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“I was sweating like I was in a sauna. My whole body was bloated, painfully bloated. It must have been some bad seafood at the restaurant or maybe it was the second giant mug of beer, I thought.
If only it had been that simple. I’d just had a heart attack at age thirty-five on an airplane with three hours of flying left to go! I’ll never forget coming out of surgery and the doctor looking down at me to tell me, “Young man, you are lucky to be alive.” On the outside I looked young and fit and healthy, but years of chewing tobacco and a diet that revolved around super-sized fast food meals had finally caught up with me. Next thing you know, I’m on 5 prescriptions, instructed to take it easy on the exercise and go vegan.
I followed my doctor’s’ orders religiously, but it wasn’t working. In fact, it was going horribly wrong. In less than a year I had gained 40 pounds. My cholesterol and blood pressure steadily ticked upwards at every checkup too. The doctors started using terms like “metabolic syndrome”, “fatty liver disease,” and scariest of all, “pre-diabetic.” Things really started to get hopeless for me. I stopped weighing myself, stopped looking in the mirror, and started giving up on a lot of things that used to matter to me. Eventually, donuts stopped being an occasional treat and simply became Tuesday night dinner. I just gave up.
That’s where CrossFit found me. At 38 years old, more than fifty pounds overweight, and desperate for something to turn the tide. And that’s when I found in San Jose, Neal Maddox and CrossFit X-treme Athletics. My first month at “the box” was brutal. Every workout was an ordeal to simply survive. I prayed that nobody would notice when I tripped over the jump rope or couldn’t pull my chin over the bar. But something magical happened at the end of every class. People would come over and high-five me for conquering the WOD. I became a part of the community. I was one of the Viking Gladiator Warriors who had just survived the battle.
Before long, I could knock out 30 pushups in a row, get my butt down in a full squat, and run a full mile without stopping. After a few months of hard work and a lot of progress, Neal asked me to take on the Maddox Method 12 Week Zone Diet Challenge. That’s when the real magic happened. I dropped 12 pounds in the first 2 weeks, and got into the zone of weighing my foods and balancing my macros. I relearned how to eat. My plates overflowed with veggies, and I was gaining strength while eating half the meat I was used to. I was no longer bloated and stuffed after eating. My whole digestive system finally became “regular.”
My workouts improved too. The inflammation in my joints just sort of vanished. I got my first pull-up without a band for assistance. And then I got 16 more that same day! I can now run 3 miles without stopping, and I get excited when I see which WOD I get to test myself with each day.
In 6 months at X-treme Athletics, I have lost more than 40 pounds. My cholesterol is down 81 points. I’m off all my medications. My blood pressure is normal, and I am no longer pre-diabetic. I turn 40 at the end of the year, and for the first time in my life, I will have visible abs! Most importantly, I will have my health, and a program and a community in San Jose that I can stick with indefinitely.”