Eric Malzone, who recently evolved his Crossfit Pacific Coast gym into Gravitas Fitness, won’t hesitate to explain that the multibillion-dollar marketing amalgamation of exercise and nutrition is among the most dubious on earth, promising everything from abdominal washboards in just minutes a day to tropical-berry breakthroughs in humankind’s ongoing battle against belly fat. In other words, he said recently to women and men gathered at Gravitas’s downtown headquarters, there’s a lot of BS out there.
When it comes to life-enhancing food and fitness, Malzone said, real change takes baby steps: Show up, do the work, set reasonable goals, and celebrate wins, however small. It’s really about creating better habits, which is the point of Gravitas’s newest challenge: the Game of Life, a five-week program where participants earn points daily for simple accomplishments (eat a vegetable, take a 20-minute walk) and bigger efforts (keep a food journal, perform a random act of kindness) designed to create a routine shift that’ll stay with them for the long haul. The program also includes nutrition, cooking, meditation, and mobility workshops by guest speakers, and weekly prizes for high scorers.
About 10 years ago, Malzone abruptly left the Bay Area and a lucrative career in sales when a CrossFit colleague texted him out of the blue: “hey man, u want to start a gym?” Since childhood, Malzone had always enjoyed competitive athletics, and had done some coaching, too. Besides, he felt unfulfilled professionally, and a Santa Barbara–based sea change sounded appealing. “I just decided to go for it,” he said.
Though we weren’t packing up to roll the job dice in a new town, I and the other 38 Game of Life participants took his story to heart as the program debuted on February 8. Personally, I’m babystepping off the blocks toward a long-haul shift away from outdated sleeping habits and copious coffee consumption. Why not just go for it?