Insight's offseason glow up was a team affair for the Toronto Ultra
insight in ultra jersey
Provided by Toronto Ultra

Insight’s offseason glow up was a team affair for the Toronto Ultra

Making a positive change

Before and during Jamie “Insight” Craven’s first season on the Toronto Ultra, he was all about the grind. He’d roll out of bed most days, clean himself up and then get into the rigorous training schedule that comes with a starting role in the Call of Duty League.

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It took a long-awaited trip to see his girlfriend and a good look in the mirror to change that.

“One day I woke up and looked in the mirror and couldn’t see my neck,” Insight said of that morning early in the offseason. “I wasn’t happy looking at pictures from Champs and the best thing I could do was make a change.”

Insight helped the Toronto Ultra claim victory against the Seattle Surge in the Call of Duty League 2022 Kick Off Classic grand final. Fans were elated to see the Englishman completely change his outward appearance when he walked onto the stage at the Esports Arena in Arlington, Texas. He had slimmed down and gotten a fresh haircut, making him look like a completely different person.

I feel great,” he said with a chuckle from his apartment in Toronto a week after the Kick Off.

Insight feels as good as Toronto Ultra plays

After coming incredibly close to Call of Duty League glory by finishing second at Champs in 2021, Insight decided to change his whole routine. He cut red meat and processed foods from his diet, and started a weight training and hair care routine.

“I kind of just woke up, showered and let it do its thing last season,” he said. “Now I’m going for the pushover, curl look and it looks better, I think.”

Insight follows the push, pull, legs and split workout routine. It’s a standard weight room plan that incorporates all major muscle groups with exercises like bench press, lateral pulldowns and squats. He gets cardio in with walks to and from the training facility in the mornings before practice.

Insight’s second season in the Call of Duty League hasn’t differed from his inaugural season. He still has the same squad — outside of a new substitute in Charlie “Hicksy” Hicks — and the day-to-day routine of waking up, eating his first meal of the day, walking to the training facility and scrimming for eight hours hasn’t been altered at all. He’s just grown better at going through the motions.

“I’ve definitely come a long way from where I was a year ago, but now it’s grown into my everyday life,” Insight said. “You’ve got to keep moving and take every day as it comes.”

It has also helped that Head coach Mark “MarkyB” Bryceland has been going down a similar path.

Ultra Head coach Mark “MarkyB” Bryceland “completely turned his body around,” according to Insight. | Provided by Toronto Ultra

Like coach, like player

“For me, it was a couple different things. I was planning my wedding, I was engaged,” MarkyB said. “A lot of friends were getting in shape so I thought that it was time.”

MarkyB had his own health realization in 2020. He wanted to get back in shape, he hired an online trainer and started hitting the gym whenever the pandemic allowed him to. He’s lost about fifty pounds since then.

“It was pretty hard since there were no gyms at the beginning,” MarkyB said. “I was doing at-home workouts. I was doing anything I could with whatever I could turn into a weight.”

He didn’t have a home workout set, so he lifted the next best thing. He filled plastic bags from the grocery store with anything that came to mind – tomatoes and potatoes, for example – to get his bicep curl on. The lack of proper equipment, he said, actually made his drive to get healthy that much stronger.

Toronto Ultra
Toronto Ultra play Optic Texas on Friday. | Provided by Toronto Ultra

“It was the first time I was extremely motivated to do this sort of thing,” MarkyB said.

He and Insight follow the same lifting routine, spotting each other whenever they make time for a morning lift.

“He’s completely turned his body around,” Insight said of his coach.

Both of their day-to-day lives have been improved by their change in lifestyle. A healthier mindset is one that can deal with the constant journey to get better more easily. Every mistake – whether it be a broken rotation or a lost round of Search and Destroy – isn’t the end of the world.

“My [mind] is in a better place. If I had a bad day, I still feel I’ve had a day where I’ve progressed,” MarkyB said. “I’m just much happier at this point.”

Everyone on the Ultra has some sort of regular workout routine. For example, MarkyB runs with Ben “Bance” Bance and Hicksy. Their overall goal isn’t to get better personal records, just as Insight’s goal isn’t to put as much weight on the bench press as possible. He made his change in lifestyle to make it easier to achieve a different goal.

“Winning motivates me more than anything,” Insight said. “Not many people from where I’m from get this kind of opportunity, so I have to keep fighting to stay on top.”

Catch the Toronto Ultra in their match against OpTic Texas at 6 p.m. ET on Friday in the last weekend of online qualifiers for Call of Duty League’s Major I. 

Author
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Aron Garst
A guy who likes Fortnite and Animal Crossing.