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If you have trained at CrossFit GVA then no doubt you have either trained with or had the privilege of being trained by Daniel. Most of you know him as a coach and one of the strongest, fittest guys at the gym, but he started out as a regular member just like anyone else.
I distinctly remember when he first came in to train with us. He had decent mobility, conditioning and strength but nothing that stood out from most others. I don’t think he will mind me saying that he was, and is not tremendously gifted athletically.
The things that did stand out about Daniel though were his developing passion for strength and conditioning and his work ethic. He was smart enough to research proper training methodology and worked his ass off to implement those things into his own training.
Fast forward 3 years and the results were very impressive. Excellent strength (205kg back squat, 122.5kg clean and jerk, 240kg deadlift) and conditioning (3:11 Fran, 2:19 Grace and 9:51 Helen). But Daniel felt something was missing and that was body composition. He felt that he would be a better athlete (and would look better) if he dropped fat.
So he decided to change things and went through very impressive body composition transformation which has understandably generated a huge amount of interest.
Not only does he look completely different, he has become a different athlete. This is a shocker I know, but gymnastics movements like pull ups and muscle ups become a lot easier if you drop 30kgs. Daniel has gone from not being able to do one muscle up, to stringing together multiple sets of five.
Please note that this article is not a prescription for everyone else to achieve the same results. If anyone wants to make fitness or body composition changes, they need a plan that works for them. But the key elements of smart planning, hard work and most important of all, consistency, remain the same for everyone.
We will post a more detailed piece in future about specifically what Daniel did to lose bodyfat, but here is a big picture look at his history with CrossFit and nutrition.
This article is not about how to lose weight. Or how to get ripped in a short amount of time. It is not full of promises on how to get shredded in 3 weeks for the beach or how to get the booty you’ve always dreamed of with a mystery machine or drink. It is just a brief story of my relationship between CrossFit and food, and how it had an impact on my life.
Ever since I can remember, I have always had something different from my friends. Whether it was being much taller than average, having to wear glasses really early or just having a father that loved to take pictures of me on my first day of school in front of everyone (oh the shame…). My love for food was no different. I loved food much more than everyone else. Exponentially more…
Even though I had always been involved in some kind of physical activity, I always loved to eat and looked forward to every single meal in the day (that is still very much the case today). This love for eating hasn’t always led me through the healthiest of paths, and there were some times in my life were I was living to eat… rather than eating to live.
Having the beautiful sculpted body that we see in magazines has always been a desire of mine. I would lie if I said the opposite. Everybody wants the 6-pack abs that creates such admiration.
This was impossible, knowing that at my heaviest I weighed around 128 kg. Yes, you read that right. The number is impressive and people always used to mock me because of it. I knew I had to do something but I just loved food way too much.
It wasn’t always bad though as I still managed to participate in a lot of sports, such as rugby, rowing and judo. Just before finding CrossFit, I was never the confident and outgoing kind of type. I was very reserved and always the quietest one. I actually tried to go around my everyday life at school and try to go unnoticed.
During the summer of 2011, right after doing my military service I stumbled upon CrossFit GVA. It was still in its early days, and it was practically a bare space with little equipment. But there was something about it and as soon as I went there for a trial session I was hooked. I had found some kind of fire inside me that pushed me to exercise, get better and get out of my shell.
It quickly became something more than just a hobby. I met amazing people there, created a great group of friends who I can consider my second family today. CrossFit has this amazing capacity to bring people together and break down every barrier possible. I experienced this first-hand and it also changed me profoundly. It made me a more confident, outgoing and social person. It has really changed my life. But it also made me rethink the way I ate.
I wanted to perform better, as I felt like a dead piece of meat moving through a workout… especially doing burpees… oh burpees. I was being gradually more careful with my nutrition, but advanced in baby steps as I got lost amongst all the turmoil that are the numerous and endless diets promising performance gains, sculpted abs and crazy definition. This lasted for a very long time and hasn’t changed until recently.
In May of this year, our gymnastics coach Lynda launched a no-sugar challenge that consisted in well…not eating excess and hidden sugars for a whole month. A whole freaking month. The longest I had ever been without sugar up to that point has probably been the time between 2 meals. But a little voice inside my head told me to throw myself out there and take a chance. A month of my time won’t kill me.
It was the best decision I had ever made.
It made me realise how badly I was eating, and also how badly people ate in general. I quickly lost a couple of kilos during that month and decided to carry on after that. It completely changed the way I looked.
Then I switched to the Zone diet, which optimises hormonal balance through proper and balanced nutrition. Titouan actually was the one to push me into this, as it is the preferred diet in the CrossFit world to optimise performance and results. I was slightly skeptical at first, as I had the traditional view of “carbs and fat are the enemy”. The thought of eating a little bit of everything, which is the Zone prescription, scared me as I was afraid to go back to my unhealthy eating habits.
I gave it a go, calculated the food I needed to eat during the day, weighed my meals and stuck to it.
I will never go back.
The results are amazing. I feel better, I look better, I perform much better and I feel happier thanks to it.
There is no secret formula. There is no shortcut. No secret machines or drinks that can give you the results, performance and look that you want.
There is no way around it. The only secret is hard work and to stick to something. I experienced it first hand.
The key is nutrition. See your body as this extremely complex machine that needs fuel in order to work. If you feed it bad-quality fuel, it won’t run well. But if you are careful with the fuel you put in and take the time to do things properly, then it will run as smoothly as butter and you will be amazed at the results you can get.
Good nutrition will not only make you perform better in the gym but it will also make you perform better in your everyday life.
If you really want something, then work your ass off for it and make it happen. There really is no other way around it. Many other people have done it already, why would you be any different?