Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Get to Know: Jon S. - CF KoP Athlete

Name: Jon S.
Age: 34
Height: 6'2
Highest Weight and when: 300lbs January 1st, 2011
Weight now: 225lbs as of January 29th, 2012

Q: Give us an idea of your background, specifically related to fitness and eating. 
A: I was a lean 185lbs as a senior in high school. I played football for school but my friends and I lived to play basketball. We'd run full court 5-on-5 for 6+ hours a day at least three times a week. Despite my mother’s best efforts, I ate like crap but it didn't matter at that age and activity level. Even my first few years in the military I ate everything in sight and nothing changed. Then I woke up one morning fifteen years later and I was fat. That's what happens when your activity level drops to zero and you continue to eat like a care-free teenager.

Q: When did you change your diet and what made you change?
A:  A good friend of mine was suffering from horrible stomach problems. It was recommended that he stop eating gluten, so he did and lost 30lbs in six weeks. Zero exercise. It was about a month or two later that I got into Crossfit and learned of the Paleo system. The brutal, straight-forward logic of Paleo backed by the results of eliminating grains that I witnessed firsthand and I was sold. Sometime in August, 2011 is when Katie and I really went all-in with the Paleo system. We went through the kitchen and threw away all the crap we had. The reason we even looked into being more fit is because we just flat-out got tired of being overweight and feeling like crap. I was actually starting to develop moderate heath issues. We made a promise to each other that thing were going to change in 2011.
Outdoor adventure WOD (Oct. 2011)
Q: What benefits have you seen from changing your food?
A: Everything! My mood is more balanced, my energy level is higher, the fatigue of shift work is less substantial. I eat better so I'm actually eating less. I'm probably consuming a little less than half the volume of food I was previously. The 300lb guy in the mirror that used to disgust me is now a 225lb guy that I feel good about. Yes, the food is more expensive but I’m eating less of it so the cost difference is effectively zero. Consider this: a Primo’s hoagie is about $8-10. A full pound of grass fed bison meat is about $9. If I eat a half pound of bison and two avocados for lunch, I spend about $4.50 for meat and $3 for fat. Either way you slice it, I eat better and cheaper.

Q: What has been the hardest thing about eating clean/paleo?
A: Truly, the most difficult part of going Paleo is the elimination of sugar. Those first three days reminded me of what it was like when I quit smoking ~5 years ago. I had headaches and was irritable, but you know what? It passed. Once you defeat your sugar addiction, and yes it is an addiction, the next thing is the convenience foods. Sandwiches are the devil. Everyone at work orders hoagies for lunch and I microwave my grass fed bison roast. There is a bit of ridicule that comes with "eating outside the box" but I take solace in knowing I can kill the naysayers with my bare hands.

Lean and Mean at Barbells for Boobs (Nov. 2011)

Q: You changed your diet at the same time you started Crossfit. Do you think one has helped the other?
   A:  Crossfit introduced me to Robb Wolf, Loren Cordain and the Paleo system. From a strictly nutritional perspective, I would still be eating the Standard American Diet (S.A.D.) and be much less healthy. Beyond that, the community we have at CF-KoP is absolutely amazing. It's hard to fall off the wagon when you have both awesome coaches leading you and incredible athletes around you. I tell people all the time that Crossfit isn't just an expensive gym; it's fun, it's a community and it's my own personal fitness support group. 

Q: What advice do you have for those who are looking to change their food habits?
A: The first step is making the commitment to yourself. I'm lucky because Katie is right here with me through all of this. It's hard to fall off the horse when you have a partner that is right there alongside you the whole time. It's not easy and there are moments of weakness, so having a strong support system is vital.

Q: What are your nutrition and/or fitness goals?
A: For nutrition, I'm just going to keep eating this way. This isn't some gimmick that I can just stop. My heartburn is entirely gone. I'm not gassy, bloated and fatigued all the time. My doctor laughs with joy when she sees my blood work when she used to express genuine concern. My quality of life is better now that it has ever been. As far as fitness goes, I just want more. I want to perform more work over a shorter period of time. I want to lift heavier weight and run/row faster, further and longer. I’m going to be posting some big numbers by Festivus 2012.

Q: Anything else you'd like to add?
A: My personal success is a testament to our incredible community. I wouldn’t have been able to do this without all of you, especially Katie V, and for that, I thank you.

Celebrating Festivus at KoP (Dec 2011)

Editor's Note: Jon has been a very active member of CrossFit King of Prussia, but I wanted to highlight the fact that changing his NUTRITION resulted in significant change prior to CrossFit. In other words, CrossFit is a great fitness program and can help you become stronger, faster, etc. but if you truly want to change how you look and feel, nutrition is going to have a bigger impact than any exercise program. Jon is a great example of persistence, dedication, and the pursuit of health. 

If you have any questions for Jon, leave them in the comments.

For more on the basics of eating clean and establishing good habits, check out my previous blog post Nutrition, Fitness, and Health 101.


  1. Thank you for being my support system too, it goes both ways! Even though I give in more, Jon definitely puts me back on track nutritionally. So proud of Jon, and the both of us for letting crossfit and paleo bring us closer together!

  2. You both are amazing!! The transformation was incredible. So proud of you both.

  3. Who is this Jon and what have you done with my son, Jonathan?

    1. you might have to ask your son what he did with Jonathan

  4. "I take solace in knowing I can kill the naysayers with my bare hands." Haha, excellent! :)


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