This article originally appeared on time.com.
Devin Cunningham, 25, has great abs. But his secret might surprise you. He says his steady diet of Chipotle (CMG), which he’s been been eating every single day for a year straight, has helped him get in prime shape. In fact, he plans to keep eating Chipotle daily for an unspecified period of time.
“I just really like Chipotle,” he says.
The Washington state resident, who works in communications and marketing, wasn’t always this obsessed with the fast-casual burrito chain, but he had seen a story about a guy who ate Chipotle straight for 186 days— and knew he could do it even longer. After all, he was already eating there three to five times a week.
There was a surprising second reason to take on the 366-day Chipotle challenge: getting fit. Two years ago he discovered the “if it fits your macros” diet, which essentially prescribes the specific amounts of carbs, protein and fat you should consume in a day. Soon after, he doubled down on working out more effectively and learning to lift weights correctly. He decided that embarking on the year of eating Chipotle would actually be a good complement to his new fitness and diet habits.
Chipotle turned out to be a good place to experiment, as it’s “pretty spot-on with portions,” he says. At one point during the challenge, when he was being so stringent about what he ate that he even had the Chipotle servers package the components of his burrito bowls separately so he could weigh everything himself.
His biggest challenge came last fall, when all his local Chipotles shut down for two weeks because of an E. Coli scare. Luckily, Cunningham lives close to the border with Canada, so he was able to drive up north twice to pick up a necessary two-week supply of burritos from Vancouver, which he kept fresh by freezing them.
And about that E. Coli issue: “That didn’t worry me at all,” he says of the potential for contamination.
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Day 101/365 When all the Chipotles in the pnw close and the 365 day challenge needs to continue, you drive to #Canada with your girlfriend and stock up with 7 burritos… Thanks for going on the impromptu Vancouver burrito mission with me today Helene :) #chipotle #chibukle #chipotlife #closed #365daysofchipotle
Beyond the Chipotle obsession, the rest of his diet is actually pretty normal: in the morning, it’s a blueberry bagel and protein shake or parfait with nonfat Greek yogurt. For lunch, he’ll hit up Chipotle; lately he’s been going for a chicken bowl with rice and cheese on the side. And in the evening, he’ll build a protein-rich meal around chicken or a turkey burger. He says he works out about six days a week, putting in 15 to 20 minutes of cardio a few days a week, with the rest of his workouts focused on weight lifting.
He has meticulously kept track of his progress and Chipotle purchases on Instagram, where his pics seem to support his claim that yes, it’s possible to get fit on a (partially) fast food diet.
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#TBT to when I first started my fitness life, I was about 171+ lbs at 18-19%+ body fat. I think it is really important to take pictures and document where you came from, it is so easy to not see change when you see yourself everyday in the mirror. For the first 2 years, I had no idea what I was doing in the gym or anything about how diet and exercise work together. And with that combo, you will not go anywhere. I first started out trying to do this "Fit in 5 weeks" diet that was about 1400 cal and very low in carbs. I was constantly tired and I was way under fed. I was trying to cut down when I had no muscle to cut down to. The results (or lack of results) was pretty discouraging and so it did not last long. Skip ahead 2 years (to 2014) and I started to do research of my own online and really started to get back into working out. I got caught up in lifting big numbers that my form got way off. So after a year, I took a step back and lowered my weight to focus on form. And for the past year to year and a half, I have focused on correct weight, form, and rep range. I also got into #IIFYM and that was a game changer. I could finally control my weight and eat what I want to eat. I could gain when I wanted to gain, cut when I needed to cut and maintain when I need to maintain. I was finally able to reach my fitness goals. Even if you fail a few times, don't give up on your goals. . . . . . . . #goals #fit #fitness #throwbackthursday #bodybuilding #physique #abs #flexibledieting #motivation #dedication #inspiration #inspire #motivate #lifegoals #workout #lift #transformation #transformationthursday #gain #burritobod #educate
The fast-casual chain took notice of his challenge, tweeting a special acknowledgement of his accomplishment.
And even after over a whole year of dedication to the challenge, he says he has no plans to let up.
“I want to inspire people to be fit,” Cunningham explains. “When people ask me advice on what foods to eat or what workouts to do, it makes me feel awesome and it makes me feel even better when I see them follow through with their goals.”
The takeaway? Even the burrito diet is real. Now we really have no excuses. (And maybe, if you’re as dedicated as Cunningham, you’ll even get a few free meals for your efforts.)