Practical Paleo & Primal – How to Sustainably Eat Better to Look & Feel Better

Fresh Paleo-friendly FoodIf you follow my blog, you know that I competed in a Paleo Challenge back in January 2011 with the rest of my CrossFit box. I was pretty darn strict with myself: No sugars of any sort (even honey), no grains at all, and no dairy products of any sort. I was very happy with the results. I lost body fat, gained muscle, have more energy, enjoy clear skin, have no more stomach troubles, and just generally feel great when I eat Paleo. It is pretty amazing. My body definitely became leaner and my muscle definition increased considerably. I even got my six pack back! And my strength kept up pretty well, so I continued to see gains in my weightlifting and improvements in my CrossFit WODs. But, the biggest benefit is how I feel. I always knew that I had issues with dairy and had reduced it considerably in my diet. But now I know that I also have issues with wheat. When I finished the challenge, I had some celebration meals that weekend that included grains and dairy. Ouch. I felt lousy for 2-3 days after that. So, I’m staying Paleo and for the best reason of all: I simply feel great when I eat Paleo and avoid grains, dairy, and sugars. It’s pretty easy to avoid those foods now and I don’t feel like I’m denying myself anything. Because it doesn’t matter how good something tastes, if you feel lousy afterwards.

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Deadlift Tips

woman doing deadliftI love the Deadlift, but many fear it and think they will hurt their back. With a tight focus on good form, proper technique through the entire lift (both up and down), and a consistent approach; you really have nothing to fear and a lot to gain. The Deadlift and the Squat are two of the best lifts for activating muscle growth throughout your entire body. Well worth learning how to do them well.

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Tough Mudder NorCal – Tips for Training and Running It

Tough Mudder NorCal 2011 mapIt has been a couple of months since I finished the Tough Mudder NorCal 2011 event in Squaw Valley, CA near Lake Tahoe. I’ve had some time to think about that day, the obstacles that I faced, and the overall experience. All in all, it went very well. I had a great time and, to be honest, it wasn’t that hard for me. That’s a good thing. That means that my training worked and preparation paid off. That doesn’t mean that it was easy. By no means was it easy! It was definitely a test of your strength, endurance, teamwork, and your willpower to continue despite fatigue, hunger, pain, and extreme discomfort. For example, I don’t think there is any way to really be ready to enjoy the icy cold water of the Chernobyl Jacuzzi and the Underwater Tunnels obstacles, unless you’re a member of the Polar Bear Club and get off on that type of thing. I hate being cold, so I was careful about the gear I chose to wear that day (Read more about my Head-to-Toe Gear here).

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The Mixed Blessings of an Injury

lower leg muscles diagramAbout 6 weeks ago, I tore a muscle in my leg. Not fun. I do CrossFit 4-5 times a week and I do trail running on the weekend. So, you can imagine how unhappy I was to be injured and forced to do some rest and recovery. I got back into my CrossFit box pretty soon and just focused on upper-body lifts and workouts. But, I couldn’t run or jump. After about 2 weeks, I started adding back leg work again (Squats, OHS) and full-body work (Deadlifts). But, I still can’t run or jump (no box jumps for me). I’ve been doing modified metcons and rowing to keep up my cardio, but it’s nothing like 5 mile runs, of course.

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Are You a Parent or Do You Plan to Be?

Have you ever struggled with your weight, health, or fitness at any point in your life? If you are a parent (or plan to be one) or a teacher or anyone who has a chance to positively influence a child’s life, what are you doing right now to put them on a lifelong path of…

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Don't Talk to Me. I'm Lifting.

Tshirt Don't talk to meI don’t know about you, but I don’t want anyone talking to me when I’m lifting heavy. I don’t want anyone standing in front of me when I’m lifting heavy. Yet, there is always that one guy who can’t stop getting in your way. He always feels the need to talk to you right in the middle of a big lift.

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Numbers Don't Lie – Focus on Performance. Not the Mirror or the Scale

I can’t tell you how many times I hear or read; “I want his/her body!” or “How do I get that body?”. The focus is entirely on their physical appearance and they just want to hear how to achieve that “look“. Well, I have a shocking revelation for you. You don’t get that body by focusing on how you look or how much you weigh. That body is the byproduct of focusing on something else entirely: Your Performance. Take a look at the people below and tell me what they all have in common.

CrossFit Woman on the Rings Male Gymnast Rings
Olympic Female Swimmer Olympic Male Swimmers
Crossfit Female Weightlifter Crossfit Male Masters Division
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Head-to-Toe Gear for NorCal Tough Mudder Event

Tough Mudder logoWell, I have been testing and re-testing a lot of gear that I want to use to run in the NorCal Tough Mudder. I’ve been quite happy with my Under Armour ColdGear top and leggings (compression fit). I’ve tested it running in cold weather and even jumped into a cold river to see how warm it would keep me after I had been fully submerged. It works! I didn’t feel very cold and I warmed up quickly as I started running again. Do I look a bit silly wearing leggings? Yep. Do I care? Nope. I have seen guys wearing much crazier stuff at the Tough Mudder (think loincloths and thongs), so I don’t think my appearance is going to matter much and I want to be warm in that icy water.

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Anger, Arousal, Testosterone & Weightlifting

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Wow, I just read a great article on this topic, but it was so NSFW that I may not reshare it. The basic premise is sound and I’ve read other supporting research on the topic. Basically, there are a number of things that elevate testosterone production, help you lift heavier, feel less pain, and grow more muscle (for both men AND women). The simple act of squeezing the barbell really, really hard; angry music; cursing; sexual imagery; violent imagery; etc. all seem to have an effect.

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Testing the Merrell Trail Glove Barefoot Shoe for Tough Mudder

Merrell Trail Glove ShoeSo, if you’ve read my Tough Mudder training posts before, you know that I have been wearing the Vibram (VFF) FiveFingers Treksport shoes for my trail running. I still love my VFF and now I actually have 3 different pairs (KSO, Trek, Treksport). I wear VFF every day. But, there has been a nagging issue for my more aggressive uphill trail running: My smaller toes keep sliding out of the VFF toe pockets when I sprint uphill. Don’t tell me that I need a smaller size, because I can’t go any smaller. My big toe is already uncomfortably scrunched a bit. I know that I could go one size even smaller and then use a heat gun to heat and stretch the big toe. But, I already did that with this pair and I think it would probably destroy an even smaller pair. There is only so much you can stretch that toe!

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