My Inspirations: Hey Girl, it’s Craig Funk

Craig Funk is the owner and trainer of Funk Fitness, the newest certified DDP Yoga instructor, host of multiple (amazing) DDP Yoga workshops, and has amazing strength and physique.

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I first met Craig at his 2013 DDP Yoga workshop. Obviously I noticed his amazing physique and strength, especially when he did Psycho Push-ups in the middle of the workout. Craig is one of those fitness moguls that are in such amazing shape, and holds themselves with such confidence that you can’t imagine that they were every any other way. I was bowled over to learn that was not the case with Craig. It’s beyond inspiring to see how far Craig has journeyed, and really important for people to read that it’s possible to go from being and overweight, bullied kid to being a successful, popular, modern-day Adonis.

Q: You have one of the most amazing physiques I have ever seen. Have you always been into sports and fitness?

A: I actually was very overweight as a kid. I was close to 250 pounds my sophomore year of high school. I started training Brazilian Jiu Jitsu when I was 15 years old because I was getting bullied at school on a daily basis. From there I started wrestling at age 16 and then got into Kettlebells half way through the season. MMA kinda took over after high school and by the age of 19 I stepped into the cage. I never really played any other kinds of sports. I’ve always been into combat sports where it’s a you versus the other guy. Ya know, the stuff that typically takes 2 balls.

Q: What do you attribute your physique to?

A: Kettlebells and DDP YOGA. I also do a lot of calisthenic work. Mix that in with grappling and sparring, plus a day or two of circuit training, and you’re gonna build somethin’! DDP YOGA 10 Second Push Ups play a huge part ;)

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Q: You’re the owner of Funk Fitness. How and when did you get to be a successful gym owner?

A: I was about 22 years old. It started off very small. One day I decided that Funk Fitness would be a pretty cool name, since everyone knew my family for working out so much. There wasn’t a lesson plan for a business or how to start a gym. I just kinda did what I thought was the right thing to do and offered to people the things that I believe in for health and fitness. To this day I’ve done zero advertising and have gone 100% on word of mouth. But as the gym grew, I decided to contact the guys I knew who had successful dojos and gyms. Taking advice and changing things accordingly from them and my lovely fiancee. But as of today the bills are paid and members are happy! If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!

Q: In addition to being a gym owner, you’re also an MMA fighter. How did you start training for that, and how does that fit into your DDP Yoga and Kettlebell regime?

A: I’ve actually backed off MMA and decided to sit on the smart side of the cage. The outside! haha I do a lot of coaching now. I still do my best to get in to train with as many professional fighters as I can to know I still got what it takes.
Q: I believe you suffered a pretty serious back injury. How did that happen? Was that before or after you started DDP Yoga? How did you recover from that?

A: Yes, I was stacked on top of my head from another MMA fighter and then driven down with my bodyweight and his at the same time. Something cracked and popped in my lower back. I went about 2 years living in unbearable pain and noticing my hips and knees were paying the price too. I then found DDP YOGA and never went back. I followed the eating guidelines and lowered the inflammation in my body, and did DDP YOGA up to 3x a day! I’m 100% pain free!

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Q: How and when did you discover DDP Yoga? What were you hoping to get out of it when you began?

A: I woke up at 5:45am on a Saturday morning. Getting ready to head to the the airport to go on a cruise with my now future wife, I sat on the couch and saw a video advertised on Facebook. It was Arthur’s video (the extended cut). When I saw that Diamond Dallas Page was the creator of this program, it instantly caught my attention. I told myself that the moment I returned home, I would buy his program. I did, I ordered on a Monday night, the program came by Thursday. I started Friday morning and I never went back. I was praying for a miracle to stop the lower back, hip, and knee pain. And thanks to DDP YOGA, I got just that! This is a miracle program that is not a fad, and will be alive and well for a very long time. I will never stop!

Q: What have you gotten out of DDP Yoga that you didn’t get from your other exercise forms?

A: Functionality! More flexibility and 100% pain free lifestyle. From sitting in a hunting blind, going on a long car ride, practicing martial arts, being active with my kid, I am 100% pain free!! If I felt any better, I’d be dangerous!

Q: You’ve hosted one or two popular DDP Yoga workshops. How did you get involved in organizing those events? What was your favourite part of that?

A: 4 actually! I had such a belief in what this program can do for people, I absolutely had to get in touch with DDP himself and set this up for people in my home town and state to get a chance to train with the man who literally created a program that changed and gave me my life back!

Q: You’re training for your DDP certification. How has that experience compared to your experience of teaching other fitness classes?

A: I am now officially the 1st DDP YOGA Instructor in Michigan! Knowing how to teach a class and being comfortable talking to large groups of people really helps! But DDP YOGA is it’s own animal! This is one of my favorite classes to teach at the gym! Such great energy!!

Q: What’s next for you? How are you going to integrate your DDP Yoga certification into the current classes at Funk Fitness?

A: I’ve already started working with a core group of guys who really needed this program. I worked with them through my entire certification, and they have really spread the word and every time I teach a class, there is a new to several new faces! This isn’t just a fad workout, it’s a lifestyle! Word travels fast, especially when you see results like this program can provide when you put in the work!

Q: Back to you! What is your proudest achievement?

A: Honestly, Being awarded the rank of Eagle Scout. I also have 3 goals on a piece of paper that I look at every day. 1. Black Belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. 2. Black Belt in American Karate. 3. DDP YOGA Instructor. DDP YOGA has played a huge part in my life, because without it, I wouldn’t be able to do any kind of training at all! I will spend the rest of my life spreading the knowledge and promoting this program to those in need. I 100% believe in this system!

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Q: Is there anything you still struggle with?

A: My goal in DDP YOGA is to get my foot up and leg completely straight in the standing leg lift. I am 100% more flexible, but that is something I am working on and I will get to! Never Stop Pushing.

Q: What would you say to anyone considering DDP Yoga?

A: Without question, without hesitation, without a doubt in my mind, I will always say this is a miracle program. There is nothing else like it on the planet. It is going to be around forever. This is an absolutely amazing lifestyle and I could not stronger recommend that you get involved in DDP YOGA!

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Q: Where can we find you?

A: Funk Fitness in Brighton Michigan! Check our gym out on Facebook! If you’re in Michigan, stop in for a DDPYOGA workout sometime! I have people that come from hours away just to feel the love and positive energy inside the walls of Funk Fitness. Everyone is welcome!!

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But Where Do You Get Your Protein?

protein-cartoon[7]If there were a Buzzfeed list of “15 Things Vegans Totally Understand,”* the headaches caused by excessive eye-rolling in response to being asked, “But, where do you get your protein from?” would be topping that list.

The misconceptions about protein stem, in large part, from dietary information we are fed (pun!) by our governments and medical professions, namely, that you need to eat meat and dairy for protein and calcium. The argument that gets bandied about in favor of animal protein is that animal products are the only source of all essential amino acids. Even if the “only source of esssential amino acids” argument were actually true (it’s not), it’s still not a valid argument against a plant-based diet.

My own doctor had a minor conniption when I said I was vegan, and started rattling off buzzwords like, “essential amino acids,” and “protein deficiency.” When I wouldn’t budge, he sighed, and said, “Okay, well just make sure you get a mix of nuts and soy to get all the essential amino acids.” Really? REALLY? It is so tall an order to ask someone to eat two different food types, that it strikes you as easier to overhaul their entire eating practice to a less healthy one?

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The other big concern medical professionals and family/friends alike have with veganism is that you just can’t possibly be getting enough protein (never mind the amino acid composition of said protein). Most people believe that all produce is completely bereft of any protein content. This wrong information is so pervasive that when I was in graduate school, a fellow graduate student from the Biology department sat across from me at lunch explaining to me that there was no protein in fruit. I nearly concussed myself from slamming my head into the table in front of me in disbelief of what I was hearing. This is a person who has a degree in biology, which is nearly impossible to achieve without stumbling across the concept of The Central Dogma of Biology, which is a fancy way of saying DNA gives RNA which in turn gives Protein. That’s the main thing that cells do. Everything else is downstream of protein production. The nucleus, the very control center of a cell? It’s a glorified a library of recipes to make proteins. In other words, if it has got cells, it has got protein.

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Despite what you have been told, there is plenty of protein in fresh fruits and vegetables. Most plants contain about 5% of their calories in protein. That may not sound like much, but let’s compare that to breastmilk. Breastmilk is designed by nature to meet the needs of babies. During infancy, we have the fasted growth rate of any point of our lives, and thus have the single highest protein requirements of any point of our lives. That requirement? About 5% of your calories. At any other time in your life, regardless of your profession or exercise goals, you don’t need anywhere close to that amount. Even if you’re a bodybuilder, you are not doubling your weight in a 5-6 month period like a baby does.

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Despite the fact that 5% protein is the peak of our protein needs over the entire course of our lives, we are told that protein-rich foods should make up between 10 to 35 percent of our daily calories by entities such as the USDA. This misinformation is taken up by nutritionists and doctors alike, and filters down to the general public via their family doctor and campaigns such as MyPlate. It’s not that the people making these recommendations are bad scientists. It’s that they are bad people. The simple fact is that the USDA committee that makes these recommendations is a massive example of conflict interest. Year after year, these people have financial interests in the meat and dairy industry. It benefits them to ignore scientific fact, and to promote the consumption of excessive protein through meat and dairy. Sadly, when this misinformation is delivered year after year, it becomes accepted by the public as fact to the point that delivering a scientifically-based message of healthy living becomes almost impossible.

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But what’s the harm? So what if we’re eating 35% of our calories in the form of protein when, as adults, we likely need 1-2%. Surely our bodies will simply take what the need and excrete or egest the remainder? Nope. It is well known that excess protein in the body comes with a host of health risks including back pain, osteoporosis, kidney stones and renal disease, heart disease and even cancer, especially when those proteins are derived from animal products (P.S. men, animal protein causes Low-T). Too much protein is as bad for you as smoking! And, oh yeah, and excess protein gets converted to fat in your body.

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The easiest way of ensuring your body has enough protein, without consuming the excessive amounts that contribute to so-called “diseases of affluence,” is to replace all animal-derived products with plant-based, whole foods. And before you worry about not getting enough protein, ask yourself this: have you ever met someone diagnosed with protein deficiency? Have you heard of a friend of a friend being diagnosed with protein deficiency, or even having the symptoms of protein deficiency? I have heard of plenty of people having anemia from iron deficiency. Iron is something you should supplement, or at least monitor the levels of in your diet. B12 is another tricky thing to get solely from plant sources.

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But protein is something that never, ever needs to be supplemented. We get plenty of it, no matter what we eat, and no matter what we want our bodies to do. In closing, vegans get plenty of protein.

Additional Reading/Watching:

- Forks Over Knives

- More Than An Apple A Day: Preventing Our Most Common Diseases

- Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer

- The Protein Myth by Amanda Woodvine, BSc Nutrition

- The China Study by T. Colin Campbell

From Table to Able: Combating Disabling Diseases with Food

 

* added in proof.  

Where You At? Find a Local DDP Yoga Instructor!

I put together a map of all the Level 1 Trainee Instructors (and some of the certified ones too!)… Want to find a DDP Yoga class in your area? Check to see if there are any here! Click on the marker of the instructor in your area to see their contact info to set up a class! Check back often, new instructors are signing up every day!

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