In the CrossFit community, Cole Sager has a reputation as one of the good guys. He’s unashamedly happy whilst simultaneously fiercely competitive, living every fitness nut’s dream with his equally-fit wife by his side.
Training out of his garage, Sager has been a big name at the CrossFit Games for years, known as a ‘veteran’ of the relatively young sport, with a top 5 finish in 2016 cementing his place as the 5th fittest man on earth that year. In summary, the bloke is a legend in fitness circles, and inspiring as all hell.
Giving further context to his accomplishments, Sager recently shared a transformation post on both his Instagram and personal blog, demonstrating the weight loss, and more importantly health gains, he’s achieved since playing college football in 2012. Admittedly gaining 35-pounds on purpose on the orders of his coach (15.8kg in Australian), Sager outlined how an unhealthy relationship with food reared it’s ugly head. However his battles with food began long before his weight gain, when staying lean became an ‘obsession’ for the college athlete.
“I decided that I was going to do whatever it took to get lean and shredded,” says Cole on his website. “I went on a severe calorie-restrictive diet, did not consume nearly enough carbs, and slowly watched my performance tank. At one point my energy levels were so low that I became slightly narcoleptic, falling asleep randomly and frequently."
“My mind became so consumed that I judged anyone who was not eating how I was and was appalled at the thought of someone indulging in dessert. On a few occasions, I had such a bad craving for sugar that I snuck a bite of whatever treat was nearby, chewed it up, and spit it out.”
His relationship with food was flipped on its head following his coach’s orders to ‘bulk up’ for his final season on the football field, often eating to the point of sickness in order to reach his goal weight.
“I do have to admit that my heart sank when I realized that I was going to be giving up the lean, 6% body fat, six pack abs I had been working so hard for,” Sager remembers. “But no matter how obsessed I was with nutrition, I was far more obsessed with achieving my goal.”
“Gaining 35 pounds was much more difficult than I ever imagined. I ate until I would vomit. I consumed massive meals comprised of the unhealthiest of foods, simply to gain a few more pounds.”
Since the intentional, albeit unhealthy weight gain, Sager has discovered CrossFit and learnt how to remain accountable with his nutrition through the use of logging tools, nutrition programs like Working Against Gravity, and consistent training.
“I cannot reiterate enough the importance of an accountability tool to help us stay focused on our nutrition goals and maintaining a healthy view on food,” advised Sager on his Instagram profile. “This is something that I did not have through college or my early years of Crossfit.”
“What matters most is discipline when it comes to what and how much you chose to consume. It’s a choice. You get to choose your physique.”
Now clocking in at a healthy 90kg, 27 year-old Sager is looking to smash the competition at this year's games, and his rigorous training routine and positive outlook has set him in good stead, living out his unofficial motto 'be kind, work hard'. And after an overhaul of his training, mindset and nutrition, there’s no reason the good guy can’t finish first in 2018.