Thinking of a New Year’s Resolution? Some “Paleo” Tough Love

So you want to go paleo? What does that mean exactly? In my workshops I teach the three pillars of paleo -



Sleep/Stress Management

Going paleo is about doing all three. Have an excuse as to why you cannot attempt to commit to all of these areas? Stop reading here. There are plenty of diet plans out there where you can eat processed, pre-packaged foods and feel hungry and generally not satisfied all the time. You’ll also want to  join your local globo gym and hit that exercise machine until your cortisol levels are through the roof. Get a month to month membership because you’ll be done by March. If being hungry, not enjoying your food (Don’t kid yourself, that crap in a box sucks.), feeling tired all the time in order to see numbers on a scale is your idea of a Happy New Year, then please do not read my articles. There are people out there waiting to take your money sucker! See you back here this time next year. Want to improve body composition, feel better, be stronger, look better naked and have a better sex life? Sound too good to be true? Read on.

Still with me? Good! Here is the low down.

Nutrition – Eat a paleo diet. It will give you consistent energy levels, improve body composition, reduce inflammation and generally make you healthier. This means:

- No Grains

- No Dairy

- No Legumes (including peanuts)

- No Added Sugar

- No Processed Foods

If you’re asking questions like “So can I have quinoa?” or “I can’t have peanuts but what about peanut butter?” then please get your head out of your ass and use some common sense.

Please see my article on “the paleo diet simplified”  for more info. I recommend reading The Paleo Solution by Robb Wolf so that you can understand the science behind all of this. If you understand  the why then you will be more likely to stick with it. Not a big reader? Check out a Balanced Bites workshop  with Diane to get the science behind the nutrition. Or contact me to schedule a workshop or phone consult. You may fall into the I don’t want to know the science stuff yet but am committed to trying it out to see if it works. If that sounds like you then check out Whole9. Dallas and Melissa have a program called the Whole 30 that is a “just do it” program. It gives you the how and leaves the sciency stuff to those more interested in that. I applaud their requirement of 100% commitment. That’s just what it takes to get started! 


Get functionally fit. What is functionally fit? Check out this guest post from Clifton Harski. I suggest checking out your local crossfit. Make sure that your trainers know what they are doing. A level one crossfit certification is meaningless. If you have a grand to blow you can get one. That being said, there are lot’s of great crossfit trainers out there that have a vast amount of knowledge. Talk to their clients or ask for references. Do they have any other certifications? What is their background? If you have more than one to choose from in your area, visit several. See which one you like best. Don’t let distance be the deciding factor. Other options are locating an RKC trainer in your area or attending a MovNat workshop. You may also be fortunate enough to live near a functional fitness gym that is a former crossfit affiliate or that has great programming such as Gym Jones, Catalyst Athletics or NorCal Strength and Conditioning

Sleep/Stress Management

Sleep 8 hours a night if possible in a dark room.

Read “Don’t sweat the small stuff.” 

Spend 10 minutes a day of quiet time.

To Zone Is Not Paleo!

“The Zone, I’ll say, isn’t by far the worst diet out there. It gets a few key things right or somewhat close. That said, however, I think there’s big room for improvement.” – Mark Sisson

I hear it all the time from crossfitters – “Zone/Paleo is the best way to eat.” I’ve not had one of those people able to tell me why. Although I would rather see people that insist on eating a zone diet eliminate harmful grains and legumes from their diet, the 40 carbs/30 protein/30 fats breakdown misses the mark when it comes to optimal nutrition. It is proportionatly much better than the modern industrialized diet and that is why many experience results with it. 

Let’s look at the carbohydrate load here. Carbohydrates are sugars, so we’ll call them just that to avoid confusion. Your body does need some sugar to run and that’s fine. You body does not need 40% of it’s energy to come from sugar. There are many reasons for this but I would look up AGE’s (Advanced Glycation End products – Think of sugar caramelizing  on the stove and then think of that happening in side your body) and that should be enough to scare the crap out of you. 

Protein.  If you are crossfitting then you know you need your protein…30% of your diet is simply not sufficient. You are really pushing your body, trust me I know, so fuel it fuel it properly. Also, soy, as Dr. Sears recommends is not an optimal source of protein and studies show that it lowers testosterone. Eat more protein. How much? Try going paleo for 30 days and then your body will tell you once your hormones are back to normal. You don’t need to weigh and measure. The human body is indeed an amazing machine.

 Fat is good for you. Good fat. By good fat I mean olive oil, avocado, wild caught fish and wild, pastured and grass finished meats and the like. Fat is satiating and is designed to be used as a primary source of energy. The zone limits fat intake below what most paleo eaters consider optimal. 

All in all a solid paleo diet consists of quality protein, fat, vegetables and some fruit, nuts and seeds. The  zone diet does not reflect this proportion as you see in the food pyramid below.

  It’s not just about eliminating grains and legumes. That’s an important part and if you do that you are really on your way to better health.  The energy source for the diets is just plain different. Paleo seeks to get your body back to a nutural state where it burns fat for fuel most of the time and sugar when appropriate. Bottom line…to Zone is not Paleo.

Is Your Fitness Functional? – Part 2 “Why A Different Gym?”

At Riverside Military Academy, we had an old school gym. Brick walls, fencing and iron made up this inside of our gym. Hard rock pumped loudly from a stereo and men (really just boys) sweated and screamed while they forged their bodies. At wrestling practice, we performed metcon style work outs that were considered tougher than the workouts that other sports did. Ever since then, I have never cared for typical “globo gyms” and when my friend and I opened a martial arts school years ago we did it in a warehouse complete with roll up door. So when some friends turned me on to crossfit a little over a year ago, I was immediately drawn into the old school nature of what they were doing. I found out that I am not alone. 

Crossfit is growing at a rapid rate. The number of affiliated gyms grew from 18 in 2005 to almost 1,700 in 2010. There are people out there who were just tired of the globo gym, people who see the results of a functional work out.  Patrons who not only want to look better but want to perform better, whether it be in a sport or the game of life. While crossfit gets the mainstream attention, there are many other lesser known programs out there. RKC has been around for much longer and is considered to be the pinnacle of kettlebell training. MovNat gets straight to the point by training with functional movements in nature, cutting out the middleman that is a gym and lifting rocks, logs, climbing trees and more. Facilaties like Gym Jones  in Salt Lake City, Utah have been quietly starting their own revolution.

In high school, wrestling practice had shown me what jumping rope, rope climbing, fireman carrys, stadiums and other functional exercises could do for your level of fitness. I was quickly introduced to new equipment such as sandbags, sledgehammers and tires. This all appealed to the fitness rebel in me. I was hooked. There is something great about working toward real fitness (not mirror fitness) in an environment where pushing your limits is encouraged.  It brought out something inside of me, something primal. That is why I work out at a “different gym”. But are all of these programs created equal? Stay tuned all week for more installments of  “Is Your Fitness Functional.”

Guest Post – “Why I Crossfit” by Nestor Perez

Nestor and I after a WOD @ Crossfit Lafayette

Why do I CrossFit?

Quite simply because I can’t not crossfit.  I have been at this for 11 months and I have gained stamina, strength, flexibility…in essense, I am fitter than I have been since I walked out of Parris Island on that April morning in 1992.  I have never been short on self confidence, but while I have always been proud of many of my accomplishements, getting in better shape than I have ever been, at 38, has me stoked.  My wife and kids have noticed my improvements which are noticeable in every aspect of my life.  I crossfit because I am healthier, stronger, and more balanced than ever.  I have an addictive personality, and I am glad that Crossfit has filled my need for a new addiction….hence, I can’t not crossfit.

Nestor Perez

Nestor Perez and I attended Riverside Military Academy together. He is a United States Marine, Proud Husband and Father, World Traveler. Nestor works out at Crossfit Vida in Miami Florida.

Make A New Year’s Evolution- Part 1, Change Your Mind, Change Your Life

New Year’s resolutions often to into revolutions. A sad cyclical event when one starts out right and takes over there life only to be overthrown again by fat and bad health. Why can’t so many maintain there healthy lifestyle? They are often misled by all of the confusing health and fitness marketing out there, influenced by society and eventually loose motivation. On top of this you could look at statistics that tell you about how many people fail at their resolutions…it’s pretty depressing. Here’s the good news. None of that has to apply to you. Whether you want to loose 100 lbs, 5 lbs or just want to improve your overall fitness it is all very achievable. Make a New Year’s Evolution and evolve into the best that you can be!

Know Who You Are and Who You Want To Be

What is it you want to accomplish? Why? Do you want to do a triathlon? Do you want to fight in the UFC? Do you want to be able to hike a certain trail? You need to decide what sort of fitness that you require and train that way. Training like a triathlete makes no sense if you aspire to be a fighter and you will not find it mentally rewarding either.  Functional fitness will reward you and make your life better. Don’t have something that you aspire to do? Find something! This is about lifestyle change my friend!

Stop Making Excuses – Tough Love

I often see people saying – “I’ll just skip this workout because…. or I’ll just eat this because….”. That’s not OK…period! Let me save you some time here, If you are going to do that then, close this window and get out and grab a donut, crapacino or some ice cream because you don’t yet have the desire to change. You have the ability but not the desire. Check back in when you’re serious.

For those of you that are still with me, you want to make a change. Stick with that and don’t let anything get in your way! Remember that life happens, you can always adapt. Left your lunch at home? No excuse to go grab fast food. Meeting ran late? You can still get in your work out or even do it another time. We’ll cover these topics later this week. Tune in all week for new installments that will help you become the best you ever!


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