Share this article

print logo

Overcoming food obstacles

“I’m a kid from Brooklyn, so I grew up on pizza and Chinese food,” said Al Staton.

Staton, 28, moved to Amherst his sophomore year of high school and played football at Sweet Home. He weighed 195 pounds as he neared graduation in 2004. Then life got busier – college, a full-time job, a family and a new house – and there was more pizza, more Chinese – and chicken wings. He ballooned to 265 pounds three years later.

Today, he is co-owner of Maximum Performance Sports Training in Williamsville, which specializes in preparing clients for obstacle course races – and is back to his high school weight. He’s packed on more muscle, too.

What are the staples of your diet?

Vegetables and good carbs – baked potatoes, sweet potatoes, brown rice, quinoa – and good, wholesome proteins. I eat a lot of chicken and I eat a lot of seafood, fresh tilapia, fresh salmon. I’ve liked vegetables since I was a kid, so I eat a lot of spinach, a lot of broccoli. And water. I don’t drink any soda or fruit juice.

What are some of the foods you had to avoid or cut down on when you were losing the weight?

I don’t believe in fad diets or crash dieting. I believe in a lifestyle change and that doesn’t happen overnight. I pulled back on a lot of the fast food. I turned to fast food more because it was a convenience. Being on the run constantly. It was always an easy choice. I went to preparing my own food. I knew what ingredients I was putting in and could make the right choices.

– Scott Scanlon

See related story, Pages 8-9

On the Web: Read more about Al Staton’s gym at; read about his weight loss strategy at