Actor Jonny Cruz on his MacroPlate transformation
Just a few years ago, Jonny Cruz was a young actor who had just moved to Los Angeles. Before long he had found success and was traveling the world as a star of the popular videogame Overwatch. But behind the career success, Jonny was struggling with his health and was looking for answers.
A few weeks ago Jonny slid into our DM’s and let us know that we had been his solution. We couldn’t wait to hear his story.
We were recently able to sit down (virtually) with Jonny to talk about his health journey and why MacroPlate helped get into the best shape of his life.
We wanted to know more about this young actor, recently famous for voicing the character Lúcio in the incredibly popular game Overwatch, so we started in his younger years, where he grew up in El Paso, Texas. Jonny knew from a young age that he wanted to be an actor, had been doing theatre for years, and knew LA was in his future.
“I mean, that was the plan right out of high school. I was a bright, beaming young actor ready to be discovered.” He thought about packing it all up and taking off to the Wild West of Los Angeles, but something in him said “not yet”. He was fresh out of high school and somehow he knew the experience was maybe too big for an eighteen-year-old Jonny. So he decided to cut his teeth somewhere a little closer to home. “I went to Dallas, Texas, did improv, kind of got my feet wet.”
For years he honed his craft in Dallas and at age 26, he remembered his original dream of moving to Los Angeles and decided it was time to go. “I had just stalled as long as I could. I knew if I wanted to, you know, take it to the next level… It’d have to be LA. This is, you know, playing with the big boys.”
Although he was initially going out on auditions for traditional on-screen roles, he began attracting interest based on his voice-over talent, scoring roles in video games Overwatch and Hitman (both released in 2016) pretty quickly.
“Overwatch threw me into some weird space I’d never thought about which was the world of video games and interactive media. Which honestly, I think is becoming the absolute future of entertainment. And it’s wild. I was like, ‘this is a world like I didn’t even know this existed’. But I’m being taken around the world and everywhere I go there are thousands of fans. It’s a really cool world, which I just kind of fell into. And it all started happening while I’m trying to you know, get better physically.”
That brings us to Jonny’s physical journey. Looking at him, even before the transformation, you’d never think that this was a guy that was struggling with his health. But underneath the winning smile and positive attitude, he knew something was off and had started searching for answers.
“When I came out to LA, I was just totally discombobulated early on. And so, over time, I was kind of like, in a fog for a long time while I was out here chasing my dreams. And the weird thing is, in the first couple months, while I was feeling my worst, my career was taking off the most.”
He thinks that it first started with stress. Being 26 in a new city fighting for his dreams, he had a lot riding on his shoulders. “I think there was a moment when I think I gotten so like, stressed out about just where I was in life and acting at 26. I started having some weird body and autoimmune symptoms, right? These were things that were starting to happen to me from stress. Like, I’d feel like drunk, but I hadn’t drank anything. Like, just weird stuff.”
He went to more doctors. Everyone said everything was fine. “And I was like, What the heck’s going on here?” So he focused on what he could control: his diet. “I’d gone vegetarian, kind of like, ‘Okay, let me try this’. And that wasn’t working. And over time, I got into the Four Hour Body, which was talking about like slow-carb or just kind of like more Mediterranean. Then a friend of mine had had graves disease, which is another immune disease, and he cut out carbs and sugar. And so I started kind of doing that, and I felt better, right? Quickly I saw that ‘Oh, my diet actually does really affect my symptoms.”
He got into a rythym with his diet, and although he was feeling better, he still knew that there was something wrong. “I don’t think I was very healthy at all because I was afraid of like working out because I didn’t know what would happen.” He was having constant dizzy spells. Running up a flight of stairs would make him winded and feel faint. And anytime he did go try to overcome that fear and go to a gym to workout the dizziness would worry him and he’d quit.
So again, he returned to more doctors, positive that it was the food he was eating. “I thought it could have been some allergy I had, something to explain what was going on.” When Jonny did go into the doctor, the doctor gave him some simple advice. “He was like, ‘You know if you’re getting dizzy workout working out, just push through it.’ And I thought… ‘Oh, really?'”
That’s when Jonny decided to sign up for a personal trainer. “I thought, ‘If I’m going to pass out, I just want somebody there to pick me up’.” And sure enough, that’s what he did. He told his new trainer about his concerns, his diet, and his dizziness. But now, he was supported. “Yeah, I was a little dizzy. But nothing would happen. And then the next time I would do a little bit more weight a little bit further. And I would be a little dizzy but nothing would happen, and over time the dizziness went away.”
Most importantly, this trainer gave Jonny a lesson in macros and gave him strict guidelines on what to eat. “They’re like, here are your macros. This is what you have to eat. You have to eat 150 grams of protein, you gotta get 111 grams of carbs and like 60 grams of fats, and I was like what? I have to measure my food”
The new macros combined with the workouts were clearly working though. Jonny could tell that he was getting stronger. “I racked on muscles, I could run upstairs, I’d lost my own fears of the possibility of being hurt or like injured or passing out. They totally disappeared.”
But it wasn’t easy. Despite his success, he wasn’t happy. As we all know…. meal-prep sucks. Especially for a busy young working actor trying to hustle. It was a lot of work and energy and second-guessing yourself. “Trying to figure it all out, I’m like, This is a nightmare.” He was dreading every meal. It had taken all the fun out of food and it was just so inconvenient. He felt like he was either going to fail on the diet or make easy meals that were boring and probably not enough variety. He quickly needed a solution.
“Honestly, I found you guys because I was just searching for macro meals and you popped up. Well, first I tried some other companies that would ship it to you at the beginning of the week and the meals were all frozen. You know them? They’re like vacuum-sealed and yeah, some of them were cheaper. So I started there. But honestly, almost all of them literally ended up in the trash. I’m not kidding… most of them were so gross, like a little bowl of goop. It was the worst.”
Having tried the cheaper version, Jonny searched for another company with higher prices hoping there would be an increase in quality. While a few of these luxury services looked good and fresh, he couldn’t believe the small portion sizes for something that expensive.
“Then I found you! I took one look at your vegetables and thought it looked way better. The fact that you were delivering fresh vegetables was already a huge plus. Then I found out you delivered daily. And the photos of your meals just looked like much better portions, and way more appetizing. You could see the freshness. I think you guys hit that right spot for me as far as freshness, affordability, consistency, and customizability. All that together really made it fit just right. After using you for a year, I thought I wanted a change and I tried those other services. I was like, ‘Okay. It’s been a year. Let me try something else. Let me see these other ones.’ Nope. Right back to you.”
Jonny started with our 5-day/3 meal-a-day High Protein plan which perfectly lined up with what his trainer had established for him. He also discovered he had a sensitivity to gluten and was delighted to find out that our meals are totally customizable, and was able to get 100% gluten-free meals. He also realized he’s intolerant to nightshades (the family of eggplant, zucchini, and tomatoes) So we make sure to have recipes for him that don’t feature those ingredients. We asked how it felt after that first week of MacroPlate deliveries.
“I mean, like, in the beginning, it blew my mind. You never think it’s possible, like, how easy something could be made for you. You can have meals that come to you, daily, that are fresh, that are good, that meet what you need to achieve your goals. It was wild to me every day. I kept thinking, ‘This can’t be this easy. Something weird’s going on.’ Like there must’ve been some catch. But no! It just worked.”
As time went on his results just got better and better. He added Intermittent Fasting to his routine and got even stronger with his fitness. Soon enough his friends, roommates, and his network all started to notice his success. “They saw how easy MacroPlate was for me, and so they started getting MacroPlate. And when then it started kind of going outside my network a little bit too. But I kept promoting it. That’s what I can do you know, promote things that I actually believe in and that have changed my life.”
We chatted a little longer about surviving 2020, staying-at-home, and finding balance in your lifestyle. Jonny admitted that having MacroPlate delivered during the pandemic was a lifesaver and he appreciated that we kept adding new recipes so that his routine never got boring. As we ended the conversation, we had to ask one important question…
What’s your favorite MacroPlate meal?
“Barbacoa Steak tacos.”