Joshua Ingraham didn’t really mean to shed his “dad bod,” as he puts it. The competitor on the first season of NBC’s The Titan Games, a new athletic competition reality show hosted by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson airing Thursdays, initially changed his lifestyle thanks to his wife.
“I wanted to become the best dad and partner for my wife and my kids,” Ingraham, who will climb Titan Games’ Mount Olympus on this week’s episode, tells Men’s Health of the motivating moment. It also had everything to do with the fact that his wife’s dad was diagnosed with esophagus cancer. In support, “She said, ‘I want to do this plant-based journey.’ As a chef, I took the challenge.”
Ohio-based Ingraham, a former chef for the Cleveland Indians who currently works as an executive chef for the Cleveland Clinic, relished the opportunity to switch up his meal plan — and he added quite a bit more athleticism. (He’s also the author of a children’s cookbook that aims to encourage kids to develop healthy eating habits, and an Ultimate Men’s Health Guy runner-up.)
The 5’10” food lover wants to make smart nutritional strategy accessible to everyone. That starts with him. He was “just lying down” before he found a new calling. He went from north of 230 pounds to below 200 and built a lot of muscle along the way—with the help of protein-packed and Popeye-endorsed spinach. He has another book on the way about eating with a focus on vegetables, and he’d really love to teach everyone the power of utilizing whole foods and measuring proteins and counting calories.
Ingraham applied late in the game to join the pack on Johnson’s Titan Games, but he got in and came away with a singular experience informing his own life choices. “He’s on 100 percent of the time,” Ingraham says of the A-list host, who was around for all of filming. “He’s so much bigger than me. I instantly started doing more leg work. He makes me look tiny.”
Hey, even transformation inspirations can’t—and probably will never—be The Rock.