Darrel Philion: Not The Man He Was

Darrel was an enormous help during the 2013 Catalyst Games: the night before competing, he was with our setup crew in the rain until 10pm. He was back on the floor by 6am, competed all day, and then tore down equipment and shipped it around town until 9pm again.
This is his Catalyst story:
I work in the neighborhood and had observed groups of people maneuvering large unwieldy objects down the street.  I remember thinking to myself, “What the heck are those crazy people doing?!  They must be pro athletes in a training camp or something.”  It looked like hard work and not something I was interested in at all.
At the time I had just started a self directed weight loss program.  I was doing the popular fitness videos at home and scouring the web for quick solutions to fat loss.  Each new day of internet research led me in a new direction on my path to instant gratification. To my great dismay though; I wasn’t looking like the people in the videos.  I wasn’t seeing the results promised in those flashy ads.  I was getting weaker and very frustrated with my progress.
I just wanted to look good without a shirt on.
Finally, after many months of wasted time and general screwarounditis, I decided it was time for a different approach.  I figured if I wanted to look like those “crazy” people carrying logs and flipping huge tires I had to do the same.
I decided to single source all of my fitness information and relied solely on www.crossfit.com.
Darrel 1
In spite of myself, before finding crossfit, I had actually managed to loose 35 lbs.  Unfortunately for me, too much of that weight was probably muscle and I didn’t have all that much too start with… 🙂  I needed to start lifting weights so I joined Catalyst in December of 2012 and was coached through the OnRamp program by Charity.
I was eating paleo and lifting using the starting strength program mixed in with the occasional WOD.  I could barely do a single pull up so building a base of strength was my priority.  I was relatively new to weight lifting and was loving the newbie gains.  Every workout was bringing new challenges and successes.  I was excited to go to the box after work.  All the staff and members brought great energy and were terrific motivators whether they knew it or not.
But old habits die hard.
I have always had body image issues and was stuck with the mindset that I needed to become leaner before trying to put on some muscle.  I was still loosing weight but my calorie restrictive diet started to affect my progress with the weights.  I wasn’t seeing continual improvement and frustration set in.  Like before, I changed my exercise program and modified my diet.  This cycle continued for another 4 months.
I knew my diet was the one area where I was lacking.  I had been dieting for so long that the thought of gaining weight was a frightening prospect.  I had a body weight number in my head and I was obsessed with the scale.  Every time it moved up a few pounds I would pour on the cardio or eat less until the weight dropped again.  I was stuck in a dangerous cycle, I just needed the resolve to get out of it.
Everything else had been so easy.  I gladly find myself at the box at least three times a week.  I cut dairy out of my diet cold turkey.  Same thing with grains and legumes, no big deal.  I plan my meals and prepare them ahead of time so I am not left wanting.  One would think those would be the hard to things to do.
Despite my personal issue, my time at Catalyst has been great.  Cleaning my own body weight.  Deadlifting 2x my body weight.  Stringing together a dozen pull ups.  These were things I can do now that I once though impossible or never thought of doing at all.
Currently I am working on my stomach.  I had my family hide the bathroom scale and I don’t miss it anymore.  1,800 calorie days are a thing of the past.  I don’t know how much I currently weight and I don’t care.  I feel better and stronger than I have in a long time and am loving it.  I am also working on balancing out my strength based on the Olympic lifting standards.  My upper body definitely has come catching up to do.  I now realize there isn’t a quick solution and I am in it for the long haul.  Small gains and short term attainable goals are the norm.
I wasn’t planning on competing in the Catalyst Games,  but writing this profile changed my mind.  I was reminded that I am not the person I was 8 months ago.
My best Catalyst memory is boxing day of last year.  I was fresh out of OnRamp the week before and excited to continue improving my fitness.  I went to the box that morning planning on doing my program and found the place packed with people only to discover there was a pre-planned Hero WOD that day.  Since I was there anyways I decided to stay and do my “first” WOD.  2 hours later and barely able to walk to the fountain, I had finished “Murph”.  I was one of the last people to finish and proud as heck with myself!

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