About a year and a half ago I figured it was time to give the whole Paleo Diet a try to see what all the fuss was about. I was already gluten and dairy free, I just had to cut out sugars, additional grains and legumes. As with most Of my nutrition challenges, I was going to try this out for a month and see how I felt.
Well, almost three months later I dug into a glorious piece of gluten-free pumpkin bread and right then and there I decided to quit the Paleo Lifestyle and head back to the way I was eating before. For me, with the level of activity I had, I just could not handle the lack of carbohydrates, and my energy levels not only plummeted, but stayed down for the entirety of the experiment. Total bummer man! And what annoyed me so much about this not working for me, was that I had known SO many people who had this plan work absolute miracles for them. Oh well I thought, and I was back to minimal grains and legumes, along with higher energy levels and an overall better sense of self.
Now, pushing two years later, I began a program that has worked these miracles on me. Losing 15 pounds of fat, seeing dramatic gains in my lifts, having hoards of energy all day long, and sleeping deeper and better than I have in years. And here's the catch of this post: about three months in (last week sometime) I all of a sudden realized I was eating completely and totally Paleo.
How the hell could this be? How could something completely NOT work for me at one time, then, out of the blue work so damn well? Real quickly (because this post is not about this phenomenon), it's because I was not focused enough on the meal plan. My meals were not balanced, I doubted the plan while doing it, there was no pattern to how I was doing it, and I ate out WAY too much. But how does this tie in to what I am talking abut here? Well, it's the approach. This time around I had a totally different approach in how I decided I would eat to fuel my life. I would eat because needed fuel, not because I craved and desired certain foods. This effected my results dramatically from a psychological standpoint because I was focused on the foods direct impact on my well being rather then if I liked it or not. I wasn't dieting, I was changing my life.
When the dust settled I found that shifting the way I viewed what I was doing completely altered the outcome. For almost two months now (except for around 4-6 meals) I have eaten only food that I could have eaten in the complete wild. Almost all of these meals I have made myself, seasoning to my liking with natural herbs and spices. I have cooked it all by either grilling it, sticking it in the oven, steaming it, or eating it raw. To keep this up while taking on a full client and training schedule, I have found wonderful comfort in spending a few hours every four days or so in the kitchen and out at the grill. I cook up 4-8 chicken breasts, turkey, fish, and bacon (turkey and pork), pounds of broccoli, asparagus and spinach and I hard boil dozens of eggs. They all get stored in glass containers in the fridge, and when it's meal time, I'm ready no matter what! The best part is, I've shared my meals with a handful of people and all have been blown away by the simplicity and taste. Point being, I have yet to even hint at being bored with what I am making.
To add to this new fueling pattern, I have been keeping up with my typical workout schedule. Plenty of gym work for sure, but more often then not, I am outside. I am using the great outdoors more and more as my playground to stay active. Shirtless, drenched with sweat, wielding a sledge hammer and a sandbag in the woods. I then head home to a feast of grilled chicken, mixed nuts and a plate full of leafy and cruciferous greens. It's days like these (most days out of the week) where I have the same thing always running through my mind: I feel like a Warrior; I am alive, I am happy.
I have decided that I am NOT on the Paleo diet, I am not on any diet. I simply live the life that is closest to what I believe we as humans should live. I spend my time outside as often as possible, I eat foods that are found only in nature, and I constantly challenge myself to be fitter, stronger, healthier and happier each and every day. If I had less responsibility I would probably be living in the woods somewhere, wearing little clothing and spending my days just surviving. Warriors were the original athletes. If they wanted to live, if they wanted their communities to thrive, they had to be able to overcome all sorts of physical and mental challenges. They pushed themselves each and every day to not only survive, but to support survival in the people around them.
Eat, train, sleep/recover, socialize, prepare. Let's look at that in a little more detail. Eat (food. Real, good food). Train (get outside and run, climb, crawl, lift, push, pull, swim, throw and slam). Sleep/recover (relax, let muscles and mind regenerate). Socialize (be part of a community that you love and support and that loves and supports you). Prepare (know your surroundings, know yourself, prepare for the unknown and know what to do if you are not prepared).
Become a Warrior.
Never Stop,GET FIT.
First the technical jargon. Woke up bright and early for a nice jog up the old crazy hill at Sweeney Ridge. The fog was rolling out and the view was not at it's best, but it was still unreal to be able to look out over the Bay, Ocean and City, even if you couldn't see most of it all. A great way to get the heart going. After a nice breakfast it was back to the house to get a little work done and get cracking on some organizing of stuff to be moved. Then, off to the gym for Dynamic Effort bench and some really solid supplemental work. Second day of West Side Barbell was WAY more successful than the first day! After lunch with Brendon (owner at San Mateo Team Elite, formally CrossFit San Mateo) it was a trip up to the City for a little throwdown with the crew at Lalanne Fitness. It was so great to see all my old friends here! We caught up as i gazed in awe at their new space, then got in a really fun skills warm up (pistol squats, GHD sit ups, handstand push ups and bar muscle ups) before getting all set up for "Isa-Grace": 30 power snatches followed immediately by 30 clean and jerks both at 135#...ouch! I was able to bang this out in 6:57 and felt really good with that time seeing how I have not been focusing on Olympic lifting or serious MetCons. It was just so damn good to see everyone and I can not wait at all to get back up here and workout with them all again!
Perfect little segue to the reality check here...
As I've made painfully clear with my last post, I absolutely love it out here on California. It was a really tough decision and process that Lindsey and I went through to move back East, and that decision, no matter how many times and angles I look at it, was, and is the right one. Here's the conclusion I always come to whenever I think about it, or whenever someone brings it up: happiness does not exist unless it's shared (stolen from "Into The Wild"). My own little opinion on this one is that the greatest thing to have in the world is a person you can share your life with. Someone who supports you through thick and thin, someone who trusts and cares about you, and someone who who wants and needs the same in return from you! Nothing I can imagine (and I have a crazy imagination) could ever be more important than that to me; not my job, not my training program, and certainly not where I live. In my mind, I am the luckiest guy on the face of the planet to have found someone who has made me see this reality.
I enjoy and love so much in life. I love challenges, I love exploring, I love sun, I love good food, I love good, nice people, I love baseball, I love California, I love the great outdoors, I love the thick foliage of the surrounding wild of Washington, DC, and I love the feeling when a smile creeps over my face. And now, I actually have the opportunity to share all of these things with someone. This is the reality I clearly see every day. I ask you this: what could be better?
Never Stop, GET FIT.
I LOVE California.
I find myself smiling for no apparent reason while I'm walking down the street. The views take my breath away. The weather and people are awesome. This is my second home for life!
Never Stop, GET FIT.
Today marked the start of my new crazy program and as the strength building part of it all I am following the greatest program for becoming really freaking strong, the West Side Barbell Program. I'll get into this one a bit later in detail (it's a pretty complicated one at first glance, but so awesome once the details are figured out) but let's just say I started off on a totally bad foot.
Today called for Max Effort box squats with a good deal of supplemental work for the posterior chain and abs. I pushed up 365# pretty easily and then jumped to 385#, a weight I got for a really comfortable couple sets of 3 just two weeks ago, and could not get my butt off the box. Immediately I was overwhelmed with all the basic "what the hell am I doing" thoughts; why am I squatting heavy alone with no spotter? Why did I jump up so fast in weight? Why did I expect to go so heavy without taking proper time to warm up? Why did I run for 52 minutes at 6am in the 98 degree humidity? Who the hell am I going to get out of this?
Well, thankfully box squats are a ton safer than normal squats if you get stuck, all you end up doing is sitting there with a ton of weight on your shoulders. So I sat there for a second and then decided the best thing to do would be to just toss the weight off my back and to the ground. Here's where my mis-judging took over: the box I was on stuck out pretty far behind me, and the weight was, well, heavy, too heavy to "toss" off my shoulders. The bar proceeded to plummet to the edge of the box, landing squarely ON the box and then taking the massive amounts of force to both ends with all the plates loaded on there. This led to the end of the bar. It bent so much! I tried to figure out a couple ways to bend it back real quick but it just did not work. Damn.
Maybe it was the heat, maybe it was the insane the serious lack of sleep the past couple nights, maybe it was just that sometimes I AM as stupid as I think I am. I decided to throw the bar back up there, load the weight back on the bar and give it another shot. And in true Homer Simpson fashion, much to my surprise (NOT...), it all happened again. Literally the same, exact, thing. Idiot. I guess I was just in denial that it happened the first time that I just insisted on going on...
Either way, I jumped into the most complex and serious heavy lifting program without being ready at all, and I knew I wasn't ready. I am embarrassed by this as I know better. So, I'll really be ready to go Wednesday and I'll turn this thing around so fast!
In other news, I am headed out to California tomorrow morning, so my posts may be a little spuratic, but I'll probably get a couple up while there. In terms of workouts, the entire week is posted up on the "Workouts" page, so be sure to see what's in store for the week!
Never Stop, GET FIT.
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