Category Archives: Crossfit

Health and Lifestyle: Eating a Paleo Diet

Paleo, Primal, Ancestoral, Caveman: A way of eating and thinking about food

Is this a trend? Perhaps. For me, it will and already is a lifestyle change.  It is very hard, but yet, very easy after seeing and feeling how great I feel.

Disclaimer: I am not, and will probably, never be PERFECT.  However, I believe the science and arguments behind what I’ve read.  For the most part, Paleo “experts” will tell you to follow the 80/20 rule (80 percent on track, 20 percent “off”).  While I do believe in this way of eating and living, do understand that I am still a work in progress. This is my journey to feeling healthy and getting into great shape!

My history with eating Paleo (in our house we call it “cavemen”):  Spring of 2010, my husband ran across The Primal Blueprint via Mark’s Daily Apple (the original blog place for swapping ideas and recipes) after getting into Crossfit work out regime (most people who do Crossfit recommend this type of eating style).

He researched and proposed we try it out.  My first reaction, “I am not giving up (FILL IN THE BLANK)!”  What’s a life without pasta, french bread, dessert, milkshakes, you name it – I was not going to give it up.  Until I did.  (Now, did I eat 100% perfect all the time.  No, we still had pizza on the weekends, random sandwiches here and there, but I’ll get to that in a minute).

Slowly we migrated to a more Caveman diet, rather than Conventional Wisdom (Conventional Wisdom = Traditional low-fat, high fiber and grain diets. Think food pyramid).

We cut out processed carbohydrates (cereal, bagels, oatmeal) from our breakfast and moved to eggs, bacon, and fruit w/yogurt (rookie mistake, more on this later).  Lunch moved from sandwiches to salads with whatever protein we had (leftovers, tuna salad, etc.)  Dinner was more of the same; although, many times, we made stir fry type dinners with veggies and meat.

I’ll call this our phase one: we really worked hard to cut out that processed carbs from our Everyday diet.  We still relied heavily on organic yogurt, fruit, nuts, and nut butters.  Also, I still drank red wine, had chunks of dark chocolate, and ate “out” on weekends.  This phase was hard though.  Why? Because I love cereal – LOVE IT.  My go to snack and breakfast.  My husband loves sandwiches.  Also, learning how to prep fresh food was challenging. However, we made a huge amount of progress this phase (I’d say it was probably over 6 months).

But it worked! It really worked.  We als0 integrated vitamins and fish oil supplements in our diet, as many primal experts recommend.  Energy went through the roof! (At this time, we were also working out about 5 days a week, Crossfitting).  Granted, at that time, we also lived in an adorable house, loved where we lived, and worked quasi part time (husband was job hunting, I had odd hours and wasn’t full time).  Life was stressful, financially, but we were in a great place physically and mentally.

Main areas to avoid:

Dairy

Wheat/Grains

Sugar/Fructose

Legumes

Summer of 2010: We uprooted to Florida, both got new jobs, and I got pregnant.  As you can imagine, the healthy regime we had worked so hard to create got pushed aside.  Generally, we kept with our protein, veggie, fruit, and low processed carb diets.  Time for working out got pushed out.  My first tri-mester nausea and exhaustion meant I slept a lot and ate lots of saltines! Then, we had our sweet boy and learned the meaning of parenthood.  Parenthood = Survival on no sleep, no food in fridge, and whatever we could do to get through the week.

Image via Mark's Daily Apple

By the way, I think all primal experts and enthusiasts should remember that Cavemen had lots of time to catch up on sleep when they added new little ones! Ha. Seriously though, it took us about a 5 months to get back to a schedule where we were actually getting sleep and could think coherently.   As we attempt to focus more on our food choices and working out, it has become even more important because we have this little person for whom we want to give the most healthy life.

Our eating style now? We are in a new phase.  Taking what we know, with a much more jam packed schedule (less time to workout and eat healthy).  It is Challenging.   If I were to be totally honest, I would say we are about 60/40.  Many late nights and early mornings inhibit the choices we could and should be making.  However, living in Florida makes produce choices easy and great (straight from farmers).  We aren’t in the budget world to afford grass fed beef every week, but we stick with reasonable, organic meat choice.

As we get better about our eating choices, I will post regularly about what and how we do.  This is our journey and I hope that in documenting it, it will help us become better! My favorite quote I’ve heard lately and is now my mantra:

PAY THE FARMER, NOT THE DOCTOR

Fabulous recipes websites, with articles thrown in:

Robb Wolf

The Food Lovers’ Primal Palate

Nom Nom Paleo

Everyday Paleo

Excellent article links (These links answer a few, but not all, questions about Primal/Paleo):

http://www.health-bent.com/blog/scarlet-letter/comment-page-1#comment-11179

http://www.health-bent.com/blog/treat-yourself-right

http://everydaypaleo.com/2011/07/27/why-isnt-this-working/#more-2723

http://everydaypaleo.com/2011/06/22/attention-scale-addicts-part-2/comment-page-2/#comment-12663

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Workout Gear

And by workout gear, I do mean gear that is worn at home and immediately put on after work clothes are shed! I love great workout clothes that are quality: no pilling after use, can handle a long, sweaty workout, and can be worn to Target.

What kind of workout gear do you like? I love trying new brands and gear!

Most of my gear comes from Target, but it seems lately that I’ve tried to find more long lasting brands (including outdoor clothing).

So. I have had a taste of the Lululemon koolaid, and I’m am loving it!  Seriously, though.  Shelling out a lot for leggings made me skeptical. The wunder unders are very much worth it – they look great and must be made with magical thread.  I’d rather have a few pairs of these, then 10 pairs of cheap ones.

Lululemon Wunder Under Crop

    Because of the ease of Athleta’s website (I can add it onto an Old Navy order), I’ve tried a few of their things.  On the pricey side, but they work pretty well.  The Teelicious tank is and was great for covering a post partum tummy while working out.

Athleta Legging

Athleta Teelicious Tank

  My husband is into outdoor gear, so he’s convinced me try outdoors brands like Columbia and Patagonia.  Columbia’s fit never seemed to work that great for me, but I do really like Patagonia gear. Arc’teryx is an expensive brand, but their “tees” are fantastic.  The weight and fit of the fabric is so wonderful  – I wish I could wear them all the time!

Arc’teryx Top

My “go to” workout pieces from Target: Sports Bra and Bootcut Yoga pants.  Well priced and I don’t mind replacing them, as needed.  Good quality and fun colors.

Target: C9 Sports Bra

Target: C9 Bootcut pants

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Health & Lifestyle: Crossfit

Crossfit

This may seem like an overstatement, but I believe Crossfit is revolutionizing how we think about working out (Check out my post on Paleo Diet).

My experience with Crossfit: Began back in December of 2009.  My husband initially found it and essentially he was my personal trainer for a few months (which was great!).  We lived in a town with  Marine base, and many of the Marines used Crossfit style workouts which my husband became interested in.

Long story short, we started following the website’s Workout of the Day.  I can confidently say that we were both in the BEST shape of our lives (although, our goals were to keep going as we each wanted to get closer to our weight loss goals).  We never joined a Crossfit gym; we just joined our local YMCA.  We bought a few pieces of workout equipment and use a lot of Youtube guidance for different workouts.

Background: I’ve always been an athlete (never the star one, but active nonetheless).  I am one of those people who does enjoy working out and sweating.  For me, it is a huge mental release.   However, I’ve always been frustrated with my body.  While I was strong, I was never in the shape I wanted to be.  After studying Crossfit, and by using it for 6 months, I know why.  Crossfit really does work the “muscle memory” and each workout is never the same.  Also, some days are more cardio based and some are more form based.

Here is what you need to know, in a nutshell:

Crossfit workouts are usually about 30 minutes long.

They are HARD! Like harder than you’ve ever worked before. (I did, officially, puke after a workout one day.  Weird thing was, I felt pretty proud of it).

You have to give it time, follow the WOD (Workout of the Day), and not add or alter it. Working on form (especially when doing Olympic lifting) is very important.

They consist of things like (on any weekly basis, usually): sprints, squats, pull ups, push ups, dead lifts, hang snatchs, chest presses, sit ups.

I’ve never been to a Crossfit gym, and I would probably join if we lived close to one.  They are new trend, and I hear that they are expensive.  I can bet they are really worth it, having a coach and working with a group everyday.  However, it is so possible to do it without joining the CF franchise gym.

It WORKS!  I can’t explain how I went from a gym/jogger/lift a  15 pound dumbell workout to a dead lifting “diva” (ha, cheesy, right ?! I had never felt so STRONG in my life.  It was awesome.

*           *           *         *            *

Then, we moved and I got pregnant. So, I will say for the past year (Up until the last few weeks  of this June), we did Crossfit sporadically.  New jobs, pregnancy, and new baby all came first.  I did follow Crossfit Mom during my pregnancy, although not as intensely as pre-pregnancy.

Falling off the Crossfit wagon was frustrating, especially since I had come so far.  (My husband, as male bodies often do, showed more dramatic difference than I with CF.  He was also able to run and workout for the past nine months, but he is still re-committed to 3 days ON, 1 day OFF with me.  I gained a whole new appreciation for my body after having our sweet baby boy.  But, momma is ready to get back on the wagon and get back in shape.  I’m sure my body will be different, since having a child, but I look forward to getting strong again).

*I will say this: CF is a lot easier with a workout buddy.  My husband pushed me to do workouts that I thought I could never do and would never have attempted on my own.  Using the big weights and bars can be intimidating and a little embarrassing when you aren’t used to it.  But, in the end, so worth it!*

2010, for me, was a year of discovering and understanding my health (not in the 7th grade health book way, like that sentence sounds!).  Finding Crossfit was a great workout discovery, then beginning a new eating style (Paleo) made me feel even better. Crossfit is a great thing and I suggest anyone who is looking for a different (better) way to workout and lose weight, to just try it out.   (Here’s to hoping this will help move the pregnancy weight that is still hanging out!)

Image via: http://www.crossfit.comb(CherylBoatmanValleyCFRegionals)

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