My health and fitness have been a priority for me from an early age. I am so grateful now that my parents decided that I should have healthy meals consisting of freshly cooked vegetables, fruits, and protein while I was growing up. When all the other kids had fruit roll-ups in their lunchboxes, I had real fruit. When they ate their snack packs, lunchables, and chicken fingers I was eating fish, pork tenderloin, and broccoli. I was also encouraged to participate in sports from the day I stepped on the playground and learning new sports and enjoying the outdoors is something that stuck ever since.
I received my Bachelor’s of Science in Biology and played Lacrosse at the Air Force Academy. Afterward, I was commissioned as an officer in the US Air Force. I missed the competitive sport environment of playing Lacrosse after I graduated and decided it was time to find something fun and new to compete in. I got involved in running distance races which eventually led to competing in Triathlons and bike races as well. About a year and a half ago I was stationed in Germany and got involved with Crossfit Ramstein. I because enthralled by the idea of functional fitness and decided to get my Level 1 Trainer certification in August of 2009 after which I became one of the trainers at Crossfit Ramstein. The more I got into Crossfit, the more I started reading about performance nutrition and hearing about this thing called ‘paleo’.
I actually did my first ‘paleo challenge’ in August and felt better than I ever had. I thought that I had been eating pretty healthy before, but this new paleo thing was like throwing gasoline on the burning fire of my performance. I eventually came across the Urban Gets Diesel blog and was an instant fan. I think there was about a week long period where I literally sent Melissa’s blog posts daily to everyone I knew. When the Whole9 was created I thought it was the perfect progression for everything that Melissa was already talking about. Once the Whole30 was introduced I decided to convince our head trainer to do a paleo/Whole30 challenge. We ended up having lots of success stories and many of our trainees made life changes based on this program. People liked it so much we decided to do a second Whole30 about 6 months later because a lot of people had missed out on the first one. Once again, people felt and performed better and many of our new folks decided to make the Whole30 a lifestyle. Crossfit Ramstein may not be an affiliate anymore, but that hasn’t stopped me from doing what I love to do, training people and helping them get healthier.
I love the Whole30 approach to eating healthy. It spells everything out for you and gives you a reason why you shouldn’t be eating certain things. I also like the fact that rather than calling itself ‘paleo’ it’s just about eating clean, healthy, beneficial food. I don’t tell people I eat ‘paleo’ because it devolves into a conversation about what cavemen did or did not eat. Instead I tell them that I eat nutrient rich food that’s good for my body both health and performance wise. That idea is resonated within the Whole9’s evaluation factors and the fact that you can’t just look at people and their health or performance from one angle. It’s more than just workouts and nutrition. You have to treat them as they are: living systems that have lots of moving parts that all tie into and affect one another.
I try to make the most out of any situation when it comes to my health. It isn’t always easy for me because I do a lot of traveling, but with some effort and creativity great workout and nutrition solutions are possible. In fact, some of my best workouts have been dreamed up in hotel gyms! This is the approach I take when I train and discuss nutrition with people. Sometimes you just have to make the best out of the situation that you’re in, and you shouldn’t feel guilty if you don’t have all the resources to eat the way you want to. I always tell the people I train to take it one meal and one workout at a time. Things won’t always go your way and sometimes you may slip and fall face first into a box of Krispy Kremes. But it’s what you do next that really makes the difference. Try to remind yourself why you’ve decided to eat this way. When you put it into that kind of perspective you’ll see that your slip ups will become less frequent. Of course there’s no reason not to indulge every once in a while in a little treat from your F-off list. You won’t see me shunning dark chocolate and scotch any time soon!
I think being an envoy means representing yourself and what you believe in everywhere you go. I’ve been to places for work before where everyone else was eating what I would consider to be unhealthy food and I made the choice to eat what was best for my own health and performance regardless of the playful peer pressure to cave in and ‘pig out’. I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve gotten into conversations about what I eat and why because of the particular food choices I made while out with a group. It’s not always about being the loud voice in the crowd, judging and criticizing others for their choices. Sometimes the subtlety of a good example is all it takes to start a conversation about eating healthy. And believe me, once you get me started it’s hard to get me to stop!
- The Paleo Diet by Dr. Loren Cordain
- The Paleo Diet for Athletes by Dr. Loren Cordain
- The Paleo Solution by Robb Wolf
- Lights Out: Sleep, Sugar, and Survival by T.S. Wiley and Bent Formby
- In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan
Stuff I wear:
Ramstein Air Base, Germany