We had the good fortune of connecting with Greg Sakowicz and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Greg, what is the most important factor behind your success?
I think being honest and consistent is the most important to my success. My goal is to educate and hopefully inspire people in believing that they can enjoy the outdoors even if they don’t have that confidence yet. I have been lucky enough to have so many people reach out and tell me that I have helped them on their journey to a better being but if someone reads my advice and I haven’t been honest with them, I could not only damage my reputation but worse, I could set back their journey. I want to help as much as I can and I can only do that if people can relate to what I am doing and believe in the idea as much as I do. If I lose that then I lose any hope of helping anyone.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I don’t know if I would consider my self an artist but more of a content creator. I saw a gap for people like me who are admittedly overweight and out of shape but want to be more active. I was looking to spend more time outside on the wonderful trails in Colorado but I was embarrassed. I didn’t want to be the fat guy who couldn’t finish a hike so instead of trying I sat on my couch and missed out.
Then one day I just did it and I loved every second of it. I realized that the outdoors doesn’t have to be a race. It can be enjoyed by any skill level and every endurance level. The problem was that every article I found was written from the perspective of an experienced outdoors person or a twenty something athletic type. I realized that was part of the reason I was apprehensive to go and enjoy the outdoors. Well that had to change.
I started Fatmanlittletrail.com as a way of telling everyone out there that they can enjoy the outdoors as well. Hey, if I can do it they can do it! And if they can’t do it yet then at least I can let them live vicariously through me. My philosophy is to take it slow and enjoy every moment. I have noticed that a lot of people on the trails have a one minded focus to finish the hike and miss some of the amazing nature that is all around them, not just at the peak or end of the hike.
Now I had a bunch of questions when I began and I figured that other people would as well. I interviewed physical therapists and nutritionists so people would know basic exercises and food/hydration needs to start hiking. I interviewed meteorologists so people would remain safe while out in the woods. I talked to gear brands so I could give new hikers suggestions on shoes and clothes so they would be comfortable when they started. I wanted to make sure that if someone read my blog and thought, “Yeah but he hikes all the time, I don’t think I could do that”, that they would have the information that I had when I started. All of that information is readily available to anyone in my Getting Started Guides series. (https://fatmanlittletrail.com/thoughts-and-tips/getting-started-tips/)
Finally I paired each hike with a locally owned restaurant to eat at after the hike. Just like Shoutout Colorado I wanted to make sure that people knew of these great local places and not just the chains. I did a lot of this during the pandemic and it was hard to find restaurants that were open but I wanted to make sure that I supported the people in the smaller towns that I enjoyed so much to hike in. What started as a way for people to know what was open developed into a love of these smaller diners, cafes and restaurants. There is nothing better than a locally owned small restaurant. The people and pride they have in their food is unmatched. If anyone out there is looking for a great place, locally owned, to eat they can check out my Food page. (https://fatmanlittletrail.com/food/)
So I had the information for people. I was trying to help motivate them by doing the hikes myself and doing thorough trail reviews based on a middle aged out of shape guy instead of a twenty something athlete. Then something magical happened. People started sending me notes and telling me that they were going outdoors now because I had inspired them a little bit. One guy was working on a 52 hike challenge and said that he finished in part because I finished and it motivated him. He lived in Ohio and I had never met him other than on Instagram. The moment you realize that you have inspired someone to live a bit of a better life or experience something they wouldn’t have is like no other moment in the world. Those moments are the reason that I continue.
Through it all I stick to a philosophy that I adopted early. “Screw it, I’m Trying”. I was sitting on a trail one day and came up with the idea that even though I was struggling to hike a hill I was still doing better than sitting on the couch. I wrote the blog “Screw it, I’m Trying” (https://fatmanlittletrail.com/2020/08/13/thoughts-from-a-rock-screw-it-im-trying/) as a rally for the out of shape hiker and it has been my motto anytime I have a little bit of doubt sneak into an idea. Failure might happen but as long as you try you have a 50% chance to succeed or fail. If you don’t try you have already failed so I say, “Screw it, I’m Trying!”
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Oh I love this question! If someone was visiting me for a week we would have a lot of fun and hopefully they like to hike and the outdoors! In a perfect world without needing recovery days here is what our week would look like.
Day 1: Hike at RMNP (https://fatmanlittletrail.com/2021/06/12/deer-mountain-rmnp/) – Any of the hikes at Rocky Mountain National Park are worth the time and you really can’t go wrong on a hike in RMNP.
Lunch: Trailhead. (https://fatmanlittletrail.com/2021/06/12/trailhead-restaurant-estes-park/) I found Trailhead restaurant my last time to RMNP. It is located just outside of the Fall River entrance to the park and has a great deck over looking the park. They have some “exotic” burgers like elk and buffalo and just a really enjoyable time.
Day 2: Hike to Lionshead at Staunton State Park. (https://fatmanlittletrail.com/2020/11/09/staunton-sp-lionshead-long-loop/) Staunton is what I consider my home town park. Anytime I get new gear or just want a quick hike I run to Staunton. I actually think I fell in love with hiking at Staunton. For all the times I went I always stared at awe at the Lionshead rock formation. I had no idea that you could actually hike to it! So on probably my 20th time to the park I found out you could and I hiked to the top and it was amazing. The views are spectacular.
Lunch: The Buck Snort Saloon. (https://fatmanlittletrail.com/2020/11/18/bucksnort-saloon-pine/) If you haven’t been to this over 100 year old restaurant in Pine then you are missing out. The Buck Snort is always packed with one of the most eclectic group of people you will ever see. There are dollar bills and stickers plastered all over the walls signed from pretty much everywhere in the country. In contrast there are still wood burning stoves in the restaurant taking you back to the days of the when it was first built over 100 years ago.
Day 3: Hike McCullough Gulch. (https://fatmanlittletrail.com/2020/10/03/mccullough-gulch-trail/) McCullough Gulch is at the foot of Quandry Mountain and has some of the coolest alpine lakes in Colorado. The hike is amazing especially in the fall. One of my coolest moments was seeing a Mountain Goat with full winter coat of long hair just a few feet away from me at the Gulch.
Lunch: Fatty’s in Breckenridge. (https://fatmanlittletrail.com/2020/10/10/fattys-breckenridge/) If you website is called Fatmanlittletrail.com you have to eat at a place called Fatty’s
Day 4: Ptarmigan Lake Trail in Buena Vista: (https://fatmanlittletrail.com/2021/07/06/ptarmigan-lake-trail/) This hike on Cottonwood Pass is one of the easier hikes to a lake above 12,000 feet. It is also full of amazing views of the Collegiate Peaks. Between the views and the alpine lakes it is one of the most enjoyable hikes I have been on in awhile.
Lunch: Historic Downtown Buena Vista. (https://fatmanlittletrail.com/2021/06/30/house-rock-kitchen-buena-vista/) The Buena Vista main strip is a cool blend of older buildings with new and exciting dinning options. Check out the House Rock Kitchen for a fun take on healthy food!
Day 5: Lets stay in Denver! I love to go to a Rockies game and walk around the Union Station area. They have a fun farmers market on Saturday during the summer. There are too many nice restaurants to choose from but it is hard to go wrong. For a little fun, we could check out the cool murals on the Cherry Creek Bike path near Confluence Park. (https://fatmanlittletrail.com/2020/06/08/city-hikes-denver/)
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I want to give my shoutout to Friends and Family. When I started I had some great support. From my friend Scott, who acted a bit as a mentor to me. Andrew who turned my stick figure picture of a logo into something that was real. My family read every article that I put out and bought all the first round of T-shirt fundraisers I had to available. I think the other group that goes unrecognized is the early supporters in the community. I run a website and social media has a lot to do with my day to day. There are a group of people who started following and interacting very early in my process and made me feel that this was something I could really do. The friends and family kind of have to help but the first stranger that you connect with really helps to justify all the work put in.