"Let Your Food Work For You, Not Against You"

“You could get a lot out of the nutrition program.” Coach Beal said as I strung together small

sets of chest-to-bars.

I think I smiled in response. I was north of 200 pounds, and eating whatever I wanted because I

was now a Crossfitter.

I joined CFCB last November. I was likely in the best shape of my life at that time, which isn’t

saying much. I was now four months in with daily WODs and Panora’s Power Hour. I was

strong, and I felt better than I had in years, but I was gaining weight due to my fear-no-calorie

mentality. I was not interested in getting any heavier, however.

“You’re probably right,” I coughed in reply, heaving myself back on the bar.

I have no judgement on extra weight. Extra weight had been with me up until 12 years old and

after 19 years old—I had those brief, beautiful seven years as a “fit” person. Once I got out of

the house though, unchecked beer and pizza consumption quickly took its toll. Within five

years, I was at least 289 pounds, over 100# more than what I weighed at 19, never sleeping,

and sucking down a pack-a-day of American Spirits.

My efforts to lose that weight in the intervening years had included cutting portions in half,

adding in more vegetables, going vegan for a year until the pervasive craving for chicken fat

got the best of me, subjecting myself to a semi-annual series of 21-day, 500 calorie/day, 0

starch/0 fat fasts, and so on. Despite all my (misguided) efforts, I would watch my weight climb

the instant I stopped whatever dietary restriction I had placed on myself. This is because I

knew nothing. This is because I was grasping at straws. This is because no one ever taught me

about nutrition.

If what Nick had to offer worked, I could end the guess work and weight fluctuation. It would

be nice to put this every-single-day-of-my-life battle with weight to bed for good, a literal life changer

for $300. What a potentially great investment.

Coach Beal had provided me with three numbers. Their ratios represented what my body was

to become and how it would be fueled. They represented control. They were a request to my

physiology to let go, to burn, to redistribute.

I was blown away at the amount of food, particularly carbs, I had to eat. I truly did not believe

this was going to work. Don’t carbs make you fat?! Gone were my nut butters, almonds by the

handful, pork chops with the 1” band of fat that liquifies in the mouth, and no more chocolate

chip cookies that I’d been pretending I don’t eat. With frequency.

Day One: 212.4 lbs. It had been a big, delicious weekend.

Two pounds lost in week one…

Four pounds lost in week two…

Three pounds lost in week three…

Somewhere in here I PR’d all three PL lifts by 10+ lbs. Chronic knee and plantar fascia pain

became acute and temporary. Just like Amy West, MD, before me, a bar muscle up and

subsequently a ring muscle-up “just happened”. I gave it three tries and suddenly I was in the

air, arms solidly at my sides. I was able to do a single-arm pull-up on each arm. I ran my

second-ever 5k and did it in 24 minutes. I RAN. This astounds me. I never thought I would run

again. My mobility improved to a great degree. I can now snatch 135# without falling over 4-5x.

How’s them apples, Tia-Clair?

My body composition changed dramatically. I was obviously losing fat, and every day, muscles

and veins became more visible. The muscles themselves were harder and seemed to be

growing slightly, particularly in my shoulders.

Day 90: 188.0 lbs, a 24.4 pound loss.

Going in to this, I thought I had 10# to lose. I’ve gained as close to a six pack as I’ll ever have. I

have finally achieved abdominals at 38 years old. I have never been in this kind of shape. I have

never performed this well physically. I am a new man. I would have never reached this point

without Nick’s guidance.

I now know what to eat, when, and how much. I am not hungry. I sleep better than I have in

years. Tracking macros has taken the worry, the mystery and the stress out of my relationship

with food. I now know precisely what to expect. I know how to get back on track after a day or

two of indulgence. I know the difference between indulgence and debauchery. I know how to

build muscle, how to lose fat, and how to fuel my body. My meals are engineered to serve

Adam, the athlete. Now, if I want a cookie, I engineer it right into my day and go on with my life.

Tracking macros is so much easier than the alternative; waking up not knowing what clothes

will fit you, trudging through the day without a 3rd or 4th cup of coffee, having to go through

some brutally restrictive and unhealthy diet maneuvers every 9 months to lose the fat you’ve

inevitably piled back on, constantly feeling tired, irritable, “hungry,” inflamed, malnourished, I

could go on…

This started for me as a means to weight control, and ended up being the most impactful thing

for my athleticism. If you want to lose weight, do this. If you want to become a better athlete,

do this. Get control. Engineer and build your temple. Capitalize on the insanely hard work you

are putting in at the gym. Let your food work for you, not against you.

I can move better. I can breathe better. I can interact with the world in ways I thought were

gone to me forever, or that I would never experience. I have so much more work to do, but I

feel enlightened in ways beyond the physical. This nutrition program represents a significant

milestone in a very long struggle to become a better version of myself in the only sustainable

way there is. Like my dad—who lost forty+ pounds and rode his bicycle across the country in

his 70th year—always says, “Every day, in every way, I’m getting better and better.”

Nicholas Beal