspiring life of Grace Ragland, who, at age 57, raced time and disease in a seemingly impossible pursuit when she entered the world’s most epic mountain bike race, the grueling 2,800-mile Great Divide Mountain Bike Race.

The Great Divide would prove to be the defining adventure of Grace’s life, but not for the reason most would think.

The story of Grace & The Great Divide is so much more than what one might assume at first glance. It’s a deep dive into self-perceptions, how we define our self-worth, the things we’re running to, running from, and why.

Episode Notes

Watch The Teaser & Learn How You Can Get Involved With The Film!

Grace & The Great Divide Facebook Page

Nikki Reed-Feisty Challenger Of The Status Quo


Nikki Reed—Feisty Challenger Of The Status Quo

May 24, 2022

Nikki Reed has been managing MS for 17 years now. She was discharged from the Army National Guard after receiving her diagnosis in 2005. For the first 8 years of diagnosis, she was still running marathons and teaching high-intensity fitness classes. Around 2014 she went through the abandonment of herself and her 5 year old son, divorce, getting unjustly fired from her job of 10 years, and a move all in one year. Her health plummeted as her immune system fought her. Battling breast implant illness brought her unexplained weight gain, leaky gut, adrenal fatigue, food allergies, IBS, kidney stones, rashes and the worst part was having to stop teaching fitness classes. Two years of that nightmare began the journey of a drug-free, faith-filled, alternative way of healing after the explant in 2017. Changing her perspective on exercise and moving aside her ego has been another hard challenge through the last 9 years. She currently lives in North Carolina with her son. She has a positive, uplifting podcast called 3 Blondes 1 Battle, that is led by three ladies all managing MS. Her titles are health coach for a nutrition company, real estate broker, and the co-founder of Conservative Women of Forsyth County

Episode Notes

Check out Nikki’s Podcast 3 blondes 1 battle Podcast

Para-Equestrian, Mary Jordan


Para-Equestrian, Mary Jordan

March 23, 2022

Mary Jordan represented Team USA in the sport of Para-Dressage at the World Equestrian Games in Kentucky in 2010. She was also a team alternate for the 2012 London Paralympics, the 2014 World Equestrian Games in Normandy, France, and was long-listed for the 2016 Rio and 2021 Tokyo Paralympics.
Mary has competed throughout the United States, and also in Australia, Belgium, Canada, Norway, and England after her MS diagnosis.

Her latest challenge during the Pandemic was a complete anterior hip replacement, which unfortunately had complications that caused nerve damage in her leg. Undeterred, Mary rallied and started from scratch, focusing on her health, nutrition, and fitness, and was able to qualify for and compete at the US Para National Championships in 2021, finishing 2nd and 3rd.

Mary is a lifelong journalist and works full-time at The Anchorage by the Sea Resort in Ogunquit, Maine as the director of group sales and marketing. She volunteers with the nonprofit organization MS Stadiums for MS which has donated more than $100,000 to Johns Hopkins for MS research and assists families with MS. She is looking for her next paralympic partner for the 2024 Paralympic Games in Paris.

The Accidental Triathlete Jeana Clary


The Accidental Triathlete Jeana Clary

January 21, 2022

Jeana was diagnosed with MS 19 years ago. While not necessarily an “inactive” person before or after her diagnosis, it wasn’t until roughly 5 years ago that Jeana began her true fitness journey after receiving a road bike from a non-profit organization called Meat Fight. Something clicked after riding 150 miles over two days as part of her first BikeMS event; a spark had been ignited for what was first cycling, but soon led to pursuing other athletic goals including long-distance running and triathlons. She hopes that her endeavors will encourage others with MS to take on an epic challenge in whatever capacity! Jeana is from Dallas, Texas, where she lives with her husband and their two fur babies, rescue dogs Neko and Kermit. She works in education as a bilingual and ESL program manager, advocating for English language learners and families.

Episode Notes

Learn more about Meat Fight, the nonprofit that inspired and supported Jeanna’s athletic journey!

The Polar Express, Gary Pinder


The Polar Express, Gary Pinder

December 21, 2021

During the cold winter months, when most people move indoors to escape below-freezing temperatures, Gary Pinder heads outdoors into these frigid temperatures to seize his peak season of training.

Gary has had MS for 26 years. He exercises regularly, including playing indoor soccer weekly. With his understanding of his heat sensitivity, Gary utilizes the cold winter tempters, to build up his strength, and endurance by running long distances.

Gary has written for many MS publications about his journey and shares his strategies to remain empowered and active while living with MS.

Gary was born in England and moved to the United States for college and then graduate school and met his wife along the way. Gary and his wife have two, now adult children, and currently live in Annapolis, Maryland.

Nora Gocking- Not Today, M.S.


Nora Gocking- Not Today, M.S.

December 1, 2021

Nora Gocking is a writer, runner, and lover of coffee who lives in the great state of Kentucky with her husband and two children. Diagnosed with MS at the age of 35, Nora changed her diet, lost 180 pounds and became a runner. To date, she has completed 6 half marathons, 1 full marathon, and multiple 5Ks. In an effort to help others diagnosed with MS or facing challenges, Nora created Not Today, MS–a blog and podcast to share her story and encourage others to “choose joy, each and every day.” Nora plans to spend the rest of her years on earth spreading joy and laughter and telling others about the amazing grace of Jesus Christ.

Episode Notes

Not Today MS, Nora Gocking’s website with her blog and podcast
Learn how you can get involved with Run A Myelin My Shoes. Contact them with any questions!

Dr. Ken Kaufman & Heather Hackett


Dr. Ken Kaufman & Heather Hackett — Optimize your health by following, (and/or eating more of) a plant-based diet!

October 12, 2021

Dr. Ken Kaufman is the Founder and Clinic Director of Sarasota Sports Medicine, a chiropractic & functional nutrition clinic. Dr. Kaufman has helped thousands of individuals, professional athletes, and celebrities recover from physical injuries and help them overcome chronic, degenerative health conditions through plant-based nutrition. Through his own personal experience and extensive knowledge in nutritional research, he now dedicates his expertise to guiding his patients and developing technologies to help individuals achieve optimal health.

Heather Hackett has given 20 years to inspiring and promoting others to lead an active, healthy, and rewarding lifestyle. As a book publisher, author, trainer, and featured sports and nutrition writer, she has educated and empowered both children and adults to make life-changing choices. She has also evolved her knowledge and expertise in plant-based nutrition and the countless benefits it has on individuals while having a global impact.
Together, Heather and her husband Dr. Kaufman co-founded Optamiz Health and are launching the Optamiz app. The Optamiz app supports people in following a plant-based diet and is part of their mission to accelerate the plant-based movement to inspire global change.

Episode Notes

You can find the Optamiz app in your favorite app store!

If you’d like to purchase a digital copy of Plant-Based Jumpstart on the Optamiz app or the Optamiz website, use the discount code: MSFIT at the checkout and get 10% off and the MS Fitness Challenge no-profit will get 10% of each sale.

Cheryl Hile


Cheryl Hile — Seven Marathons on Seven Continents in 12 Months

September 14, 2021

Cheryl Hile has been running marathons since 2000. Cheryl’s life changed in 2006 when a nagging injury turned out to be MS. Due to physical challenges, like foot drop, Cheryl struggled with keeping her exercise goals alive. She persisted despite her neurologist saying, “lower your expectations.” Cheryl got a brace called an ankle-foot orthosis (AFO) to help her run without the fear of falling. To date, Cheryl has completed 56 marathons since diagnosis. She is the first person with MS to run seven marathons on seven continents… running them all in 12 months.

Cheryl built a team called “Run A Myelin My Shoes” in 2018 and in just three years they have grown to over 300 teammates representing 19 countries. Their goal is to encourage people with MS to keep pushing forward to the best of their abilities.

Episode Notes

Learn how you can get involved with Run A Myelin My Shoes Contact them with any questions!

Gain the Benefits of Keeping Your Core Cool When Things Heat Up!


Gain the Benefits of Keeping Your Core Cool When Things Heat Up!

August 10, 2021

Brad Dunn and Kurtis Kracke from ThermApparel share their expertise on the benefits of cooling when living with MS! They also share evidence-based strategies on how to keep your cool when things heat up you can begin using immediately.

Episode Notes

  • Learn more about ThermApparrel!
  • Use discount code: MSFC to receive 10% off your purchase of ThermApparrel’s UnderCool Vest.

Organizations offering financial assistance for cooling products: (Please note: You can only get an UnderCool Cooling Vest from the MS Foundation and the MS Society. UnderCool is not available through MSAA, but they do have other cooling options that might work for you.

Bobcat Moretti


Knockout MS & Obesity with Bobcat Moretti

July 6, 2021

Tim Realbuto wrote and stars in the title role in the upcoming film Bobcat Moretti. Tim lost more weight for this role than any other actor in cinema history!
Rob Margolies is the co-writer, producer, and director of the film.

“Bobcat Moretti” is a heart-wrenching drama about an obese man with Multiple Sclerosis who takes up his late father’s sport of boxing to overcome immense personal tragedy and find inner peace.

Episode Notes

Knockout MS and Obesity with Bobcat Moretti gofundme page

10% of the gofundme money raised will go to the MS Fitness Challenge!

Stephen Glaus


Prove them Right

January 18, 2021

Stephen Glaus, the host of the MSFC Podcast is joined by former guest of the show and the MSFC Director of Inspirational Wellness, Maureen Manley. Stephen discusses his MS journey from diagnosis on and how he recently overcame the odds to become one of the few to ever complete a full IRONMAN triathlon with MS.

David Lyons


Focus Driven

January 10, 2021

Founder of the MS Fitness Challenge joins MSFC Podcast host, Stephen Glaus to speak about the MSFC, how the organization fared during 2020, and what to expect for 2021. David also shares some insights concerning Optimal Body Personal Fitness, his own personal training company, and how he is using it to change the way the world approaches fitness for people with MS.

Johan Van Etten


Just Keep Rowing

November 14, 2020

Johan Van Etten is a Netherland world record setting para-rower that has multiple sclerosis. This episode digs into how Johan has been able to overcome his MS diagnosis through fitness and how he fell in love with rowing.

Veronique Gauthier-Simmons


Taming the Walrus

August 14, 2020

Veronique Gauthier-Simmons is a world leading yoga instructor for people who have MS. Something she had initially saw as boring and ineffective became the primary source of her healing efforts after she was diagnosed with MS. Now her mission is to show and prove the benefits of yoga for the millions of people around the world that live with this disease. A lucid dream would inspire her to start her own yoga business – Taming the Walrus – that now serves as the go-to MS yoga resource.

Episode Notes

Timothy Bell


MS (Miracle Story)

July 14, 2020

Timothy Bell is an U.S. Army veteran who has over 4 years of military experience and time spent overseas in both Mosul and Iraq. His military career was cut short due to an unexpected MS diagnosis. He has overcome immense challenges in his life and has incredible story of survival to tell. He embodies the fighting spirit the MS Fitness Challenge mission and is a powerful, living example of what it means to conquer MS through fitness.

Angela Gensler


Sunrise Chaser

June 13, 2020

Angela Gensler is one of the most active members of the MS Fitness Challenge GYM Facebook group. She’s a New York native having lived most of her life on Long Island. She has been married to her husband for 23 years and is the mother of two daughters ages 21 and 19 years old. She considers herself a “sunrise chaser” and her enthusiasm and passion for life radiates everywhere she goes.

Episode Notes

  • COVID-19’s impact on Angela’s life / living with MS
  • Angela’s initial MS diagnosis 16 years ago and how she’s courageously fought back against the disease
  • Her motivations for changing her diet and the impact nutrition has had on her health
  • Why waking up in time to watch the sun rise is such an important part of her daily routine
  • How she got involved with the MS Fitness Challenge and how the charity has helped her thrive
  • Personal reflections and an inspirational message of hope
David Block


No Compromise

May 23, 2020

David Block is the founder and CEO of Previnex, a supplement company that produces premium, clinically proven health and wellness products and programs that help people live longer, healthier, more active lives. After he and his wife had their first child, David felt compelled to utilize the resources within Previnex to start tackling the crisis of child malnutrition that quietly runs rampant around the globe. Thanks to the “Get Health. Give Health.” program, Previnex ships a bottle of premium children’s vitamins to areas of the globe where children find themselves in desperate need of vital nutrients.

In addition to his passion for children, health, and wellness – David also has a heart for doing good and adding value to others. The MS Fitness Challenge (MSFC) is proud to be partnered with Previnex as our premier supplement sponsor. This episode will explore David’s background, the Previnex story, and how he became acquainted and involved with the MSFC.

Episode Notes

After spending several years as a research analyst for the health and wellness industry, David Block soon realized a significant disparity between the value proposition of most vitamins and minerals and the corresponding quality of the ingredients encapsulated within them. Determined to stand apart from the competition while also making a meaningful difference in the lives of others, David started the premium supplement company, Previnex. The company “believes everyone deserves the opportunity to live the longest, healthiest, most active life possible, and they believe that at their healthiest, people can make the greatest impact on their communities, families, and the world!”

By having a laser-focused approach to sourcing only the finest ingredients validated through vigorous research and testing, Previnex products deliver real and lasting results. Feeling purposed to make a difference in the world, David decided to carry the precepts of his “no compromise” attitude in life over to a philanthropic mission to fight for malnourished children and those that can’t fight for themselves.

Through the Previnex: “Get Health. Give Health.” program, over 700,000 vitamins have been donated and delivered to children in Haiti, El Salvador, Peru and Guatemala. David’s care for others has also been made evident by his willingness to partner with and support the MS Fitness Challenge.

Some key takeaways:

  • An in depth look into David’s background, how he became so well-versed with nutrition, and what inspired him to start Previnex
  • Distinguishing factors that set Previnex apart from the countless others boasting nutritional superiority
  • Why Previnex products can be beneficial for people living with MS
  • How the “Get Health. Give Health.” program is saving the lives of malnourished children
  • The impact COVID-19 has had on delivering vitamins around the world
  • Recommendations for those looking to try Previnex products for the first time
  • David’s goals and dreams for the future

Key resources:

Contact David:

Robin Brockelsby


The Gift Seeker

May 9, 2020

“What’s it like fighting losing battle?” That’s a question Robin Brockelsby was confronted with soon after an MS diagnosis that threatened to take away all of the success and achievements she had worked for her entire life. Thanks to the support of several people in her life and her newfound hope in health and fitness, Robin has been able to overcome the odds and find the gifts hidden within an MS life.

Episode Notes

Robin Brockelsby is an Entrepreneur, Motivational Speaker and Past President of Crisis Support Services of Nevada – which is 1 of 6 national crisis support lines in the US. She owns and operates multiple corporations in Northern Nevada – but her most important job is as a wife and mom to 3 teenagers. She is a two-time TEDx speaker with talks on “Overcoming Fear” and “How She is Living Her Best Life with Multiple Sclerosis“, and was recently featured by Yahoo Entertainment & Lifestyle in their “Inspired By” series.

She uses her extensive training in crisis and stress management to educate, inspire and empower others to succeed in conquering their challenges & fears and contributes regularly to the cause of the MS Fitness Challenge.

Some key takeaways:

  • COVID-19 and it’s impact on Robin’s life
  • Robin’s MS diagnosis story and what living with the disease has been like for her during the past year
  • The impact MS has had on Robin’s career ambitions
  • Her passion for Crisis Support Services of Nevada and why mental health is a critical factor for those living with MS
  • Insights related to Robin’s recent TED talk on her MS story
  • How she became acquainted with David Lyons and what motivated her to get involved with the MS Fitness Challenge
  • Reflections on how fitness and holistic health strategies have helped Robin manage her MS progression
  • Hopeful inspiration for finding the hidden gifts stored within life’s challenges

Robin’s key resources:

Contact Robin:

Blake Arnet


Dunk MS

April 26, 2020

Former UCLA basketball player Blake Arnet has had to deal with the effects of MS in a way that only few can relate to. Before anyone in his family could gather the strength to prepare themselves for a life-altering event, Blake’s mother, Brigitte, would pass away due to MS complications only 2 years after her diagnosis (2009). Determined to enshrine her memory in a way that serves others, Blake founded the one-of-a-kind basketball extravaganza charity event: Dunk MS. On his quest to help find a cure for MS and to provide MSers with resources and hope to get them through their trials, Blake continues to be an inspiration and a great example of what determination and love can do.

Episode Notes

Blake Arnet is the founder of Dunk MS – an annual fundraiser that features a pro dunk showcase by the world’s top dunkers all in support of MS research and youth basketball. His mother ended up passing away because of MS at the early age of 49. With his experience and skillset as a former UCLA college basketball player, sports coaching, and an entrepreneurial spirit, he founded Dunk MS with one mission on his mind: to find a cure for MS.

Some key takeaways:

  • COVID-19 and its impact on Blake Arnet and his wedding plans
  • Brigitte DeRouen, (Blake’s mother), her life, who she was, and her influence on Blake as a child and young man
  • The precipitous downfall Brigitte had with MS and how it affected Blake
  • Emotional insights into Brigitte’s last moments with MS and the regrets and lessons Blake gleaned from her passing
  • After taking time to mourn and recover, Blake would be inspired to start his own slam dunk-based charity in support of MS research and relief efforts
  • How Blake assembled a superstar slam-dunk team
  • A detailed description of what a live Dunk MS event is like
  • The MS Heart of Hope coin program, how it started, and the meaning behind each coin
  • Arnet’s summary of the the recent National MS Society Momentum magazine that features an article on Blake Arnet and his Dunk MS charity
  • Blake’s long-term goals and vision for Dunk MS and the legacy he wants to leave for his mother Brigitte

How to contact Blake:

Resources on Blake & Dunk MS:

Claudia Longo


Pushing Through

April 18, 2020

Not even before she graduated high school, Claudia Longo was dealt a devastating blow to her collegiate soccer aspirations when she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis at the age of 17. Her determined fighting spirit gave her the drive to push through her MS setbacks and ultimately landed her back on the field where she dreamed of playing. Claudia is an inspiration to anyone fighting through adversity and is a beacon of hope for those living with multiple sclerosis.

Episode Notes

Claudia Longo is a talented soccer player and plays on the Women’s team for the University of Washington. Before she managed to graduate from high school, an MS diagnosis ended up turning her world upside down. Not wanting to waive the white flag of surrender, she persevered, and through hard work and dedication, got back onto the field for Washington. She recently receive the 2019 Wayne Gittinger Inspirational Award honoree by the Seattle Sports Commission, an award that is given each year “to an inspirational young athlete who has overcome major medical obstacles to inspire others.”

Some key takeaways:

  • The impact COVID-19 has had on Claudia’s season (spoiler alert: it’s been canceled)
  • At an early age, Claudia fell in love with soccer and never looked back
  • MS struck Claudia right before she was set to play soccer at the college level
  • Through hard work and determination, Claudia bounced back and got back onto the playing field
  • Insights as to how Claudia has had to adapt her training regimen and diet
  • How being part of a team atmosphere has motivated her to train smarter with MS
  • The difficulties MS causes her while she’s playing and how she pushes through
  • Claudia’s thoughts on the future and what gives her the confidence to dream big
  • Inspirational advice on how others can conquer their setbacks and get back onto their respective “field”

How to contact Claudia:

  • Twitter: @ClaudiaLongo99
James Drake


The Best is Yet to Come

April 11, 2020

When it comes to battling MS, James Drake is an absolute beast! As an avid competitor at heart, James is always eager to put his abilities to the test. When he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, James realized that he had come to face-to-face with one of the biggest challenges of his life thus far. Thanks to his passionate faith in God and his resolute determination to fight MS through holistic health strategies, James has been able to accomplish incredible feats like competing on the Netflix hit series, ‘Ultimate Beastmaster’.

Episode Notes

James Drake is an MS Warrior and to put simply: he’s a BEAST! He competed on the NETFLIX show, Ultimate Beastmaster and was the last American standing in the competition finals. Both he and his wife, Heidi, are certified fitness instructors and have a passion for competition. Whether it be triathlons, the Warrior Dashes, CrossFit competitions, or ultimate frisbee tournaments – they’re always finding ways to push their limits. James believes he was created to compete and is the executive of Cru City South Florida, a non-profit organization whose mission is connect people to Jesus Christ.

Some key takeaways:

  • James is a BEAST!
  • Even personality tests confirm it – James was created to compete
  • An in-depth review of James’ MS diagnosis struggle
  • The holistic health changes James implemented that have maintained his vibrant health
  • Some setbacks would ultimately become the stepping stones to James’ incredible Ultimate Beastmaster opportunity
  • Recognizing the impact stress can have on MS and how James combats life’s stressors
  • Advice on how to push through negativity that typically surrounds those who find success
  • James’ ultimate source of hope and strength comes from God and his faith in Jesus Christ

Resources related to James Drake:

How to contact James:

Tracy Davenport


Easy Sleep

April 4, 2020

Tracy Davenport is a healthcare professional that specializes in sleep science. As a caretaker for her mother who has been struggling with Alzheimer’s & dimensia for 8 years, Tracy quickly realized the power and benefits that sleep can have for people – especially those with significant health issues; people living with MS are no exception. A good night’s rest is a critical key to living with multiple sclerosis. In this episode, Tracy offers some insights that reveal how to achieve healthy sleeping habits.

Episode Notes

Tracy Davenport is the founder of She holds a PH.D in Human Growth in Development from the University of Delaware. Using the latest scientific research, she helps people live their healthiest lives via one-on-one coaching, corporate talks, and sharing the more than 1,000 health-related articles she’s authored. Her mission is simple: to help people achieve lifestyle performance at the highest level. Whether you are a college athlete, busy parent, or are retired and still looking to live your best life – or even someone who has multiple sclerosis – she can help! She recently teamed up with David Lyons and the MS Fitness Challenge to be the go-to source for information regarding sleep and its vital role in living well with MS.

Some key takeaways:

  • Tracy’s initial interest in human health and growth development factors and how that slowly evolved into a focus sleep science
  • The overall importance of sleep
  • How she came across the MS Fitness Challenge and David Lyons and what motivated her to want to get involved
  • An explanation of how heathy sleeping habits can be “insanely” easy to achieve
  • A good night’s rest can be help ease the effects of MS-crushing fatigue
  • Why sleep and stress are so interconnected and how the negative impacts of stress can be mitigated through sleep
  • Essential guidelines to achieving long-term sleep success

How to contact Tracy Davenport:

Resources provided by Tracy:

Matthew Embry


Soldier of Truth

March 28, 2020

Matthew Embry is the director of the world-renowned documentary film, ‘Living Proof’. After being diagnosed with MS at the early age of 19, Matthew heeded the advice and wisdom of his father’s research to implement lifestyle changes that have kept his MS symptoms at bay for the past 25 years. In this episode, Matthew shares his motivation for directing the ‘Living Proof’ film as well as why fitness has become such an integral part of his everyday routine.

Episode Notes

Matthew Embry lives by “all-or-nothing” sort of mentality. His strict regimen requires the utmost levels of mental fortitude and discipline. His dramatic approach to managing his MS has led to dramatic results; he’s lived symptom free from his MS for over 25 years. On a mission to tell the world about the hope people with MS can find in his lifestyle approach, Matthew directed the critically acclaimed film, Living Proof, which unabashedly proclaims the undeniable evidence of the impact Matthew’s approach to living with MS can have. After learning about David Lyons through Facebook, Matthew reached out to him and set up a meeting that would end up being an eye-opening scene in his feature film. In this episode, Matthew breaks down the details of his unique lifestyle strategy and speaks about the hope that others can find by implementing his tactics.

Some key takeaways:

  • Matthew’s diagnosis story and the impact being diagnosed at an early age had on his life
  • His motivation for directing the film, Living Proof and the worldwide influence his story has achieved
  • How Matthew came across David Lyons and why Matthew was so determined to meet David and learn more about him
  • Details on MS Hope and it’s affiliations with Direct-MS
  • Direct MS
  • The effects that fitness has on MS and a look into Matthew’s daily fitness routine
  • Why Matthew is so supportive of the MS Fitness Challenge and the takeaways he has gleaned from being exposed to the charity and its members
  • Reflections on the past 25 years of Matthew’s life and whether or not Matthew feels like he’s officially “beat” MS
  • Undeterred by naysayers and opposition, Matthew is determined to fight for the truth
  • A powerful and inspiring message of hope for those struggling with their MS affliction

How to contact Matthew Embry:

Resources provided by Matthew:

Dr. Mark Vance


Vitamin H

March 21, 2020

Dr. Mark Vance is the Medical Director for the MS Fitness Challenge. He is a board certified Fellow of the American Academy of Family Physicians and has over 15 years of experience in “conventional medicine” including clinic, emergency room, inpatient hospital and administrative work. In addition, he has received extensive training in alternative medicine as well as serving as the Medical Director of the West Clinic in Pocatello, ID.

This unique training has equipped him with the skills to provide effective treatments for many conditions that typically have poor outcomes with standard MD medical treatment.

His extensive work with alternative providers makes him the ideal liaison between the “regular” medical system and alternative medicine providers. And through opening his own clinic, Vance Medical, he is able to combine the best of both worlds, bringing the best of what’s available to his patients.

In this episode, Dr. Vance shares how his experience and knowledge with alternatives therapies can have a significant impact on the overall wellbeing of people living with MS.

Episode Notes

What’s the most important vitamin? According to Dr. Mark Vance it’s one of two: either the vitamin you need the most (the one you’re most deficient in) or perhaps most importantly – Vitamin H, or Vitamin “Hope”. Prior to being involved with alternative therapies for hard to treat / difficult aliments – Dr. Vance began his medical career by pursuing knowledge and experience through traditional pathways common to medical practitioners. It was after a unique experience with a patient in desperate need for alternative medicine that Dr. Vance finally found his true calling in life and started his own medical practice at Vance Medical. After becoming acquainted with David Lyons and the MS Fitness Challenge, Mark decided to get involved with the MSFC and render his support as the charity’s Director of Medical Services.

Some key takeaways:

  • Mark’s interest in becoming a doctor based upon a mission to help others
  • General disinterest / lack of passion for the practice enticed Dr. Vance to consider alternative therapies
  • The impact Mark’s newfound purpose in life had on his career and his outlook on life
  • Friction between the alternative therapies and the overall medical community and why it exists
  • How one question would manifest itself as one of the greatest opportunities of Mark’s life
  • Recollections of last year’s MSFC Training Camp and personal insights of how Dr. Vance’s alternative treatments proved to break the barriers of seemingly insurmountable skepticism
  • After heeding a patient’s recommendation, Mark would get the chance to meet David Lyons and his wife Kendra
  • A basic breakdown of some of the most effective alternative therapies for people with MS to include: herbal remedies, hormone therapy, intravenous vitamin C, and perhaps most promising – Low Dose Naltrexone.
  • Opportunities for listeners to get involved and advocate for the benefits of alternative therapies for MS
  • Strong and compelling reminders to take your daily dose of “Vitamin H”

How to contact Doctor Vance:

Shanna Ferrigno


Incredibly Fit

March 14, 2020

Shanna Ferrigno is the MS Fitness Challenge Mindset Coach. As the daughter of the famed bodybuilder and Incredible Hulk actor, Lou Ferrigno, Shanna dealt with destructive lifestyle habits that were derived from guilt, shame, and loneliness. Over time she would learn how to manage and cope through those emotions and has established herself as a fitness instructor and mental coach purposed to help others become the best versions of themselves.

Episode Notes

Shanna Ferrigno is the CEO and co-founder of Ferrigno FIT, a lifestyle brand that celebrates positive, healthy living. After getting acquainted with David Lyons, Shanna decided to team up with the MS Fitness Challenge with an aim of incorporating the Ferrigno FIT mission to encourage people with MS to Focus, Invest, & Take Action with their lifestyle and longevity goals.

Some key takeaways:

  • Shanna’s life growing up with the Incredible Hulk (Lou Ferrigno) as her father and the impact that had on her
  • How she was able to overcome the guilt and shame of her overeating habits and find confidence in fitness
  • Ferrigno FIT, it’s mission and purpose – and the lessons Shanna has learned from working with her father
  • Keys to building up a positive self image and overcoming obstacles such as temptations to overeat
  • The story of how Shanna learned about David Lyons and what inspired her to want to get involved with the MS Fitness Challenge
  • Why having the right mindset is such a critical component to being fit
  • Positive impacts that openness and vulnerability can have for people with MS
  • Reasons why Shanna’s coaching strategies are applicable to people living with multiple sclerosis
  • Lessons Shanna has learned from being involved with the MSFC community
  • Her biggest hopes and dreams for the future of her work within the MS Fitness Challenge
Maureen Manley


Changing Up

March 7, 2020

Maureen Manley is the Director of Inspirational Wellness for the MS Fitness Challenge. She’s also a former world-class cyclist that has achieved gold medals within global competitions. An unfortunate diagnosis of MS occurred right before she had a chance to compete in the Olympics. After learning about herself and her limits, she discovered a newfound passion to inspire others to become the best versions of themselves. She now charts a new course in life that is focused on promoting the hope found within embracing the opportunities found within life’s challenges.

Episode Notes

Maureen Manley found herself primed to be competing at an elite level on the Olympic stage. MS would take all of that away from her – but it didn’t steal her identity. In fact, thanks to MS, Maureen has realized that her value and uniqueness doesn’t come from her achievements or physical abilities, but from her inner drive and spirit to become the best version of herself that she can possibly be. Maureen has taken her message of hope and inspiration across the globe as a public speaker. In this episode, she shares some amazing insights of what it takes to have the heart of a MS warrior.

Some key takeaways:

  • Reflections on where Maureen’s competitive drive and spirit originated and how she fell in love with cycling
  • How Maureen was able to elevate her cycling to a world-class level
  • The tragic story of how MS struck Maureen at the prime of her career
  • It would have been easy for her to quit, but Maureen soon discovered her newfound passion and purpose in life
  • A dozen years would pass before she had the physical and neurological strength to ride a bike again
  • MS’s physical and mental impact on Maureen and how she implements a persistent, holistic strategy to combat the disease
  • Fitness and the crucial role it plays in living well with MS
  • Why Maureen decided to start sharing her story on stages around the world and her overall mission
  • Insights as to why Maureen can look at MS with a positive light and be willing to share that hope with others
  • Learn how to thrive with MS:
Kendra Lyons


Support & Guidance

February 29, 2020

Kendra Lyons – the co-founder of the MS Fitness Challenge and wife of David Lyons, shares the story of how she met David and how her past experience as a nurse working with MS patients made an impact on her life. Her compassionate heart and keen awareness of David’s potential would eventually lead her to motivate David to start the MS Fitness Challenge. She offers a glimpse of the widespread effect MS can have on the close family members and friends of those who have been diagnosed with the disease and provides some useful advice on how supporting cast members can not only help their loved ones manage and cope with the disease, but also focus on their own physical, mental, and emotional health as well.

Episode Notes

Kendra Lyons may very well be the reason the MS Fitness Challenge exists. After seeing the success and the impact David Lyons found through bodybuilding and fitness, she inspired him to start a charity that would go on to be a globally recognized banner of hope for people living with MS.

Some key takeaways:

  • Kendra’s experiences as a nurse working with MS patients and how that framed her initial understanding of what MS was like
  • How David & Kenra first met and her initial impression of him and his remarkable abilities in spite of MS
  • An incident in which Kendra learned that David does not share food – even with the person who would become his wife
  • David’s past injuries during training and how they’ve taught Kendra to be mindful of the risks associated with MS and physical training while also acknowledging the importance of fitness and the need to train smartly
  • The moment Kendra realized that David had the potential to inspire others to embark on their own MS fitness journeys
  • Initial goals of the MS Fitness Challenge and how the organization evolved into what it is today
  • Emotional stories of the hope and impact the MSFC has had on MSers as well as their families
  • Challenges family members and close friends face when caring for someone with MS and the importance of taking the time to focus on self-health strategies
  • David’s impact on Kendra’s personal fitness habits and lifestyle
  • Kendra’s reflection on the path her and David have traveled as well as her hopes and dreams for the future of the MS Fitness Challenge
Monica Pelle


Control the Controllables

February 22, 2020

Monica Pelle – the Director of Nutrition for the MS Fitness Challenge, shares some useful insights as to how people with MS can utilize dietary and lifestyle strategies to help combat and subdue the inflammation associated with multiple sclerosis. Monica’s wholistic approach to health, combined with a realistic application that allows room for slip-ups and set-backs, provides people with MS the tools they need to “crack” their own dietary codes and find long-lasting healthy lifestyle success.

Episode Notes

Monica Pelle has been working with David Lyons for several years, in an effort to help people within the MS Fitness Challenge discover the best and most effective dietary and lifestyle strategies that will enable them to thrive with MS.

Some key takeaways:

  • How Monica fell in love with healthy lifestyle habits and what motivated her to want to share that with others
  • Her first encounter with David and Kendra Lyons and the impact their passion and enthusiasm had on her
  • Reasons why diet and nutrition are such critical factors to living well with MS
  • A basic breakdown of what a successful MS diet looks like
  • Examining inflammatory additives and subtractives and their effect on MSers
  • Advice on how to achieve lasting success by implementing a micro-step approach
  • Key principles on the significance of toxins in the body, how they impact people with MS, and how to manage them
  • Why the upcoming MS Fitness Challenge Training Camp is such a valuable experience, especially as it relates to discovering MS dietary and lifestyle strategies
  • Monica’s personal insights as to how working within the MSFC has impacted and changed her life
  • Concluding takeaways that include a call-to-action that can kick-start healthy MS habits
David Lyons


Focus on Fitness

February 15, 2020

A follow-up interview with the co-founder of the MS Fitness Challenge – David Lyons. This episode continues the story of how David fought his way back from a bleak MS prognosis and how he utilized his vast wealth of fitness knowledge and experience to create the MS Fitness Challenge (MSFC). Information about the MSFC – what it is, who it’s for, resources that are available, and how to get involved – are all covered during this interview.


David Lyons is the leading industry expert on all things MS and fitness. Here are some highlights you won’t want to miss!

Some key takeaways:

  • How David became inspired to start the MSFC
  • Unique factors that differentiate the MSFC from other MS-supporting charities
  • Reasons why fitness is the key to living well with MS
  • An explanation of all the MSFC resources that are available to people with MS
  • The benefits of finding a fitness trainer who knows and understands MS
  • Current MSFC goals and objectives
  • Information on the upcoming MSFC Training Camp in Los Angeles
  • David’s personal insights on how the charity has impacted his life
  • Details on fundraising needs and how to contribute
David Lyons


David Meets Goliath

February 8, 2020

David Lyons is the founder of the MS Fitness Challenge. This episodes will explore David’s initial MS diagnosis and how he managed to battle back through a lofty bodybuilding undertaking. As a champion boxer and life time trainer, David explains the role fitness has when it comes to living with MS. David’s triumph over his Goliath: multiple sclerosis, serves as an example of how we can all overcome our obstacles and stand to fight another day.

Episode Notes:

David Lyons is the leading industry expert on all things MS and fitness. Here are some highlights you won’t want to miss!

Some key takeaways:

  • Where to start if you’re someone just finding their way to fitness
  • How exerting energy at the gym can actually be a productive way to fight MS fatigue
  • Advice on how to overcome obstacles and setbacks when they occur
  • The MS Fitness Challenge is NOT about bodybuilding – it’s about helping people become the best possible version of themselves; it’s about taking control of the disease.
  • David accredits his strength and ability to inspire others to God and his faith in Jesus Christ

Some key resources:


Resolve to live a lifestyle of fitness and health. Choose to fight your chronic condition with guidance from certified professionals and a motivating community.