Transformation Tuesday: Dave Santivasci

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Read about how member Dave Santivasci recently lost 20lbs, 7inches and 6.3% body fat by starting Amplify! Not only has Dave experienced physical changes on the outside, he has also lowered his resting heart rate and blood pressure by adjusting his diet and CrossFiting! Read more about his journey!

What made you decide to start Amplify? How has it changed your perception of your eating habits, the food you eat as well as the accountability of it all?  

My main goal when starting Amplify was to lose body fat. I have been in the healthcare field most of my life and know what happens when you’re overweight, have a family history of diabetes and heart disease, so my goal was really about getting myself to a healthier place. I started Amplify in March, and that was the second goal I had set for myself when I started at CFDV last September.  

When I started CrossFit, I promised myself that if I could consistently make it 2-3 days a week for a few months, I would work on nutrition next. My older brother, Mike, has been doing CrossFit for 8 years and also changed the way he eats, and I saw the positive results he had. He has been a good role model and introduced me to some of these eating concepts so I was convinced that if I could do this, I would see a change in my health.  

However, while I was convinced intellectually that there was a better way to eat, I did not have the conviction to take action. I had heard about Amplify when I started at CFDV. I looked at the info on the website and then spoke to Jacki after a class about it, so I knew that when I made the commitment to focus on nutrition, I was going to work with Jacki and do Amplify.  

Jacki shared what I had heard, which is that your body composition is 90% what you do in the kitchen and 10% what you do in the gym. I have found that to be true. I did lose weight just from starting CrossFit from September to March but the noticeable changes to body composition happened after doing Amplify.  So, once I showed myself that I was making CF regularly, I ran out of excuses to not start working on my nutrition and signed up for Amplify.

Amplify has really changed how I think about what I’m eating. I have been doing it for 3 months and it has dramatically changed how, when, and what I eat. I like Amplify because it is a very practical approach and lays out exactly what you need to do and provides plenty of menu and food choices. That said, it was not easy early on because I was changing a lot of habits.

I had logged food in the past and that helped me realize how many calories I was eating, but it didn’t help educate me on better choices. Amplify helped me understand what choices I could make that were better for me. It also showed me how to space out my meals, including snacks in the morning and afternoon. Jacki provided real-life solutions and challenged me to change my habits. 

One example is that I traditionally eat out for lunch and really didn't like to bring lunch to work. I also travel to a client at least once a week. So I had a real issue with packing snacks and meals when I started. Jacki challenged me that it was possible to do this, "You know Dave, they do make insulated bags to carry your food and I do it every day..."

I didn't want to hear that at the beginning but also knew the only way I was going to make this work was to try something new.  Well, I now pack snacks every day- including when I am traveling. I also still eat lunch out a few days a week but I make better choices and always pack good snacks to supplement my lunch.

What I learned is that it’s really not that big of a deal to pack my meals.  The days I have left in a hurry or forgot my bags were more painful because I was trying to figure out what healthy options I could find on the road, which is not as easy.  When I meal/snack prep, I don't have that issue.

You were doing CrossFit for a little while before focusing on your nutrition. Did you decide to change your nutrition to improve your CrossFit performances? Do you think it has helped your performance in the gym? 

The first big step for me was starting CrossFit and proving to myself that I could stick with it.  I had many gym memberships over the years but never stuck with a consistent work out structure. From my first meeting with Rob and then OnRamp with Cat, I really liked the CFDV classes, coaches and found the community is awesome. Everybody has been very supportive and nice to the very inexperienced newbie!

I started Amplify really focused on losing body fat and any improvements in performance would be an added benefit. I am still mostly at the state in my CF journey that surviving the workout is a win more so than my score.

That said, the loss in weight has improved my time in the Broomile some and it is helping with pushups and pullups, which is my next area of focus.

What has been your favorite part of Amplify? How many pounds (or inches) have you lost since starting? How do you think your daily job impacted your nutrition before Amplify and now after? 

My favorite part of Amplify is the results it has had for me. I think any change in habits is hard, so I won't say this has not been difficult because it has been. I have tried to stick to the program but also work in certain food choices that I don't want to give up entirely. I still have a cheesesteak once a week (#donttelljacki) but I don't have a soda or fries. On days I do that, I do plan what else I am going to eat to try and keep myself on the plan.  I have been very happy with the results:

  • Lost over 20 pounds since I started Amplify!

  • Lost 7 inches and 6.3% bodyfat

  • Increased my energy level

Also, between doing CrossFit and Amplify, I have lowered my resting heart rate significantly and lowered my blood pressure.

The daily job is a challenge as I tended to eat in the car on my way to work and eat out every day at lunch.  Whether I could really change those habits was my biggest fear starting Amplify, but Jacki did teach this old dog a new trick and I have no issues with work and meals out. I just have learned to make better informed decisions.

I am also lucky to have a fantastic wife who has been supportive of this and who has helped with meal planning. We changed our dinners in many cases for the whole family. Our kids are good with some of the meals and not so much with others, but we have been doing it for 3 months now, so it seems more like the norm now than different.

What are some take-aways that you learned by doing Amplify?  Do you plan on still following the meal plans? Do you have any other goals in mind for the future? (CrossFit or nutritionally)

I went into Amplify with the goal that this was not a 3-month event, it needed to be a permanent change and that is still my outlook. Everybody is different and on a different place on their journey but there is no question in my mind, that if you stick to this program, you will see results from Amplify.

My take-aways are:

  • Stick to the plan provided for at least the first month so you see the results which helped move me from being convinced this might work to having the conviction to keep with it because it does work.

  • Make decisions on foods later on that you think you need to keep in your life to make this a permanent change but stay in the calories and macro goals for the day.

  • If you have a bad meal, just get back on track with the next meal and move on.

  • Amplify has a support network so ask for help from Jacki or another person if your struggling with something. 

I plan on sticking with Amplify and logging my food going forward to keep me accountable. My CF goals going forward is to work on upper body strength. I would like to be able to do more push-ups and non-assisted pull-ups.