Everywhere we look on social media, we see stories of people working through amazing transformations by way of CrossFit. Recently, CrossFit.com featured the story of a woman who lost more than 150 pounds. Sometimes these stories seem very far removed from readers. They may not hit home to someone who has never struggled with weight. But in my case, these stories ring so very true because their story is my story. I am one of those success stories, and through commitment to the 100 words of CrossFit, I have shaved more than 100 pounds off of my body and have kept it off for nearly four years.
Those who have struggled with weight have a vault – a vault of old photos from before their life change. One of my pictures is one where I’m holding my oldest daughter in Durham, North Carolina. This picture dates back five years to a time when I weighed roughly 275 pounds.
My journey starts there.
I began to exercise and run, and suddenly, I began to lose weight. I shed nearly 40 pounds before we moved to Myrtle Beach in late 2013, but that move was also when I began CrossFit.
The first year of CrossFit was a struggle. I endured the learning curves of new movements and adjusted to the high intensity format. But, I continued to lose more weight and push myself into better shape. I settled in at around 215 pounds, and I thought I had done all that I could.
My second year of CrossFit came with a challenge; a challenge to rethink my views on nutrition. Like most people who start CrossFit, my focus was on the middle paragraph of the 100 words.
Eat meat and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch and no sugar. Keep intake to levels that will support exercise but not body fat. Practice and train major lifts: deadlift, clean, squat, presses, C&J, and snatch. Similarly, master the basics of gymnastics: pull-ups, dips, rope climb, push-ups, sit-ups, presses to handstand, pirouettes, flips, splits, and holds. Bike, run, swim, row, etc., hard and fast. Five or six days per week, mix these elements in as many combinations and patterns as creativity will allow. Routine is the enemy. Keep workouts short and intense. Regularly learn and play new sports. —Greg Glassman, CrossFit Founder
I loved learning all the new movements. The training philosophy made sense to me, so I was drinking the Kool Aid so to speak, but I started at the wrong end of the glass. My whole box participated in a nutritional challenge that required us to eat within the parameters of the diet laid out in the 100 words of CrossFit. Following a consistent, clean diet, my results skyrocketed. I considered myself in fair shape, but I melted an additional 30 pounds off my body, ending the challenge at 185 lean pounds. I could move better, lift better and I was as gymnasty as this uncoordinated boy can get, and all of it happened within 8 weeks of following the prescribed diet.
Today, I am keeping the weight off through CrossFit and I am currently at about 210 pounds. This weight is healthy as my goals and lifting patterns have changed. Now, more than ever, my focus on nutrition is gearing up again thanks to Coach Erin’s encouragement. Because I was formerly more than 300 pounds, I’m realistic. I am never going look like a male model. I have stretch marks and roughly 10 pounds of extra skin on my body - and that is okay! They are a reminder of who I was when I lost sight of my fitness goals. They serve as a reminder of what happens when you succumb to the sedentary lifestyle of the West.
This is my story, and if you are in Charleston and you need this to be your story, please visit Iron Bridge CrossFit and shake my hand and get to know me! As one of owners and coaches of this box, I want to meet you. We can help you transform into your after picture. We have the tools in place to help you reach your goals. Contact us any time, any day.
Editors Note: Donnie McDaniel is a full-time priest who has obtained multiple degrees (including two Master's and a Doctorate). He is also co-owner of Iron Bridge CrossFit and a dedicated husband to Coach Shannon and father of five. Donnie is a dedicated man both in and out of the box to improve the mental, physical, and emotional lives of every person he meets.