As an adult, it is your prerogative to eat whatever you please, whenever you please. However, this begs a larger question, and that is: should we? No one is going to prevent you from buying 7 pints of Ben & Jerry’s for your own personal consumption, and stop you from trying a new flavor every evening after dinner in front of the television. Your barista at Starbucks will not question your request for double caramel on your venti frappuccino when you clearly should be drinking black coffee instead. We live in a world of infinite choices, which in theory is a wonderful thing. Personally, I see as a nightmare scenario for the majority of people, as most people have noble goals and good intentions, yet seriously lack in information and most importantly, will power.
If you want run yourself into the ground at an early age, that is your right to exercise as an American. Now, I would argue that’s not the most productive way to live your life. Because we are bombarded with some many options, we find ourselves at a crossroads. How do we overcome the temptation of a modern food system that prioritizes fast, cheap, convenient, and of low nutritional value? The answer is personal responsibility and discipline.
Your goal is to get all your calories from food that will rot and go bad within a week or two if you don’t eat it. Flesh builds flesh- fill up on protein from creatures that recently had a face, a soul, and a mother. Eat your fruits and veggies. Good fat is your friend – olive oil, nuts, seeds, avocado, butter, coconut oil, fish oil, and natural animal fat are good fats and will keep you healthy. If the food quality is solid, don’t worry about portion size; you are an athlete and need your calories. Also, you are a physical reflection of the foods you consume. If you are okay with being fat and feeling like crap, feel free to eat sweets, pasta, and fast food all you want.
Summer tends to be an extremely busy time of year for most people- lots of trips, activities, sporting events, and plans seemingly every weekend seem to make our already limited free time even more scarce than it already is. Here’s a few tips on how to both eat seasonally and eat healthfully, caveman style.
From an ancestral standpoint, summer is the season of abundance when it comes to food. So many crops, fruits especially, are in-season and ripe for the picking. While everyone wants to get lean for bikini season, summer is actually the best time to indulge. We are designed to be more social in the summer (summer is typically mating season), consume the abundant bounty of food at our disposal in preparation of a long winter, and be very active to burn off all this extra energy and daylight hours we have available.
The reality is that many of us take this abundance concept and apply it year round, which gets us into trouble when we become more sedentary in the fall and winter. If you can apply some basic framework of season eating to your own diet, then feel free to consume a bit more calories and be more active while the good weather and farmers markets last.
Also, do yourself a favor and fire up the grill! Grilling is my favorite means of cooking any season, but especially in the summer. I find myself preparing more of my meals and wasting significantly less food due to spoilage when I am grilling regularly. The reason is that I will cook only what I plan on eating over the course of one day (leftover hamburger? no thanks), and will buy fresh cuts more frequently. Grilled meat will of course last you the week for lunches, etc., I just prefer eating it hot. Remember, when possible, opt for Grass-Fed over grain-fed beef selections, and pastured pork and poultry over lower quality feedlot options.
We here at CFSS are strong believers in the merits of following a Paleo/primal/ancestral nutritional approach. Remember, much like the WOD, ‘Paleo’ is simply a framework, not some strict doctrine that must be adhered to.
Consider this the first in a series of common pitfalls and recommendations / simply fixes to these issues. Problem #1: Not eating breakfast / not eating enough for breakfast.
What’s so special about eating breakfast? All intermittent fasting arguments aside, eating breakfast will give you the energy and willpower to make good decision at lunch, then in turn at dinner. Make a good breakfast/lunch/dinner decision and optimize your performance in the gym. Optimize your food and performance, optimize your body composition as well. And once you accomplish those three things, prepare for self-actualization my friend.
First, let me address what constitutes a quality breakfast: protein and fat, carbs optional. Eggs or some other form of animal protein, accompanied by avocado or a handful of nuts, and a side of veggies or a piece of fruit constitute a perfect meal in my book.
What are we not eating?
-Cereal. Ask yourself whom is cereal marketed towards? Children! Of course it tastes amazing; they’re trying to get kids to eat breakfast. Unfortunately, you should know better and must eat like a proper adult.
-Oatmeal. Basically mushy bread. Avoid.
-Greek Yogurt. Unpasteurized plain yogurt, on the other hand, is acceptable.
-Bagel/muffin/breakfast bar, etc. Eat muffins, have a muffin top. Not a pretty picture.
-Cooking eggs takes roughly 5 minutes from start to finish to prepare, but if that is not feasible, opt for hard boiled eggs in tupperware.
-Another option which I would classify as less desirable than solid food, but good in a pinch, is a protein shake. 20-40 grams with water, a side of nuts and fruit, and you’re going to be just fine.
Here’s the bottom line, you must eat a quality breakfast in order to support and reach your goals.
In order of their relative effect on satiety, here’s the list: 1) Protein 2) Fat 3) Carbohydrates. Especially those of you doing the Whole30, in order to minimize your cravings for sweet/salty/wheat-flled foods, fill up early and often on protein. Ideally consume high quality animal protein sources that also have good concentrations of fat, i.e. chicken thighs, fatty fish, and well marbled cuts of grass-fed beef, such as ribeye.
If you eat a breakfast of eggs, veggies, meat, and avocado, you will have no issues making it lunch without snacking. consume a huge salad with as many different veggies as you can on it, top it off with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and cover the whole thing with grilled chicken breast (whole foods salad bar, anyone?) and making it through to dinner will be breeze. Lastly, cook dinner like your mom used to make- meat, veggies, and (sweet)potatoes. You will be fueled for the gym and full between meals, making adherence to the structure of the Whole30 a much, much easier task.
Slow Cooker Chicken and Gravy
This 93-year-old has a message for us: “A beach body at 90 is no longer a dream”
EZ Strength 2.0
100 Double Unders
40 Ball Sams
20 Box Jumps
New Years Eve 2012 Crew!
Post Workout Nutrition
Nutrition step one for pretty much everyone that walks through the door at CFSS revolves around improving food quality. Stop eating so much sugar, reduce grain consumption, eat more animal protein, avoid processed foods, and eat MORE of these high quality foods to fuel athletic performance.
What to do once you’ve got that down? Now we can really start to look at utilizing food to improve performance in the gym and recovery between training sessions. If you are training hard and often, I recommend getting in a high protein / high carbohydrate meal almost immediately after training. Gauge the size of the meal with the size of the workout you just performed; also keep in mind your potential activity level tomorrow as well. If you plan on hitting a long run or demanding workout, fill up on some starchy carbs in advance of that workout.
Think of you post training meal as accelerated recovery and a great place to put the bulk of your carbohydrate intake for the day. Try being more proactive in your post-workout nutrition for a weeks and evaluate whether or not you notice a difference in your output and recovery.
Sweet Potato, Apple & Sausage Breakfast Patties
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Pulls off the Blocks with BIG Weight
AMRAP 3 minutes:
7 Knees to Elbows
1 Lap Bear Crawl
rest 2 minutes b/t rounds
Dude, you don’t eat Paleo??
Nutrition is a tricky subject. Many of us have food neuroses, cultural beliefs that dictate dietary choices, and long held principles when it comes to eating. People like to use the logic of eating whatever foods work best for you, everything in moderation, etc., etc. Unfortunately on a physiological level, we are all essentially identical. The only instances of “eating what work best for you” is in the case of food allergies, auto-immune conditions, and pre-existing medical conditions such as a removed gall-bladder.
With that being said, I know that if you eat a legitimate Paleo/Primal diet for 30 days with no deviations, you will either look, feel, or perform better in the gym. Likely, all 3 will occur simultaneously. To the extent which you experience these improvements is highly variable n=1 stuff; what was your point A diet/exercise/health/stress/sleep wise? Your results will vary by degree, but you will experience results.
Ok, now that we got that out of the way, lets talk about whether or not you should give Paleo a shot. Having met and worked with literally hundreds of people over the past 4+ years, I am CONVINCED that nobody changes UNLESS they in fact want to change. No matter how much science and anecdotal evidence you throw at them, it is all moot unless they decide in their own minds to change.
I spend probably half of my professional development time reading and researching all things nutrition. I geek out on this stuff big time. If you want to keep a food journal and send it to me every week, I’ll gladly look at it and give you feedback to optimize your results. If you want to come to the gym 4 days a week and smoke yourself, then go home and eat pasta and ice cream, be my guest. I have nearly unlimited time and energy for people who buy-in to my coaching and advice; if you want to nit pick and argue with me and be non-compliant, don’t expect me to play along. If what you were previously doing was working, you wouldn’t be asking me for help. Allowing someone who is much more experienced and objective than yourself to take control and tell you what to do is liberating. And it works.
Are you happy with where you’re at right now? Great. Keep it up. Do you want to take your body composition / performance goals seriously? Talk to the coaches about changing your nutrition habits and do exactly what we say, satisfaction guaranteed.
Paleo Diet: How Do I Convince Someone To Try It?
Idalberto Arranda 280 kg (616 lbs) Back Squat
Chicken, Egg, and Taste Buds
EZ Strength 2.0
AMRAP 3 minutes:
3 Push Press
3 Front Squats
5 Lateral Jump Burpees
Rest 2 minutes
Repeat for a total of 4 cycles
Without Transparency, You Have No Choice!
I’m talking about our food system here people. As a society, we are purposefully kept in the dark about the food that we eat. Unless you are at Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, or a handful of other high end grocers nationwide, you do not know anything about the food you are purchasing. Where was your chicken raised? What were the conditions of the farm? What was the animal fed? Has it received any antibiotics? Can I possibly come to your farm and see the animals I am buying being raised?
The overwhelming majority of meat production in the USA is done on huge, private industrial farms behind big, closed stainless steel doors. Animals are raised in confinement under unsanitary conditions, fed nutritional poor, unhealthy diets, pumped full of antibiotics, and slaughtered en masse. You cannot go to a Cargill or Con-Agra plant and check out the livestock.
This isn’t how farming used to be conducted, nor is it the only option today. Unfortunately, because of the consolidation of the food supply, we have a small number of huge players that control how business is done and most of the country receives its food.
In order to fix this disturbing trend, there must be transparency. Demand that your grocers and restaurants mark genetically modified produce or the animal welfare of the meat you are purchasing (like Whole Foods has been doing for years). When businesses are forced to operate with transparency, it acts as a disinfectant for unsavory business practices. If people really knew how their food was actually produced, they would probably expect much better from their government regulators and food suppliers. The food you eat is probably the single biggest determinant of your health; you cannot afford to remain ignorant and silent any longer about our food supply.
Free Paleo Troubleshooting Guides
Donny Shankle on Warm Up vs. Working Sets
Two Major Drives
AMRAP 3 minutes:
15 Air Squats
10 Push Press
5 Pull Ups
AMRAP 3 minutes:
15 Push Ups
10 Back Squats
5 Box Jumps
AMRAP 3 minutes:
5 Lunges / Leg
Rest 1 minute b/t rounds
One of the main areas where I see people trip themselves up nutritionally centers around pre and post workout nutrition. Specifically, I want to address my early risers.
If you are working out at 6 or 7 am, chances are you heading in to the gym to train in a fasted state, having not eaten anything since the night prior. Given the limited time available for digestion, this is probably your best option.
If you are going to train fasted though, you better be wolfing down a big meal right after you leave the gym. At a minimum, eat a solid whack of animal protein and starchy carbohydrates (yams, sweet potatoes, etc.). If you cannot stomach solid food that quickly, or are in a time crunch, go with a protein shake and a banana.
Your other option is to treat this first meal just like you would breakfast. Eat your 4 eggs, sausage, avocado, fresh fruit or veggies, espresso, and carry on with your day.
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EZ Strength 2.0
AMRAP 4 minutes:
Max Distance Farmers Carry
rest 3 minutes
AMRAP 4 minutes:
4 minutes: Max Sled Pushes
Here’s a few choice excerpts from The Whole Soy Story with The Naughty Nutritionist posted below:
Although the data were clear that B6, B12 and folate were an important part of any prevention protocol [for cardiovascular disease], some people tested with high homocysteine anyway. The latest research suggests that sulfur deficiency — increasingly common in the modern world and especially common among vegetarians — might be an even more important risk factor.
“While taking this trio of B vitamins as a heart disease “insurance policy” remains important, the Nutrition article suggested high-quality protein — animal protein — rich in the sulfur containing amino acids methionine and cysteine is also needed. Plant-based proteins will not suffice.”
“It is important to note here that high homocysteine seems to be a major cause of CVD unrelated to classical Framingham criteria,which are high cholesterol, dyslipidemia, sedentary lifestyle, diabetes and smoking. In other words, vegans are at risk for heart disease whether or not they achieve goals of low total and LDL cholesterol thought by Dr Esselstyn, T. Colin Campbell, PhD, Neal Barnard MD. and other proponents of veganism to be protective against heart disease. It is also clear that maintaining healthy habits such as getting enough exercise and not smoking may not be protective enough.”
Here’s the simpler, less scienc-y version: Eating a plant based diet and attempting to close the nutritional void creating from avoiding meat cannot be closed simply by supplementing with B-vitamins. You need sulfur in your diet as a buffer against heart disease, which you would be hard pressed to get enough of from plants alone; meat is the best source for this nutrient. Once again, consuming high quality animal protein is an essential ingredient in an ideal human diet.
Death of PETA Spokesman | The Whole Soy Story with The Naughty Nutritionist
When Greeks attack…(aka Lamb koftas)
2012 CrossFit Games on ESPN2!!
EZ Strength 2.0
AMRAP 10 minutes:
Deadlift, 10 reps
Dumbbell Push Press, 10 reps
Grains are the Devil
I go back and forth on this one, but I’d have to say that the single best thing you can do to immediately improve how you look, feel, and perform is remove grains (wheat, oats, rye, barley, sorghum, quinoa, etc.) from your diet.
I want to keep the science to a minimum, but here’s a basic primer:
Grains enter the gut and are partially digested; this indigestion, in combination with a few other factors causes inflammation in the gut. Gut inflammation affects our ability to digest other foods, and can lead to gut dysbiosis, affect our immunity, flare up “heart burn”, and play into basically any auto-immune condition you can imagine.
In basic terms, eating grains will make you feel like crap, hamper your fat loss efforts, and affect your mental clarity and focus. If you want fiber, eat an avocado. Here’s the deal: they taste delicious, are hyper palatable, readily available, and the surest route to obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.
Instead of eating grains, switch to sweet potatoes, yams, squash, white potatoes, occasional rice, etc. Same carb load, but none of the pesky gastro-intestinal problems.
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EZ Strength 2.0
4 Strict Pull Ups