02/11/2012 Paleo Challenge Finale, Final Challenge Weigh In, and Future Plans
Paleo Challenge Winners
Guess who is not in this picture?
Saturday morning I woke up feeling less than perfect. I took a Dayquil, an occicilium, drank two cups of coffee, took some endurolytes, and ate some starchy carbs. I took my dog for a walk to loosen up my legs, but I was stiff and sore from the day before.
After dropping off Benny at Doggy Daycare (I know, it’s insanity), I had an early lunch, and picked up Catelyn who I sometimes give a ride to on the weekends. She’s been doing CrossFit just short of a year now, and is turning into the “Elite-Elite” athlete that everyone aspires to be, she’s quiet but handles her workouts with subtle intensity, where as I am the typical ogre who will start grunting, I seriously hate that shit but I can’t help it, when shit gets heavy it just comes out.
When we got to Patriot the 12 o’clock Saturday class was in the middle of their Metcon, so there wasn’t much room to stretch, or warm-up. While rolling out on the foam roller I realized that I had forgotten one of the most valuable tools I have when I feel like shit. I forgot my dose of Core Zap,which is a thermogenic pill (aka fat burner), which has a nice serving of caffeine and some herbal stuff in it, so I bolted out of the box and drove to Arlington Nutrition Corner about a mile and half away to buy some more. Who knows how effective this product really is in giving me an extra boost, but it gives me a level of confidence when I am less than 100%.
When the Paleo Challenge WoDs started I was stilling wearing my sweatshirt, and sweatpants, and a beanie. I couldn’t get warm. Even with the Zap, and the increased water intake I just could not get warm.
I started the first WoD without my sweatpants, but with my sweatshirt and beanie still on, which rarely ever happens, because my body normally runs at a hotter temperature. The first WoD was an AMRAP of 4 minutes, 1 minute of pull ups, 1 minute of push ups, 1 minute of sit ups, 1 minute of air squats. The air squats I thought would be a problem, but it turns out the sit-ups and the ring rows (sub for pull ups) were my Achilles heal.
All the weeks leading up to the challenge I would practice parts of this WoD if one of the motions was included in the programmed Workout of the Day, so if we had a 10 minute AMRAP that had push-ups, sit-ups, or air-squats as part of the workout I would watch the clock and count to see how many reps I could do in a minute, or if it was say 25 reps I would see how fast I could do them.
Based on some unscientific calculations, I figured I had worked myself up to being able to finish 35-40 push ups, 40 sit-ups, and 60 air squats. I knew that the percentage change would play a big role in the competition, and realized that the AMRAP’s gave the biggest opportunity to make that change, especially on the WoD 1.
In the end I just didn’t have enough in the tank. I made improvements in each category but not to the degree I was expecting.
Day 1 WoD 1 Numbers vs. Day 36 WoD 1 Numbers
Ring Rows 26 (20.8) Ring Rows 31 (24.8)
Push Ups 27 Push Ups 35
Sit Ups 28 Sit Ups 30
Squats 43 Squats 53
Total Score 118.8 Total Score 142.8
% change of 20
After the first WoD I felt like shit!!!!! A complete pile of heaping elephant dung, I changed into dry clothes; I put on my sweatpants, sweatshirt, and new beanie. I also ate a primal pak which has beef jerky, nuts and dried fruit. I drank two Vitococo waters, and kept moving around. My body temperature was falling down again.
There was about an hour plus of discussion about the challenge, which I didn’t spend much time listening to because, I just wanted to keep moving around so I didn’t get cold. When it appeared that it was almost done I popped four Core Zaps, and pounded a Vitococo water…sugar and caffeine cures everything.
During the second WoD we had 22 minutes to establish a 1 rep maximum for a power clean. I hadn’t done much with power cleans, except one night of barbell club, so I wasn’t expecting much, to be perfectly honest I figured I would be in good shape if I just did my previous weight of 175 lbs.
Each time I went down to the bar and did a power clean, I would put the bar down, and get lightheaded. The heavier the weight got, the longer the dizziness spells were, when I did 175 lbs I felt a huge sense of relief. So with nothing to lose I went for 185 lbs. I attempted it 3 times, with no success, then Ryan said to me don’t spend an hour at the bottom, just grab it and go to build some momentum, I did and power cleaned 185 lbs. It was ugly, but it was scored. Any attempts at heavier weights was just futile, my body wasn’t going to have it.
My workout partner John Anderson, who owns the finest tobacco shop in DC, W. Curtis Draper Tobacconist with two locations, DC and Bethesda, visit them on the web at http://www.wcurtisdraper.com/ I can’t help it he paid me to write that, added 25 lbs to his power clean.
Day 1 WoD 2 Numbers vs. Day 36 WoD 2 Numbers
1 rpm Power Clean 175 lbs 1 rpm Power Clean 185 lbs
% change of 5
Following the second WoD we broke our gear down for WoD 3. I again pounded a Vitacoco water, and a full bottle of water. My goal for this WoD was to get more than 6 rounds. My previous attempt I got 5 + 9 reps.
I let John go first so I could recover a little more, and in hindsight I think I should have gone first because the adrenaline was pumping to the point where in a short 6 minute AMRAP it would have boosted me through the first couple of minutes. I felt that jolt go away halfway through John’s workout.
The workout was as prescribed 5 burpees, 10 kettlebell swings with a 53 lbs kb, and 15 push presses with a 45 lbs bar. I used a 55 lbs dumbbell because that’s what I got stuck with the first time. The dumbbell sucks because it’s much harder to drive it upwards with your hips because only one hand has a true grip on the bell.
When I started I blew through the first three rounds finishing each one under a minute, in fact the first round I think I finished right around 40 seconds. In fact I think in the first round I jumped from my burpee right into the position to grab the kettlebell. Rounds 4 and 5 I started to slow down, and it was enough that I didn’t have enough time to finish round 6. I ended up completing 5 full rounds, and did 20 reps, I was 10 push presses away from the 6th round. I could have picked up the 8 more seconds I needed easily by not resting and picking up the barbell faster each round.
I might do the challenge again just to see if I can get 6 rounds of work on this one workout.
Day 1 WoD 2 Numbers vs. Day 36 WoD 2 Numbers
6 Minute AMRAP 6 Minute AMRAP
5 Burpees 5 Burpees
10 Kettlebell Swings 53 lbs (55 lbs) 10 Kettlebell Swings 53 lbs (55 lbs)
15 Push Presses 45 lbs 15 Push Presses 45 lbs
5 rounds + 9 5 rounds + 20
Total Score 159 Total Score 170
% change of 7
So here are the final numbers:
Beginning Weight 274 lbs Ending Weight 257
% change of 6, 17 lbs weight loss.
WoD Day 1 Performance Total: 437.8 WoD Day 36 Performance Total 497.8
% change of 13.7
How would I rate the overall experience, and outcome?
It’s hard to say. The final workout I don’t think was indicative of what I could have done if 100% healthy. To some degree perhaps it was the best thing for me, because in the end I realize the whole point of the challenge is to get people to buy in, and I have somewhat bought in, but I don’t think “strict” Paleo is for me.
Can a brother get a little soy?
We are talking about long term sustainability when it comes to fitness and nutrition, so eating as strict as I did is just not going to happen for the next 40 years of my life (almost no starch, no nuts, no fruit). Having said that I also think that the way the diet is explained, and portrayed by PCF as being idiot proof is one that should be clarified, I think if you aren’t struggling with weight it’s easy to follow the plan. Eat when your hungry, and don’t eat when your not.
If you have battled your weight your entire life this is not as easy as putting on your pants. You just don’t trust yourself with food, how insane is that; you don’t trust yourself with one of the key functions of survival.
I struggled quite a bit, and had to ask Shady if I should eat at certain times because I was obsessing over the caloric intake, and I wasn’t hungry. Other times I felt like I ate too much, but was still hungry and would debate whether or not to eat.
In the end I had a nutritional consultation with Amy Kublar who is one of Robb Wolf’s nutritional consultants. She read my food log, and said that I was eating too much protein. Apparently your body can only digest so much protein at any given time, and then the excess becomes waste.
She sent me the following:
Protein isn’t particularly dangerous, but an over-consumption of protein may be associated with:
1. Weight gain. Excess calories from excess protein may be stored as body fat.
2. Intestinal irritation. Too much protein has been linked to constipation, diarrhea and/or excessive gas.
3. Dehydration. Experts advise drinking a half gallon of water per 100 grams of protein.
4. Seizures. Seizures have been linked to excess protein intake – but only if insufficient amounts of water are consumed.
5. Increase in liver enzymes.
6. Nutritional deficiencies. Just focusing on protein intake causes some high-protein dieters to overlook other nutrients. Ensure that your diet is balanced and nutritious.
She also gave me a simple template with the Paleo Diet for weight loss. This is the template on their website. My plan is similar but with a few tweaks based on activity level.
Sample Meal Plan
Sample Meal Plan: Weight Loss
Shrimp scramble with basil and steamed spinach. ¼ cup blueberries. Espresso.
Chicken salad with red onions, romaine lettuce, artichoke hearts and mixed bell peppers. Dressing: Lemon/Olive Oil with a hint of garlic. Green tea with lemon.
Grilled shrimp & veggies with a hand full of macadameias.
Baked pork loin with ginger cabbage and olive oil. Desert: shaved almonds over 1/4 cup mixed berries.
In the end my discussion with Amy made me feel a little better about how to make this a lifestyle choice. I’ve bought into the science on how to control your insulin, but I also think that the process of gaining and losing weight is something no one has figured out to a precise science if that were the case there would be one way of doing it for everyone.
There are too many systems that are involved within your body that cause changes to your cells, what I do think is necessary is controlling your insulin, watching your caloric intake to make sure it’s not excessive, and also so it doesn’t fall so low that you are starving, and making sure that you are active to promote a better state of well being. The good nutrition I believe goes hand in hand with activity level; there is a symbiotic relationship between the two. The human body was clearly designed to do work, and build muscle if it wasn’t I think the more you stressed your muscles the more they would like bruises or tumors.
I am going to utilize the suggested changes that Amy made, and continue to do CrossFit, but it won’t be the only thing I do. If I only focus on CrossFit then all I’m doing is getting better at CrossFit, I think it’s a tool for an end goal.
I will most likely buy some sessions, or pay for a membership at LA Boxing, or the MMA school in Arlington because I like that shit I will probably cancel my membership at Washington Sports Club because I don’t use it, and I fucking hate cardio machines. I may also buy a Concept 2 rower for my house.
There are just some of those days where I feel the need to burn the shit out of my body through an extended period of work. When the weather gets warmer I will probably start doing some trail running, and hiking. I bought a weighted vest that I plan to use when I walk my dog, because my calf muscles are looking thin, and that’s not good for going uphill.
All in all my experience was a 6-7 on a 10 scale. I think its better that my performance ended up in the middle of the pack, because it’s motivating me to work harder, get smarter, but also to look at the bigger picture and not just within the walls of CrossFit.
A quick note on my weekend Shotgun rider, she won the competition. She actually smoked the shit out of everyone. The way the scoring is set up, it favors someone who can stay in the top tier for both workouts. She finished 4th in the initial WoD for the women, and then was able to follow that up with a 10th place finish in the % change. The third category which was the photos was subjective, and all done by Brian. She was able to finish in the top tier here as well, she did what was really hard, stay in the top 10 for all three categories, which is why she won by a wide margin. Nice Job Catelyn.