Thursday, October 20, 2011

Mind Blown

I hit a bunch of CrossFit webpages religiously.  I start my morning checking out the WOD for my local CrossFit box, CrossFit SOAR. After that I check out, the crossfit journals, and then  That's along with the RSS feeds that go to my inbox from the many paleo websites and blogs that I follow.  A post that caught my attention was a recent CrossFit journal video that spent a day with Graham Holmberg and Rich Froning Jr. before the 2011 CrossFit games and cataloged their workouts and diets.

I had heard of two-a-days, but these guys are insane.  There is a reason they are the fittest people on earth.  They must have done somewhere around 6 workouts during the day.  They would wake up around 5 am and then go to bed around 10-11 at night.  They also ate very little compared to what I eat during the day.  Rich also ate peanut butter and jelly out of tupperware container......

It's important to remember that these guys are training for the games and to be the absolute fittest in the world.  Most of us have jobs and most of us just want to be healthy and fit.  This was just an insight into the fittest in the world and my mind was blown.  If you can see this video, watch it.  It is amazing to see what the human body can do.

UPDATE:  I found the link, it's a free download and a MUST see!  Enjoy!  Number 1 and Number 2: A Day of Training

Monday, October 10, 2011

Paleo Lemon Bar Recipe

So what's the best part of a new diet? Finding all the treats that fit into it.  I did some research and found the a recipe for paleo lemon bars.  I made them this past weekend and they are delicious.  Be warned, they are very sweet and heavy which makes them great but if you're someone, like me, who thinks they can polish it off in one sitting, it will present a challenge.  The ingredients call for honey, which I normally would stay away from just because I don't want the extra sugar but as a treat, I allowed it.  I will post the instructions and pictures here and also link you to where I found the original recipe thanks to a CrossFit affiliate. 

Ingredients for Topping:
  • 3 whole cage-free eggs
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
Ingredients for Crust:
  • 1 cup of almonds
  • 1 cup of pecans (or other nut, I used cashews)
  • 1/4 cup of honey
  • 1/2 cup of melted unrefined coconut oil
  • 2 whole cage-free eggs
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
Instructions for the topping:
I started with the topping to allow it time to cool.  I started by taking a sauce pan and blending the eggs, honey, and lemon juice together.  After they are blended, I turned on the heat to about medium-high and slowly added the coconut oil.  I would probably add it all at once or all in small pieces.  I stirred until the mixture begins to solidify and bubble.  You will see the mixture thicken and in my case, the oil didn't melt before it thickened (which is why I would add it in small pieces and not the glob I used).  Once it got to the point where it started bubbling, I placed the topping in a bowl and put it in the fridge to solidify further.

Instructions for the crust:
I only had a 1/2 cup of almonds so I used that with the other nut I had in the house, cashews.  So I put the 1/2 cup of almonds and the 1 1/2 cup of cashews in a food processor and pulsed them to where they were finely chopped.  I stopped often and mixed the nuts up so that I didn't turn the nuts into a butter.  Having some nut chunks is fine.  From there, I placed the rest of the ingredients (honey, coco oil, eggs, sea salt) in the food processor and pulsed a few times until everything was well mixed and had something that resembled a chunky batter.  I placed the batter into a coconut oil greased 9 x 9 inch baking pan I had and placed it into the oven that was preheated to 400 degrees.  I let that bake for about 10 minutes.  I took it out, placed a knife in and it came out pretty clean.  I placed the crust onto a cooling rack for a while.  Be gentle because the crust will come out very soft like a cake. 

When everything was cool, I placed the cake onto a plate, spread out the topping across it and placed it back in the fridge for a little while until after dinner.  What came out was an awesome dessert.

I found this recipe from EAT THIS.  Check them out!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Vitamin D

In the paleo diet, there isn't a need for MUCH supplementation because we are supposed to get everything we need from the real food we eat.  Of course, that doesn't always happen and everyone has different goals.  I, for instance, take a generic multivitamin and a fish oil pill with breakfast and dinner.  I ran this by my doctor along with the basics of the paleo diet, of which he was familiar, and said that I was doing everything perfectly.  I also mentioned that I had taken some Vitamin D in the beginning and he began to warn me about oversupplementation with Vitamin D.  Let's see why we need Vitamin D.

Vitamin D is produced by cholesterol in the skin when in contact with sunlight (UVB to be specific).  This is why getting at least 15 minutes of direct sunlight every day is recommended.  Mark Sisson says, "One thirty minute session of full-body (no shirt, shorts, no sunblock) sun exposure when the sun is at its strongest, for example, can get you between 10-20,000 IUs of endogenous vitamin D production. If you get 20,000 IU a week, you’re way ahead of the game."  That's if you can get that much.  The issue also comes in during the colder months and for those that work indoors all day.  You may not get that kind of powerful sun exposure at all during a work week if you are in this scenario. 
Lets go back to the doctor's office.  His concern is that he saw an extreme abundance of kidney stone cases coming into his office.  He links it to the current over supplementation of Vitamin D.  Vitamin D, sometimes taken with calcium, can cause kidney stones when taken in large doses.  He didn't tell me to avoid the Vitamin D supplements altogether, he just said to be careful.  It was an interesting point of view from a DOCTOR who could also spit out studies to backup his claim.  He is a reputable source of knowledge for me and hopefully your doctor can be for you too.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Preparing for the Level 1 Cert

I'm scheduled to take the Crossfit Level 1 Certification in less than 2 months!  I think this is a great place to study.  I will be posting some study points that will benefit my readers as well as myself. 

The certification process involves a two day seminar in which numerous areas of fitness, lifting and anything related to crossfit will be covered.  This culminates in a 45 question test in which you must get 35 correct to pass.  The test covers programming and legal issues, nutrition, technique, the movements, "What is Fitness", and "What is Crossfit".  The course outline complete with some test questions are available on for those interested. If you need to study up or just want to further your own abilities, the training guide is available from the crossfit journal. 

Monday, September 26, 2011

Paleo Chili

When I get a free Sunday, I like to sit back and watch football with a nice bowl of chili. Normal chili isn't that paleo so I decided to make my own.  Here are my ingredients:
  1. 2 pounds grass-fed beef
  2. Red Bell Pepper
  3. Onion
  4. Cumin
  5. Oregano
  6. Chili Powder
  7. Garlic
  8. Organic Crushed & Diced Tomatoes (make sure there are no extra ingredients added)
I started by browning the beef and onion in a pan. From there I placed the beef and onion in a crockpot and mixed in the rest of the ingredients.  I don't have exact measurements because I mostly eyeball the pot and add as I see fit. I let it simmer for about 4 hours.

In the end, I feel like it may have been missing one more ingredient and I will investigate to find out what that is.  This didn't stop the chili from being an excellent snack for me during football.  For dinner that night, I cooked some wild caught cod fish and placed the chili on top.  This proved to be an excellent combination along with some sauteed spinach and my wife's delicious California mashers on the side.  Give it a try for your next football Sunday.

Friday, September 23, 2011

The home gym

Let's be honest.  There are days you just don't want to leave the house.  Sometimes, getting that workout in would be great if it could be done in the house.  There are plenty of ways to get those workouts in.  Soon, I'll be posting some home based, weight-free, workouts.  For now, check out what my good buddy Chris did in his garage to start up his home gym.

Click THIS LINK to check out a video from the main site about another sweet garage gym.

Words of Wisdom : "Youthfulness is not determined by age. It is determined by one’s life force. One who possesses hope is forever young. One who continually advances is forever beautiful."

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Dynamics of "The Box"

CrossFit is all about health.  For me, it's that and a whole lot more.  It fills that void left out by not participating in competitive sports anymore.  A friend of mine and myself frequent the local recreational football league.  We decided not to participate this season and instead, I'm focusing on CrossFit.  My goal is to become the fittest of my box.  Every day a new person arrives with a different skill set that I wish to surpass.  I don't know why but I have a competitive drive to be the best.  I also want to cheer on all of my fellow CrossFitters to maintain the growth with me.  If I train to beat them and they train to beat me, we all get better.  A close race is a lot more fun as well. 
The difference between this and the local gym is that we all celebrate everyone's achievements. We all celebrate milestones and great workouts.  The community makes the CrossFit experience that much better.  I log all of my times and my max lifts.  To see the lifts leap higher and the times shrink down is a great feeling.  When everyone around you is cheering for everyone else, you push a little bit harder and get those PRs.
CrossFit is the perfect fit for me.  I can compete against myself, compete against others, and cheer on my team all at the same time.  For now, I shoot for small goals.  I shoot for PRs.  Would I love to be one to compete at the CrossFit Games?? Absolutely.  That will take time though.  It is my belief that my diet is what separates me from the normal athlete.  It will also be my work ethic that will separate me from the great athlete.  Cheer on your fellow athlete and they will cheer for you.  Better yourself, work as a team, and always have fun!

Words of Wisdom: "The exclusive pursuit of one's own interests cannot bring true happiness.  It is in striving for the sake of others that the great path to genuine happiness is opened."

Monday, September 19, 2011

Enhancing your health

I follow a lot of different people on many different avenues.  All of them provide different ideas and points of view relating to diet and exercise.  Each one has their own qualifications and different experiences.  To fine tune my own diet, I take the ideas of everyone and fit them to fit my needs.  I also weed out the ones that I don't think make sense.  In the end it's all about fitting what you want and what will make you happy.  I follow a number of people on twitter like @fit_chutney, @paleovillage, and @cnstantlyvaried.  I follow a number of blogs like Against the Grain, Robb Wolf's website, Gary Taubes blog, Mark's Daily Apple, and more!  Even if I don't agree with everything they have to say, I will still listen to their point of view and compare it to mine.  If it is something I have never considered, I will give it a try (if it makes sense to me). 

Science constantly changes and new ideas, points of view, and RECIPIES! come out all the time.  Try to absorb as much as you can from many different sources.  Sift through it all and go with what makes the most sense and, most importantly, what makes you the happiest and healthiest person you can be.

Words of Wisdom: What will inevitably doom is a lack of commitment to fundamentals.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Ego Check!

CrossFit is one of the most humbling sports I have ever encountered.  (Is CrossFit a sport?  That's for another post.)  I have played football, baseball, basketball.  I have ice skated, climbed walls, ran 5Ks.  Nothing slapped me in the mouth like a WOD (Workout Of the Day) at the local crossfit box. 
Recently, I pulled my groin.  Never a fun place to have an injury.  On top of that, my hip flexors, hamstrings and glutes were sore to the point where I've been hobbling around the office.  One of the hardest things to do is also one of the most necessary things to do.  That is taking it easy when you're hurt.  The whole competitive spirit of crossfit is one of the many areas that makes it so addictive for me.  I'm constantly competing against myself and others to improve and beat times.  Taking a day off just seems unbearable but it must be done.  I still went to my local crossfit and stretched out the problem areas and did some light exercises.  I went heavy on some upper body but made sure that I did not jeopardize the recovery of my lower body.  Taking a break is essential.  SLEEP is incredbly essential.  It's one of the core values of health that is frequently overlooked and put aside.

To summarize, crossfit is the ultimate gut check and you MUST check your ego at the door.  Take a break when you're hurt and don't rush back.  Remember, the reason we work out is so we can enjoy our life.  You want to be able to push yourself slowly and get better with each workout, not worse.  You don't want to be hobbling around the office like me, do you?

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

My own true story

While I am not a doctor, I have done plenty of diets, workout routines, and all of the latest fads.  I've never been overweight or nonathletic.  I just strive to get better and get as close to the best as possible.  I haven't seen a drastic change with my performance or my physical appearance like I have with switching to a paleo diet and starting CrossFit.   First, a little background about myself. 

I have ran track all my life along with playing youth sports like football, baseball, and basketball.  I was always skinny fat.  I would run track and devour 3 double bacon cheese burgers and a large order of fries every day during the summer.  I would get physicals that the most sports required and they always came back without any issues.  My diet was terrible but I was active enough to maintain that diet without getting obese.  As I got older, I started professional wrestling.  I looked into bodybuilding and trying to gain (good) weight.  I would lift some pretty good weight in the gym but never really leaned out.  I began to get slower and less flexible as an athlete. It wasn't until very recently when I saw a friend of mine (the same friend I used to get those cheeseburgers with) who looked like he turned into the terminator.  He looked like the fittest person on the planet.  He wasn't huge in the bodybuilding sense, but he looked like he was powerful and healthy.  I found out that he had joined his local crossfit gym and started following a paleo diet.

Fast forward to today, I follow a paleo diet of grass-fed meat, free-range eggs/chicken, vegetables, fruit, seeds, and nuts.  I no longer count calories or macronutrients.  I eat when I want to eat.  While I've dropped from about 215 to 200lbs, I've begun the climb back up by doing something I love.  EATING MORE!  My waist went from a 38 to a 34 and I've been able to lift weights, lift my body, and lift my energy to a point that I have not experienced.  All of this happening within a span of a couple months.  While I won't say that everyone should do this (I do think everyone should), I will say that this has worked wonders for me.  I don't always provide the links to the scientific studies that accompany what I say, I have done the research and have my own body as proof.  If there are ever any questions, I'm here to help!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Paleo Puppy

I have an english bulldog.  He is about a year and a half old.  We got him as a little puppy.  When he started to grow up, he developed what appeared to be allergies and skin issues.  He would get raw in between his folds no matter how well we cleaned him and kept after him.  He would lick and bite his paws and they had a red yeast in between them. 

We eventually found a pet food that worked for him.  His allergies went away.  The redness between his paws that caused him to constantly lick and chew had cleared up.  His face was now clear and smooth like it should be.  What kind of food did we switch him to?  Well, its still a processed dog food, but you actually know what the ingredients are.  It's grain free and full of real food.  All of the ingredients are either fish (his favorite) or fruit or a vitamin supplement (just like his daddy).  The key is the removal of the grains and "extra" ingredients.   Now, he can play in the stream and bully the other dogs all day long.  All thanks to him being a paleo puppy!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Get Grass-fed!

Are you confused while walking through the store and seeing "grass-fed", "organic", and a bunch of other fun catchy words to describe meat?  Well, in the Paleo community, we want the grass-fed beef.  It can be more expensive than regular beef but the health effects are priceless.
Why do we want grass-fed meat?  Because grass-fed meat (usually) isn't fed any fillers or grains, the meat is very lean.  Because it's extra lean, it's lower in calories.  The big plus of the grass-fed goodness is the fat content.  It is low in the bad fats and high in the good ones.  Grass-fed meat can have two to SIX times more Omega-3 fatty acids than regular meat.  Eggs from pastured hens can have as many as 20 times more omega-3's than eggs from caged hens!  Also, as I've documented before, grass-fed meat has a greatly improved taste.  Here is a link for some more detailed and documented information on the benefits of grass-fed farming: Benefits

Grass-fed meat can be hard to find in large quantities.  If you don't have farms near you that sell grass-fed products, you can order online.  Just be weary of where your food is coming from.  You don't want your food taking a week of travel time just to get to you.   A good resource to search for grass-fed meats in your area, visit this website: EAT WILD

Try my wife's new favorite, the grass-fed ground goat!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Paleo Treats!

After all, what good is dieting without the cheating!  Of course, we're talking about having a treat while still staying on track.  Some helpful items are Coconut milk (or coconut anything for that matter) and Cocoa.  Recently, I had a wonderful person make Paleo brownies and coconut milk ice cream for me.  Is it perfect for the diet?  No, but it's a great treat while still maintaining that overall health.  Almond pancakes are another great treat when you're just craving pancakes.  Google recipies for them.  Just remember, don't make them for every meal.  Everything in moderation and constantly varied!

Monday, August 8, 2011


I do not call myself a nutritionist, I am not a doctor, nor am I certified.  I merely pass along information I find from the internet, resources, other people, or my own life's experiences.  One such resource is the blog Mark's Daily Apple.  Mark Sisson, the author of the site, has written many books and has a degree in biology.  He's a little more qualified.  He wrote about a fellow readers confusion about grass-fed whey protein and decided to explain a little bit about why it is more beneficial to get grass-fed products, in particular, grass-fed protein.
  • Grass-fed has better fatty acids.  They contain more omega-3 and more CLA (good fats).  Whey isolate contains no fat at all.
  • Grass-fed has a better micronutrient profile.  It contains more minerals and more vitamins.  Whey isolate does not contain either.
  • Grass-fed tastes better.  I can vouch for this one.  A grass-fed steak tastes great.  It's hard to explain so get one and try for yourself!
Grass-fed foods are great because they are a more complete food.  Your body will get more out of grass-fed beef, fat, and dairy (if your stomach can tolerate it).  Start out with one piece of beef and see how you like it.  Both your stomach and your body will appreciate it.