Fried Foods and Friday Night Lights

A few years ago I met the 2 college kids through the wonderful world of social media. They asked to come to Cookeville to visit and hang out for a couple of days. I asked the wife:

Me: ” 2 college kids from Minnesota want to come down and visit”

Jackie : “Who are they?”

Me: “Not sure”

Jackie: “You sure about this?”

Me: “Not really, but lets give’em a shot”

So 2 years later we have forged amazing friendships with DJ Hillier and Matt Strand 2 eager, passionate kids from the north that want to be great in all aspects of life.

These 2 guys have made such and impact our lives that our Cookeville friends keep up with and ask about them on a constant basis.

DJ owns a Strength and Conditioning business in Minnesota where he is changing lives and helping people achieve the things they never thought possible.

DJ did a guest post sharing how his life and nutrition have evolved since his high school days.

There is no better feeling than buckling your chinstrap after listening to the star spangled banner in the midst of a cheering crowd. Like most athletes, pre-game rituals are very common. Some people wear the same pair of lucky socks, some people listen to a certain song, some people have to touch the banner as they come running out of the locker, and some people had the same pre-game meal in hopes to secure a victory.

DJ FOotball

I had a pre-game ritual that would leave most nutritionists dumbfounded. Every Friday immediately after the bell rang my best friend and drove to the local grocery store to purchase the best glazed doughnuts on the shelf. We would wash it down with a 32-oz Mountain Dew. On the sugar high we raced across the street and ordered chicken strips and French fries at the golden arches. We were more than ready to take the field and face our opponent and if we got a W we would celebrate a victory with chicken wings and pizza. Even though personally I had a successful football career, I wasn’t aware how much nutrition cam impact overall performance. I often times wonder how much better I would have been if I would have eaten healthy.

In my junior year of college I decided to leave the football program and pursue CrossFit. I quickly became a student of the sport and learned everything I could about the workouts, recovery, and importance of nutrition. It was at this point I had huge wake up call as to the food I was consuming. I knew that if I wanted to be decent at CrossFit I could no longer eat sugary and fried foods. It took awhile but I began to not only feel the benefits after my workouts but also see results while reducing my body fat down to 4%.


Being a college kid and eating healthy is something I found to be very difficult. I was constantly surrounded by fast food and alcohol. After struggling for some time I invested in a mini fridge that stayed in my room at all times. I was able to buy healthy groceries and keep them in my personal fridge. I knew that if I didn’t buy bad foods, then I wouldn’t have the chance to eat them at my house. My most common meal was stir-fry. I would dice up a chicken breast and throw in a couple of handfuls of mixed vegetables in a skillet. After about 10 minutes of tossing and mixing the food, my meal was complete. I knew that if my meals took a long time to prepare, then I wouldn’t stay consistent with it. I believe that success with working out or eating healthy is centered around a routine. In order for me to reach my goals I had to find a routine that worked for me in a less than ideal environment.

CrossFit has changed my life entirely. A majority of the choices I make rely on how it would impact my CrossFit performance. This past May I was lucky enough to compete at the CrossFit North Central super regional on a team that placed 7th overall. I am so incredibly grateful for this opportunity but I know deep down that it would not have been possible if I hadn’t changed my eating habits from when I played college sports. The best part of the whole process was that it didn’t have to be a complicated formula mixed with weighing every single thing I put into my mouth. I followed the CrossFit diet recommendation of garden vegetables, especially greens, lean meats, nuts and seeds, little starch, and no sugar.

Partner DL DJ

This simple list has kept me competing at a high level every single day I am at the gym or competition floor. No matter how bad your diet is now, it’s never to late to create a routine that will get you to where you want to be.

Connect with DJ on Instagram or Facebook.


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