I get a lot of questions about what I eat to achieve and maintain great body composition and fitness year round – without bulking and cutting. “Hey Marcus, do you follow intermittent fasting? What are your macros?”
For people who have been on the diet merry-go-round, they’re always looking for the next hot tip – hoping it will be the one that sticks. Because while a diet or meal plan can get you shredded for the short term, these results are usually unsustainable – and the weight comes right back on when you can’t shove down one more boneless skinless chicken breast.
When you’re dialing in your nutrition for health, performance, and looking sexy, there’s so much focus on what you’re eating – but nobody ever talks about how your own body reacts. How you digest your food and how your body uses it as fuel is even more important than what you put in to begin with. You could be eating the highest quality, organic, purest ingredients – and still have a broken digestive system that dampens your energy, performance, and health. I know because it happened to me.
Over fifteen plus years as a health and fitness coach and athlete, I’ve experimented with tons of different diet protocols. What I’ve learned is that stress overload – from training, from life, and from poor nutrition – is a silent enemy for your overall health and wellness. And modern diets don’t help because they only tell you what to eat, and not how to heal.
Picture waking up from a great night’s sleep feeling energetic and ready to hit the day. After a few minutes of being up and about, you head to the bathroom and take the best dump ever! You look in the mirror and you like what you see, and you know how to maintain it without effort.
You open up the fridge and your food for the day is all ready to go – no need to pore over an app to figure out exactly what you should or shouldn’t eat, or hit the drive through for a last minute lunch emergency. You move through the day without anxiety over getting to your next snack or meal. You feel confident and in control of your food, and your mind moves on to other things.
At work, your focus is sharp and you lock into your project, making major headway in a shorter time than you thought. Your energy remains even throughout the day. You hit a fun workout mid-day and don’t need to crash, take a nap, or have two cups of coffee afterward to push you through until dinner. Sugar cravings don’t even enter your mind – your body simply doesn’t signal the need.
Your body works with you – your ally, not your foe. You’ve stopped worrying long ago that gas, bloating, constipation, or unexpected trips to the toilet will embarrass you or ruin your flow. You know exactly how to keep your engine humming, and have all the information you need to decide when to have treats or drinks with friends, and how to maintain great health and energy as your baseline way of being. You have gained a deep understanding of your own body, giving you all the tools you need for great digestion, body composition, gut health, and energy – for life.
Have you ever done foam rolling on your quads? How about used a Marc Pro device to improve muscle recovery? Have you ever done a mobility drill with the hope that it would improve the quality of your muscles? If you take time to heal and improve your skeletal muscle, then it would stand to reason that the largest muscle in the body that holds the KEY to your health and wellness should also get some care and TLC.
Gut health protocols are essentially the smooth muscle equivalent of how we approach skeletal muscle recovery with foam rolling, muscle stimulation, and mobility drills. In my lifetime I’ve done some light passive stretching for my gut and I’ve also done some hardcore quad smashing on my gut. When you take gut health protocols seriously and are deliberate about every step of the digestive process, you can and will experience profound changes to your body composition, recovery, and physical and mental health.
If you’ve ever attempted a new meal plan, you know the drill. Gotta get this app, bust out the calculator, learn all the new recipes, buy all new ingredients, and try to hang on for dear life. You look to outside sources to tell you what to eat – but you don’t learn anything about how your unique body reacts, and how to change how you process your food for the better.
Not only are complicated meal plans overwhelming, they don’t provide guidance on what you react well to and what you have trouble digesting – which is highly unique to each person and can change over the course of your life. There are often so many ingredients that you can’t make heads or tails of what works for you.
Cleanses and elimination diets can help, but these are also temporary and unsustainable – and they fail to address the whole picture of your body that includes your training, your sleep, and your lifestyle factors – all of which impact the sensitive and important system of your gut.
Healing your gut will take effort. I designed this system to take a relatively short, focused period of time to give your digestive system every opportunity to rest and heal from inflammation and over-stress. But the beauty of it is that the meals are incredibly simple – just 5 ingredients or less that you can choose based on what you like to eat – even if you’re vegetarian. vegan, or have known allergens you need to avoid. You don’t have to be a master chef and you don’t even have to follow a recipe. And even if you can’t adhere to the challenge fully, you will learn pieces to implement in your own time, in your own way, to take control of your own health and healing.
This challenge is not a diet. It’s a 40-day program with a key set of key principles that will show you how to:
You’ll get instant access to all the materials online, which will include tracking and planning tools as well as tons of resources to help you learn more about optimal gut health.
You’ll also have access to our private Facebook group for questions, accountability, and support.
For the On Ramp Phase (Day 1-10), you’ll take stock of your body, learn what you’ll be doing in the challenge, and get the hang of the concepts and tracking your food and how your body responds.
During Phase One (Day 11-24), you’ll stick as closely as you can to the Challenge guidelines, with weekly check-ins to see how it’s going.
Phase Two (Day 25-40) rounds out the last part of the Challenge and you’ll use this time to dial in your healthy habits even more. We’ll also give some recommendations for how to continue great gut health going forward.
You’ll have lifetime access to an online library of videos, articles, tools, and resources to help you learn more about your gut and optimize your health. You can explore and implement the concepts at your own pace, getting tons of ideas and tips for how to gradually increase the quality of your food, learn more about what your own body needs, optimize your training, stress, recovery, and sleep, and take a deeper dive into the principles of the program.
At the end of the Challenge you can send in your progress and we’ll pick a winner to receive a prize package!
The Gut Check Challenge will not be easy at first – these changes take work! But the more you commit to the process, the more you will allow your gut to rest, heal, and support your body’s needs. And even implementing just a few small changes at a time will lead you towards a deeper understanding of your own health and performance, with plenty of tools to keep going. You’ll also have lifetime access so you can return to the program resources any time.
The Gut Check Challenge also comes with a 30 day money back guarantee – so you have plenty of time to try it out and see if it’s right for you.
Take control of your gut health and learn how to look, perform, and feel energized and amazing for the next 40 days and beyond!
You’ll be provided with guidelines about what to include in your daily meals, which are flexible for your preferences. We’ll also share plenty of example meals and how to prepare and portion your food out for the day or week. The Gut Check Challenge is all about simplicity, so the meals are all 5 ingredients or less – no complicated recipes to follow, just assembling your own favorite ingredients to make a complete meal.
We do recommend daily tracking of your intake, and the closer you pay attention, the more results you can attain – especially where body composition is involved. You’ll get resources on how to calculate your daily calorie and macro needs and adjust them as needed, but this is an optional part of the Challenge for those who are already familiar with macro counting or are ready to take it on. You do not need to track macros and calories for optimal gut health, but we’ll provide resources on generally what to eat and how much as well as options for dialing it in further based on your own confidence level of adding habits to your daily routine.
Yes! The Gut Check Challenge is flexible for most styles of eating, as the emphasis is on getting your body in the best state to receive food and digest it. Vegans, vegetarians, paleo, gluten free, etc. are all welcome. You’ll also be able to structure your meals around any other known sensitivities or allergens and even learn what might cause sensitivities for you.
Gut healing is about lowering stress in as many areas as you can. Many styles of exercise are compatible with the Challenge as long as the intensity is relatively low; however, our Functional Bodybuilding programs make the perfect pairing with the Gut Check Challenge. You can choose either Base Camp (beginner and low-equipment friendly; strength and motor control focus) or Aerobic Bodybuilder (aerobic development focus with complementary strength workouts) to add on to the Gut Check Challenge at a discount during registration only.
The Gut Check Challenge is intended to introduce you to concepts and habits you can use for life. But to encourage as much consistency as possible for a focused time for optimal gut healing, a challenge winner will be chosen at the end of the 40 day period. Challenge participants who submit their day trackers at the end of the program along with photos, written testimonials, or other input about how they did with the Challenge will be eligible to receive a prize package. We’ll pick the best transformation at the end of the 40 days – but as the primary goal of the challenge is health, we’ll be looking at more than just aesthetics.
The winner of the challenge will receive a prize package including: