An anonymous email came through the Foodbeast tipline, saying nothing more than, "Check out #pizzapocalypse." While we normally don't negotiate with terrorists, the hashtag sounded enticing, and was worth taking a look on the off-chance we might have just stumbled upon some kind of diseased pizza that was spreading through the air a la Contagion. Thankfully we didn't have to call Matt Damon to save us from disaster, but we did meet a man who was getting pretty intimate with Domino's pizza, and he planned to do it daily.
For months, we followed Brian Northrup of Scotch Plains, New Jersey, as he capped off a one year quest that on the surface, sounded like a terrible idea, but also sounded like a dream the little fat kid in all of us wishes we'd follow.
"You CAN outwork a bad diet," Northrup said. "That is absolutely a goal in this, but it's not the only goal."
Brian's main motivation in this was to "re-frame what you guys believe to be a bad diet."
He wasn’t trying to debunk decades of nutritional science, or say that your fitness and diet plan is intrinsically wrong, he just wanted to prove that there was an extremely unconventional way to go about your fitness journey, a way that reduces the stress that comes from worrying about what you're eating.
If you followed along on his Snapchat account, Northrup showed himself taking down a whole Domino's pizza – every day. If that's not crazy enough, there were times he took down entire half gallons of ice cream in one sitting as well.
In 367 days of eating Domino’s every day, Northrup actually lost weight, hitting 161.2 pounds on the scale, July 31. His weight to start was 167.1, a difference of 5.9 pounds.
Seeing this makes you question life, maybe even calling it unfair, but before you get pissed that this guy's not playing by the rules, his Snaps that followed the gorging were always of him putting in double duty at the gym.
So that was Northrup’s life over the last year or so, just to prove his point.
He didn't shoot for some rinky-dink 30-day challenge, he went at this for over 366 days, eating Domino's pizza pies, working out like a mad man, and documenting it all on social media.
"I don't know why anyone would do anything for a year, when you can do it for over a year," Northrup said, excited over the prospect of keeping this up for more than a calendar year.
Brian has the physique of a professional wrestler, albeit, one of a lower weight class. His abs are on point, every day is arm day for him, and he even glistens, somehow. Seeing a body like his, combined with the pizza challenge, your impression of him will either be, ‘This guy is fit. Of course he can eat whatever the hell he wants,’ or ‘This guy's crazy and is going to lose that body soon.’
Since July of 2016, Northrup put his body on the line, betting that he'd be just as shredded by the end of this thing, as long as he worked his ass off in the gym. And if you’re worried about his health, he didn’t go into this challenge blindly, getting checked up at the doctor before he even started this thing:
“I did go see a doctor and had my blood tested for all the routine health markers such as both 'good & bad' cholesterol, fasted blood sugar levels, etc. and those tests came out showing healthy levels. Also obviously had my blood pressure checked, and that was well within the range of what is considered to be healthy. The doctor didn't honestly say much when I told her what I was setting out to do. I assume she thought I was crazy, but she didn't make any sort of attempt to deter me from attempting this.”
We saw a man try a similar fast food challenge in 2016, eating Chipotle for 425 straight days, also trying to prove that you can eat what you love and still be in shape.
That's where the similarities between the two challenges end, however.
Devin Cunningham's Chipotle challenge was very calculated, as he'd measure the portions in every meal, making sure he had a specific amount of protein, fat, and carbohydrates that fit his physical lifestyle. It's a technique called "Flexible Dieting," and it allows you to eat more freely, as long as you're counting the macronutrients you put in your body.
366 days of burritos and one beefy physique. That’s #ChipotleMadLove @dnc026. pic.twitter.com/liTswXBJvJ— Chipotle (@ChipotleTweets) July 25, 2016
Northrup is metaphorically spitting in the face of that technique, not counting a single macro in his consumption, but instead making up for his massive food intake with his workouts.
Although it's a different approach, with fitness being the key, Cunningham supported the pizza quest, and as soon as he got word of it, believed Northrup could pull it off:
"I will be watching his uploads and root him on the entire time," Cunningham said. "If you are burning more calories than you are eating in a day, you will lose weight, so depending on what else he eats in a day and how many extra calories he burns in the gym, he will either gain, maintain, or lose weight."
With that said, Cunningham pretty much simplified the reason why a couple of dudes, stuffing their faces with pepperoni pizzas, or Chipotle burritos every day, can somehow keep a fit body.
Ideally, guys like Cunningham feel that the best personal results require a little calculating. Even if you decide you're going to scarf down a double cheeseburger, a little math can tell you how much more protein, carbs, and fat you can intake the rest of the day, in accordance with your workout regimen. However, like Northrup stated, that's just one way to do it.
As of this writing, Northrup surpassed his one year Pizzapocalypse goal and still has his R&B singer abs, is still eating boxes of pizza like snacks, and has absolutely no fear of failure.
"Sure, you might not want, or be able to put in the amount of work that I do, but if you think you could be doing more, I just want to show that it's worth it," he assured. "If you see me, a relatively small guy, who was never a good athlete... I want to be a reminder of what's possible through hard work."