The only thing you need to know to feel your best every day

October 21, 2009

Health

Paleo + Crossfit = Optimal Health

This short, but simple equation is all that is required.

What is Paleo?

Paleo is short for the Paleolithic Diet.  It is also a concept espoused by Mark Sisson in The Primal Blueprint.  The Paleolithic Diet and The Primal Blueprint are almost identical in message.  In short, they seek to answer one question.  What would a caveman eat?

Who cares what cavemen ate?

Actually, this is an important question.  Take a look at the timeline of mankind and you will find that homo erectus came onto the scene about 2 million years ago.  What’s interesting is that agriculture is an invention that is only about 10,000 years old.  Call me crazy, but to me,  it makes sense  that our bodies would probably be evolutionarily conditioned to subsist on a diet that we have been used to for the past couple million years vice 10,000.

This primal diet consists of many of the foods you currently enjoy: meats, fruits, eggs, vegetables, nuts, and seeds.

What it is decidedly lacking in is one thing — grains.  Grains include, but are not limited to: wheat, rice, corn, oats, cereals, breads, pasta, etc.

Why are grains bad for you?

Carbohydrates are converted into glucose by your body.  This spike in glucose in turn triggers your body to produce insulin, which is a hormone that removes glucose from your bloodstream and stores it in your cells to be used as energy in the form of glycogen.  Since your muscle cells can only hold so much glycogen, the excess will get stored in your fat cells.  Those who don’t work out never deplete these glycogen stores, so the cells just hold on to them.  Meanwhile, as people continue to eat a high grain/high carbohydrate diet, they perpetuate this viscious cycle.  Eventually, your cells become resistant to the high levels of insulin present in your body.  Your body stops burning fat.  If continued unabated, this can lead to diabetes.

Have you ever just wanted to fall into a coma after eating a big pasta dish for lunch?  That’s a result of the glucose spike in your body and the resulting insulin response.

Obesity is getting out of hand.  If you don’t think this is a problem, all you have to do is look around you.  Your body is resilient when you’re young, but it is becoming apparent to me that this resiliency has its limits.

Why Crossfit?

I have to admit that I’m a Crossfit addict.  While most people go to the gym and focus on doing crap like bicep curls, Crossfit focuses on full body, functional movements.  Workouts never get stale because you do a different workout every day.  You will incorporate movements from a variety of disciplines to include: olympic weightlifting, gymnastics, kettlebells, and various bodyweight exercises.  They will KICK YOUR ASS in a period of 10-30 minutes and it will be one of the most intense workouts you have ever done.  If you don’t believe me, find a Crossfit gym near you and just try it for an introductory period.  Going strong and intense for shorter periods of time is the type of fitness that we require in combat and is most likely the type of fitness that cavemen had to rely on from time to time as well.  This is the second part of the equation.

What 3 things should you start doing right now?

1.  Stop eating grains and unhealthy processed foods.  Eat meats, fruits, eggs, vegetables, nuts, and seeds.

2.  Stop drinking soda and energy drinks.  If you need your morning buzz, stick with black coffee instead.  Other than that, drink only water.

3.  Incorporate intense, short workouts into your daily regimen that focus on full-body, functional movements (squats, presses, lunges, deadlifts, etc.)

Try this out for a week or 30 days.  I guarantee that you will feel better than you have ever felt in a long time.

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