Then & Now: Nate Gemmiti


We all come from somewhere. Meaning, we all have our own beginning, our own starting point that got us to the place we are today, especially when it comes to our journey in health and fitness. It is too true that society constantly flashes advertisements of ‘quick fixes’ or ‘easy dieting’ that guarantees us to achieve our desired goals within a matter of weeks, sometimes days. But the actual truth that no one desires to hear and accept is that change, true, lasting and healthy change, takes a long, long time. In fact, the process is endless; it is a continuous walk of evolvement. We should never believe the lie that abs are achieved in 6 weeks, or that it’s healthy to lose 50 pounds in one month. Why? Because at the end of the day, sustainability is the key to making good habits become your lifestyle. The sharp and hurtful reality of being disappointed in yourself when you can’t keep up with harsh dieting rules and extreme exercise practices after a month is the worst feeling of all. You feel like you’ve failed and wasted your energy and time. What needed to be done instead? The acceptance of making good choices for yourself every day and knowing it will lead you to your goals slowly, but definitely surely. A proper mindset towards achieving a healthy body and mind is 100% nutrition, and 100% proper exercise, not 80% exercise, 20% diet, or any other uneven percentage combination. The two components go hand-in-hand; always have, always will. 

Nathan Gemmiti, a CrossFit Cayman member since February 2016, knows this to be true for himself.

But we’ll let him tell you his story.


Describe your overall health (physically, mentally, emotionally and even spiritually) before starting CrossFit. Where were you as a person? How did you feel or think on a regular basis? Where did you want to be?

I have always been active in sports. I was a 3-sport athlete my entire childhood. During my 30s and 40s, I would go through small spurts of focused training. The only thing I did consistently was in-door soccer once a week over 10+ years. I felt relatively good, but as I aged, I was getting heavier, slower, less flexible and more sore after physical activity.


What made you decide to turn your life around and make a change?

About 6 years ago, I broke my foot in multiple places playing soccer. It took about a year for me to be able to walk again without pain. During that time, the weight came on fast. Finally, I was down to one pair of pants that fit well. I had hit a low point and had enough. I decided to go on a 30 day low carb diet and abstained from alcohol. It was amazing how quickly I lost weight. I decided to continue another 30 days and lost more weight. I maintained a low carb diet and no alcohol for another few years. I weighed substantially less than before my injury and felt good, but I lacked physical fitness. That is when I decided to try CrossFit, February 2016.


How has a consistent exercise program made a difference to your life since you started CrossFit? 

CrossFit has made an unbelievable difference in my life. I feel absolutely fantastic. I have lost 25 pounds since starting. But, more importantly, my body composition has changed. I am stronger and faster than I could ever remember. My 1 mile time has decreased by 2 minutes and 20 seconds. At the beginning, there was no conceivable hope of me doing a single pull-up. During a recent work-out, I did 70 total pull-ups. I look forward to getting to the class and don’t miss a day unless there is absolutely no way for me to attend [also known as consistency].


How has nutrition played a role in the achievement of your goals to this point in your life? 

It is really easy for me to eat more than I burn, even with CrossFit. Nutrition is essential. Over time, I have become more and more focused on my nutrition. I try to always eat “clean”, meaning, whole, not processed foods. I have become more focused on eating Paleo. About 6 months ago, I cut out dairy. I still completely abstain from alcohol because I would rather eat than drink my calories.


How would you describe your nutrition in the past (before CrossFit maybe, and even when you played sports as a young adult)?

Growing up in the 80s and 90s, it was all about “low fat”. This was really a translation for “high carb,” chemicals and processed foods. I remember regularly eating only white rice for dinner and thinking that I was doing myself a favor. Over the last 10 years, science has proven how misinformed we all were.


You started to buy-in to the proper nutrition aspect of health when you did CrossFit Cayman’s various 30 day challenges. How have you maintained those healthy eating habits since those challenges? 

I have done two 30-day challenges and I kept 100% of the weight off from both of those challenges. In fact, I currently weigh less. For me, the formal challenges were an opportunity to take another step in the right direction. Once there, I would not want to take a step backwards.


How has proper nutrition and exercise helped your holistic health (mentally, physically, emotionally, etc.)? For example, are you more confident, happier, more energetic, etc.?  

I feel absolutely fantastic, better than I can ever remember. My body is just different. Even compared to when I was an 18- year-old athlete. Taken as a whole, I am stronger, faster, thinner, have more energy and am happier. CrossFit, combined with nutrition, undeniably leads to holistic fitness.


Would you agree with the statement that fitness is 100% proper nutrition and 100% proper exercise? How does this belief guide you day-to-day in and out of the gym? 

Nutrition and exercise absolutely go together. It is an easy connection. If I don’t eat well, I don’t have the same level of energy at the next day’s workout. I then don’t get as much out of the workout and could risk injury. If I do eat well, the exercise is easier and I get more out of it. I want to go to the gym and not feel horrible during the workout, so it pushes me to eat well. I feel tremendous self-satisfaction after “crushing” a WOD.


Do you have any more goals for yourself that you’re still working on and have a plan of action for? 

I will be 50 in a few years. I am very focused on being the best that I can be. I am currently working on mastering toes-to- bar and would like to do at least 50 double-unders unbroken. I know that others will be always be stronger, faster and thinner, but I intend to keep pushing myself forward to achieve my own personal goals.


Everyone has their own story, they have their own host of struggles, addictions, habits, responsibilities and hurdles to face everyday. But the one thing we all understand and face equally is the power of choice. When you truly decide to set out to accomplish your goal and understand what is required to achieve it (consistent day-by-day decisions, not quick fixes), it doesn’t matter what struggles, addictions, habits, responsibilities and hurdles you have because you will accept whatever is necessary to achieve that goal, even if it means abstaining from that glass of wine or box of cookies for a little while. 


The information provided in this post is the sole ownership of CrossFit Cayman, graciously provided and granted by Nathan Gemmiti. Please respectfully request permission for it to be used elsewhere. No changes or edits are allowed unless directly given permission by CrossFit Cayman, specifically, Nicole Crance.

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