In this episode of The Get Better Project I have the honor of interviewing Jeff Evans. Jeff is a CrossFit Games athlete, multi-year CrossFit Regionals athlete, and one super strong dude!
“Just be patient, know what your weaknesses are and work on those.” – Jeff Evans
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If you would like to read instead of listen… here is the transcript
Joe Bauer – Can you give us your background, how you grew up, how you got into CrossFit, and now Olympic weightlifting.
Jeff Evans – I grew up in Fort Meyers, Florida, started playing football in 9th grade with all my friends, didn’t grow up playing football, track was always my sport because I was a super fast kid. Grew up in the hood with a super strict dad and struggled with depression when I was younger. I started working out and it really helped with my depression. There was a point when I was actually having suicidal thoughts and when I was thirteen my dad walked in and I was trying to strangle myself. Working out was my outlet from that, and since then I’ve never taken a break, even when I was young I was deadlifting 315, lifting weights was just something I was always good at. I was always trying to compete with older guys who were on Varsity, but no real technique was involved was more just “bro-sesh” throwing weights around. Senior year I switched to playing receiver and was awarded a scholarship to South Illinois University played all four years there as a receiver. Unfortunately I dealt with a lot of injuries, but was always one of the stronger guys on the team. I got my degree in kinesiology, I was always interested in being a personal trainer. Spent 6 months as a personal trainer at LA Fitness, then switched to an upscale fitness club for 2.5 years, which is where I started CrossFit. Did the open in 2012, then started doing local competitions and the next five years made regionals or the games. Started pulling away from Crossfit last year to pursue business ventures and to pursue Olympic Lifting. I love Olympic lifting and it’s something I’ve always been good at and is easier to train for. I won states last year in the 105 kg class.
Joe Bauer – What are your current weightlifting goals?
Jeff Evans – Last year I finished 10th or 11th in the country, hoping to move up to top spots before the Olympics. Joe Bauer – How much time do you spend training for Olympic Weightlifting? Jeff Evans – 2 – 2 1/2 hours for weightlifting and about 45 minutes of that is my warm up. The amount of reps I have is so few compared to Crossfit that the sessions are much shorter. During Crossfit training I would spend around 4 hours training a day. Since I’m a bigger guy I would have a lot of gymnastics volume, I would set goals like: 200 pull ups in a week, 150 chest to bar, 200 hand stand push ups, because I’m so big I needed to condition that. The last two years I didn’t lift over 80% in training and was still able to hit prs.
Joe Bauer – Do you think that building a strength base and then adding in conditioning is the way to go for training for CrossFit?
Jeff Evans – I know Ben Bergeron just put out a list of weights you should be able to hit to expect to get to Regionals, so yeah, it’s even becoming necessary to be stronger to get through the Open.
Joe Bauer – You spend about 45 minutes warming up, how much time do you spend with accessory work?
Jeff Evans – Accessory wise I do a lot of body building stuff, both my coach and I program for myself. I try to keep my muscles even, just with my history of injuries and I do all my accessory work after my lifting. I tore my right pec in college due to wide grip bench press and then my left pec at regionals. For me it was a good mindset lesson, I don’t hold on to a lot so I can just let go of stuff and move on and focus on what needs to get done.
Joe Bauer – You mentioned you are a big guy, what is your height and weight?
Jeff Evans – 6’0 and 230 lbs. I put on 17lbs since I started doing Keto, because I have a theory about weightlifting and Keto and I put on weight.
Joe Bauer – What made you decided to get into Keto?
Jeff Evans – Well, a lot of people do it to cut weight and get shredded, I saw Mark Bell did it to shred down and he got a lot stronger. I was thinking about it and was wondering if I could bump my calories up enough to gain muscle and keep my body fat low. I started doing it as a body building routine 6 week challenge. When ketones break down they turn into ATP which is what you need for Olympic Lifting. When training you take 3-5 minute breaks which is what you need for ATP to restore.
Joe Bauer – There is not a lot of information about athletes out there doing Keto, all the information is on Keto and weight loss. I’ve used supplemental ketones, do you think a CrossFitter could be on the Keto diet?
Jeff Evans – I feel like the supplemental ketones may be the way to do it if you can have carbs and ketones that might be the way for a CrossFitter to do it, but I don’t think Keto would be good for Crossfit because your converting back and forth between different energy systems, but I feel like weightlifting, powerlifting and ultra marathons makes sense to be on Keto.
Joe Bauer – Are you testing yourself for ketones on a regular basis?
Jeff Evans – When I first started I tested myself three times and I was in ketosis once, but I was eating 50 grams of carbs because I was eating 4200 calories, 383 g of fat 200 protein and 50 carbs. But recently, in the last three weeks I’ve bumped my fat and am down to 20 carbs. I’m trying to bump up to 240 to train and then I would cut for my meets.
Joe Bauer – Do you consider your fibourous carbs as well?
Jeff Evans – Yeah, I know greens net lower so I can eat more carbs on that.
Joe Bauer – How many greens do you eat in a day?
Jeff Evans – About 30 g worth of green carbs. I also take green supplements. I’ve heard from some bodybuilders that they have cut out greens, I don’t know how I feel about that. I think it’s important to get all the vitamins and minerals and supplement with Fiber. I started with Chris and we were missing out on FIber big time, it was jacking us up a little bit.
Joe Bauer – Do you still have cheat days?
Jeff Evans – I still drink alcohol, so beer when I’m feeling it, but mainly tequila and gin. I am not super strict on it, but I’m trying to gain weight so I’m going to bump it up 500 calories and become a bit stricter.
Joe Bauer – Is that all through food?
Jeff Evans – I do one big shake at night which is my final meal, its made from 8 tablespoons of MCT and 2 scoops of protein.
Joe Bauer – Did you ever have stomach problems from all that MCT oil?
Jeff Evans – Yeah when I first started I didn’t add enough protein to make it thick enough, but I add protein and water and it’s thick enough that you can’t taste the MCT oil. For dairy I only really eat cheese now, just because dairy has too many carbs. MCT oil can go through all your tissues pretty fast.
Joe Bauer – When you are trying to mass do you know what your calories will be and what your body fat percentage will be at?
Jeff Evans – I’m trying to keep under 10% body fat at 240, I want to look like a bodybuilder while I’m Olympic lifting. I will be eating 4700 calories per day to gain weight. I should have been at 3700 to maintain, then I bumped it to 4200 and started gaining weight quick, so I feel like the extra 500 should be enough. And you are able to stay lean when you are doing that without doing cardio? No cardio at all. Just body building. If you check out my instagram you can see a before and after picture and I look huge, I cut down from 9% to 7% body fat in 6 weeks and gained 17 lbs.
Joe Bauer – Are you normally a lean guy or do you have to work for it?
Jeff Evans – I’ve always been lean, skinny strong kid, once I added all this isolation stuff I started putting on size.
Joe Bauer – Do you have any favorite recovery methods?
Jeff Evans – Sauna, a big one a lot of people are missing out on. Fernando Reyes, a big time Olympic lifter from Brazil, him and his brother coach me now, him and his brother both hit the sauna after training. I started it when I was doing Crossfit, I felt like the sauna helped my body know how to recover from the heat and cool itself down.
Joe Bauer – How much time do you spend in the sauna and is it a traditional sauna or infrared?
Jeff Evans – Regular sauna, I do 30-45 minutes depending on my training session for the day. Sometimes if I have a shorter session I’ll spend 45 minutes in there and do air squats and push ups to force my body to cool down.
Joe Bauer – Do you increase your water consumptions when you are doing that?
Jeff Evans – Oh yeah, big time. Right now I do a lot of pink Himalayan Sea Salt. I take a green supplement that Nutri Key has that has a lot of vitamins.
Joe Bauer – Do you know what your water consumption is daily?
Jeff Evans – Probably a gallon to a gallon and a half. I always just make sure I have a bottle of water at work. I add the Himalayan Sea Salt to my water. Another thing with Keto is you don’t hold on to electrolytes, you just shed water so quick. When I have been taking the supplemental ketones, they recommend you take the HImalayan Sea Salt as well, just so your body can hold on to the minerals. When I first started Keto, when I was still researching I was getting cramps because I didn’t have enough electrolytes and my body was just dumping minerals.
Joe Bauer – How is your mental clarity on Keto?
Jeff Evans – I hear a lot of people talking about it, but I haven’t really noticed a change in mine.
Joe Bauer – Is there anything else you have experimented with that you think has worked or hasn’t worked?
Jeff Evans – I have played around with everything, I thought about going vegan before Keto, but decided against it. I’ve always been good sports-wise so I have always been interested in testing out different diets and what not.
Joe Bauer – What aspects of being a high level athlete are most difficult for you?
Jeff Evans – Making sure you stay focused, I have a job and bills and a lot of these top athletes live with their parents and can devote everything to training. So just trying to stay out of your own head knowing they are in a better situation then you. Focus on yourself and getting your stuff done, rather than focusing on other people.
Joe Bauer – What aspects of training are the most fun for you?
Jeff Evans – Going though the grind, I just love it and have always been that way. Just put my head down and work and work. I grew up that way, my mom always had multiple jobs to provide for us and my dad was a barber, so I think I just got that from watching them. I enjoy the process, it can be frustrating because I want it fast, in sports and business, but the process takes a lot of patience, especially in the beginning.
Joe Bauer – What other injuries have you had?
Jeff Evans – In college I tore my meniscus, broke my collar bone, had lots of ankle injuries, I was always hurt in college. I think if I would have been this mentally strong in college I would have ended up in the NFL, I’m just in such a good mind set space right now.
Joe Bauer – Do you have any other mind set training?
Jeff Evans – I watch a lot of stuff on Gary Vee, Eric Thomas, Tony Robbins, I’ve watched a lot of business ones. It’s all mind set you just want that success so bad you just have to keep grinding and doing what you are doing to get it. If anybody wants to, they can hit me up on instagram and I can send them a screen shot of my audible library. I ride my bike to work and just turn on books and learn.
Joe Bauer – Going back to the injuries, we all hate being injured, but is there anything you learned because of them?
Jeff Evans – Most of my injuries have just been freak accidents and also my mind set was not great. So it’s really just can I handle this, and the injuries are just mind set builders. I know how to rehab myself and I have the right people to help me heal so it’s more of building the mind set.
Joe Bauer – As a high level athlete did you ever feel like giving up?
Jeff Evans – Damn near every day, my passion is fueled by my family, I grew up in the hood, so every night I dream of giving my parents a home and their business. I want to show them that we can do more, we aren’t just an average family.
Joe Bauer – What is Fia’s Fresh Meals and what you want to do with the business?
Jeff Evans – Chris started it from the ground up we do about 6000 meals a week and deliver all over Florida. We have multiple locations and we are just starting to deliver nationwide, we are also working on a big deal where you can go to our site and get your supplements and meals delivered in one go to your door. I feel like we are changing the game on meal prep.
Joe Bauer – What is your role within the company?
Jeff Evans – I’m sort of wearing a bunch of hats, learning everything on how the company runs: ordering food, marketing, working the stores. Joe Bauer – What are the goals for the company?
Jeff Evans – I think this year we are trying to open another location in West Palm and one in Orlando, and next year we want to have ten stores total.
Joe Bauer – What do your typical customer look like?
Jeff Evans – Anyone, Crossfit, LA fitness, we sell by the pound and we have Paleo and Keto. The pre made meals just make life easier, and we are hands down the cheapest most meals are between $8.50 – $10.50 and we use grass fed, free range and organic.
Joe Bauer – Have you been with the company since it started?
Jeff Evans – No, but for about three years, I was an athlete, then a sales rep and then moved over 5 months ago to work with him and am now a small owner. Usually, I grab about four pre made meals and add the shake, and then it’s enough food for me.
Joe Bauer – As far as your training, nutrition, lifestyle goes do you have anything that someone trying to get to that place should focus on?
Jeff Evans – I would say you have to be patient because its a process, you are going to behind on something. I was a bigger athlete so I had to focus on gymnastics and cardio and just be patient in progressing.
Joe Bauer – How would you have someone choose a program, should everyone have a personal coach?
Jeff Evans – I was with Invictus for two years, then Hydrafit for two years, then the last year I blended those two together with my own style because I knew exactly what I needed at that point. I think you can follow a basic template and add in the things you need to work on, like I did with the gymnastics.
Joe Bauer – How did you come up with those gymnastic goals for the week?
Jeff Evans – I based them off regionals and open workouts and did a lot of research on the average number of reps. From the open I was always a bubble athlete, but regionals everything was heavier and I was able to excel.
Joe Bauer – How did you base your conditioning?
Jeff Evans – I knew I needed a lot, two to three runs on a true form, rows, sometimes wore a vest on the runs. One of my favorite workouts I would do every other week was 100 chest to bar, 100 ring dips, 100 pistols to make sure I was getting that volume.
Joe Bauer – Very smart, I like how analytical you were about it.
Jeff Evans – I remember that Sheila Barden and I were at an event for one of my sponsors and we redid a regionals workout, and she blasted my on the pistols I knew I needed to get faster at pistols if she was the best at them, I needed to work on speed.
Joe Bauer – As you are doing these extra things and making sure you are hitting your weaknesses how are you dealing with the possibility of over training?
Jeff Evans – I think as long as you are eating enough, and I was getting massages, I think that you will be fine, just eat enough.
Joe Bauer – Are you eating a specific amount of calories during that time or just as much as you can get in?
Jeff Evans – I timed mine, 50 carbs before a workout and 250 carbs after the workout, because I was working out for four hours. It was a lot of volume in a short amount of time, but I felt like I needed to train that way to keep my body fatigued and then I would tackle the metcon, because I knew I would be that way at regionals.
Joe Bauer – Was you cardio, accessory, strength at the same time?
Jeff Evans – I would usually do cardio first, then gymnastics session, then weightlifting (more barbell cycling then heavy), followed by a metcon and then finish off with some accessory stuff.
Joe Bauer – Any other recovery options you liked?
Jeff Evans – Massage and sauna, long massages that were a combo of ART.
Joe Bauer – Who determined how many calories you would eat?
Jeff Evans – I would, just started trying to eat more and more and figured out what I needed.
Joe Bauer – What was your total for the whole day when you were CrossFitting?
Jeff Evans – I just experimented and tried to eat a good amount during the day. Now I try and count all my macros, but back in CrossFit as long as I felt like I was eating enough I was good.
Joe Bauer – Do you think you will ever get back into CrossFit?
Jeff Evans – Yes, when I’m a master in 5 1/2 years. 2020 is the Olympic Games, which I’m aiming for and then I’ll have a few years to train for the Masters.
Joe Bauer – Is there anything else important people should know about your training or philosophies?
Jeff Evans – Just be patient, know what your weaknesses are and work on those.