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Stefan Ozich: On loss, hope, and embarking on a record-breaking feat

Stefan Ozich: On loss, hope, and embarking on a record-breaking feat

In 2023, Stefan Ozich lost his brother to suicide. This devastating experience made him realise how severely under-equipped the mental healthcare system is in New Zealand.

Stefan, an athlete and holistic endurance coach, is attempting a never-before-seen feat. Over 100 days, he will run the length of New Zealand via the Te Araroa Trail, from top to bottom and back again. This mammoth effort aims to raise awareness and funds for the critically under-resourced mental healthcare system.

We are fortunate to support Stefan as he embarks on this incredible feat. Settle in for the evening and read Stefans words on his journey, his cause, his brother, and his beliefs.

Mitchells Nutrition will be hosting a Mid Winter Morning For Mental Health ft. an in person talk with Stefan on Sunday July 14th in Tauranga. If you'd like to come along, move, connect, and meet for a good cause, head to our ticket link here.

You’re an athlete, holistic endurance coach, and podcast host. Can you tell us a bit about these different hats that you wear and what inspires you most in your work?

I'm quite eclectic and like to diversify my formats of service. I find passion in things that involve people and building things and I'm slowing but surely refining it to a few complementary disciplines. The podcast is a passion project where I strive to connect with experts and specialists who are completely committed to leading intentional and meaningful lives. I love learning from them myself, and making their wisdom available to my audience. Hence why I call the podcast, Living In Service. My athletic endeavours began out of necessity, a bigger part of me knew I needed to change my bad, deplorable habits. Movement and training were the medicine that I didn't necessarily want to do, but knew I NEEDED to. This has progressed, but fundamentally my reasonings remain the same in present time; pushing beyond the self-limiting stories and excuses, to access the better way that I somehow just knew was possible.

What does a typical day look like for you?

Currently, waking from 5-5:30am, prayer, coffee, reading scripture, writing, going out to either run, gym or cycle from anywhere to 30-90min. Get back, eat breakfast. Get to work for 8am in a vineyard. Knock off at 4:15-30. Second training being either another run, or ride or gym, depending on what I did in the morning. Dinner usually at 7. Unwind, do some coaching work, study and reading. Bed by 10-10:30pm.

When working with holistic endurance coaching clients, what are some common themes in your support and suggestions?

Consistency and showing up every day. Not listening to emotions and feelings that feed excuses, otherwise very often you won't show up for yourself, because very often your going to feel tired or don't have energy. These emotions are real, however they are fleeting. Trusting and engaging in the process, and being very patient.

When it comes to your health & happiness, what are some challenges you have faced, and how have you overcome them?

Sheesh, depends how deep and honest you want me to go. I've gone very dark and been very low at points in my adult life. My greatest challenge is by far loosing my brother and my uncle within the same month. Overcoming this particular instance required me being extremely accountable and consistent with my training and overall well-being. I doubled down on all my disciplines and kept myself honest. I avoided all comforts, sugary food, drugs, alcohol and partying. I sat with all my emotions and spoke through them with my family and close friends. I also kept my faith very, very close to my heart, daily prayer was monumental to my overcoming.

What practices and/or priorities are you most consistent with when it comes to mindset and mental health?

Prayer. Reading scripture. Training every single day. Turning my phone off in the evenings. Eating clean, whole foods, mostly, every single day. Drinking water. Taking vitamin D, Creatine, magnesium complex and organ supplements (most days). Daily writing. Immense gratitude. Meditation, a little less frequent now, but a mainstay.

What inspired you to make such a huge attempt to raise awareness and funds for mental health?

It's been brewing in me since losing a good friend in 2022. After losing my brother, I knew I had to do something. I truly believe God called me, I can't quite explain how strong the drive is to shine a spotlight on our devastatingly under resourced healthcare system. I also know that pain is something we all face in life, it’s inevitable. I strive to show we can overcome these hardships and I see the struggles that I will face in running everyday, as a reminder to those facing challenges in their daily lives. 

What does training for prep look like for the next few months?

Training every day, building durability through a lot of strength training, progressive overload, back to back running days, 100km+ weeks which will build do around 140-160km weeks. Some cycling in there to mitigate the running load. I will also be going on some long weighted backpack hikes for overall leg strength and resilience on tired legs.

When thinking of fuel for your journey, why did you reach out to Mitchells Nutrition?

I seek out only the best when it comes to nutrition. I've been taking Mitchells for nearly 4 years now and am very aware of the bioavailability of bone broth based protein and the amino acid profile being one of the most complete in the protein powder market. Bottom line, I only wanted the best.

What’s your favourite way to have the Mitchells Nutrition products?

A big serving in some yogurt, mixed in a slurry, adding some apple, peanut butter, coconut chips and a splash of cream!

What’s the best piece of advice you have received that has shaped who you are today?

Patience, Trust, Faith, Humility and Discipline.

Where can we find you?

Instagram: @stefanozich

Podcast: Living In Service

Speaker: Mid Winter Morning For Mental Health Event


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