Today’s post is a before and after example about one person’s journey towards elite fitness. This is a story of how effective CrossFit is. That the proof is in the pudding (even though we shouldn’t eat any of that stuff)! A really good friend of ours (Gregg) gave us permission to share his story because I asked. You may have seen him comment on our blog or post on beyondthewhiteboard.
Gregg is a CrossFitter. He has achieved what I would call elite fitness. He is not a specialist, he is a generalist. He is more than fit enough to tackle most things that if you threw a bunch of activities into a hat and drew out a handful he would outperform most others. He has been exclusively doing CrossFit since December of last year at an affiliate and then solely in his garage gym since April of this year. Prior to that he had trained off and on either at a globo gym or on his own. He also has in the past two months drastically altered his diet to follow a Paleo diet. Is the diet purely strict? No, but it’s pretty darn close. What Gregg adopted was CrossFit, intensity, and real change in his eating habits. What he has realized is powerful evidence of what happens with doing it consistently, putting in hard work and having fun. This example shows that CrossFit is evidence based fitness.
Here’s his before pics:
Gregg’s after pics:
I think his story is compelling proof that going to (insert globo gym name here) every day for an hour or two and plunking down on any piece of cardio equipment followed by the same recurring circuits of machines and free weight isolation exercises doesn’t work. Mixing it up with the latest and greatest fitness trend like (insert fad or trend name here) doesn’t work. Adding in the hottest diet such as (insert fad diet name here) may give immediate results but is only temporary and usually results in yo-yo-ing back to old eating habits or worse yet to gaining more weight than pre-diet.
Back in 1997, I did the EAS “Body For Life” challenge in an attempt to get in the best shape of my life. I lowered my body fat to 10%, and I weighed approximately 202 lbs. To do this, I was drinking 2-3 “Myoplex Deluxe” shakes mixed with a serving of “Betagen” (powdered drink) and “Phosphagen HP” (consisting of creatine mixed in a Gatorade-like powder). I was doing the traditional “Chest-shoulders-triceps, back-legs-biceps” 1 hour to 1.5 hours gym workouts 5x/week, with “cardio” mixed in whenever I could. I never thought I could do any better.
Over the years since then, my diet and exercise routine became a never-ending roller coaster ride, hitting high weights of 230 lbs and low weights around 207 lbs. My eating habits were atrocious, as I am a confirmed “closet eater” of things like: M&Ms, potato chips, cheddar cheese goldfish, Auntie Annie’s pretzels, all things Mexican, fast food, etc. When I controlled those urges, weight was 207; when I didn’t, weight was 230. Workout cycle went like this: get motivated for 2-4 months, workout really hard and make good gains, then burn out and take 2-4 months off; I repeated this cycle constantly for 10 years.
Thankfully, I discovered crossfit early in 2008, and finally dedicated myself to it on Nov 30th of that year. The workouts took less than half the time of my 1997 “traditional” workouts, and the results were even better than I could imagine. Additionally, there are so many exercises and workouts that I NEVER get bored with it! I made amazing strides in just a few short months, and quickly got myself down to 205 lbs in 2 months (from about 225 lbs). I always considered 200 lbs to be a barrier I would never be able to cross again (haven’t been below that since I was 20 years old), but I hadn’t tried everything yet….
On June 1st of 2009, I switched to a PALEO-centric diet, and continued with 4-5 crossfit WODs per week. I am now below 195 lbs and can actually see definition in my abs (and this is without doing 1000 crunches per day!). Cutting out processed carbs like bread, rice, pasta, cereals, etc was the key. I still love these things, and once a week I’ll have pizza and/or a pint Ben & Jerry’s (Mission to Marzipan is my new favorite). Of course once a week is FAR better than 5-6 times per day! You should know I’m not super-strict PALEO either: I eat dry-roasted nuts with salt (blasphemy!), I eat fruit in the evening (OMG!), I have the occasional beer with my PALEO chili (evil-doer!), and even have popcorn (send me to the loony bin!). I figure if I want to wash clothes on my abs, then I’ll go strict PALEO, otherwise, I’m gonna live a little.
Bottom line — if you’re not reaching your fitness/lifestyle goals, do the following:
1) Dedicate yourself to crossfit (IMPORTANT: Keep a workout log of everything you do! It will motivate you to see what you’ve accomplished so far and give you incentive to break your own records.)
2) Dedicate yourself to PALEO (IMPORTANT: Keep a food log and write down EVERYTHING that goes in your mouth!!!! This will prevent your selective memory from asserting itself!)
Try it for 3 months. I would be absolutely shocked if you did not see amazing results.
Crossfit and PALEO have done (in just 8 months) what over 20 years of yoyo dieting, fancy and expensive supplements, and inconsistent/boring/monotonous workouts couldn’t — get me in the best shape of my life. What are you waiting for? JUST DO IT!