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I had the rare and priceless opportunity to spend Sunday with the one and only Donny Shankle. Now, it’s safe to say that the men around CFHH have huge man-crushes on Mr. Shankle. I get it – he’s a big strong manly-man who can basically clean & jerk a Buick. But to be honest, while I was excited to learn from one of our nation’s best weightlifters I really wasn’t expecting to learn much more than some drills, technique cues, and some coaching tips.
I was wrong. So wrong. I realized immediately that I was sitting at the feet of a master. For seven straight hours we got a glimpse of the brain power and philosophy of a champion. We learned how he trains. AND WE LEARNED HOW HE EATS!!! He mentioned early on that being a champion weightlifter was 80% attitude, 10% diet, and 10% everything else. Yes – from his own mouth he proclaimed that nutrition was second only to the attitude you bring to your training. And he placed all the physical work, the time under the bar, after diet. He had my attention from there on out! And, yes a tiny Shankle-crush was developing.
Donny eats no sugar, no dairy, and no gluten. (Sound familiar, Whole Life Challengers?) He also said that during peak training times his grocery bill is higher than his rent. That struck such a chord with me because one of the common hurdles many people face when trying to clean up their diet is the cost of whole food versus processed food.
There is a passage in the Bible that says “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” This idea is also found in Judaism, Buddism and many other world religions. Basically, where you spend your money is what you fixate on. It’s not only a reflection of your priorities, but reinforces with every transaction what really matters to you.
So let’s take a look at why buying whole foods from the grocery store feels like it costs more than the alternative. When you clean up your diet a typical first step is minimizing, if not eliminating, eating out at restaurants. So, where you would normally drop $20 on lunch every day, you are now spending that in one shot at the grocery store. It takes a few weeks to realize the shift there.
There is also an old adage that says, “Pay the farmer now or the doctor later.” This is so spot on! Taking care to put your treasure, your hard earned dollars, somewhere you can see and feel a difference can happen every single day. There is not a better investment than in a healthy body. Clean food creates healthy sleep cycles which in turn gives you clarity and energy in your day.
Something else Donny shared with us is that he always seeks improvement, and in Shankle-World that means he wants to PR something every day. Yes, you read that right – every.single.day. In my life as an athlete so far that seems unreachable. Perhaps someday I’ll get there, we’ll see. But what I can do every day is PR my nutrition. Remember, nutrition is all about Quality, Quantity, & Timing. I can choose whole foods (quality). I can choose balance in my Protein/Carb/Fat ratios and in my portion size (quantity). I can get up and make lunch instead of just skipping it and waiting for dinner (timing). I can Shankle this day by PR’ing my plate.