Code Red: Diaries of Madness Image

Code Red: Diaries of Madness

By Alan Ng | March 26, 2024

Sometimes we need to put goals out there in life to break up the monotony of living. Vlad Yudin’s documentary, Code Red: Diaries of Madness, is the story of one woman pursuing one goal to the next.

Code Red: Diaries of Madness is the story of Code Red Lifestyle founder Cristy Nickel. At the age of 46, the now famous life coach decided to return to her former passion of bodybuilding and compete in the Arnold Classic after an over decade-long hiatus.

The first question that came to my mind was, “Why?” and the second question was whether it was even possible. Code Red accompanies Cristy on her journey to a historic return to the bodybuilding stage.

The question of “why” is answered in the biographic portion of Code Red. As a teen, Cristy had her heart set on competing in a bodybuilding competition. She was sorely under-prepared and laughed at by her fellow competitors; the embarrassment fueled her success.

Her drive led her to her next passion, boxing, where, after 45 minutes of training, she found an instant aptitude for the sport. She soon became one of the top three women boxers in the world and was launched into stardom.

This constant drive to better herself led Cristy to want to help others. She became a life coach, guiding others to lose weight and live a healthier life on a high-fat/low-carb diet.

As Cristy went around motivating her clients to live healthier lives, she saw her own body moving in the wrong direction and wasn’t going to allow “age” to be an excuse. Thus, the goals became competing and winning the Arnold Classic in the amateur category.

“…along her journey to a historic return to the body-building stage.”

Now, Cristy is a highly motivated and disciplined athlete who works hard to get her body in shape and overcomes many mental and physical obstacles along the way. Just getting to the stage is not guaranteed, as Cristy’s body goes through the wringer.

While Code Red: Diaries of Madness is a sports documentary, it is also just as much a character study of Cristy Nickel. Filmmaker Vlad Yudin delves deeply into her personal history and upbringing to illuminate what motivates her.

I suppose we all have addictions in life to cover pain from the past. Rather than indulging in drugs and alcohol, Cristy turns to bodybuilding, which becomes a highly successful business, while at the same time, she struggles to keep her marriage intact. I couldn’t help but admire Nickel’s dedication to healthy living (as I wish I were in better shape myself), but at the same time, I couldn’t help but to see a deeper conflict in her life. Having a drive to live a better life is good but sometimes taking it to the extremes generates its own problems.

Ultimately any film that wants to motivate its audience to live a better life gets a recommendation in my book. There are many paths to healthy living, and one of them is presented in Code Red: Diaries of Madness. Cristy Nickel is an example of someone who made it happen, and thankfully, she’s not trying to sell you anything, so there’s even more reason to watch it.

Code Red: Diaries of Madness comes to VOD on April 12. For more information, visit the Generation Iron official website.

Code Red: Diaries of Madness (2024)

Directed and Written: Vlad Yudin

Starring: Cristy Nickel, etc.

Movie score: 8/10

Code Red: Diaries of Madness Image

"…taking it to the extreme comes with its own problems."

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