Paleo Challenge – Part 1

I am currently undertaking the hardest part of my new lifestyle. The Paleo Diet, it is not a diet that is intended for me to wean off of. It is not created for me to use for 3-6 months and then go back to old habits. This is where it starts. I am a Carb Junkie, I love Pasta, breaded chicken, fried chicken, and have one hell of a sweet tooth.

I feel like I am in Rehab…well what I would imagine rehab to feel like anyway.

I see people eating pasta, and I instantly start salivating. It’s not pretty, I’ll spare you the picture.

Anyway, there are a lot of newer CF’ers at our box. I am going to spare you the reasons behind why we are doing the challenge in the fashion that we are. If you would like to read more about it, you can visit that post by clicking here.

The first week was hard, I moved and cooking wasn’t convenient. It was difficult to make sure that I ate the appropriate foods, and didn’t carb binge because it was there. The second week was a bit easier, we got settled in our new place and finally had some sense of settled. That being said, we came up with some great creations.

It really helped myself realize that eating primal (the basis for paleo) didn’t have to be boring. You can really make some amazing foods with good, high quality ingredients. One of my favorite sites to visit is It is written by a fellow Crossfitter and self described food hoarder. Not only does she provide some amazing foods, and dips to make to keep you on track with paleo ideals, but she is also pretty funny too! There is a link to her site on the right column of this page.

Take a look around at some of these sites below. See the recipes, read the reasons behind people switching to these nutritional plans, and make the decision for yourself. I can guarantee you will not regret it.

  • The Foodee Project – A site that consolidates all the available Paleo bloggers and recipe creators out there. Gives you a visual grid of recipes to look at, if it looks good it probably is. The cool thing about this site is it allows you to automatically generate a recipe list based off of what ingredients are called for. Makes the whole shopping process a little bit easier…If only they could do that in an iPhone app too!
  • PaleOMG – Even if you don’t want to switch your nutrition plan, take a look at Julie’s site because this girl if funny! She also has some awesome food choices, and as her website tag line says: “Real Food, Real Life, Real Simple.”
  • Civilized Caveman – George is an Active duty USMC since 7/2002. Another great source of information to use and as you will see I am a huge fan of supporting those who protect our daily lifestyles everyday. Check it out, you won’t regret it.

These four sites will lead you to other sites, who will lead you to other sites. As you can see the six degrees of separation are incredible because once you get connected and get motivated to change your lifestyle for the better, the amount of support you have access to is amazing.

So the real reason I wrote this post was to talk about my progress. I think the challenge is progressing well. It is hard for someone like myself who has ate like crap for so long to rapidly change those bad habits. I am happy to report that I am down 15 pounds in the first 2 weeks of the challenge. I do feel more energized, and ready to face the day. When I wake up in the morning, I actually feel like I slept and not like my head just hit the pillow. All of these are great things, and its only the first 2 weeks of the challenge.

Feel free to share ideas, struggles, or successes down below and tell me how you are doing with your challenge. It doesn’t have to be strictly related to nutrition, we all have our own personal battles that we need support to overcome.


You Always Remember Your First…

…Toes to Bar that is.

I can remember it now, thinking in my head…”you want me to do what, where, and how quickly? Are you outta your mind?!”

That was my first thought when I did my first group WOD. I had just finished my 3 foundation sessions, and was starting to feel comfortable. My workouts had been progressing well and I was pleased with my progress. Then one day, this double WOD decided to rear its ugly head:

WOD 1: Alternating Tabata
Russian KB Swings (32#/24#) [I went with the 24#]
Ab Mat Sit Ups

EMOM (Every Minute on the Minute)
7 Toes to Bar
7 Jumping Air Squats

So I have a core muscle group that is not exactly up to par. The idea of trying to get my toes up to my head made me wanna vomit (not as much as box jump burpees, but that is a post for another day). So I scaled the work out, my favorite part about Crossfit is being able to scale the work out to a point that makes your goals obtainable. I started out on the gymnastics rings so that I could focus on bringing my knee’s above the parallel. It worked out pretty well. Of course by “worked out” I mean I did it right most of the time with only a couple misfires.

Now lets fast forward a couple weeks. I had a freakish amount of energy one morning (most likely due to the current Paleo Challenge). We were doing focus work for the Pre-WOD. I chose to work on Toes to bar (T2B). It was a skill that I needed to spend time on and perfect. Thankfully the purpose of focus work is to do just that, low extremely high quality reps to perfect the skill that you are working on.

In my head I’m thinking “you got this, just kick that shit every time.” I grabbed the bar and brought my legs up above the parallel. After a few misfires, and some pointers from my coach, I FINALLY nailed my first T2B!!!

I hear her scream in support from across the room, meanwhile in my head I’m jumping around screaming in excitement at my newest achievement! It was truly a gratifying session. That is why I love Crossfit. You may not be able to nail it on your firs try, but everything is custom to your goals, and abilities until you reach the Rx.

Speaking of Rx – I also finished my first Rx workout that day!

1 min calorie roe
1 min wall walks
1 min atlas stones (ground to shoulder) (95/65)

It was finally an accomplishment that I could be proud of. Something that I could brag about. It also was pretty awesome to be able to put my name on up in the Rx Colum for that WOD on the good old white board!

Until next time folks, remember…you have to start somewhere. Good luck!

Nutrition – Is Your House Built on the Sand?

In life there are many things that will not succeed without something or someone else supporting it. For example, a house will fall down if it does not have a proper load structure, or foundation. Your heart will stop eventually if you stop breathing and visa versa.

There are a lot of fad diets out there. A lot of them are good in theory, but are not designed for sustained long-term nutritional support. If you notice, I am calling it nutrition, not a diet. Diets are meant to be eventually stopped or weened off of. When you stop a diet and return to your old habits, you gain the weight back. If you form good eating habits then you can sustain that nutritional plan and form positive eating habits to help you reach your long-term fitness goals.

I will admit, I didn’t buy into the idea of the changing my eating habits. I thought I could simply match calorie in for calorie out and be just fine. Well…not exactly. My Crossfit Box just started a 90 day Paleo challenge. The Box has seen a large amount of growth since I have been there, which has only been 2 months. Thus, making it a perfect time to get people jump started on the idea of Paleo eating.


Yeah…that’s what I had said. I had never heard of “Paleo” before getting interested in Crossfit. I am a Carb Junkie to the core. Give me the Chicken Parms, Pastas, Breads, Bagels, and Cereals. The idea of giving that up and eating…VEGTABLES…made me nauseous. I will certainly admit, I have not been the most faithful to the Paleo Challenge. I have had mornings where I have HAD to buy a bagel with my morning coffee. It is not the best way to start off the challenge, but you know what? I have no one to blame except for myself. On the bright side, I am paying attention to when I cheat on my nutritional plan, and I learn from it.

I’m going to share a video with you from the Crossfit Main site’s YouTube Channel. It is a great resource to tap if you have questions to be answered about anything to do with the Paleo or Zone nutrition plans. Watching this video caused the “aha” moment for me. For some reason, it clicked with this clip and I finally took the step to get serious about what it was that I was eating.

If you would like more specific information about the who, what, where and why primal eating will benefit you in your search for fitness you can check out the main site’s nutritional section here.

Hopefully this clip gave you some insight into why Nutrition will directly correlate to your goals, and results.


If any of you thought of this video clip after reading that title….

…Then give yourself a high five!

Any who…I was always a major fan of the ever versatile generic name brand running shoe. It was a shoe that I could use all the time. Well, that was until I met the Box Jump. I was working out on my own, away from an affiliate and I wanted to try and perfect my technique with the 24″ box jump. Well, lets talk about how awesome it was to do box jump in running shoes. I caught the edge of my arch support on the lip of the box, and before I realized what happened I was going up and over the box and face first into the floor on the other side.

Inov-8 230 lite.

So I did some research. I asked my coach, and fellow crossfitters. As we all know that is where we get the best information, by people’s experience with them! I was led in the direction of two different shoes. The first was the inov-8 line of shoes. I have been told this is a better shoe for when you get used to working out with minimalist foot ware. I have yet to actually use them. They have a whole line of various minimalist shoes. They look cool, that’s for sure.

Next up, we have the Reebok Crossfit Nano’s. I was a little weary about trying this shoe at first. For a couple of reasons, first I have never in my life actually been a Reebok product fan. Secondly, I was a little skeptical about their involvement in Crossfit. My impression was Reebok being the big corporate mongrel trying to cash in on the Crossfit movement. I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised. I have a pair of the black and grey Crossfit Nano’s. I loved them so much, I may get another pair to use for my daily sneakers! Let’s talk about why I love them so much.

First, there is the nano technology. These shoes were researched and developed by Reebok to meet the ever changing Black/Grey Crossfit Nano'sdemands that the Crossfit athlete encounters. It has a minimal sole, that is designed to match the pressure points on your feet. It doesn’t hyper/hypo-extend the arches of your feet. It simply matches the natural demands the body has, while still offering the support  to allow you to make the transition into minimalist work outs. It was tough at first. I found myself having to adjust how I ran, walked, jumped, squat, everything seemed to realign to the natural way that my body was supposed to work. I found myself driving my heels into the ground and adding some spring in my toes when I ran. I felt it wasn’t as easy to roll onto my toes during squats. All in all, I love working with the new shoes.

That being said, everything has to have a down side right? There is a couple problems with this shoe, but not enough to make me move onto another brand yet. First, the shoes are a bit narrow. I am not speaking from a standpoint of support because that is pretty spot on. I am speaking from a standpoint of physically fitting my foot into the shoe. So they run a little small, but I went up 1/2 size and that problem was resolved. The other con or generally neutral feelings I have about the shoe is Reebok’s UFORM technology. The UFORM technology basically allows the shoe to fit the natural curvatures of your feet. I actually didn’t notice any difference (at rest) in the feeling of the shoe before or after doing the UFORM process.

Overall, if you are considering Crossfit you do need to take a look at your shoes. You will learn a lot about the way you exercise with the simple change of shoes. As a beginner, the Nano’s have treated me very well. If you are a beginner too, or someone who is just about to get used to changing your foot ware, try out the Nano’s.


I took the plunge.

After months of research and curiosity, I contacted my first Crossfit Box and started becoming a regular attendee. I know what you’re thinking…probably along the lines of “oh great, another one to talk about CF and all the great CF things that he can do.” Well…clearly that will happen at some point, but right now…I am here to talk about how I started. After all, we all have to start somewhere.

I remember the night I made the decision to do it. I was fresh off of failing my third police dept PAT. The most recent failure was a big one, mentally, I had friends that had helped me get through the interview process and I felt like not only did I let myself down…I let them down. So I researched a couple that were in my immediate area, and I found CROSSFIT 508. It is a smaller box, tucked in the back of an old gymnastics school. To be honest, I had never even known it existed until I went there.

I had exchanged some emails back and forth with the contact person on their website. We set up a time for me to come in and do my introduction to the lifestyle (yeah that is not a typo, it’s a lifestyle change not a workout routine). I opened the door to the box and it made this wicked loud scraping steel on steel sound. There were already a group of participants gathered around the side of the gym waiting for the previous class to finish their workouts. EVERYONE instantly turned their head towards my direction. I felt like the awkward kid in gym class that no one likes. Until….I hear a voice shout “Hey, Welcome!” from across the room. The manager walks over from the side of the room, while still encouraging the WOD’ers to complete their workouts. I was instantly introduced to the participants in the room, as well as the other coaches and BOOM…there it is, I was part of the cult.

We had 5 others in our group for the introduction class that night. We went over some basic movements, air squats, ab mat sit ups, pull ups, and ring dips. Nothing too major, and I thought “I got this…no problem.”

Air squats, 10 reps BOOM Whats next?

Ab Mat Sit ups….10 reps ok, not so much BOOM, but still ready to move on.

Pull ups…ahhh about that. This is where my first reality slap hit me. I started banging out pull ups like I owned that bar, and then I hit my 4th rep. I couldn’t get the strength to get my chip up and over that bar. I hung there from the bar and said I couldn’t do it..I was maxed out. The instructor tied a band off of the bar and showed me just how I could actually do it. She took the time to explain to me how everything can be customized (or scaled) to your abilities. Every time I would start to lose focus, or feel like I am failing in the reps she would just whisper (“Stronger today, than yesterday”). I hit 10 reps, and dropped to the floor like I had just run a marathon.

I can’t even tell you what it was like to do the ring dips. Mainly because I don’t remember much more than I needed a band to help scale them.

Just like that, I was sold. I filled out the paperwork, and started attending 2 x per week. I wanted to ease into the workouts because it was clearly so radically different than anything I had been doing.

I can’t wait to share my adventures in Crossfit, and my attempts at primal eating with you here. Take care everyone.


Hi Everyone,

Some of you may be familiar with my professional blog that I have, thoughtsofamedic, its basically a spot where I can rant and rave about stuff that goes on, and how it pertains to EMS.

Well, that has gotten a bit boring for me lately. I think its mostly just a hump that I need to get over. For now, I am going to work on writing about my experiences at crossfit.

There is so much that I can talk about, and I don’t really know where to begin to be honest. I will start out talking about how I got started, and why. Then I will move into explaining some of the workouts and the point behind them. I will also talk about nutrition, it is a huge factor in training. This is something I didn’t have a true understanding of, until I started doing crossfit.

Stay tuned, there are a bunch of posts that I plan on releasing over the next couple of days.

Also, feel free to follow me on twitter @randerson911!

Take it easy,