It was less than an hour past New Years. About a half-dozen of us were celebrating at my brother’s cabin in Michigan, a short drive from Ann Arbor.
My brother Scott and I were standing outside talking. We’d just finished welcoming in 2011, and decided to take a quick break from the Dance Dance Revolution game our oldest brother, John, brought with him. I babbled a bit about this new diet my girlfriend Antonie and I were trying & that’s when Scott confided:
I’m probably in the worst shape of my life.
We weighed ourselves at my parent’s house a few days earlier. I was surprised to see that Scott was up to 200 pounds. He’s tall — six feet — but until fairly recently he’d always been slender and fit.
I responded: Hey, why don’t you give primal a shot? Why not just try it out and see what you think? Cool enough, he agreed. In fact, in the morning he picked up a copy of Cordain’s Paleo Diet and started reading it on his bus-ride back to Chicago. We chatted on the phone a few days later and he said that he was giving paleo a try. I was excited.
We’d swap occasional recipes and stories over the next couple months, but mostly we’d talk about the marathon we were training to run together. And in March, he showed up to DC to run the National Marathon with me. When I saw him I thought, woah, Scotty looks good! I asked how much he weighed and he said he had no idea, he hadn’t weighed himself since my parent’s house. So we walked down to my apartment gym and stepped on the scale. Both of our eyes widened.
Scott was down to 169!
We ran the race together and had a blast. Check out the pictures here. He ran in his Vibram Five Fingers, and stayed by my side the whole time as I slowly prodded along. I didn’t train as well as him, and decided to go barefoot, so it took us awhile! He could have finished much sooner but decided to stay with me anyways.
The next time the family gathered was for Easter. By then Scott was in such good shape that the whole family took notice. Now I’d been babbling about the benefits of a primal lifestyle for awhile, but I’m always babbling about something weird. I’m the crazy libertarian, not to mention the guy that went vegetarian for six years, so when I announced my new weird diet to the family everyone probably took it with a grain of salt. And to be honest, I wasn’t always following it well.
But when Scott showed up to Easter, he got the family excited. Everyone was inspired. He encouraged my parents to give primal a shot. And our brother John. Cool enough, they all agreed. Before long, my whole family was seeing real results.
By May, Scott was down below 160 and told me that he was joining an awesome new gym. Now his focus was to actually gain a few pounds. All his fat was gone and he was putting on muscle and getting in fantastic shape. He wasn’t going 80-20 like me. (Or more realistic, like I claimed to be.) Rather, from the first day of the year, he’d been basically 100 percent committed to the primal lifestyle.
And for all my talk, I was still taking way too many cheat meals. He inspired me to eat healthier, and stick more closely to the diet, giving me excellent food and cooking suggestions.
In a phone conversation we had in June, Scott and I decided to create this blog to encourage other people — in particular two of our uncles — to give primal a shot. We worked together with Antonie to get everything set up, and Scott has been stalwart in keeping the blog moving along. And cool enough, The Primal Challenge has taken off. In our first two and a half months, we’ve received nearly 25,000 views and have over 30 people taking the primal challenge.
Now Scott is pushing himself even harder: He’s following Wendler’s 5/3/1 strength training routine, biking to work most days (4.5mi each way), visiting the local rock climbing gym, doing group Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga classes, and swimming laps at his gym.
To give you a quick snapshot into the quality of his character, consider this. When we were teenagers we decided to hike the Grand Canyon together. He dressed well for the hike and wore a white t-shirt. I didn’t and wore a ridiculous black muscle shirt. Several hours into the hike, sun beating down upon us, I started to get sick. So Scott told me to take off my shirt and wear his. He literally gave me the shirt off his back, and took mine in exchange. And by the time we crawled out of the canyon, I had recovered and was feeling well. But Scott, stuck in my silly shirt, was sick with sun poisoning.
That’s just the kind of person he is. And now it’s probably safe to say that we’re both in the best shape of our lives, and thanks in large part to his inspiration, me and my family are eating healthier than ever.
I’m excited to see what the future holds.