Thomas Forbang: Still the Same Passionate Yogi!

Thomas Forbang won the Adult 50+ Men’s Division Gold Medal at the 2018 USA Yoga Nationals and went on to win the Gold Medal in the International competition held in Beijing, China. I caught up with this busy entrepreneur and yoga champion to congratulate him and ask about the future.

1) Congratulations on your first-place medal for Adult 50+ Men at the international competition in Beijing!  Tell us how you prepared for the competition - training both mental and physical, diet, strategy, etc.
Thank you! I practice and train pretty much all year long. However, 90 days before competitions, I intensify my training regimen with drills that target spine flexibility, shoulder thawing and hip opening. I also switch to a vegan diet around this time for detoxification reasons. These maintain my 1) Body Fat Ratio (BFR) at under 15%; 2) target weight of under 170 lbs; 3) Lean Muscle Mass (LMM) of above 40%; and 4) Body Mass Index (BMI) of around 25.

2) Looking back on this experience, what did you enjoy most?
The international community. The language and communication challenges. Different cultures and foods. I’ve been exposed to several cultures (speak, read and write three languages - English, French and Russian) but anytime you step out of your home country, you are a foreigner and are usually treated like one. This is always a fascinating and enjoyable experience that I think everyone should try.

3) What were the challenges of competing in a different time zone on the other side of the world?
Jet lag. I learned my lessons from the 2016 Worlds in Italy (6-hour difference) where I arrived the night before competition and wobbled severely onstage the next day. This time I arrived in Beijing (11-hour difference) a good 3 days before going onstage giving me enough time to acclimate.

4) What are your plans for the 2019 competition year? Having achieved both the U.S. and International gold medal - what's next? Do you have new goals?
Honestly, nothing has changed. I’m still the same passionate yogi who continues to practice/teach daily and compete yearly. In fact, I already submitted my video for the 2018-2019 Central/Southeast Regional Qualifiers.  If invited, I will be onstage in Arlington, Virginia in April 2019, and if I score high enough there and earn an invite to the Nationals, I will be onstage again at The State Games of America in Lynchburg, Virginia in August 2019.

As Chuck Knox once said: “Winning and losing are both very temporary things. Having done one or the other, you move ahead. Gloating over a victory or sulking over a loss is a good way to stand still.”

5) Now that you are the US and world champion, what inspires you to continue competing?
The sheer passion for the sport. In addition, sharing that stage with other competitors, bona fide yogis, and having my friends and family there as well, creates a unique moment that can never be replicated or duplicated unless during competition days and times.

Furthermore, I aspire one day to see yoga on the Olympic schedule.

6) What advice can you give to fellow Adult 50+ competitors?
I could not have said it any better than Jackie Joyner-Kersee: “Age is no barrier. It’s only a limitation you put on your mind.”

7) Any final thoughts?
I see myself practicing and competing in championships till eternity for two reasons:

1)    My wife and I like to travel. This is a perfect opportunity to travel now instead of waiting until after retirement. If you’re able to compete, you have a chance to win and get invited to the next level – and the varying host destinations keep it interesting.

2)    This is the more important reason: Since competitions are pretty much all year long, that gives me an extra incentive to remain fit, ready and healthy as I’m always in competitive mode.

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