I coach a lot of athletes with their nutrition. I teach them how to look at food in a new way and I can only hope that they run with the knowledge bombs I pass on to them. Jason Ackerman, a friend, and current client has blown me away with his transformation. Many of you might know him from the CrossFit Level 1 Seminar Staff. I have invited him to guest blog for me this week. Today, I share with you his experience with flexible dieting and how it has changed his life for the better.
Riki is a lifesaver...
I'm a fat kid at heart. Couple that with twenty years of wrestling and we have a disaster when it comes to relationships with food. I've done every "diet" out there, from Atkins, to Paleo, to Juice fasts, none of them worked. Well, they worked, but they weren't sustainable, so really they didn't work.
It was New Year's eve this past year and I wasn't happy with what I was looking at in the mirror and like a message from the big guy upstairs, I saw one of Riki's many possitive messages on Facebook talking about "Flexible Dieting." Right place, right time? Serendipitous? Coincidence? When someone is ready to learn a teacher will appear. I was ready to learn and Riki became my teacher.
I had met her many times at CrossFit events and had known Daniel "Boomsauce" Tyminski for a few years. I knew she was an amazing lifter and athlete but didn't really know much about her nutrition outside of she looked great and seemed to be eating jelly beans daily.
We spoke on the phone that day and she presented me with some facts and some science and some explaining, but really I was already convinced. I don't care about "why" something is working, so long as it's working..."Riki, just tell me what to eat" and she did. I literally started that day.
I was someone who was afraid of carbs, not in a fear of spaghetti killing me type of way, but I thought carbs were what made me fat. To the point that I was eating less than 50 grams of carbohydrates per day. So to hear my inital Carbohydrates at 189 grams both scared but excited me. I immediately made pancakes...well, my girlfriend made them.
Part of my frustration at the time was I had no real measure of how I ate. Meaning, I thought I was eating well, but what is well? No cookies? 4 servings of vegetables? 3 Perfect Food Bars? With Flexible dieting, I now had a quantifier. Did I hit my numbers before I went to sleep? If I did, it was a good day, if I didn't, not so much. It was what I needed not just physically, but mentally as well.
I hate the scale. As a wrestler it represents so much more to me than a number. It's a reminder of so many hungry nights or hours and hours in a sauna, but I stepped on it. 165lbs. The heaviest I had ever been. Don't get me wrong, I wasn't fat, but I wasn't happy. I don't think anyone would have suggested I lose weight, but l wasn't doing this for anyone, I was doint it for me.
Immediately I loved it. Flexible dieting truly was flexible. If I wanted to eat 6 meals per day like my bodybuilding days I could, if I wanted to save most of my macros for a huge meal at night I could. For the first time ever, I felt as if I was in control of my food, food was not in control of me.
I also saw progress quickly, both on the scale and in the mirror. I went from a two pack to a four pack in less than 10 days and the scale dropped about ten pounds. I hadn’t weighed myself daily in years and I’m not a fan of it but it was a quick way to check progress and every morning it made me excited for my next day of flexible dieting.
As I gained confidence I started to take more pictures and post them on social media, and the world took notice, well, at least my followers did. I started getting tons of questions of what I was doing and how they could do the same thing. Just like when you start CrossFit and you can’t stop talking about it, Flexible Dieting is the same, I couldn’t shut up! I would tell people about it and some would listen others couldn’t believe it. How can you eat Cinnamon Toast Crunch every day and lose weight…I don’t know, but I do!
Now over 4 months later, I still love it and can’t thank Riki enough, she truly changed my life. I was at the point where I assumed I was just that guy that could never be ripped or look how I wanted to without killing myself, but with a simple phone call, Riki proved I can be that ripped guy in his underwear on instagram and I’ll never look back!
I currently weight about 138lbs and have increased my macros steadily to the point I’m now at 220 grams of carbohydrates, this from the guy that was literally eating less than 30 grams per day! I don’t look at foods as “good” or “bad” I just simply weight and measure, count one macro at a time and I couldn’t be happier!
Please be sure to follow Jay on Instagram: @jasonackerman78 and check out his page: www.squattherapy.com
A couple of months ago, my client and mentee, Lauren Parrinello, asked me to be part of a short ethnographic film for her school. She and her colleague worked very hard all semester long getting the proposal approved and then going into production. Lauren drove from Maryland to me (in New York) to train and then interview me for a few hours. Lauren shows much enthusiasm and dedication in changing the perception of the female body; strong is beautiful. I am pleased to have met her and coach her, she makes the world a better place.
Supplementation is a question I always get, “What should I be taking?” “What protein do you like best?” Whether you are a Zumba fitness queen or a competitive powerlifter, it’s important to know what supplements will benefit you most. You don’t just want to purchase all of GNC because your trainer takes and recommends it with zero explanation. You need to learn the why, when, and how much.
Now I will tell you, I’m no specialist when it comes to supplements. I just know what works for me and that is what I can share with you. I have only been on a true supplement schedule since I have been signed with Competitive Edge Performance. Prepping for the American Open last year, Tony Cowden, owner and operator of Comp|Edge, sent the sponsored athletes an outline of supplementation for optimal performance. I immediately emailed him back with multiple questions because before this, I was only taking protein and fish oil. He answered and explained in detail why I should be taking what, and when. We even took out some supplements and increased the dosage on others.
Here is a list of supplements I take: Vitamin D, Zinc, EFA 500 (fish oil), BCAA, Magnesium, Taurine, Vitamin C, probiotics, chondroitin sulfate, and deer antler. I will touch base on a few that I simply can’t live without below.
Magnesium- The benefits of magnesium range from regulating blood sugar levels, to alleviating migraines, and to strengthening our bones. I love that it does all that, but personally I benefit most from it to regulate my bowels. That’s right I said it, I have gut issues. I take 400mg at night and 200mg in the morning. This helps me sleep like a baby and go to the bathroom regularly. Before taking magnesium I was going every other day and was constantly in pain; in before you mention it, my fiber intake was not an issue. My other favorite reason I take magnesium is because it helps create ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate), which is a high energy molecule that stores energy we need to do whatever is it is we do.
Vitamin C- Tony came to my gym a few months ago to educate me in the supplements that I take, yes he traveled from North Carolina to New York. How great is it to have sponsors that truly care for their athletes!?! Anyway, he stressed to me how vitamin C is the most underrated vitamin there is and we don’t realize the benefits of it. Also, you can never get enough vitamin C. When we were sick as kids, our moms would make us drink orange juice. Mom is a smart cookie. Vitamin C supports the immune system. It may not be able to cure the common cold, but it has been studied that it can reduce the risks of further complications. Stress! Whoever says they never stress about anything is a lair! Or Richie Rich, a juvenile multimillionaire-- actually no, he stressed about not having friends. Vitamin C can lower cortisol, which is your stress hormone. So eat your fruits and veggies and supplement some vitamin C.
This isn’t a blog post to sell Comp|Edge products to you, however even if I wasn’t sponsored by this awesome company, I’d still be a customer. The people behind this brand don’t just push out quality supplements to their athletes and customers, they educate us, because they care. If you decide to try Competitive Edge Performance out, use code LIL RIKI for a discount.