“On the tail end of those 7 months, I experienced a dramatic body change.”
Similar to some of the previous Paradiso CrossFit success stories, I also had a little bit too much fun in college … and after college … for more than a couple of years. At my current height of 5’10”, I weighed about 140lbs my senior year in high school. I was a distance runner, so that wasn’t too abnormal. By the time I was two years out of college, I weighed 195lbs and most of my fitness came from running the point in pickup games at the Mizzou rec center. I would occasionally bench press and do curls.
When I moved out to LA seven years ago, I was looking for a fresh start. I started running again and lost some of the weight, but I didn’t really feel like I could get back to the level of fitness I had achieved in my teens and early 20s. I honestly didn’t think it was physically possible, and certainly not likely while training alone. Fortunately, someone who I worked with named Adam Condal … aka Adam Jones … aka ’13’ … noticed that I was working hard and not really getting anywhere. I can’t exactly remember how he put it, but essentially he told me that he did some fitness thing and I should come try it because I would like it a lot. He was right. Like many of you, I was absolutely hooked and haven’t looked back for over three years now.
Crossfit appealed to me because it was competitive, never boring, and turned out to provide what I assume most adults get out of country club memberships – a group of people to do stuff with. At some point, I decided to take the whole diet thing more seriously and I spent about 7 months adhering to fairly strict paleo during the week and eating what I wanted on the weekends. Little by little, I experimented with my routine. I added back in dairy for a while, and then took it out. I added back in rice, and left it in. Essentially, I had removed all of the potentially nasty shit and would reintroduce those things back into my diet periodically, one at a time, to see how my body reacted. I feel very strongly that everyone has a different ideal diet, it just takes a little self control and patience to figure out what that is. All of this transpired, of course, while I was showing up at the gym 4-6 times a week and just having fun doing Crossfit workouts with my friends. That really became the easy part.
On the tail end of those 7 months, I experienced a dramatic body change. I had been gradually improving in my gym performance and had seen minor changes to my body in the first 12-18 months, but somewhere at the end of that 2nd year, I started to look very different than I ever had before. I felt very good, almost all of the time. It was easier to sleep. Easier to get work done. I even noticed that sitting in a chair felt a lot more comfortable… even though we’re not supposed to sit in chairs… or toilets, apparently. I got very strong for my body weight and I even experienced a little bit of running success again, which made me very happy.
I suppose the lesson is this: just stick it out, because it gets a lot easier. Just like the workouts get easier after you’ve been doing them for a while, just like running gets a little easier after you’ve done it consistently for a couple of weeks, the diet and the impact of dialing all of those things in at the same time gets a lot easier. If you can hold out through the difficult early stages, you can eventually make permanent changes to your body and fitness that require a lot less will power to maintain.