$1,900 Give-A-Way

If you read my last post, you will understand how I am a big fan of “Civilized Caveman Cooking Creations.” He is currently running a give-a-way for 50lbs of Meat from US Wellness Meats, as well as a pellet grill. Check it out, folks. It’s worth your time!

Be sure to click on the link in the above tweet to check out the give-a-way!

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Is a No Rep, Really a “No Rep?”

Nutritional No-Rep

Alright, so for some of you out there the phrase “No-Rep” will utter a response of anger and frustration that may be slightly involuntary. Typically we hear “No-Rep,” when we are working on harder movements that do not come easy to any of us. The “No-Rep” is a phrase yelled when your form doesn’t fall in line with the movements of the exercise. Now a “No-Rep” means that your repition was wasted because of improper movements and doesn’t count towards the total reps for the WOD.

Today I’m not going to talk about the No Rep as it relates to Nutrition. As many of you know, I have been trying to balance switching over to a paleolithic nutritional regimen to supplement my fitness goals. It  has been a long, slow, and sometimes painful road. Since the goal of my blog is to help you, the reader, make better decisions related to your fitness goals and nutritional patterns, I am going to share how my journey is going with you and talk about the successes and failures I have had along the way.

So let’s go back to the begining:

I started eating Paleo back in June(ish) of this year. It all began when my old Crossfit Box, Crossfit 508 started a 90-Day Paleo Challenge. Most of us in the box were relatively new to the world of Crossfit so they made the challenge simple. We basically went on the idea of eliminating breads, pastas, refined sugars, most dairy, creamy dressings on salads, etc. It was not a strict Paleo Challege, but it was enough to light the fire.

I began researching Paleo eating online.  I came across websites such as Civilized Caveman, PaleOMG, The Food Lovers Primal Palate, and The Foodee Project. I bought some books, and I am still buying books to educate myself on the benefits of going Paleo. If I could recomend any book that I have read so far, I am going to recommend two. The first is: The 30 Day Intro to Paleo Meal Plan, available here from The Food Lovers Primal Palate. This book is in an electronic PDF format. It provides a quick intro to the Paleo diet, discusses differences between Paleo vs Primal (its really only a few small details). If you are coming into a Paleo Nutritional plan, it is without a doubt one of the best way’s that I have seen to make the transition! Next, is an eBook from Bill and Haley at The Food Lovers Primal Palate. It is their debut cookbook titled “Make It Paleo.” If you click on my “Shameless Plug’s” page, you can find a link to all the books I have either read, or am currently reading. Anything that is posted up there I recommend. Plus, I get a small percentage for all items bought through my aAmazon Store.

So, I am going to show you yet another way that The Food Lovers Primal Palate have aided with switching to a more paleolithic nutritional plan. This week they released their first digital app! This app is available for iPhone/iPad, and Android operating systems. This app has all of their collective recipes that they have created. It allows you to do meal planning online (or via the mobile app), and create shopping lists automatically for all the ingredients. Folks, they have literally made this idiot proof. Here are some screen shots to look at to give you a little teaser preview, as well as their YouTube video that explains the app in a little more depth.

Seriously though, how easy is that?

Alright, enough about that. Getting back to why I titled this article the way that I did.

We learn from our failures. We take what we did wrong, and we improve on them the next time that we interact with that former failure. Nutrition for me is my biggest goat ever, when it comes to all things Crossfit. It is not going to be easy making the change from mainstream dieting. Reach out to those around you for support. Find ways that they prep/store meals for the coming weeks. Maybe they have some tips/methods that may help you?

At the end of the day, it comes down to determination. If you are dedicated to the change, then it will happen. You just have to give it time and stick with it. Hopefully some of the resources I have posted all over this blog will make that a bit easier for you.

The Forgotten Supplement

Sleep

We all live really busy lives. I know for most of us, myself included, that is why Crossfit appealed to us in the first place. High Efficiency workouts in a scheduled block of time. It gave us no excuse really, to block off 5-7 hours a week dedicated to our own betterment. Then most of us caught on with paleo nutrition. It appealed to me because it wasn’t a crash diet. It didn’t require me to spend ungodly amounts of money to learn about it. It was just there. For all to explore, experiment with, and reap the benefits of.

Good sleep is one of the most important elements of health maintenance, as well as athletic performance and improvement. (Rawls-Meehan 2012)

(c) Fitbomb: Check in Post

(c) Fitbomb: Check in Post

Sleep needs to be viewed as the missing capstone to your fitness. We all have changed with the addition of Crossfit into our workout routines. I can think back (8 months ago) and think of the frustrating fitness routines I was doing and getting zero results, and I look at where I am now: 25lbs lighter and two inches off my waist. I wonder why I didn’t find it sooner. Anyway, I am getting a bit off track here. Let’s focus.

We changed our excercise levels, and have become more active individuals. Our eating habits have changed as well, we spend more time at the grocery store looking for natural products with no sugar, grains, etc. Now we see our performance plateauing, maybe even becoming frustrating. Well, if you’re doing everything right nutritionally then there might be a key piece on information you are forgetting.

Sleep

Crossfit Journal actually did a great article about sleep and how it relates to our over all fitness. This is going to be my main source of information that I am trying to relay onto you.
You can find a link below in the “References” section.

Here’s the excerpt from that article that I found to be the most useful:

  • Studies have shown that athletes who consistently get around 10 (ten) hours of sleep per night show marked improvement in strength, speed, agility, and reaction time.
  • Athletes who get around 10 (ten) hours of sleep demonstrate significantly better muscle memory for movements they have learned for the day before.
  • People who don’t get enough sleep are more prone to diabetes, obesity, hypertension, and other various cardiometabolic and endocrine disorders (Rawls-Meehan 2012).
    • Wait a second, isn’t that we started exercising in the first place? So…if we don’t get enough sleep that implies that we are essentially shooting ourselves in the foot!!

That is some pretty interesting stuff huh?

Now here is my dilemma. I am a Paramedic, because of such I work two 24 hour shifts. From 7am-7am the following day. That’s two days a week that I cannot guarantee proper sleep. Those days I am at the mercy of the general public, the EMS Gods, and my overall tendency of bad-luck. Sometimes I get to bury my face in that pillow for a solid 6(ish) hours, and sometimes I can only day-dream about it at 3 in the morning. There is no rhyme or reason to it at all. So…that being said, short of a major schedule change or career change I cannot have any control over the sleep I get on those two days. I have accepted it, I will still complain about it, but there is nothing that I can do about it.

I do, however, have control over the sleep I get on my days off. I have selected not to pick up overtime on the overnight tours (11pm to 7am) unless it is absolutely necessary. I encourage all of you out there to really take a look at what you are getting for sleep, or not getting in many cases.

I plan on being much more aware of my sleeping patterns in order to truly reach my health goals.

For more information, check out this article that I used for most of the information in this post:

Rawls-Meehan, Martin (June 2012). Sleeping For Performance. Retrieved from: journal.crossfit.com/2012/06/sleeping-for-performance.tpl

The New Obsession, is it Healthy?

As many of you CF’s out there know, we have a pretty awesome thing going on. We have the support of our fellow WOD’ers when ladies like “Fran,” or “Helen” decide to rear their ugly heads and kick our asses. The question I am going to pose to you today:

Is there a point where Crossfit & Paleo Nutrition can become unhealthy?

My gut reaction to that question is no, at no point can Crossfit or Paleo Nutrition become unhealthy for a person. You have to think about it. How could working out, eating right, and improving yourself actually be bad for you? For the 99.95% of CF’ers out there, it is completely a healthy occupation of the mind. We get into the program wanting to better ourselves in some way, whether that be appearance, strength, or some people can get into it for mental preparation.

BUT…..

See what I did there? I just put a big BUT in the post! HA!

I know….It’s 0745 on a Thursday morning and I am blogging because I woke up early, and can’t go back to sleep. Please excuse the cheesy humor.

Anyway, where was I? Right…I am waiting for the Crossfit God’s (Glassman flanked by his two angels Fran and Grace) to smite me down for this bit of pseudo blasphemy I am about to spew thru the keyboard.

Crossfit can be unhealthy for a person. Many of us feel the need to workout. We get used to certain routines feel like we need to push ourselves to exceed the normal, or the comfortable. It can reach a point where it does become unhealthy. There is sufficient evidence out there that Crossfit can cause Rhabdomyolsis. “Rhabdo” for short is the breakdown of muscle fibers that leads to the release of muscle fiber contents (myoglobin) into the bloodstream. Myoglobin is harmful to the kidney and often causes kidney damage. Scary shit right? This CAN seriously F*ck up your life.

I did some searching on the great and knowledgeable internets. I found a CF Journal article from an MD in Northern Arizona. Rhabdo is commonly seen in burn patients, severe bee sting patients, and  victims of crush injuries. According to Dr. Ray, Rhabdo is occasionally seen in patients who have been exposed to high intensity exercise in high heat. Athletes will first notice their symptoms of Rhabdo when they start urinating “coca-cola” colored urine. You can also feel nausea, and muscle fatigue but as Crossfitter’s sometimes we overlook those symptoms because that’s how we feel after a really great WOD.

So I am not going to go much more into the science behind Rhabdo, I did link up to the article above and please feel free to read it for yourself. It is very informative. If there is anything you should take away from this blog post, its not that Crossfit is bad for you. I’ll admit I may, or may not have used that tag line to draw you into the post. Sue me. I want you to be educated so that you can properly hydrate, and rest after WOD’s to make sure that your body has time to recover and doesn’t literally destroy itself in protest to the exercise. If ever you doubt, or question any of  your symptoms after a high intensity WOD…SEE A DOCTOR. You only get one body people, take care of it. That is, after all, the reason most of us started doing Crossfit in the first place right?

Now…remember when I said Paleo can be bad for you too? I will admit I may have embellished that line a tad as well. Sue me, again.

I follow the Paleo Diet Lifestyle’s blog. I have all his cookbooks. There are some BOMB recipies on there, its an eBook download and let me tell you it was worth the $29.99.

Anyway, I am getting off track here. On the PDL’s website, there was an article that got my attention. It had to do with Eating Disorders and a Paleo Diet. It actually has a lot to do with how American society thinks about food. I am telling ya, it was a great article to read. I have talked a lot lately about nutrition, mostly because when it comes to food I have no will power. I try not to stress over what I am eating, but sometimes you just can’t help it.

What I love about this article is it touches on some very good points about combining Paleo with a person who has disordered eating. He does a great job noting that it is NOT actually the diet that causes these problems, but it is the effort to maintain the diet that can spiral out of control to an unhealthy obsession. In case I don’t say it enough, this was a great article. Please click the link in the paragraph above and read it over. Even if you don’t suffer from disordered eating, it provides a wealth of information on a topic that is so often tabooed in our society.

For example, he uses this self assessment to determine if you are taking the Paleo diet to an unhealthy obsession:

  • When you break your own food rules, do you feel like you’ve failed as a person?
  • Do you assign extreme moral qualities to food, especially negative qualities (e.g. “white flour is evil. Sugar is the devil. I don’t need to abuse my body with poison like that.”)
  • Are you nervous about eating something anyone else has cooked, even if the person tells you the ingredients?
  • Do you frequently get frustrated because nutrition information isn’t precise enough?
  • Do you feel fear or hatred for certain foods (not the people or the advertisers or the culture surrounding the foods, but the foods themselves)?
  • Do you ever lose sleep worrying over something you ate or are considering eating?
  • Do you consistently feel that you have to keep making your diet stricter and stricter?

If you can answer “YES” to any more than two of these questions, you should have some serious concern. Basically, if you find yourself obsessing over the food that you eat to the point that it effects your life, that’s when you have a problem.

Remember that this is not to put down the Paleolithic Nutritional plan. Like I said earlier, it is the best plan that I have encountered to date. It is backed by scientific research, and most importantly (for me) is not commercially motivated. No one profits off of you switching to primal eating…except for maybe Whole Foods, but that’s a topic for another day.

I hope this post gave you a little self-awareness about your nutritional plan and exercise routine. Neither of these plan’s are actually bad for you people, remember that. It becomes destructive when it becomes an obsession. The kind of obsession that keeps you up and night and effects your relationships with others.

Paleo Challenge, 1 Month Down, 2 Months to Go

Lately, I feel like I am writing more about eating that I am about the WOD. Maybe for good reason, maybe because this is my safety topic. Who knows? For those of you who may be a tad behind the 8 ball in everything that is going on in my life, because clearly I am worth the attention haha, I am almost to the half way point in my gym’s Paleo Challenge. Today, I am talking about how the challenge is going for me so far.

The best way that I could describe it: Picture an old man standing in front of a locomotive and trying to keep it from moving.

Years of bad eating habits have finally started to slow down, and even worked on getting reversed. I still have intense sugar/carb cravings and occasionally I give in a lot more than I would like to admint to anyone. I have learned, through this challenge that Chicken Parm is no longer my best friend. Burgers with no buns, and side salads are. I think the most important lesson I have taken out of this so far, is how much I really do love cooking. In the past it used to just make quick meals that would get me in and out of the kitchen. Now (partly because I have a bigger kitchen now) I actually enjoy making most of the recipes that I find out there on the various Paleo Blogs.

Well, now lets talk results. I have lost 15 pounds so far, and feel like I am leveling out on that front. Take note: LBS off the scale isn’t always the best benchmark for physical fitness, but it certainly is the easiest (aside from staring in a mirror.) I feel more alert, and like I require less sleep. When I wake up in the morning, I am ready to go out and tackle what lies ahead. Before I switched my nutrition, I usually needed 3-4 cups of coffee loaded with milk and sugar prior to facing the day. This is a huge improvement, as I rarely require 1 cup. 

While were on that topic…I do love me some Coffee. Nothing better on a hot summer’s day then that ice cold coffee. Well, maybe an ice cold Sam Summer…but thats another topic. I have always drank my coffee with Milk & Sugar. Now, while focusing my nutrition on more primal basis, I have to try and find better ways to sweeten my coffee and still enjoy it like I used to. Good news is, I have found the perfect mixture. I use Vanilla flavored Almond milk with a 1/2 tsp of Stevia sweetener. If you haven’t tried it yet, TRUST ME you’ll love it.

No one is perfect in this run around the sun that we have. Even in the Box there are times where we “NO REP” and miss getting our shoulders locked above our heads, or we don’t dip completely below the parallel for our squat. It’s tough, and its frustrating. Most of the time we learn from it. Every time I “NO REP” with my nutrition, my body has NO PROBLEM giving me the big ol’ f*ck you when it tries to digest it.

No one will be the same when it comes to the nutrition that works for them. Everyone will have to find the sweet spot that allows them to meet their peak performance, and feel the best. I’m not there yet.  I haven’t seen many improvements in my performance, other than increased endurance.

For more information on my sources for some AMAZING Paleo recipes, head over to my links page. Also, I just added my online WOD Journal section. I am going to use this to show my “scalable and quantifiable” progress to all of you.

The Only Easy Day…Was Yesterday.

(C) Crossfit EXP – As posted on their website.

Remember when you thought you were “working out?” We were all there at one point, running endless cycles on the elipticals, arc trainers, or treadmills. Those routines were usually followed by some form of a weight lifting routine where we would endlessly lift weights up, and put them down. We would get frustrated at our lack on improvement results, and then it happened. Someone you know, somewhere made the suggestion.

“You should try Crossfit.” instantly inside your head, you start thinking how you aren’t strong enough for it. You think about all the beastly individuals you see on ESPN late at night banging out WOD’s at the Games every year. Then it happens, you start googleing the shit outta everything you can on all that is Crossfit. You search aimlessly on YouTube hoping to get an ounce of direction to make the decision easier for you. After some searching you know exactly how many “Boxes” are in your acceptable driving distance, and then you start looking at the prices. Suddenly, you are turned off…you say “This isn’t for me.”

Money sucks, there is never enough to go around. It is dirty, it complicates things, and we always seem to owe it to someone, somewhere. So we have settled it then, might as well spend it on something that is going to get some great results.

Moving on…

That itch comes back to ya. No, not that itch that you got after your night out last weekend that requires a rather large shot of penicillin in your gluteus maximus. I am talking about the desire to change. The frustration with way things are going, whether it be professional, personal, or physical. You reach the breaking point and realize that something needs to be done. You do just that, exactly what needs to be done. You find that Box that offers you what you need, the people, coaching, and the WOD’s come together in a perfect….

HA! DID I GET YA? DID YOU THINK THIS WAS GOING TO BE SOME WISHY-WASHY POST ABOUT JOINING CROSSFIT? I GOT YOU GOOD F*CKER!

The reason I am writing this post is to tell you this, not all of us look like Rich Froning. We are, for the most part, all amateurs simply trying to better our lifestyle to a form of fitness that is useable in the rest of life. You will be dragged out of your comfort zone. Your comfort zone is still stuck on the treadmill back at the globo-gym that you left behind in the search of a better life.

I have a rule of thumb, if there is a workout where I have an option…I choose the option that I want to do the least. For the exact reason that it takes me outside of my comfort zone. For example, this past Wednesday we did a WOD where we could choose to row or run. It was pouring rain, I should have ran. Here is how it was structured:

Option 1: 5 X 1000m w/ 2 Minutes rest between each 1000m. Keeping each attempt within 2-5 seconds of each other.

Option 2: 5X800M w/ 2 Minutes rest between each 800m. Keeping each attempt within 2-5 seconds of each other.

I chose the rowing option, such a bad idea. I did, however, learn a lot about my form for rowing. Most of what I learned was how it went to shit after about 650m, but still…it was something learned. It was a lot tougher than I ever thought it would be.

OK, so I am finally done writing on this one. I want you to take away from this: that it is not gonna kill you. It will break you down, but you will survive and feel the best you have ever felt!

Take care everyone, be sure to check out ESPN 3 (might as well be ESPN ‘the ocho’) for the Games coverage. I have been watching last year’s games on repeat getting pumped for July.

Epic Fail : Paleo Style

So I originally started writting this post on Friday May 4th. I was working overtime and working when I was normally  Crossfitting, and my body had no problem letting me know how it didn’t appreciate the abrubt diversion from its normally scheduled programming.

This week I have to say…I get a big frown face on our box’s whiteboard. I broke down. Like a junky looking for that last fix before rehab, or like the Buffalo Bills in the Superbowl I gave in. I had a Ham and Cheese from Subway with an Ice Tea and Chocolate Chip Cookie. I figured, If I am going to cheat I might as well go big. Then, on Friday night while out to eat before going to see The Avengers (Bad ass, entertaining flick btw. Definitely go and check it out, you’ll walk out

From @crossfitMemes twitter pics!

wanting to scream “America….F*ck YEAH). After that dinner, I felt like SHIT. We had a shitty time with the restaurant we were at, crappy service, crappier food, and had to change our show time twice because it took us so long to get our dinner. So, lets just say Ryan was a happy camper. Since we had to change our show time, I was stressed out and literally inhaled the chicken and pasta. Seriously, opened my mouth…took a deep breath…and the food was in my stomach.

So, now that I had a nice brick settled in my stomach, what would be better than sitting in a sell out movie theater with dozens of strangers and watching a movie? Yeah…I couldn’t think of anything either.There was no way that I could get comfortable, it was awful. The entire time I sat there in the theater thinking: Ok, I get it…I won’t do it again.

Let’s face it people, none of you are perfect. Yeah, I said you…my ego isn’t at the level of humility it should be. Stay tuned, I am sure that will change after tomorrow’s CF WOD.The only way to better ourselves is to learn form our mistakes. This weekend was a big mistake in the nutrition category. Here is to hoping next week will be better, because I am gonna have to stare at that f*cking frown all week and it is going to piss me off!