I am 25 years old and currently a 7th and 8th grade Health and Physical Education Teacher. I am also the head coach at Crossfit Joliet. I have grown up playing sports and my main focus was football and baseball. I went on to play 4 years of Division III Collegiate Football. I needed something competitive after college and found Crossfit. I started Crossfitting full-time in October of 2012 after elbow surgery. I am now a competitive crossfitter and I train intensely 6 days a week and sometimes twice a day. I have strong Crossfit goals and hope to make it to Regionals this year. Crossfit has opened up my eyes to having a healthier lifestyle overall. I started about a year and a half ago substituting foods in my diet for a paleo-friendly alternative. I have slowly worked my way to becoming 100% paleo within the last few months. I still treat myself to non-paleo foods every once in awhile, but what I have come to learn is my diet has a direct effect on how I perform in the gym. This is my reasoning to be 100% paleo for the next 365 days.
My day revolves around food and when I am going to eat next. I love to cook and try new recipes. Besides water, coffee is my drink of choice. Really, there are 3 places that youcan find me throughout the day: work, the gym or in the kitchen.
I am 23 years of age and work as an Education Coordinator for a physical therapy company. Like Zach, I have been an athlete my whole life, but my focus was volleyball. I played for 4 years in a Division III collegiate program. After college, I felt a little lost on how to stay motivated towards maintaining my fitness. I tried putting together my own workout routine and would same exercises week in and week out and would switch it up about every 4 weeks. When I was tired of that, I tried training for a half marathon. I hated every second of that and moved on to fitness classes at my previous gym. I was interested in the classes, but never saw any real improvements in my fitness level. I started Crossfit in October of 2012 and fell in love with it. Even before starting Crossfit, I was dealing with major stomach issues. I had gone through multiple doctors, procedures and tests to figure out what was wrong. They diagnosed me with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and told me to go on a high-fiber diet. When this didn’t work, I searched for other diet alternatives.
It was through Crossfit that I heard about the Paleo Diet, but thought it was absolutely insane to eliminate grains and wheat from my daily regimen. I started by eliminating dairy and making small changes and would see some improvements. It wasn’t until August of 2013, that I decided to do the Whole30 challenge. It was very difficult for me, but it completely eliminated my stomach issues. I realized this is a lifestyle change that I need to make in order to feel great 365 days out of the year.
Zach and Joelle
We met in college and started dating just over 4 years ago. We live in a house together in a south suburb of Chicago. We are both very driven people and put a high emphasis on fitness and diet. We believe that those 2 things will result in success in other parts of life. We hold each other accountable for the goals that we make and always push each other to be the best.
With our busy careers and personal lives, it could be easy to lose sight of our fitness and diet goals. We hold each other accountable by: grocery shopping and prepping food together for the week on Sundays, we discuss and plan our workout schedules and we also make it a point to try new recipes and activities.
We hope our story inspires you to make simple changes to your diet, and in turn, gives you a happier and healthier life.