Brett Young participating in the Born & Raced in Nebraska Leprechaun Chase 10K

Brett Young, a strategic account executive for government and association accounts at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska (BCBSNE), has had a fitness journey with many highs and lows.

From running with his dad to starting a small fitness group at BCBSNE, Young has always found joy in putting his health first. After being diagnosed with type two diabetes, Young found new ways to maintain his wellness.

Young’s fitness journey began with running, inspired by his father who started running during his time in the Air Force in the ’70s.

“He and I would go out for runs,” Young said. “He dropped me off at about a mile, and he kept going. Eventually, I could keep up with him for the full distance.”

After discovering his passion for his health at a young age, when Young joined BCBSNE in his 40s, he wanted to continue to prioritize his wellness.

Young and a few other employees at BCBSNE formed their own CrossFit team. The group would meet every day to do various workouts, including weightlifting, cardio and bodyweight exercises. This experience significantly improved Young’s overall fitness, making him more active and healthier than ever before.

“It was a lot of fun,” Young said. “I wish I was still able to do that with that group of friends.”

Young’s journey with diabetes began when he was diagnosed in his late 20s. “Being diagnosed at that young age was definitely scary,” Young said. “To have to know that you got a chronic disease and really not know, you know anything about it or how you treat it, I felt overwhelmed.”

This health challenge motivated him to prioritize nutrition and exercise. Young also highlighted the importance of accountability and regular monitoring of health metrics, like blood pressure and blood sugar levels.

One important aspect of Young’s wellness journey is his recent participation in the Virta program, which focuses on managing diabetes through nutrition and exercise. Despite initial skepticism about the program’s dietary recommendations conflicting with traditional endurance athlete practices, Young has experienced positive results.

“It’s been a great experience,” Young said. “The coach I have for the program once told me something that has stuck with me throughout my journey. He said, ‘Health is progression, not perfection. So don’t beat yourself up for the candy bar. Just realize that was a mistake and learn from it.’”

Young offered some of his wisdom as well.

“Exercise can be many different kinds of activities.” Young said. “So, I always tell people just find the thing that you enjoy.”

To read more stories like this one, visit Health and Wellness.

*Wise & Well is a monthly wellness series highlighting BCBSNE employees and their dedication to health and wellness.