William Beachy Finds CrossFit After Leaving Amish Community, Loses 97 Pounds
William Beachy had been overweight his whole life. Growing up in an Amish community in Flat Rock, IL, formal fitness was foreign to him.
- “The attitude I perceived in the Amish community was, ‘Why would you take time out for fitness?’ It would have been seen as prideful. And then there was this almost arrogant attitude that the (Amish lifestyle was enough). We grew our own food and butchered our own meat and ate three full meals a day. It’s supposed to be a healthy lifestyle, so it was like, ‘Why would you even do something more for fitness?’” he explained.
- Though he wasn’t addicted to soda or processed foods, 33-year-old Beachy, who left the Amish community in 2013, was unaware how much food he was eating. “I didn’t realize how little protein I was getting, and how much fat I was eating,” said Beachy.
The low point: By the fall of 2019, Beachy weighed 370 pounds at 5-foot-10. Even simple things like getting off the couch took “a big effort,” and he could feel his health declining because of his sedentary lifestyle.
- “I would leave in the morning and go to work and sit at the office all day, and then drive home and sit. This is what I did every day…I could tell that my blood pressure would go up. There were times when I would kind of blackout, and I could feel my heart being overworked and it bothered me,” he said.
The moment things changed: Beachy found out his wife was pregnant with their third child. The couple already had two girls, but Beachy had always wanted a boy.
- “I wanted a son so bad, and I wanted to be able to do (physical) stuff with him. So in that moment, it was just in my face. I knew I had to change my life and my body in order to do what I wanted to be able to do with my son,” he said, adding that he also feared his son might end up like him. “I recognized that he would have a similar struggle with his body composition if I didn’t teach him how to care for it and create a foundation for him,” he said.
Taking the plunge: Two months after his son Wesley Leon Beachy was born, his wife suggested he join CrossFit Final Call in Robinson, IL. He took her advice and signed up in October 2019 for both CrossFit and nutrition coaching.
- Fifteen months since his first day, Beachy, who diligently tracks his macronutrients, is down 97 pounds and can do movements that would have been unfathomable to him last October, like sit-ups and 24-inch box jumps. “I feel like an athlete now,” he said.
One big thing: Committing to making nutrition changes wasn’t a new concept to Beachy. At one point, he went on a 500-calori-a-day diet and took diet pills, which helped him lose 42 pounds in six weeks. Another time, he embarked on a strict diet with his wife and had similar success, but each time he’d gain even more weight back. He realizes now what was missing was coaching, a community and accountability.
- “There’s a journey that starts long before CrossFit. You know, I watched myself gain and lose and gain and lose, so the biggest difference now is knowing when I go to the gym there’s a coach waiting for me, and he knows more about me than I want to admit. I feel accountable, not just to him, but to any of the members that I workout with on a regular basis. That’s extended accountability,” he said.
- He added: “The community is definitely the backbone of what makes this work for me — the group environment, and the fact that I don’t workout without a coach. It’s everything I need.”
The big picture: Though Beachy still said he’s another 50 pounds off his goal weight, he is confident that, with the help of his fitness community and sticking to his macros, he will be able to get there in 2021. Best of all, though, is how much more capable of a father he is to his 22-month old son, he explained.
- “Last year when I got on the floor, I felt like a fat blob….I didn’t feel like there was anything I could do for him.,” Beachy said. “Now I can actually handle myself and do things… everything I do, I do better,” he added.