Healthy Holiday Tips

633177DA-5203-4C44-B111-FFA33F957070.JPGThanksgiving was yesterday!

We all love a good break from reality. A time to enjoy family that we don’t get to see every day, or maybe friends that we love spending time with. There is absolutely nothing wrong with enjoying this time by eating a little out of the ordinary and taking a break from the gym. But to some, this is a time that can completely throw them off track. Instead of spending one day or one meal enjoying this freedom…it turns into 3 meals and then days of excess eating and down time.

So how do we get the best of both worlds? How do we balance fun and yet be responsible at the same time?

Here are some things I have found that help keep me on track.

Don’t over-indulge. Have one meal that you eat things you wouldn’t normally eat. Have a slice of pie or two…but limit this to a time frame no longer than a 24 hour period.

Protein. If you find yourself going back to the fridge for more food….eat turkey! This is a great way to ensure that you are getting more lean protein than other things that may be loaded with excess calories.

Move! If you find yourself just laying around watching  hours on hours of TV….get outside and go for a walk. Do something that you don’t normally do with the people you love. We have a suggestion of course…. 😛

Sleep well. Prioritize sleep over the holidays. We all lead very busy and physically demand lives. This can cause stress and a number of other issues. Sleep is how our body recovers…so make some time to get uninterrupted sleep so you can be ready to go on Monday!

Practice breathing! We spend a decent amount of time at CrossFit Sintered teaching you the importance of deep breathing and give you different exercises to try on your own. NOW is a great time to practice these. Box breathing, controlled hyper-ventilation, even nasal breathing are a few great ways to get the blood flowing and improve your performance and overall health. This would be a fun thing to share with your family as well. 😀

And speaking of nasal breathing…as you know, these are my favorite warm-ups. Here’s an excellent one to do this weekend if you need to move a little. ; )

2 sets of:
10 burpees to a 6″ target
20 sandbag squats (light)
400m run
10 burpees to a 6″ target
20 sandbag squats (light)
400m run

Breathe exclusively through your nose throughout this entire portion. If you find that your mouth drops open, you’re going too hard. Slow your pace and resume breathing only through your nose. If you don’t have access to a sandbag…then grab something light (20-30# scaled / 50-70#RX) and bearhug it while you squat.

These are just a few of many things you could do to stay healthy over the holidays.
What are some things you do?? Leave us a comment and share the wealth!

Consumer or Contributor

By Coach Josh McClellan

I remember growing up and not liking chores. I know that I’m probably the only kid that ever felt that way, but yes, I confess I was a lazy teenager.  I remember one particular moment, when I was about 14, being asked by my mom to do the dishes.  And, probably like a few other 14 year-olds, I did so grumbling and complaining the entire time.  At one point my dad walked into the kitchen and I decided at that point to ask him why we had to do chores like dishes.  Despite the selfish and immature nature of the question, my dad simply looked at me and calmly said, “Josh, you’re a member of this family and so you will contribute to the work that needs to be done in this family.”  He could have told me to quit being a baby, which would have been justified.  He could have told me to stop being selfish, which also would have been justified.  But instead he gave me an answer that has seemed applicable to me, as I have aged, to lots of other areas of my life.  Despite the fact that I didn’t get out of the work I didn’t want to do, I walked away that day knowing that I was a contributing member of my family and that I mattered.  When you’re a part of something, you don’t just receive, but you also contribute.  And underneath this is a sense of value and purpose.

One of the unique things about Crossfit is the element of supportive community.  It’s one of the things many of us love about Crossfit.  And why shouldn’t it be?  Misery loves company, am I right?!  Meaningful community, however, is built on not just what I receive from the group/entity but also what I contribute to it.  And for Crossfit Sintered to be the kind of community that I believe all of us would want it to be, we must not only see it as something that we benefit from personally, but also something we contribute to personally.  Just as in the example of me and my family, if you’re a part of our family, then we need you to contribute to our family. This shouldn’t be seen as a burden but should communicate your value to us as a gym.  You matter.

Its easy to think the people that matter are the owners and the coaches.  After all, they’re the most visible and the most active.  They are the ones speaking directly into the work and environment of the gym.  And yes, they certainly impact the nature of our community.  Its also easy to think that the top athletes are the next in line that matter (though I don’t think they’re the most important).  That being said, there are significant groups of people that aren’t the top athletes or aren’t coaches that make a big difference in what kind of community we are at Crossfit Sintered.  I want to call out two groups of people here that inspire me personally and I believe are game changers in the life of our gym.  First are those of you that work long hours but still make the choice to get up early or leave work in the evening and come spend an hour of your day with us.  It would be easy to choose to stay in bed or just go home.  Most do, but you don’t.  Despite being tired, probably mentally as well as physically, you choose to show up and do something hard, really hard.  And I respect you for it.  Second are those of you who come in to work out with us that have to scale the workout significantly to be able to perform it.  While we’ve all heard the speech about Crossfit being universally scaleable and we are all at different places in our health and fitness, it would be easy to feel like you don’t belong here.  You’re not anywhere near a pull-up, much less a muscle up, and you’ve been using a PVC pipe for 3 months every time we snatch.  You’re not anywhere near parallel on your squat and you don’t even want to talk about how long a 400 meter run takes you.  Maybe this isn’t for you.  You’d never tell your coach that, they’d just give you that same old speech again, but in the back of your mind the thought is there.  Despite it all, you’ve bought in enough to believe this will continue to improve the quality of your life so you’ll stick with it for now (and you’re right, it will).  I respect you all immensely for showing up and working out with us.  At Sintered we care more about attitude than performance, character than skill.  And you all show all of us those things.  People like these are the ones that I believe make us a better gym far more than incredibly skilled athletes or even talented coaches.  When you show up we are better as a gym.  You matter.

We live in a culture that teaches us to be incredibly self-absorbed.  How does this make me happy?  How does it offer something to my life?  How does this benefit me?  And we can approach our experience in the area of fitness/Crossfit with the same attitude.  Not that we don’t want to find a quality experience for ourselves that is effective in its program and beneficial in its product.  However, if supportive community is meaningful and beneficial to us at all, we should desire to contribute to it and not simply benefit from it (and paradoxically we’ll actually find our lives far more fulfilled if we take this attitude toward it in all areas).  The next time you’re tempted to just skip tomorrow, don’t contemplate why missing a day (or a week!) won’t really hurt you, but why it might hurt someone else.  That other person working out beside you might need you there beside them that day.  They need to hear you breathing hard but see you keep going.  They need you to tell them that toes to bar looked awesome.  They need to hear you tell them you wish you could row as well as they do.  That person who’s new might walk away wanting to come back because of the conversation not a coach, but you, had with them.  That class was better for having you in it, even if you were the last one to finish.

If you’re a part of our family, contribute to our family, because we need you and you matter.  Showing up isn’t always just about you.  And yet, you’ll still be better for it.

Cauliflower “Potato” Salad

Cut up cauliflower into pieces (size you want to eat)

Steam 5 minutes. Rinse in cold water, let drain to get most of water off.

Boil eggs (14 for really large cauliflower).

Chop onions and dill pickles (as much as desired)

Dressing: 3/4 C mayo

1 Tbs dill pickle juice

A little mustard (1-2 tsps)


Add tiny more pickle juice if mayo too thick.

Salt to taste

Stir everything together.


Make Fitness a Long-Term Commitment

By Josh McClellan

This post is primarily about learning to be patient.  Its about other things as well, but the main focus is the value of patience.  In CrossFit, but also in life.

For those of you that have known me, you know that shoulder mobility has been a challenge for me as a CrossFit athlete.  This is exposed in a number of ways, but none more so than in the overhead squat.  About 4 or 5 months after joining a CrossFit gym, I performed the WOD “Nancy.”  Nancy is 5 rounds for time of a 400m run and 15 overhead squats (95#/65# Rx’d).  There are few things I like less than running and overhead squats.  In fact, as I sit and think about it, I don’t think there’s anything I like less.  Lifting only the 45# bar, I labored to complete the 15 reps each round.  By the 5th round it was a rep or two at a time.  When I finished (long after everybody else), Caroline, in as kind a way possible said to me, “Well, that’s definitely a weakness.”  That was a nice way to put it to say the least.

After about a year I did an overhead squat with a PVC pipe and said to myself, “Oh my, so that’s what those are supposed to feel like.”  Slowly, I started getting a little bit better.  Then about a year ago I set a loose goal of hitting a 100# overhead squat.  Very few goals for me are performance goals.  Most are mindset goals.  But this was one that I just kind of kept in mind as I kept working out over time that I felt would be a meaningful marker for me.  Last fall I hit 85# 3 times, but missed on 95.  Then this past March during the Open I hit 95# for 1 rep, but missed at 105.  Then tonight happened.  The programming called for 15 to 20 minutes to establish a 2 rep max overhead squat. I started working my way up and just at 75# I felt weak and unstable.  I thought to myself, “Oh well, not setting any PR’s tonight.”  I kept moving up and started to feel a little better with my technique.  I hit 85# 3 times.  Then 95# 3 times.  Then 100# 3 times.  Then 105# 3 times.  Then 115# 2 times. Goal accomplished.  It didn’t hurt that I had Harrison saying to me with her eyes, “stop being stupid,” and then saying with her mouth, “shut up and lift the weight.”  And as icing on the cake, I even was able to string 3 bar muscle ups together for the first time tonight as well.  Not a bad night.  Tonight was about two years in the making.

I performed one workout since March that had overhead squats in it.  One workout.  And I don’t come in and work on stuff apart from what’s programmed for that day/week.  I might do some accessory work on my rest day, but the point is, I don’t spend extra time each week working things I want to get better at.  I just trust the programming I’m doing, try to put in consistent effort, and let the results come when they do.  And if I hadn’t gotten there tonight, that would have been alright too.  Eventually I knew I would get there.

We live in a culture that finds little appreciation for patience.  We like quick answers to questions and quick solutions to problems.  Whether we be on the road, in front of a computer/phone, or in the gym, it takes very little for us to become irritated when we don’t get what we want when we want it.  However, the important questions and answers in life aren’t resolved in a 140 character tweet or a Facebook post.  And the meaningful and worthwhile achievements in life aren’t found at the end of quick, easy journeys.  We are surrounded by a health and fitness industry that has made millions off quick fix solutions to weight-loss and looking good.  And many people have taken the bait.  Unfortunately however, these promises rarely deliver, and when they do they are not really sustainable.  But we keep biting because we want quick easy answers. There’s probably some vanity that causes this, as well as laziness.  But at the heart of our problem, individually as well as collectively, is an under appreciation for the virtue of patience.  The important answers in life and the most fulfilling and rewarding experiences come at the end of long, hard, difficult roads.  And this applies in the arena of health and fitness as much as any other.

So much of what we do in CrossFit takes time to develop.  From building strength to learning gymnastic skills to improving mobility (the struggle is real!) to honing nutrition to burning fat, it doesn’t take long to realize once you start at a CrossFit box, that this is challenging and slow.  It’s not that improvement can’t come quickly at times, but CrossFit is so broad and inclusive that it will expose your weaknesses at some point.  And some of those weaknesses—and some of our goals—will prove more elusive than maybe we thought they would be.  You’re going to need some patience.

So here’s the charge:  make a conscious decision to make your fitness and health journey a long term one.  Settle in for the long haul.  Sure, sometimes life throws curveballs at us.  Marriage stuff happens.  Finances get tight.  Injuries occur.  We get that.  But recognize you’re running a marathon and not a sprint, so settle into a thoughtful pace.  Let results come with time.  Don’t feel the need to work on something every week after class until you get it.  It’s not that this is an inherently bad thing.  But it is better to trust the programming and be consistent week in and week out by showing up and putting in the effort and letting the results come when they do.  Develop patience.  Your CrossFit experience and your life in general will be better for it.  You’ll also be a more enjoyable person to be around.

Mindset: Engaged and in Control

“Now that we knew we were in Pakistan, we also knew we could get shot down at any minute. Thoughts start running through your mind: How does it feel when a helicopter blows up? Do you die instantly or does it crash and you’re falling and something cuts your head off? How long does it take to die? You’re just thinking all these weird, jumbled thoughts. I tried to get my mind off it by looking around and just observing everything around me.”

“Some of the other guys were asleep, which impressed me. No way could I have slept. We were ninety minutes out from the compound. To keep my mind from spinning off somewhere I didn’t need it to go, I started counting. I learned that as a sniper. Counting keeps you cool, keeps your mind engaged, but in idle. I counted zero to a thousand and a thousand to zero, zero to a thousand and a thousand to zero. I must have done that a dozen times before we banked to the south about eighty minutes into the flight. Now we were on our attack run, and as I was counting, just between random numbers, I began to repeat, “Freedom itself was attacked this morning by a faceless coward, and freedom will be defended.”

These are the words from the man who shot and killed Osama Bin Laden 7 years ago today.  Clearly this is about as stressful as it gets. This was life or death and the most probable outcome was death. Trained, ready, but still uncertain of the outcome, Robert O’Neill chose to control the one thing he could control; his mind. It has always intrigued me how closely related the mental aspect of a workout is to stressful life situations.  It may seem silly to apply the same techniques used in a life or death situation to some pull-ups and running or any other workout, but the mind is the same in both cases.

CrossFit is unique in the sense that it gives you the opportunity, every single time you step in the gym, to practice controlling your mind in a stressful situation. Take your negative thoughts, acknowledge them, then move past them and keep working. Why? Because one day you may find yourself in a situation where you have zero control over what is going on, but you WILL have control over your response to the situation.

What are some ways you can control negative thoughts in the gym?
Here are some ideas:

Combat the negative with positive.

Are you envisioning yourself failing? Try closing your eyes and visualize MAKING that rep.

Is your mind telling you how much you suck? Go back through your green book and look at all the positives.  It’s full of firsts, and PR’s.

Fill your mind with other things:

Memorize Psalms 91 (or pieces of it.)

COUNT! (My favorite)

Make it a habit to say something positive to someone else when all you can think is negative.

Find a mantra, or word, that you can repeat to yourself over and over when things get hard.

“I don’t quit.” “My children are watching.” “This is for____” “Pick it up.”

Maybe it’s just one word, “GO.”

There’s never just ONE way to do it. You will have to battle it out with your own mind to find what works for you.

So today, on the anniversary of one of the biggest days in history, make your goal to gain mental control.  It’s perfect timing, with our favorite hero workout, “Murph” coming in the next few weeks. Most prepare for Murph by doing a lot of pull-ups, running and pushups.  We’ve been doing that. But this is a way to test yourself mentally and physically.  Be ready!

Wait, Belts??

Everything you could possibly want to know about the most used gear in the gym

Perhaps the most commonly used and abused implement in the gym is the good old fashioned weight belt.  If you just sat back and observed some people working out, you would assume that their spine would fold in half if they didn’t keep their weight belt on at all times, no matter the movement or the load.  Others sneer at the use of any external assistance and won’t touch a weight belt no matter how soft and spongy their core gets under heavy loads.  Where is the proper place to be on this spectrum?  Should you use a weight belt for every lift, or never at all?  If you should use one, when?  HOW?  Why?  What kind?  That’s what I’m going to help you understand today.

Should you use a weight belt?

Probably.  Any lifter with a couple months practice with the major lifts (squat, deadlift, and press) can benefit from the use of a weight belt.  If you’re just starting out, you’re better off waiting (get it?) on the weight belt until you feel you have the mechanics of the movement down pat WITHOUT a belt.  The same goes for wraps, straps, sleeves, and specialized shoes.  They are all generally fine to use once you know how to perform the movements properly, but not until then.  Learn the mechanics properly first, and keep the load and reps low enough that you don’t feel the need for any external supportive equipment while you’re in that initial learning phase.  If you learn the movements correctly, you will have a very long and productive training lifespan with plenty of time for the cool gear later.


Every time you set foot in any building where physical intimidation is important to securing your position at the top of a dominance hierarchy.  Just kidding.  For the most part, you should limit the use of your belt to only those times when NOT using one will negatively impact your ability to train.  What that means is, a belt is generally only need at maximal or near-maximal effort lifts that require core stabilization.  Warm-up sets with an empty bar do not require a belt.  Pull-ups do not require a belt.  WODs that involve lifting where the major limiting factor to going fast is your cardio-respiratory endurance, technique, speed, or anything OTHER than your ability to brace your core also do not need a belt.  Such workouts may actually be impeded by a belt, as they can negatively effect breathing mechanics during some movements.  A simple and valid rule of thumb is to only put the belt on when you are squatting or deadlifting at or above 80% of your 1 rep max for that particular lift.  That means any form or variation of those movements as well.  To determine that simply multiply your 1 rep max by .8 and the number you will get is 80% of your 1 rep.  If your back squat is 300lbs, then use a belt once the weight gets about 240.  If your overhead squat is 200 use a belt once your weight gets above 160.  If your deadlift is 400, use a belt once the weight gets above 320.  You get the picture.  If you don’t know your 1 rep max because you’ve never established one, then that is a good indication that you are likely not experienced enough yet with a lift to need a belt.


A weight belt is NOT a replacement for a spine.  It is not a splint. It is not a Band-Aid. It is not meant to be worn around your hips, right where your back joins your pelvis, to act as a splint and keep you from rounding out your low back.  Just putting one on does not confer super powers or make you immune to shitty lifting mechanics.  Now, go back and read all that again.  Seriously.  Just do it.

Ok, now that we know how NOT to wear a weight belt let’s talk about the right way.  The belt should go right around the level of your navel, in the space BETWEEN your iliac crest and your bottom ribs.  If you’re of a respectable height like me, and not some 5ft 9in genetic mutant, this may mean a wider belt is TOO wide.  Trust me, you don’t want to get to the bottom of a heavy squat and find your love-handles oblique’s pinched between half-inch thick leather and your 12th rib.  Cinch it down tight, but not so tight that you need a pry bar and fulcrum to get it on or the Jaws of Life to get it off.  Now that you have it on, you have to USE it.  Actively.  To do this, take a big breath in through your belly and then PRESS OUT against the belt.  This is the opposite of sucking your tummy in to look good in your bikini.  You want the big, intimidating “power belly.”  The belt is simply there to give you something to press AGAINST.  It’s a tactile cue—a reminder—more than a support.  Again, the weight belt is NOT magical, even if it has sparkly sequins on it.  YOU still have to do the work to get the benefit.  When done properly, bracing in this manner creates an enormous amount of intraabdominal pressure which helps to stabilize your spine so you can transfer power from your legs, to the bar.  If your core is like a wet pool-noodle you’re going to lift about as well as one.  If it is strong like bear, so will you be.  For most people, core stability/strength is the limiting factor in their lifts, NOT leg strength.  The legs could do it, but they can’t transfer their strength through a wet-spaghetti core.  A weight-belt doesn’t solve this problem.  A weight-belt HELPS YOU solve this problem.  This may lead you to ask…

Does using a belt limit my ability to strengthen my core?

This is actually a somewhat complicated question.  It hinges on the definition of strength.  If you define strength as something like “contractile potential” or the ability of your muscles to generate force, then the answer is no.  In fact, studies have shown that using a belt engages MORE core musculature than not using one.  Thus, training with a belt properly over extended periods of time means you should develop more core strength than you would without a belt.  But I think that’s a weak definition of strength.  I like CrossFit’s definition much better.  “The productive application of force.”  Productive is the key word there.   Who cares if I hook your biceps up to an electromyogram and find that you have enormous contractile potential if you can only curl the purple padded dumbbells?  Who cares if your hamstrings have higher contractile potential than mine when measured in a lab if I can deadlift more than you?  The function of the strength—to apply force—is more important in all real world applications, than the potential of strength.  All that to say, yes, you can indeed become somewhat dependent on a weight belt, even when you’re only using it for maximal lifts.  But that is not necessarily a bad thing.  For starters, when in the real world are you going to be asked to back squat twice your body weight WITHOUT a belt?  If your job requires you to routinely lift enormous loads without the option of utilizing a weight belt while you do it, then you have a seriously badass job.  I’d like to apply.  The fact is, that just doesn’t happen.  Maybe you are dependent on your weight belt when you have to clean and jerk more than 300lbs.  And?  I guess you’ll use a belt then.  Should you stop lifting that much and wait for your core to develop the ability to stabilize such loads on its own?  Why?  If you were training for a competition where no belts were allowed then obviously you would train how you fight, so to speak.  But you can wear your belt at the Olympics. Even “Raw” powerlifting divisions and federations allow weight belts.  As far as I know, there are no sport organizations that DON’T allow a belt, but I freely admit that I don’t know them all. There’s like 50 different powerlifting federations and I don’t know them all.  As studies have shown, you can still continue to develop your core strength with a belt, so it’s not as if you’re going to end up with legs like Hafthor Bjornsson but abs like Seth Rogan.  There’s always a small and pretentious group of people who will proudly hashtag their Instagram selfie videos with #nobelt like it’s a badge of honor.  Cool story, bro.  I’d advise you to ignore those kinds of people. One last point before I move on: the potential dependence you may develop is likely more psychological than physiological.  That doesn’t make it any less of a dependence, but it does mean that you can learn how to squat or deadlift heavy loads rather quickly by simply practicing without a belt.  The musculature needed is there, you just have to learn how to use it.


Mostly this has already been addressed, so I’ll just reiterate.  Using a belt can help you to properly brace your core which allows you to transfer force from your legs to a load more efficiently.  This means you can achieve greater training stimulus for your legs and hips than you would be able to otherwise.  That’s a good thing.  You can get very strong without a belt and you can get very strong with one.  If you like the sensation of using a belt then go ahead.  If you don’t, then don’t.   That’s a good enough reason to go either way.  It won’t make or break your athletic career.  A BAD reason to use a belt is to compensate for an injury.  If you’ve hurt your back from lifting improperly, a weight belt is not a band-aid to make the hurt go away.  Another good rule of thumb:  if you can buy it a Dick’s, it’s probably not a medical cure for any injury or ailment (I’m looking at you Ace-Wrap.)  You can’t just strap it on and continue to lift like an asshole.  You have to do it right, belt or no belt.  The cure is correcting what caused the problem in the first place.  NOT simply masking the symptoms of the problem.

What kind?

Personal preference is key here, but there are practical considerations to make.  I prefer a cheap, leather, o-lift belt with a metal buckle, a narrow front and a wider back.  Caroline uses a nylon belt with Velcro fastening.  A leather belt has the benefit of being ultra-secure.  Velcro belts sometimes (albeit very rarely) wear out or simply don’t fasten well enough to stand a LOT of pressure.  They may pop off at the bottom of a heavy clean or in the middle of a deadlift.  That would be enough for me to lose my mind and set my belt on fire, probably because catching a heavy clean in the bottom of a squat is a rare, and thus precious thing for me.  The narrower front means I can wear my belt when I clean or squat with minimal interference.  But the leather belts are slow to get in and out of which makes them less than ideal for lifts mid-WOD.  Also, if you happen to be just the right circumference that one buckle-hole is too loose but the next is too tight, and you’re really particular about having it just right you basically have to go buy a new belt.  Velcro fastening belts are much faster to fasten and unfasten, which makes them ideal for use in WODs that involve movements when you might want to remove your belt.  They are also infinitely adjustable, so you can always get the fit just right.  Leather belts are typically more expensive, but also tend to last longer.  I would recommend borrowing a friends or one of the gyms belts for a week or two of training and trying a variety of styles before you decide which is right for you.

I hope this has answered all of your weight-belt questions.  There’s no quiz, but I do expect to never again be asked about weight-belts in the gym. Just a hundred or so more articles like this and no one will ever have to speak to me again. Just kidding, I revel in any opportunity to look intelligent by answering simple questions in a complicated way.  Seriously though, if you have any questions at all after reading this, just ask myself or one of the coaches and we will be happy to help you out.

Just Start

CrossFit can be intimidating, and eating healthy can seem borderline impossible. But it doesn’t have to be. It can be one of the best things you ever do for your health and your family. CrossFit isn’t just about lifting heavy weights and doing cool gymnastic skills to post on facebook. It is more about creating a healthy lifestyle that will benefit you well beyond the kettlebell swings and pull-ups you’re able to complete in a workout.

Let me introduce to you one of our members at CrossFit Sintered, Anthony Roberts. Anthony started CrossFit almost 3 years ago, but struggled not just with being consistent, but with even LIKING CrossFit. “I actually stopped going for a long time and my wife continued.” It wasn’t until he was balancing the checkbook one month that he noticed something.

“I realized I was paying so much for my membership I couldn’t just not go. I decided I needed to either cancel or get serious.”

Money can be a strong motivator and Anthony used it as just that. He decided to make the commitment to come at least 3 times per week. He still didn’t really enjoy it, but knew it was something he needed to do. What happened next was somewhat of a waterfall effect. He slowly began to actually LIKE working out.  Then he noticed that the food he ate had a direct effect on his performance in workouts.  He wanted to perform better and recognized his eating habits were preventing that.  So he created new habits. He stopped eating ice cream and pizza whenever he felt like it and limited it to once a week.
No fancy diets, no calorie counting, no stress; just new habits and self-control in areas he knew he could improve on.

“At my heaviest I weighed 215…now I’m down to 175.” Along with—and partly because of—a 40lbs drop in bodyweight, Anthony has made massive progress in the gym.  He’s gained huge PR’s, new gymnastics skills, and endurance like he never had before. But that’s not what matters most. Anthony and his wife just had their second child and adding years to his life means more now than ever before.

His advice for people looking to make a change?  “Just start.” Just make a commitment to start somewhere. Stop eating the things you know you shouldn’t and don’t resist the hard workouts in the gym, even though you don’t enjoy it.

You will. And you’ll be better for it.