Tell us a little bit about yourself:

My name is Michael Braden. I work in medical sales, and coach part-time at Platform Strength Gym in Denver, Colorado. I grew up in Iowa where grabbing fast food seemed like second nature, especially after sports practices. I’ve always been extremely active and been able to burn off the “crap”. I played collegiate tennis and jumped right into coaching and competing in CrossFit post graduation. After a few years of on and off again injuries in CrossFit, recently I have been focusing more on my overall health whether it be through the kitchen or more slow and controlled movement in the gym. 
Always striving to be my best self, diet normally was the first to fail. Sugar was my vice. I honestly felt like an addict and needed sweets or some item with added sugar everyday. As imagined, my energy levels were all over the place and my sleep suffered. My full-time job requires me to stand for long periods of time, and not have a normal eating schedule. In my speciality of medical sales, when you have time, you eat! 

Where/when did you first hear about Whole30?

Being around the CrossFit Community for several years there was always a nutritional challenge going on. Everyone always complained about how hard Whole30 was but seemed to have fun sharing their recipes and looked phenomenal after the 30 days!

When was your Whole30?

I woke up one morning towards the end of August 2018 and said I’m going to start Whole30 today! I was constantly tired and didn’t feel comfortable in my own skin. The 3 days prior to started this journey I found myself buying peanut butter M&M’s EVERYDAY and justifying it as I just need some sugar to stay awake. 

What was the biggest challenge you overcame during Whole30?

My biggest challenge was cooking enough food to get through my days. Since I went into Whole30 without much planning or prior knowledge I struggled with finding meals I could eat when I was traveling. Towards the end of week one I really got serious in the kitchen. I would spend several hours meal prepping for the next few days. I even brought a cooler with me each day, often overpacked with Whole30 compliant foods for when I felt a slump coming on. 

What are some of the Non Scale Victories you experienced?

I set out to not loose any weight during my Whole30. I wanted to maintain but fuel my body with good nutrients instead of the junk I had been eating. My main goal was to level out my energy. I wanted to feel great from sunrise to sunset. At first I didn’t know if it would be possible. Around the end of week 2, the afternoon slump started to dissipate. I am now one month post Whole30 and everyday still cannot believe how great I feel. I wake up easier and stay consistent energy wise throughout my day. Mentally, I feel more in the present. Before Whole30 I would have a hard time focusing if I was craving sugar or feeling tired. I can honestly say the cookies and sweets I used to crave don’t sound appealing anymore! 

What is something you wished you had known before starting Whole30?

Like I talked about before, I knew of people doing Whole30 but I did not know much about the restart before jumping in head first. I might have actually been less apt to begin if I knew how hard it was going to be. Whole30 was similar to training for the Boulder Half Ironman that I did a couple years ago. People think you are crazy for doing it, and it will change your lifestyle. With that being said, I could not be more grateful that I went through the Whole30 process. You can do anything for thirty days. Be selfish about your health!  

Are there any specific meals or recipes you loved during your Whole30?

I still try to eat as close to Whole30 as I can. I haven’t been cooking nearly as much and I’ll enjoy an occasional adult beverage. One of my favorite meals is this Slow Cooker BBQ Beef recipes! I love it in a lettuce wrap with cauliflower rice sprinkled on top! 

Follow along with Mike’s Story!

Find him on Instagram: @mibraden

“30 days ago my energy levels were all over the place. I had intense sugar cravings and little to no motivation outside of work and the gym. Impulsively, I set my mind on Whole30. In fact, I was going to start that day. My goal wasn’t to loose weight but rather reset my body to consistency from sun up to sun down.

Not going to lie this was hard. Really hard. There were days my blood sugar was so low that I had blurry vision and other days I just wanted to sleep. However, with each day I learned more about my body and started to feel better mentally and physically. Fast forward to today and I truly feel the best I have in years. My energy levels are consistent and the sugar cravings are dwindling.

Regardless of results, I am extremely grateful that I naively took on Whole30. It taught me how to read food labels, and more importantly how to fuel my body for performance rather than faltering to temptations or consumer marketing. I highly recommend giving this reset a chance, YOU. ARE. WORTH. IT! “