Alright booty campers, it’s about that time to dial in on nutrition! I know many of you have been anxiously anticipating the details and criteria for the upcoming Paleo challenge, so here it is!
I realize that Paleo eating, despite being a trendy buzz in the fitness and Crossfit community, still may be a complete mystery to a lot of you, so before I go into the details of the Boot Camp Paleo Challenge, here’s a little snapshot of what the Paleo Diet consists of:
The modern dietary regimen known as the Paleolithic diet, also popularly referred to as the caveman diet, Stone Age diet and hunter-gatherer diet, is a nutritional plan based on the presumed ancient diet of wild plants and animals that various human species habitually consumed during the Paleolithic era—a period of about 2.5 million years duration that ended around 10,000 years ago with the development of agriculture. Centered on commonly available modern foods, the “contemporary” Paleolithic diet consists mainly of grass-fed pasture raised meats, fish, vegetables, fruit, roots, and nuts, and excludes grains, legumes, dairy products, salt, refined sugar, and processed oils.
Damn, you bored yet? I’ll spare you my take on why Paleo eating is a wildly effective way to improve your body composition, lose body fat and make HUGE performance gains in the gym. If you want to go ahead and geek out on the science, it’s really interesting stuff, at least to us fitness geeks. A great place to start if you want some more scientific background is by reading The Paleo Diet by Dr. Loren Cordain and/or The Paleo Solution by Robb Wolf, which is a more modern-day version of Paleo eating.
If nutritional science doesn’t interest you, then all you need to worry about for the challenge is eating meat, vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds, and some oils. If you take nothing else away from this, stick to those 6 things for your food selections and you’ll be on the right track. For the most part, if it has a mom, or you can grow it from a seed, it’s open game!
There are a few foods that fall into that gray area…deli meats, bacon, sweet potatoes, yams, honey, agave nectar, “paleo” desserts and a few others. I won’t argue with anyone as to whether they are actually Paleo friendly, suffice it to say that these shouldn’t be your go-to foods if you want to see major changes in the coming months. The way this challenge will be structured, you can get away with selecting these foods in moderation.
So how will the challenge work?
The challenge will begin on January 9th and will run through March 9th. Now, before you go planning your attack to hunt me down for ruining your Winter ski trips, hear me out on the details.
The challenge will simply involve sticking to pure Paleo eating as much as possible, no one will be “penalized” for occasional cheating or eating outside the Paleo pyramid. Unlike our last challenge, we won’t be using a negative point system every time you slip up.
So how will I know if you’re not sticking to the plan? Quite honestly, I won’t. The goal of this challenge is to get you thinking about making better nutritional choices and integrating the Paleo plan as part of a permanent lifestyle change. It will give everyone the chance to experience how it can positively impact your overall energy level and your performance in the gym. To hold everyone to a strict 30 day plan with penalties just reinforces a lack of permanence, and no one will really benefit from temporary Paleo eating in the long run. Furthermore, perfection isn’t necessarily important in this challenge. If you eat 200 grams of sugar a day right now and by the end of the challenge, you’re eating 50 grams and are starting to make performance gains, then who cares if you slipped up a few times? That’s not the objective of this challenge!
That said, I encourage everyone to use a buddy system that works for them for extra accountability. Nutrition logging works great for some people and knowing that you have to show your log to one of your fellow athletes can help keep you on track (I’m happy to be your personal enforcer on this). If that doesn’t work for you, find something that does. The point is, be accountable to yourself! The “how to” is completely up to you as an individual.
How will the winner of the challenge be determined?
This is a performance-based challenge, so you will complete a benchmark workout on Wednesday and will be re-tested in two months. We will compare the data on your overall output for Wednesday’s workout with March’s re-test, and the athlete with the highest percentage increase will win the challenge. The final analysis of performance improvements will also take into account your rank for the workouts compared to the rest of the athletes. Without boring you with the details, this is simply a way to account for anyone who sandbags the first workout to show an inflated increase in 60 days.
There will be sweet prizes for the first and second place athletes. Not gonna let the cat out of the bag on what they are, but they’re pretty awesome!!
I had originally planned to make body fat assessments a part of the challenge and factor that into determining the winner. I decided against doing that, as it’s not necessarily everyone’s goal to lose body fat and there are some athletes that really shouldn’t lose any additional body fat from where they are now. That said, I still want to offer before and after body fat assessments for anyone who is interested. It’s a really nice gauge of your improvements as an athlete, so come see me (Coach Chad) if you’re interested. I’ll be using a 4-point skinfold assessment, which isn’t 100% accurate, but is effective in showing gains and losses over time.
What are the best resources science on Paleo eating and recipes?
Glad you asked! There are a million of them out there, but here are some go-to sites:
www.whole9life.com/ (resources tab has some paleo blogs)
www.catalyst-meals.com (a great local resource for Paleo delivered right to Trident, thanks to Patrick Smith and Robert Morton)
These all range in content from nutritional science and biochemistry to functional Paleo eating tips to Paleo recipes. Many of these sites also have links to other Paleo blogs and educational articles. The resources are endless.
Your other best resources are right in your own gym! You can ask any of the coaches for nutritional guidance that matches up with your own individual goals. We’re all pretty well versed in nutrition, so don’t be afraid to ask any of us if you have questions. We’re in the biz of changing lives, so don’t be shy!
Hope everyone is ready to kick some ass over the next 60 days!
Dear Chriss and Andrea:
Happy New Year!
I have this crazy story to tell you and I really don’t think this story would be complete without acknowledging the excellent coaching and training that I have received at Trident.
So on New Year’s Eve, I got out of work early around 2 p.m. and was sitting on a bench waiting for a train at the Archives Metro Station. And then suddenly, this guy comes from behind and snatches my iPhone 5 (this was a birthday gift from Erik/my first EVER smartphone!) out of my hand. The guy quickly hops on the train on the other side of the platform.
Everyone knows that after an exhausting WOD, the one thing you (should/sometimes/kinda) look forward to it using a foam roller to help those aching muscles feel better later on.
Here’s a great video from Trident’s Dr. Matt Fontaine on how best to use the roller after a work out. You’ll recognize some of the movements, but there a few we don’t normally see that could be helpful if you ever feel tight in certain areas. It’s also a good way to see how it should be done to better your own post-WOD cool down.
Holiday Schedule Jan 1st 2013
10am 11am & Noon Only
Happy New Year!!!
This is the first of several articles in our Cornerstones of Health series whose purpose is to educate, stimulate, and motivate. This information is a compilation of data from many reputable healthcare sites, books, classes, and my personal clinical experience….so, read on.
Leave a comment if you have questions or catch me at the gym (hopefully not between rounds of Fran).
For those of you who are not familiar with Christmas Abbott, check out this profile. While she’s already well-known in CrossFit circles, she’s now trying to break into NASCAR as part of the pit crew for Turner Motorsports. She talked about her journey to NASCAR with the Charlotte Observer back in October. Definitely check out this gallery of her practicing in the pit.
While it’d be a huge step for Abbott to break through the NASCAR wall, the other takeaway from this is how transferable the strength and stamina you build from CrossFit is to other areas. Next time you’re doing sit-ups or thrusters, remember that they’re more applicable than you think.
Rumor has it that these bars are a bit crumbly but boy are they delicious!
These hearty breakfast bars remind me of a granola bar or an omega-3 packed power bar. They’re filling and tasty.
After I made a batch of these and was waiting for them to cool before cutting and stylizing them for a “photo shoot,” my younger son proudly taunted me that he had picked out all of the raisins from the top of the bars.
Needless to say, I was quite miffed. Especially since I have a couple of half gallon jars full of raisins at the boys disposal which they freely dip into when they have a “sugar” fix.
Well, I found a corner of the bars that still had the raisins mostly in tact for the photo above.
1 ¼ cup blanched almond flour
¼ teaspoon celtic sea salt
¼ teaspoon baking soda
¼ cup grapeseed oil
¼ cup agave nectar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup shredded coconut
½ cup pumpkin seeds
½ cup sunflower seeds
¼ cup almond slivers
¼ cup raisins
- In a small bowl, combine almond flour, salt and baking soda
- In a large bowl, combine grapeseed oil, agave and vanilla
- Stir dry ingredients into wet
- Mix in coconut, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, almond slivers and raisins
- Grease an 8×8 baking dish with grapeseed oil
- Press the dough into the baking dish, wetting your hands with water to help pat the dough down evenly
- Bake at 350° for 20 minutes
None of the nuts and seeds in this low-maintenance bar are toasted. I wanted to make something quick and easy, that could be whipped up in just a couple of minutes before popping into the oven.
30 Day Pure Paleo Challenge – Rules and Regs:
The goal is to eat ONLY foods from that qualify as paleo-friendly for the entire 30 days. In its most simplified form, this includes lean (un-processed) meats, fruits, vegetables(non-starchy), nuts, seeds and most oils.
The challenge will work on a point system. For every serving of a non-paleo food/drink that you consume, you earn points. So, obviously, points are bad, and the goal …is to obtain the lowest possible score for the month. Some foods that are considered borderline will only constitute a 1 point penalty, where as all the strictly “Paleo forbidden” foods will count as 2 points.
The 1-point borderline foods are: Wine, Beer, and alcohol (1 serving = 4 oz, 12 oz and 1.5 oz respectively). Lean cold cuts (since in their purest form they are Paleolithic, but are processed) like ham, turkey, deli chicken and bacon. *These foods are only worth one point up until you’ve reached 5 servings for the month, then they begin accumulating 2 points per serving.*
All other foods that are clearly non-paleo foods are worth 2 points. The obvious ones are sugar (other than the natural sugar that occurs in fruit), all artificial sweeteners, all whole grains, legumes (including peanuts), all dairy (milk, cream, butter, cheese, etc). Also, some less obvious foods that carry a 2 point penalty are: protein bars and shakes, honey, cottage cheese, corn (this is a whole grain), potatoes, sweet potatoes, and yams.
Each person involved in the challenge will pick one or two teammates or partners to pair up with for accountability purposes. (Pick someone you see frequently). You’ll log your food intake each day in any way that is convenient for you (Paper journal, online, etc.) and share it with your teammate. This doesn’t have to be every day, but often enough that you’re accountable to someone! You and your teammate will keep track of the total points accumulated (or, hopefully, lack thereof) for the entire month. At the end of the month, everyone will report back with their total scores.
Rather than offer a monetary incentive, we’ll do this the Crossfit way! The top two winners will get to either devise a workout or choose a Hero/Girl workout for the rest of the group to perform. Shy of doing two consecutive naked Murphs with a 40 lb. weight vest on in the snow, the workout design is open game!!
Good luck everyone!!!
My kids were clambering for some banana bread…
3 ripe bananas mashed up
1 generous tsp of vanilla
Honey to taste – I used ~ 3 Tlbsp
-combine all above well
Add 2 cups almond meal and 1 tsp baking soda
Pour into a 9×11 or something that doesn’t make it overly thick (I didn’t try to to bake a loaf of bread – but if you want to give it a shot let us know how it goes)
Bake it at 350 for 30 min
Swerve it hot with some butter – and a side of bacon seems to go well with it….
1 med. size rutabaga
1 tbsp. butter
2 tbsp. almond flour
1/2 c. coconut milk
1/2 tbsp. honey (not Paleo, but very minimal)
Peel and cube the rutabaga. Boil until soft (about 20 mins) and then mash. A food processor works best since rutabaga does not soften and mash like potatoes.
Mix in the rest of the ingredients until smooth. Again, the food processor works great for this. Pour into a well-greased casserole dish (8×8). Sprinkle with nutmeg. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 mins
-2lbs Ground Beef (Grass Fed preferred)
-1lb Ground Pork (Grass Fed preferred)
-1 pack (usually ~12 ounces of uncured nitrate free bacon, Trader Joes has awesome Apple wood smoked uncured bacon)
-3 eggs from your local farmers market (not one of the 1/2 Billion eggs just recalled…)
-1 jar roasted red peppers, diced up
-1 Vidalia onion diced up and drained of any juice
-4 cloves of garlic diced up
-1/4 cup parmesan cheese if you want (not paleo)
-2 teaspoons oregano (dried) or 1 Tablespoon fresh)
-2 teaspoon dried basil or 1 Tablespoon fresh (more if you like basil 2 Tablespoons fresh for me)
– 1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
– salt to taste (kosher)
– roughly a teaspoon as the bacon brings some of the salt
-almond meal – use some if your mixture is to moist
Get out the food processor and grind up the bacon until it is the consistency of ground beef. (I use the food processor for the onion and garlic since it is already dirty anyway…) Mix everything together and roll into your favorite sized meatballs. I like to pan fry them up in some coconut oil and finish them in the over. Serve over some spaghetti squash (check it out here with your favorite tomato sauce, salad with a balsamic vinagrette and glass of wine. Nice dessert – some fresh blueberries drizzled with almond butter.
No, it doesn’t make to much – make the whole batch and put them on a cookie sheet covered with foil and freeze them individually – then put them in a freezer bag for a rainy day – you can also use the mix for Bacon Hamburgers…
Want to add some zing to the meatballs – chop up some chipotles and mix them in for Chipotle Bacon Meatballs – unreal!!!
Each bite is a perfect combination of spicy pepper, juicy chicken and salty, crispy bacon. The MDA reader that submitted this recipe for the Reader-Created Cookbook Contest stacks up as many pickled jalapenos on the popper as they can stand for an extra-spicy version, but you can modify the recipe to tone down the heat. If you can’t find pickled jalapenos (or your local market is out of them, like ours was) jarred pepperoncinis are a perfect substitute. Simply slice off the top, clean out the seeds and slice the pepper open so the raw chicken fits inside. Wrap the bundle up with a slice of bacon and secure with a toothpick or skewer then throw ‘em on the grill. Over medium heat the poppers will take 8-10 minutes per side to crisp up and cook through. The aroma of bacon in the air will make you want to eat the poppers right off the grill, but for the sake of convenience consider making them ahead of time for the 4th of July, as they are equally delicious if kept in the fridge and served hours later.
As if this recipe wasn’t mouthwatering enough, our anonymous MDA reader had to take it one step further by suggesting we dip the poppers in our favorite creamy dressing. Since we happened to have a batch of homemade Ranch dressing in the fridge we gave it try. Not to be overly dramatic, but the combination of cool, creamy dressing with the spicy, salty popper was pretty much like heaven.
With or without dip, these Spicy Chicken and Bacon Poppers are our new favorite appetizer and we can’t wait for the 4th of July to serve them up again!
- Makes 6-8 poppers
- 1 large chicken breast
- 6-8 pickled jalapenos or pepperoncinis
- 3-4 strips of bacon
Cut chicken breast into 1? cubes. Marinate the chicken with salt and pepper, jerk seasoning or your favorite seasoning and oil.
Place 1-2 slices of pickled jalapeno on each piece of marinated chicken or slice open a pepperoncini and put a piece of chicken inside.
Wrap 1/3 – 1/2 of a piece of bacon around the chicken and secure each popper individually with toothpicks or spear multiple poppers on a skewer.
Over medium heat, grill the poppers until the chicken is cooked through and the bacon is crisp, about 8-10 minutes a side.
And if you’re so inclined…
Homemade Ranch Dressing
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 1 garlic clove, minced and mashed into a paste
- 1/3 cup finely chopped fresh herbs (chives, parsley, dill or a blend of all three)
- 1 teaspoon celery salt
- salt and pepper to taste
Whisk ingredients together. Taste, then tinker with it until it tastes good to you. Kefir or Greek yogurt can also be used, apple cider vinegar can make it more acidic, and additional spices can be added.
Tired of hamburgers – try a lamb burger
1lb ground lamb
spices – salt, pepper, oregano, mint, basil – you can mix it up here with what ever you have / want
– 2-4 tlbs of minced onion
– 2 cloves garlic mined
– mix it all up, make burger patties and grill them up…
I have added roasted red pepper, feta (not Paleo…), and fresh spinach to the mix as well
Prep: 25 min, Bake: 60 min
Oven: 350, Makes: 6 servings
1½ lbs butternut, buttercup, or banana squash***
1 large onion, sliced & separated into rings (1 cup)
1 TBS butter
1 med pear, peeled and thinly sliced (1 cup)***
Sprinkle of salt
3 TBS fine dry bread crumbs***
3 slices bacon, crisp-cooked, drained, and crumbled
2 TBS chopped walnuts***
1 TBS grated Romano or Parmesan cheese***
1 TBS melted butter
2 TBS snipped fresh parsley (opt)***
– Any type of squash will work, but you may have to adjust cooking time
– 1 pear may not make a full cup, but don’t worry it will be enough
– For the crumble topping use almond flour instead of bread crumbs and
skip the cheese (although, it is very minimal and makes it tasty!)
– I always use dried because that is usually what I have (but only a sprinkle)
1. Peel squash; slice crosswise into ½ -inch slices. (If using butternut squash, first cut the squash in half lengthwise.) Remove and discard seeds. Set squash aside.
2. Cook onion rings in the 1 TBS hot butter for 5-10 minutes or until tender.
3. Arrange half of the squash slices in the bottom of an 8x8x2 –inch baking dish. Top with half of the pear slices. Repeat layers. Sprinkle lightly with salt. Cover with the cooked onions. Bake, covered, in a 350 oven about 45 min or until nearly tender.
4. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine bread crumbs, bacon, walnuts, cheese, and the 1 TBS melted butter; sprinkle over vegetables. Bake, uncovered, about 15 minutes more or until tender. If desired, sprinkle with parsley.