Crossfit Fitness

CrossFit Fundamentals – Session One

In my prior post I talked about how devastating the CrossFit Baseline workout that I endured during my “Intro” session was. That night, I was freaked. I was worried I was not going to be able to sustain that kind of intensity even a couple of times per week. Still not sure, but I completed my first CrossFit Fundamentals class today and it was perfect – both very intense but not so intense that I couldn’t function the rest of the day, unlike the Intro!

Because of my schedule, the kind folks at my local box were very accommodating and allowed me to pick the date and time for my first session. I showed up for what was a one-on-one with the trainer (I won’t include her name here as I didn’t get permission from her first) – a wonderful lady who was very friendly, clearly very knowledgeable, and patient with me. As I was getting my dues paid, she handed me a pamphlet for the Philly CowShare – a way for members to band up and get a group discount on local grass-fed beef. I asked her if most of the people at this box were Paleo and she said with a smile and half-jokingly, “Yup. Almost everyone is in the cult!” I started telling my story and she said, “Primal?”. Yup.

She then asked me a number of questions related to whether I’ve lifted weights, etc., (I tried using the StrongLifts method but it was a complete failure), and then said we’re going to do a warm-up. I had read prior that a CrossFit motto is “Our warm-up is your workout!” It lived up to that.


1. 500m Row

I did very well at this. The trainer said my form was excellent, and although I was out of breath towards the last 100m, all in all I guess I’m a decent enough rower and I was able to recover pretty quickly.

2. 10x Stretching and Push-up Thingys (Don’t remember what they’re called)

Then she had me do a traditional ‘straight leg bend over and touch your toes’ (which I can’t do), followed by walking my hands up to put my body into a push-up position, do a push-up, then at the top of the push-up, slowly walk my hands back into the standing position. Repeat. She had me do a few to make sure my form was right, corrected some things I was doing wrong, then told me to do 10 of them.

3. High Leg Kicks

I’ve never done these but have seen athletes do them. Basically just kick your leg up as high as you can as you step forward (holding your hand out in front of you as a target), then do the opposite leg, then repeat. I’ve seen pro baseball players do this before games. She had me do that for the length of the box (30 yards?). It was kind of tough but not nearly as tough as….

4. Butt-Kicks

This is where she had my walk in tiny steps and, with each step, kick myself in the ass. During today’s session I learned two things, and one of them was that my balance isn’t as good as I thought it was. So keeping my balance while kicking myself in the ass wasn’t so easy. She had me do this the length of the box.

That concluded the warm-up. I was in a pretty good sweat and breathing hard, but not dying. It was time for instruction on the olympic weight lifts.

I said previously that I learned two things about my body during this session, with the first being that my balance wasn’t so hot. But the biggest one, by far, is that I am now certifiably one of the most inflexible people on the planet. The look on the trainer’s face when she realized this was half-funny and half-scary to me. For about 15 minutes or so I was seriously wondering if my lack of flexibility was going to disqualify me from continuing on with CrossFit, but she assured me I’d be fine given time.

It All Went to Squat From There

I knew from The Primal Blueprint that the squat was the single most important movement for fitness, but until today I didn’t realize just how important. Every lift we covered today was based on the squat.

Back Squat

The trainer asked me if I had every lifted weights before. I explained that I had enthusiastically attempted the StrongGains program, but after a couple of sessions trying my best to execute a proper back squat, I knew I just either couldn’t do it right due to inflexibility, or was doing something seriously wrong. She then handed me a thin PVC bar and demonstrated a proper back squat and had me try a number of times.

My lack of flexibility, which is throughout my entire body, is pretty startling. I think she realized this and at first didn’t believe it. Throughout the different lifts, she was doing all kinds of tricks to get my body stretched – pulling on my arms, she had a lacrosse ball and was needling my shoulders/biceps (which hurt but worked surprisingly well), and at one point had me doing weightless bicep curls with my arm resting on the bar – that HURT LIKE HELL. 3 reps, then move my arm back a half-inch and repeat, until I get to the end of my arm. Then switch to the other arm. Hurt. After the trainer needled my shoulders/biceps with a lacrosse ball for a bit, I was finally able to get the bar comfortably in the right spot on my back for a back squat.

It was around that time that she told me that, in CrossFit, intensity/adversity/”pain” is okay, but real pain is not, and once I feel real pain I need to stop. I replied, “Okay, we’d better stop the workout now then.” I don’t think she got my humor. We moved on to the front squat.

Front Squat

With the back squat the problem was the inflexibility in my hips/back/lower body. With the front squat the inflexibility in my shoulders and arms was even worse. It’s pretty clear that my lack of flexibility is not normal. When I first tried squash, about 12 years ago, the instructor, who was a world-ranked player from Europe, told me that I had the most inflexible wrist he’d ever seen in his life. And he’d been teaching squash for decades…

The front squat required flexibility in my arms/shoulders that I just don’t have, and the trainer made it pretty clear that I’ll likely be limited to the PVC pipe and maybe the bar with no weights for quite some time until I gain the flexibility to safely do heavy weights. My front squat is so inflexible that I can’t get my elbows forward enough to rest the bar on my body instead of holding the weight in my hands, at a downward (and dangerous) angle. Sad but true.

Overhead Squat

This was posed the same problem – my inability to do a squat low enough. But I surprisingly had another problem – getting my face out of the way when extending the bar up and bringing it back down. It’s tougher than it looked (to me, anyways) and I struggled with it. Eventually I ‘got it’ but I was brushing my nose with the bar and I know that can’t be good. It’s fine with a piece of plastic pipe but not when a steel bar with weight on it is slapping my nose/chin! the trainer said she’s almost broken her nose doing them. I can see a broken nose in my future….

For each of these olympic lifts, the trainer would demo the form, then have me do them a number of times, correct me during until I was able to execute them safely, repeat, etc. We spent about 45 minutes on the olympic lifts.

With the squat-based olympic lifts in the bag, it was time for my WOD. I was surprised by this – I figured I’d worked enough, but really, I knew it was coming. How could anyone escape ‘the box’ without a serious dose of pain on the way out? : )

Introducing the Wall Ball

I’d seen the wall ball on television during the 2011 CrossFit games. If you don’t know what a wall ball is, it’s a medicine ball. In CrossFit, you have to throw it from the deep squat position, up to hit a wall ABOVE a line that is painted on the wall. For men, it is 10 feet. For women I believe the trainer said it was 9 feet. Here is a video demonstrating the form, if not the height requirement:


Although I knew I was in for pain, I was happy to try one of the core ‘skill’ things like this. Looked like fun!

The trainer handed me an 8lb ball and showed me the form and talked about the height requirement, then had me do a few throws. After the first one or two she said, “Whoah! Way too light for you.”, and handed me the 10lb ball she had grabbed for herself. She had me do 5 reps of that and then said that was too light and handed me the 14lb ball. She then told me my WOD was to do 50 wall balls for time. I was figuring 25, maybe 30, but 50?!? Damn. She counted down and said, “Go!”

The first 10 went okay. By the 20th I was hurting. I just did what I had to do during the Baseline WOD to get through it – just don’t even think about it and keep going. When I got to the 25th, I took a short 5 second pause to catch my breath. I then kept going. The last 5 I really pushed the pace to finish. I was spent. Some people behind me were cheering and congratulating me. It was cool. After the humiliation during the lifting training due to my lack of flexibility, I felt like I was a wall ball champion : )

So that was Fundamentals One at CrossFit King of Prussia. When I left I was pretty stoked that I not only survived without them needing to pull out the portable defibrilator, but that I felt pretty good. Sweating my ass off, and soreness was already kicking in, but I wasn’t SO spent that I was worried I may not be able to continue with CrossFit (like I felt after the Baseline WOD). I’m excited to go again, but unfortunately have to wait until Tuesday due to my being scheduled to play golf on Friday for the first time in years, and then the holiday weekend.


But my weekend won’t be pain-free/CrossFit free – the trainer gave me homework: 50 air squats (consecutively, not “10 at a time or any of that stuff”) 3 times per week, in order to increase my flexibility. I will definitely be doing them. Gotta get my flexibility improved. May throw in some video yoga too…

Crossfit Fitness

I Survived My First Crossfit WOD – “Baseline”

As I wrote in a post just 45 minutes prior to my first Crossfit WOD, I was very nervous about what I was walking into.

As I Was Worried Would Happen…I Got My Ass Kicked

Believe me when I say – it was much more difficult than I had every imagined it would be. It was absolute torture, to be honest. On paper the “Baseline” workout didn’t sound so bad. In reality, it literally kicked my ass. Before I get to the actual workout, here’s what happened –

Daily Update Fitness

Success in Using Performance-Enhancing Drugs

Just kidding, but perhaps, based on Dr. Attia’s latest post, where he asks the question, “What do anabolic steroids, EPO, and carbohydrates have in common?”, I think he’s onto something.

Do we need carbohydrates to sustain an exercise routine?

The above question is what this post is about. And, for me, I must sheepishly admit that, yes, I have to ingest complex carbs in order to sustain a workout routine. Particularly an anaerobic (i.e., resistance) routine. After a year of stopping and starting a resistance routine, and having to always stop within a week not due to lack of drive but due to lack of energy, it turns out that I am one of the unlucky ones that cannot replenish glycogen reserves either enough or quickly enough to sustain a routine. I’ve tried numerous times a simple, relatively easy full-body resistance program consisting of just a handful of compound movements, only to feel completely exhausted after the first or second set of chest presses, or, if lucky, it wouldn’t hit me until soon after the workout. And then the next workout (3 days later) was worse in terms of the lack of energy.

While I have repeatedly stated the fact that working out and losing weight are mutually exclusive, there is no doubt that working out is both good for you and, more importantly to me – I just feel much better when I do it.

It appears, based on the countless discussions on the topic of glycogen reserves/replenishment, that the vast majority of people can do fine without having to resort to ‘carb refeeds’ after a workout. Unfortunately for me, I’m not one of them. How do I know?

Well, as my prior recent posts outline, I decided to try a new approach and took the risk of adding some complex carbs, in the form of sweet potatoes and greek yogurt, back into my diet on weightlifting days. I started this a week ago and, so far, it is more than just working. I’m feeling phenomenal. I did my second weightlifting routine this week today and am energized. I am following the typical advice and making sure to do the ‘carb refeed’ within an hour of the workout, in order to replenish my glycogen reserves.

My Weightlifting Routine

So that no one thinks I’m over-training and hence that’s what caused the need for the post-workout carbs, here is the routine so far:

  • 3 x 8 Chest Press
  • 3 x 8 Squat (not real squats though, for now as I ease back into it – I’m using a Precor squat machine)
  • 3 x 8 Back row (the machine thing with the cables you pull straight back)
  • 3 x 8 Lat Pulldown
  • 2 x ? Crunches

That’s it. All compound stuff, and believe me – not extra heavy weight as I’m a weakling. Trying this same routine before adding the extra carbs in would always cause a crash.

My Weight Is Back Down

My weight is back to 195.5 today. I had put on a few pounds earlier in the week, likely as a result of the increased water weight from the added carbs. I expect, and hope, that with the added energy and confidence to really start pushing the workouts that I’ll start gaining some serious muscle now and will begin to ‘lean out’ in terms of bodyfat over time.

As a nice bonus – a year ago it was hard for me to fit into size 44 pants/shorts. I was at the ‘no-man’s land’ of needing to go to the ‘Big & Tall’ section/shop to get some trousers. Tonight I ran over to JC Penney to grab some shorts and I now comfortably fit into size 34 Dockers : )

I’m sometimes hitting 100+ grams of carbs daily now, particularly on the lifting days. But I will keep it to under 100 for sure. And make no mistake – I’m avoiding the simple carbs still. While I never resist stealing some of my kids’ french fries or snagging a bite of their ‘kid meal’ pizzas while we’re out to dinner, or the occasional ice cream/frozen yogurt trip, these are incidental indulgences and never planned.

So watch out. I may start exhibiting ‘roid rage’, uh, I mean ‘carb rage’.

Daily Update Fitness

Phase 3 Update: As Expected, I’m Getting Fatter

So, as I worried would happen is happening. I’m gaining weight. I hope it’s just water weight from the increased carb intake, but that remains to be seen.

NOV 1, 2010 WEIGHT = 258 lbs
TODAY’S WEIGHT = 197.7 lbs 

I’ve gone from a svelte 194.6 to 197.7 in the past week, but at least a pound of that is due to the beers I drank last night while at a party, so I expect within a day or two that should drop down to ~196. So here’s what I’ve done this week:

  • Increased carb intake quite a bit by adding in 1 to 2 bananas per day
  • I also, started eating potatoes this week. So far, aside from a couple small ones last night at dinner, the main focus has been to eat a sweet potato within an hour of lifting weights, to replenish glycogen levels
  • I’ve been working out every day, which of course has resulted in my appetite increasing
  • My sleep has improved – I’m sleeping more soundly. I attribute this to the working out.

So, the real results are this:

I’m feeling very “soft”. Definitely notice my gut has increased and overall body fat feels like it’s gone up quite a bit, along with the weight increase. This tracks with what I expected/was told would happen – that the increased carb intake would result in initial weight gain of ~5 pounds, and then, so long as I keep up with the working out, I would start to ‘lean out’ over time. I sure hope it’s true for me, as I enjoy the working out or I wouldn’t bother, but the problem before was always the glycogen depletion.

Please note: I am, apparently, pretty unique in this ‘defect’. My body just doesn’t seem to replenish glycogen quickly enough, so while I could always do as much aerobic exercise as I wanted (within reason), the problem hit as soon as I did even one heavy anaerobic (i.e., weightlifting) routine – I would quickly feel ‘depleted’/lethargic, and then just feel generally not as energetic after for at least a few days. I had read a long time ago that some people have to replenish their glycogen levels (i.e, stored sugar) through ingesting carbs. But most people don’t have to do this. I would avoid it like the plague if I could, but I can’t if I want to achieve my fitness goals. Most people, it seems, don’t need to ‘carb refeed’ after a weightlifting session. Unfortunately, I do.

I’ve completed 3 heavy weightlifting sessions this week, as planned, and am still feeling good. After each session I come home and eat a large sweet potato (usually with cinnamon and butter on it). That seems to be doing the trick for replenishment. Earlier in the week I also picked up and ate, on consecutive days, some full-fat Greek yogurt (unfortunately though the best option was the kind with a sugary fruit or honey added).

All in all I’m feeling pretty good still, though I am feeling ‘fat’/bloated. It doesn’t help that last night I drank 3 or 4 beers, and a shot of vodka or two. :  ) But, my energy levels are definitely not going in the tubes this week as they used to when I tried weightlifting heavy. So the sweet potatoes are doing the trick. I will keep an eye on the scale and report back with a fresh post in a few days with another update. I’m optimistic that I will start leaning out further, that this was just an initial ‘bloat’. We’ll see.

Another note: I finally broke down and bought a copy of The Primal Blueprint. I’ve been meaning to get this for a LONG time, but with most of the info on, I just never bothered. But, after posting some queries on that site’s forum regarding glycogen and carb ‘refeeds’, etc., the general response was a simple, “Didn’t you read the book?” So I better read the damned book : ) Got it for an awesome price, to boot. In case you’re interested, here’s a link.


Fitness Nutrition/Weight Loss

Feeling Okay So Far

So, as I stated in my last post, I decided to switch things up pretty drastically and add some targeted carbohydrates to my diet, as well as be more conscious of protein intake. I still need to read through the LeanGains program some more – it seems awfully over-complicated, and some of it doesn’t pass the ‘smell test’. I’ve read enough about diet and real nutrition over the past year or so to know what to question (mostly everything), and I’m not sold on the strict protocol of LeanGains, particularly the fasting and the seemingly opposite macronutrient intake depending on whether you’re weightlifting or not.

I’ve been consuming most of my calories from fat for so long that it’s hard to find a lot of ‘healthy’ carbs (there aren’t many decent sources other than what I ate). Yesterday, I ate a LOT (at least it felt that way), but when I put in my info into, it really wasn’t all that much. So part of my problem may simply be that I only eat when I’m hungry, and I’m not hungry all that often now. That would be fine if I didn’t workout, but with my fitness goals I need to make sure I eat more. So yesterday and today I’ve done just that.

Today was my first weightlifting day on the new protocol. If following LeanGains, I would have eaten mostly carbs today, but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. It just doesn’t seem right/healthy. So I’m going to go with more of a Primal Blueprint approach, with a couple of major exceptions from what I’ve been doing for so long:

1. On days where I’m lifting weights, I’m going to make sure to eat a large sweet potato or two within an hour of finishing the weight routine. Also on those days, I’ll add in one or two of ‘nature’s Snickers bars’,  those lovely yellow sugar bombs – the banana! And I’ll make sure to up the protein, with an eye more towards leaner meats. BUT, unlike LeanGains, I’m not going to do low-fat on lifting days. I just don’t see why it would be necessary. It just runs counter to logic. We’ll see.

2. On non-lifting days, I am going to stick to a very low carb diet. I will likely add a sugar bomb (i.e., apple or banana) or something just due to the increased endurance cardio I am going to start doing, too, as I need to start training for a couple of 5k’s that I’m signed up for. I’m certainly no runner, but my daughter has been training as part of an after-school activity called Girls On the Run. It amazes me that 3rd graders can run 5k races! So later this month there is one and then another next month. I am certainly going to be the slowest there, but I don’t want to totally embarrass my daughter by walking the whole thing : (

So I started this program yesterday. Didn’t workout yesterday (by plan) but lifted weights today. I felt really weak – not ‘glycogen depleted’ weak though, which is good. I just clearly have lost muscle mass due to not working out much the last few months. I was struggling with some pretty wimpy weights today, but that’s cool. Aside from the dude with tourette’s hogging up the power rack (or whatever the barbell squat machine is called), it was a good workout to start, consisting of:

  • treadmill warmup (10 mins walking fast)
  • 3 x 8 chest press
  • 3 x 15 crunches
  • 3 x 10 squats
  • 3 x 10 wide grip lat pulldowns
  • treadmill cooldown (10 mins walking moderately)

For diet, here’s what I ate today:


2 eggs, 2 all natural sausage patties (the awesome ones that Costco sells for cheap!)

Mid-Morning Snack

Banana (I said I would up the carbs on lifting days!)


Had a lunch + all afternoon meeting that was catered with the usual garbage – ‘healthy whole grain bread’ turkey sandwiches as the centerpiece, etc. I stuck to just a half a turkey sandwich but ditched most of the bread, and added a small side salad, and an apple. I then grabbed a bag of trail mix (not the healthiest stuff I know) from the vending machine).


I’m still stuffed from dinner! I came home from the gym and rushed to cook dinner so as to adhere to the ‘carb up’ within an hour of lifting. I grabbed the largest sweet potato ever from my cupboard and microwaved it for 3 minutes while the ole Weber grill was heating up. I then sliced it up into 3/4″ thick slices (about 6 total slices) and threw em on the grill.

I then threw a package of 4 chicken legs (minus the packaging!) onto the grill. The LeanGains protocol would frown upon the skin on the chicken but I left it on. I also added some melted butter to the sweet potato slices, along with some cinnamon. Awesome.

So how do I feel? I feel good. But the real test is how I feel in a few days, after the next lifting day. Tomorrow I’ll do some hard cardio and play time with the kids. Then on Friday I’ll do another compound lifting day (will likely add some to the routine though). If I’m not bloating up with belly fat from the added carbs and calories, and I’m still feeling good, then I’ll know I’m doing it right.

Fitness Nutrition/Weight Loss

Time for Phase 3: Fitness and Muscle-Building (Here come the carbs!)

So, as I’ve mentioned a number of times in prior posts/comments, the primary problem with eating low-carb for me has been that I cannot workout ‘hard’ – particularly weight training – consistently. I assure you it’s not a motivational issue. It’s a sustained energy issue. Up until now, it’s not been a big problem. For obese people like I used to be, the focus needs to be on fat loss and worrying about the other stuff (‘toning up’, ‘building muscle mass’, ‘eating clean’, etc.) later.

So, I’ve been thinking about my progress over the past ~16 months now and I’m looking at it in phases. As much as the ‘phase’ approach is overused in the diet book industry, it makes sense. For me, the phases have been:

Phase One: Fat Loss

This took me from November 2010 through October 2011. The focus here was to lose weight. I started at 258 pounds and got down to 198 pounds. For most men, 198 pounds is still way fat, but I have a wierd body type – large thighs and calves. So 198 works well for me. I am not delusional though – I could stand to use another 10 to 20 pounds of fat, particularly in my gut as I have some flab there for sure. But, in clothes, I am right where I need to be. Naked is another story. And let’s face it, everyone wants to look good naked.

The pillars of what I did to be successful on my Phase 1:

  • Primary macronutrient  breakdown: majority of calories from fat (particularly saturated fat), medium protein, very low carbohydrate
  • No grains whatsoever (breads, corn, oats, etc.)
  • Little in terms of starch – occasional carrots, etc.
  • Lots of green vegetables
  • Lots of fatty meats (steak, beef, bacon)
  • Lots of eggs
  • Moderate cheese, nuts, dairy

I did not exercise at all during the first half of this phase, during which I lost about 40 of the 60 total pounds lost during phase one. It got to a point though where I had so much excess energy that I joined a gym and started working out, aerobically, like crazy. I found that I immediately stopped losing weight as quickly as I had been, and my appetite increased dramatically. I then tried lifting weights, which we all know (or should) is the best way to build muscle, and I almost immediately hit a wall. I now recognize this as the depletion of my glycogen reserves. At the time I had no idea and was concerned. I basically stopped lifting weights because of it. Kept up with some cardio but not more than a couple of times a week. Keep in mind that I still was active – I don’t watch much TV, sit at the computer for hours on end wasting time, sleeping all day, etc. I’m always looking for things to do to keep physically active, and with two young kids, I have plenty of opportunities in that area. Once I hit my goal weight of 200lb, I moved to ‘Phase Two: Maintenance’.

Phase Two: Maintain Fat Loss

Once I achieved my weight loss goal, a fear/letdown came over me. I was really scared that I would gain the weight back if I let up even a little. In hindsight, that fear was not necessary, but at the time it was my reality. Along with the goal of simply staying under 200lb, I also started thinking about increasing my fitness level, especially pure muscle gain. This process/phase started in October 2011. For the first few months I just did some cardio here or there, not chronically though. Tried weight lifting off and on with always the same result – would quickly feel drained either during or for days after the lifting. So, as before, I quickly gave it up. My rationale was (and is) – better to maintain not being fat than to be a weightlifter.So I did an experiment: I stopped working out, for the most part, to see if I could maintain the weight loss for a while and see if working out had any effect. So I stopped doing the cardio completely, aside from a once every few weeks trek to the gym.

I not only maintained, but I lost another 5 pounds, down to 194 pounds.

In January, with the new year arriving and resolutions in mind, I decided 2012 would be the year to ‘get buff’. So far, it’s been a total fail.

I started off with good intentions, tried weight lifting at the beginning of the year, and ran into the same ‘energy wall’ as before. So I stopped. Continued to maintain the weight loss, really quite easily. In fact, I upped the frequency of ‘cheats’ (I hate calling them that because I don’t have any food deprivations at all – honestly – I don’t secretly wish I could eat toast, etc. If I did, I would indulge once in a while. I do with pizza, for example. And ice cream now.). A ‘cheat’ to me is never planned but simply an indulgence here or there.

Phase Three: Fitness/Muscle

So now it’s time to move past “Maintenance” and go to what I’m calling Phase Three. The focus of this phase is to get back to the fitness and, in particular, weight lifting, in order to build muscle and start working towards some sporting goals I have in mind. I do it now with the knowledge that I am certain I know how fat is accumulated and ‘burned’ from my body, having lost the weight and successfully kept it off with ease. If my approach fails (and I am unsure whether it will or not), I am confident that I can lose the weight again.

Why would it fail? Because, after a lot more research, I am convinced that I need to ‘carb up’ after these weightlifting sessions. After so much focus, the primary focus of this blog, being on how nasty carbs are for many of us, myself included, it is somewhat scary to start eating them again. But, now that I’m metabolically healed and no longer insulin resistant, it’s time to start moving forward with adding back carbs to aid with recovery from weightlifting.

Let me be very clear: I would not be eating carbohydrate (aside from the carbs I get from leafy green vegetables, etc.) if not for the fitness/muscular goals. They’re not necessary.

So, for this phase, there are numerous approaches to this: LeanGains, etc., but that seems like it takes way too much analysis/effort to follow. And I’ve been successful in fat loss by taking a very simple approach of eating high-fat, low-carb, not measuring food portions or any of that stuff. So, with that principle in mind, during Phase Three I am going to follow this basic approach:

On non-lifting days I will:

  • Continue eating as I do now: very low carb, high fat, moderate protein
  • For fitness I will do as I usually do: play with the kids (I’m talking *real* play – running, jumping, biking, sports, etc. Not playing checkers. And add back the cardio if I feel like it

On weightlifting days I will:

  • Take a reverse course and eat a very low-fat, high protein, medium carb intake from non-processed carbs to restore glycogen reserves and help with recovery:
    • sweet potatoes
    • quinoa
    • rice
    • fruit

I think at first I am going to try to stick to just eating a high-carb meal right after working out (within an hour), and eating more fruit throughout the weightlifting days.

So, that’s the plan for now. I will post my progress. I will allow for an initial 5 pound weight gain due to the addition of carbs back into the diet, but will expect to start ‘leaning out’ soon after and of course, build muscle mass.

One of the biggest problems I’ve run into lately has been that, with our hectic/busy lives, preparing meals at home has been difficult for my family. We’ve been eating out way too much, and with me being the only one in my family that cares about eating healthy, it can be difficult at times to eat right when you’re going to restaurants all the time. So, I’ve been meaning to start grocery shopping for myself and cooking my own meals for some time. It’s time to get to it. To that end, I’m in the process of putting together a shopping list in a Google Spreadsheet.I’ve made it publicly available here, if interested. I welcome any feedback on it, particularly as I continue to look for ‘safe starches’ for my post-workout meals.

Adding back the carbs, aside from weight/fat gain, has me concerned for another reason: will my HDLs drop? Will my triglycerides rise? My lipid profile, blood pressure, etc. are top-notch now. It will be interesting to see, in a month or two when I go to the doc for a physical and surely another lipid test, to see how the results compare to my previous tests.

Wish me luck. This is new, uncharted territory for me.

References/Link Love

Book Reviews Fitness Nutrition/Weight Loss Suggested Sites

New Book Out Today – The Primal Blueprint 21 Day Total Body Transformation

Mark Sisson, who has some excellent books and an equally awesome website packed full of great information, has a new book out beginning today, October 18th.

I’m sure that you are seeing this similar type post on many low-carb/paleo blogs today, as Mark wisely asked for support from the blogger community in advance. While I normally would be very reluctant to pimp a book that I have not personally read, based on the info on his website that has helped me greatly (particularly his workout-related advice), and his Primal Blueprint series of books that I have read (they’re all awesome), I have no doubt this one will be great too. If you do happen to grab a copy and read it, please let me know your thoughts on it.

Okay, now to the blerb that was supposed to sound like I actually wrote it:


I’ve got a special announcement today. Mark Sisson, author ofThe Primal Blueprint, has a brand new book out called The Primal Blueprint 21-Day Total Body Transformation. It’s a practical, action-oriented guide for how to eat, exercise and live Primally – a step-by-step, “cut to the chase” resource to make a smooth and quick transition into a Primal lifestyle. In it he tells you exactly what to do every day for 21 days to take control of your health for the rest of your life. Mark explains what this new book is all about, what’s in it and who it’s for here.

Mark is looking to score this book on the New York Times best-seller list to gain exposure for the Primal Blueprint message, so he’s put together a loaded special offer. Basically, you order 1 or more copies between October 18 and 24, email your receipt to a special email address and Mark kicks you back a bunch of freebies. It’s a win-win. You get a great book for less than 15 bucks, and a bunch of free gifts, and you and Mark both get to help take the Primal movement mainstream. Check out the details of Mark’s special offer below and pick up a copy of the book today. Buy it here.

What Do I Win for Helping Put This Book on the NYT Best-Seller List?

Order 1 Copy and You Get:

MDA Advice 3D cover

1. Access to the exclusive, password-protected ebook – “Primal Living in the REAL World”: Hundreds of Primal enthusiasts share their challenges, solutions and practical tips for how they get – and stay – Primal. It’s like having the advice of 300 coaches. In it you’ll read hundreds of answers to these and numerous other questions: What is the first thing a person should do to kick start their Primal life? What do you think is the most important thing one should understand as they attempt to go Primal? What was the biggest hurdle you experienced when going Primal and how did you overcome it? And of course, the most important one, What do you usually eat for breakfast?

podcast grok 2

2. Access to the exclusive, password-protected audio interview – “21-Day Total Body Transformation”: Download a 60 minute, free-wheeling Q&A podcast in which Mark discusses the 8 Key Concepts that everyone needs to know to go Primal. Among many other topics covered, Mark discusses why your body prefers burning fat over carbohydrates and how you can use this knowledge to become a fat-burning beast instead of a sugar burner. Also, listen to Mark riff on why grains are totally unnecessary and why 80 percent of your body composition is determined by how you eat.

Grok 10 dollar bill

3. $10 Gift Certificate to Spend it like cash and order whatever you want, perhaps a cookbook to go with the 21-Day Transformation book? This means for a net 5 bucks you can grab a copy of Mark’s new book today.

Order 3 (Or More) Copies and You Get:

1. All the aforementioned benefits – the $10 Gift Certificate, the exclusive eBook and podcast, plus…

final audiobook web left mp3 2

2. Audio recording of the original Primal Blueprint(released in 2009) – Listen to The Primal Blueprint on your phone or MP3 player with this abridged, digital (MP3) audio book voiced by Mark. This is the book that started it all and retails for $26.99. Grab 3 or more copies of the the 21-Day Total Body Transformation and you’ll get it for free.

3. Plus an additional $10 Gift Certificate to, bringing the total to $20.

Order 8 (Or More) Copies and Help Change The World!

Oh, and do your holiday shopping early. One common frustration from Primal enthusiasts is how to get friends and loved ones on board. This book is the perfect calling card to introduce someone to the Primal Blueprint. Why not reduce the hassle of holiday shopping and give each of your deserving friends and loved ones the gift of life transformation?

Buy 8 or more books through mainstream channels and Mark will send you 50 percent of your order quantity in bonus books! Buy eight and Mark will send you four more. Buy 80 and he’ll send you 40 more – seriously…and he’ll autograph each one of the free books! And, of course, you’ll get all the aforementioned freebies.

100 copies – Personal Touch: Private 30-minute consultation over the telephone with Mark. Yes, you also get the 50 free signed books!

1,000 copies – Executive Decision: Mark will fly out to your location and spend the day helping get your employees Primal!

How Do I Win?

1. Order your book(s) online or at your local bookstore before midnight Monday, Oct 24. Here are some online ordering options: 

2. Email your receipt to the appropriate email address:

  • If you purchase 1-2 copies email your receipt to
  • If you purchase 3-7 copies email your receipt to
  • If you purchase 8 or more copies email the confirmation that your order has shipped to

To reiterate, for 8 or more books, please email Mark the confirmation that your order has shipped (not your initial email receipt) to the appropriate email address above. Also, please include your shipping address so Mark knows where to ship your free books. Please allow 30 days for processing and shipping of your free books. Mark’s going to have a lot of books to sign!

Low-techies can fax receipt copy to 310-317-4424.

3. You will receive your e-gift certificate, eBook download instructions, podcast download instructions, and all other freebies by reply email. (Please be patient. The Worker Bees will be reviewing receipts and sending you instructions on how to access all of your freebies within 24 hours.)

If you have any questions about ordering, or this promotion, please call 888-774-6259 (or 310-317-4414).

Fine Print:

  • Unfortunately, Kindle and other digital books don’t count toward the NY Times best-seller list, nor this promotion.
  • Books purchased in physical locations (e.g. a brick-and-mortar Barnes & Noble) count, too. Just scan and email your receipt to the appropriate email address above, or fax it to 310-317-4424.
  • This offer only applies to book orders placed in the United States.

Order Your Copy of The Primal Blueprint 21-Day Total Body Transformation Today!


Some Badass Playground Workouts

While there is no real link between working out and weight loss, that’s not to say there aren’t some real good reasons to exercise. Here is an inspirational video, care of Mark’s Daily Apple. When I go to the playground with my kids and dog, I try to do stuff like this. But nowhere near as hardcore as this couple. They are, simply put, badass.

Fitness Nutrition/Weight Loss

Exercise and Weight Loss – There are No Facts

Fat Guy on Treadmill
Fat Guy on Treadmill

What should be perhaps the most highly controversial topic when it comes to losing weight is the role that exercise plays in it…or doesn’t. Here is the simple question:

Does exercise contribute to weight loss or maintenance?

The answer, based on the associated research so far, shows no link. Isn’t that amazing? Not that there is no link, but that we’ve been lied to all our lives about it? Everyone, including many low carb experts who should know better than to simply accept things at face value, seem to believe that working out is a contributor to weight loss. Or, at least, can be a contributor so long as calories are not increased along with the physical activity. But any knowledgeable low-carber should already know that it isn’t about the caloric intake – it’s what you eat, not how much. Eat bad foods (carbs) and you gain. Don’t eat them and you lose (or maintain, if you are in the enviable position of already being at your natural weight).

The Experts’ Take

So what do the credible experts say about this topic?

Fitness Life Nutrition/Weight Loss

Coffee – My LCHF and Exercise Miracle Drug

Disclaimer: this post is strictly opinion/observations. There are plenty of fat people (their drink of choice is typically the Grande Salted Caramel Mocha) drinking Starbucks coffee. I hope the info helps.

Back last winter when I started this new life of LCHF eating and working out, it just so happened to coincide with a radical change in my job responsibilities. I didn’t change employers, nor did I change job titles, but my actual responsibilities changed greatly and the stress level increased exponentially. But more importantly to my diet/WOL (‘WOL’ is ‘Way of Life’) – my new job role allowed me to work from home 95% of the time. Prior to last winter, I worked in a cubicle most days, working from home maybe one or two days per week but usually not even a full day). I had more people reporting to me back then (if you want to call it that – we have  a pretty autonomous work environment), and since the products/services we were focused on had been in the market for years, everyone was pretty much on auto-pilot in terms of day-to-day work.