My Experience with the Paleo Diet – by Pat Burke
How is your molecular foundation? I am reminded of the importance of nutrition every time I get run-down, tired, and ultimately sick. You’ve probably seen this Hierarchy of Athletic Development picture before…but just in case, here it is:
Nutrition’s role in the development of an athlete is to “lay the molecular foundation” for fitness and health. In simple terms, it means that you must feed your body high performance nutrition if you expect high performance results.
I was introduced to the paleo diet by doing a 30-day nutrition challenge…
Roughly six years ago Janelle and I did our first nutrition challenge alongside about 20 of our first members of MBS. We had just attended a Robb Wolf seminar and were stoked to see what would happen if we stuck to a diet of “meat, vegetable, nuts, and seeds”, aka Paleo Diet. Previously, we had been eating according to diet plans found in Men’s Fitness and other garbage magazines. Well, if you’ve done one of the 30-day challenges, you know how it goes…it sucks. Getting off caffeine, no rice, bread, pasta, cheese, milk, or SUGAR!!! To be honest, we probably accidentally cheated more than once because it’s actually very hard to be 100% free of processed food. You have to know where to shop, what ingredients to avoid…the food companies do a pretty good job at disguising sugar and their additives.
The results of our first challenge were mixed. It was physically frustrating because I was occasionally tired, moody, and lost weight that I didn’t want to lose over the course of the 30 days. Some of our members experienced weight loss that they were looking for (5-10 lbs. average) and they were very happy. But, on the positive side, we all noticed that, especially toward the end of the challenge, we felt better, had a more positive mood, sleep was better, skin was clearer, and we breathed easier in the high intensity workouts.
The larger role that the nutrition challenge played was that I learned how to take charge of what goes in my body and to be very serious about it. For example, you SHOULD care if there are 15 grams of sugar in each serving of your barbeque sauce and the serving size is only 2 tablespoons. Without being selective with what goes in your body, you are likely to be putting a bunch of junk in it that is making you feel sick, gain weight, or have bad performances in your workouts.
Since doing our first paleo challenge, we did one more seriously, and another couple where we fell off the wagon…Eventually, we’ve learned that we don’t need/require the structure of being 100%. It’s hard to be perfect paleo all the time, even just 30 days. But, through doing the challenges, we’ve been able to identify how to shop, where to shop, how to prepare our food according to our daily schedules, and what exceptions we can make to the diet that don’t seem to have a noticeable effect on our health (ie cream in our coffee and butter are my everyday cheats that I’m not willing to give up). We’ve also learned how to play with our food quantities according to our goals. For example, I know how to eat a 100% paleo diet without losing weight…it’s not easy, but it can be done. 🙂
Sacrifice is a part of life. If you want a good paying job, you have to sacrifice 4 years and go to college. If you want to be good at something, you sacrifice your time and practice that skill. If you want to be healthy, you have to make the sacrifice and learn about eating better. Nutrition is key to living a happier, healthier life.
By the way, Coach Amanda is happy to help you out with your nutrition. She can do private consultations by appointment, or just point you in the right direction. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org for more info.
Also, a big shout out to the folks that are currently doing our Fall Nutrition Challenge…only two more weeks to go!!!
WORKOUT OF THE DAY
Back squat, WP 5’s – add 10#’s to your training max (not 1RM) from last cycle
warm up sets – 40×5, 50×5, 60×3
work sets – 65×5, 75×5, 85xAMRAP
30 KB weighted box step ups ea leg, 24/20″ with 72/53 kb
30 Box jumps 24/20″
30 KB goblet squats 72/53 lb.
30 KB swings 72/53 lb.
Cashout with 30 KB Russian twists 72/53 lb.
I’m going to post these “levels” on a few workouts this week. Basically, L3 is our advanced CF athletes that are familiar with their 1RM maxes and can do most workouts as prescribed. L2 is for our athletes with at least 6 mo experience, but are still mastering the proper form and strength in movements. L1 is for those folks with less than 6 months and are still working on form and conditioning. By modifying the reps/load according to your skill and ability level, you are going to get more out of the workout.
Try to modify reps before modifying weight
L3 – Rx
L2 – 20 reps
L1 – 15 reps and lighter weight