A must-read!

Thank you, Gary, for sharing your personal experience with your start at CrossFit 7220 and the Nutrition Challenge! Read more on Gary’s inspiring blog about his journey from nearly 400 pounds to running a marathon!

Post Crossfit Challenge/Building My Base for 2016

It took me a while to decide to write about this because in the moment, I felt like I failed miserably…
The only reason I have been doing Crossfit for the last couple months is because of the nutrition challenge. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve heard awesome things about it for a long time and have always been curious. But, I just wasn’t sure about it. I didn’t see the value in it. I thought- I won’t be able to do all the workouts, I’d get hurt, it would negatively affect my running- the excuses had really piled on…
But, my lovely supporting wife said to me one day “hey, you can get this cool body scan if we do this challenge”. I said ok and we signed up. With the challenge came the Saturday WODs. I remember showing up to the first Saturday morning WOD and was really worried about how it was going to go.
I was right, I couldn’t do a proper air squat… I had been doing burpees wrong for who knows how long… I barely did a Thruster with a 45# bar and I’m not even sure I did correctly. There were all these people around me that were way more fit than me… But my partner was awesome and gave me encouragement the entire time. The coaches- wow. No one has ever made sure I was doing the workout properly. No one made fun of me for using no weight and holding on to the rack to be sure I was getting depth with my squats and working the correct muscles (and more importantly not hurting myself). I wasn’t expecting to actually like it.
After 1 workout Nikki and I signed up for Foundations.
The nutrition challenge was a little different experience. Nikki and I have lost some weight over the last 2 1/2 years. We have used portion control. We cut out a lot of sugar, snacks/soda/bar/fried food and we don’t eat out. We started with light exercise and have gradually started running more and doing more/different types of workouts. We took a pretty basic approach and let time work in our favor.
For the challenge I found out I had to eat about 2200 calories a day and almost 200 grams of protein. This is about 500 calories more than I was used to eating on a daily basis. I drank 2 protein shakes everyday on top of all my food. The overload on food was tough to get used to. But, I sure learned a lot about my current diet (past now) and how I should be eating.
I was eating about 3Xs the Carbs I thought I was. All summer I was running about 150-200 miles a month so I knew I needed carbs. I wasn’t gaining weight so I figured I was right on track. I was wrong. Did you know there’s about 50 grams of carbs in a banana? I was eating 2-3 a day on top of my oatmeal, fruits and veggies, salad and everything else I was stuffing in my mouth.
I was eating about 50-80 grams of protein a day. No wonder I didn’t feel like I was healing properly after running. And fat, I had no idea how little fat I was eating. It wasn’t a priority and I wasn’t paying any attention. To say the least, I needed a change in my eating habits.
Long story short, the type of food I need to eat is no problem. I’m creative and really enjoy it. But I struggled to eat enough food. I also had forgot how important tracking food is to success.
I continued my own workouts and running. We added the Foundation and the Saturday WODs. After the 1st 2 weeks I couldn’t do it. I had to cut back my eating. I made my goal maybe twice a week for the last 4 weeks. I felt like I had failed pretty bad. I went back for my 2nd scan and had made a little progress. I’ve looked at my results a couple times and I have a little less fat on my legs. I gained fat percentage in my upper body and my weight was within the margin of error of being the same. I was frustrated with myself that I didn’t do better and didn’t work harder.
It’s been a month since the challenge ended and I feel a lot better about it. I have been able to cut back my calories quite a bit. I have increased my daily protein and fat. I’ve kept my carbs right where they were supposed to be during the challenge. I don’t log all my food but believe me, I read everything on the label and I find out the nutrition content before I eat it. I’ve added the normal WODs 4 times a week and run and row after every WOD, plus my long run on weekends. Most importantly I’ve given myself time to gain momentum and let time take it’s course.
30 days post challenge:
I’ve gained 5 pounds- my pants and shirts are loose and I can see a distinct difference in my belly area.
I have more flexibility in my inner hips. I still have a long way to go, but I finally did a 45# front squat properly and with no assistance.
I did my first hand stand- EVER!
My core is unbelievably strong for the 1st time ever.
I’ve taken 3 minutes off my 10k time (running). Running is getting easier and I’m in even better cardio shape than my peak this summer. My posture has improved and I can feel my speed building in the longer distances.
I just feel better. After a long road of feeling like I was making no physical progress with my fitness, I am excited about my fitness going into 2016. I have some huge running goals this year and I know with the help of CF7220 I’m well on my way to accomplishing them. I look forward to working with everyone to push ourselves farther and get better one step at a time! Gary
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