Christopher Duncan was doing his best to balance a busy schedule with school and coaching until he tipped the scales at a record weight and knew he had to make changes. Here’s how he fought back.
1. Poor Taste
My girlfriend and I had become so busy that our only “us” time always involved takeout food. This slowly became an every day thing, and before we knew it we were eating whole large pizzas by ourselves and thought this was funny.
2. Wake-Up Call
One day I got on the scale and it said 199lbs. I heard about a business called Resistance Periodization. They had a challenge where the winner would receive $1,500. The challenge was accepted.
3. CrossFit Coach
Despite my poor eating, I’d been coaching CrossFit for a while. I was consistent in my training but finding time to train along with school, coaching and having a relationship, was difficult.
4. Mental Fatigue
Exercise became something I had to do which took away the passion. I’d get up at 4am to coach, head to school until 3pm, work out for an hour, coach until 8pm, dinner, homework, sleep, rinse, repeat.
5. Fresh Outlook
I cut back on some of the morning classes to give myself good sleep. I prepped my meals, which saved me two hours every day. I prioritized and made efforts to use my time as efficiently as possible.
6. Sweet Temptation
I have a major sweet tooth and pass lots of gas stations every day. It was hard not to just pull in and grab a bag of Skittles, or something else sweet and tasty. This was the hardest part in the entire process.
7. Planning Matters
Meal prep was huge. Every Sunday my girlfriend and I would spend half the day prepping. We also kept a meal-timing calendar and a macro calendar, so we knew what time to eat, and what to eat at that time.
8. Supplemental Help
I had wanted to try out Ascent for the longest time. I’d heard it was one of the cleanest products on the market with no artificial flavors, or additives. I took their Pre-workout, Whey, and Casein.
9. Staggered Diet
My diet was a progressive one. There were multiple stages that you go through on a cut.
10. Level one: Base
In this phase, I just ate clean healthy food with a slight calorie deficit, but I was eating four meals a day, plus whey and carbs during my workout, and then a casein dessert at night. I stayed here for about three weeks.
11. Level two: Fat Loss
Vegetable intake increased, while carbs and some fats decreased. I had baked chicken, green beans, sweet potatoes and peanut butter. For workout carbs, it was a mix of Gatorade Powder and whey, half during, half after.
12. Cardio Expert
I write the cardio loads for my gym and they’re highly varied, functional movements performed at high intensity. But my workouts last about 35-40 minutes vs the standard 15-minute Metcons
13. Routine is all
As an Exercise Science Major, I know plenty about energy systems to make sure I’m tackling them all. I love a broad range of motion movements like a thruster and burpee box overs, I love to work my lactate threshold, and I love mentally challenging workouts. It would be hard to replicate what I did rep for rep since I never tend to do the same thing twice, but here is a typical workout:
40-Minute Time Cap:
100 Thrusters @ 95/65
*Every Minute starting at 3,2,1 Go, perform 5 Bar-facing Burpees
100 Bar-facing burpees
*Every minute perform: 5 Thrusters
14. Advice To Others
Make a lifestyle change. A diet is going to end and then what? You must find something that you can enjoy and maintain for nutrition. It doesn’t have to be the strictest plan, but just ask yourself if you think you could do this for a long period. Two weeks will get you nowhere but two years could save your life.
Meal prep saved my sanity: No more weighing out all my macros for twenty-eight meals during the week. Just pop it in the microwave and enjoy.
Mustard, salt and pepper: These three things can greatly increase the amount of joy you get from eating the same thing every single day.
Small steps: I break down my total reps into smaller sets mentally to help me get through them. If I had 18 Dumbbell Snatches, I would break the first set into 9 in my head, then three sets of three. This small little thing has helped me push myself in a lot of different places. It’s only dumb if it doesn’t work.
Don’t lose sight of the end destination: You’re not going to go to the gym and kill it every single day and that is OK. You will have bad days, and you will have good days. It might even seem that often, it’s a bad day. Just keep showing up regularly, putting in the time and effort and you will see results.