Notes on the Paleo Challenge 2.0

I’m pretty vocal of my love of Crossfit, especially the great people at Crossfit Roots in Boulder.  Every other month or so they do a diet challenge: eat Paleo (like a caveman) for a few weeks.  Track results, compare with others, celebrate bulging muscles.

Paleo is a back to basics approach to eating.  You can eat:

  • Meat
  • Veggies
  • Fruit

That is it.  So no

  • Grains
  • Dairy
  • Sugar

It is really easy to be on.  Eat food that perishes.  Don’t eat food that is a scam.  I should write a post about that.  Eating Paleo for a few weeks makes you really think about the health of foods.  Wheat, for example, can’t be eaten unless you cook it.  Step back and think about that.  Poison before treatment.  Sound healthy?

Anyway, the group does it at the same time so you have some great motivation, pointers and jokes.  About 50 did the challenge, and with everyone pitching in $25 as an entrance fee that would go to the winner the winner gets a nice pile of cash.

So the results?  I went from 249 to 231.  My body fat % went from 32.8% to 29.7%.  BMI from 30 to 27.  Waist from 45 to 41.5.  Neck from 16.75 to 16.

That is a ton of weight off.  But weight could just be water mass.  So they also took a look at metabolic and raw strength.  My metabolic conditioning test was this morning, a 20 minute ‘as many rounds as possible’ of a 200m run, 5 pullups, 10 kettle bell swings and 15 pushups.  The first round I did just over 8 rounds, today I did just over 9.

This challenge was a partner challenge, and Tara was my choice to have the best shot of bringing home the sugar free bacon.  She did an amazing job and was  a super fun partner to have to reach out to for those down days where you would kill a small mammal for some rice.

So crossfit and paleo pretty much have me sold.

As my ‘I’m not on paleo anymore’ meal today, I ate paleo.

Going to continue this for a while more.  Would love to be at a 215 race weight for Ironman Arizona in November.  Stronger and leaner everyday!

  • It's so funny…but I'm with you on continuing to eat Paleo. I just feel so much better when I'm eating clean and real foods. Thanks for the kind words and being an awesome partner!

    (Also, I plan on also keeping up with my cheat day mantra. While I like eating Paleo, I also like treating myself. But only very small treats and only once a week!)

  • lpmaynard

    The more I hear about Crossfit, the more interested I am.

    Question on Paeleo: How do you feel training for an Ironman without eating any grains? That would definitely be a concern of mine. Also, just a point, you need to cook meat before you eat it. At least, that's the highly-suggested method.

    Good luck on 215!

  • Gil

    Well done Andrew. I just finished my weigh-in and, while my results weren't as substantial as yours, I still think I did pretty good. And I am going to continue eating a paleo-inspired diet. I learned that I DON'T need to eat rice, pasta, or bread to feel full, and that added sugar and salt don't add anything to my well-being.

    I went from 5 to 7 rounds in the met-con workout, lost a pound and a half (145 to 143.5), and 1.5 inches on the waist (31 to 29.5). Granted, there wasn't much to lose, but there is visible progress-none of my pants fit anymore.

    The biggest gain from Paleo is that I never feel sluggish anymore. I power through my workouts, never feeling like I should take the day off. If that's all it takes to keep up the motivation to stay fit, then count me in.

  • Gil

    @lpmaynard Paleo isn't about eating less, just smarter. I've never run an Ironman, but I imagine you could compensate for the massive calorie burn by eating more good carbs like sweet potatoes. Curious to hear Andrew's take, although I'm pretty sure he didn't eat grains even before Paleo.

    As for eating foods that are toxic when raw, it's certainly one of the more debatable paleo guidelines. Some research shows that humans cooked food way before the advent of agriculture. My knee-jerk defense of raw meat is that perhaps it was ok for the caveman to eat raw because he had a resistance to the bacteria that can cause us modern day humans agony, but if that were the case then the same thing could be presumed about legumes.

  • andrewhyde

    My Ironman training is about 6 hours a week w/ crossfit included, so the need for calories for 30 hour weeks just isn't there. I feel stronger and fitter without them.

    I'm with Gil on meat, if it is natural AND you are a caveman, no need to cook it 🙂

  • andrewhyde

    I think I will have a cheat day too for longterm sustainability.

  • lpmaynard

    Thanks for the info, Andrew. I may have to play around with the notion a bit more. Breaking up with pasta just seems like a bad idea for my biking, but it's definitely worth a try.

    Also…I'm looking forward to a post on the raw meat challenge of summer 2010.

  • andrewhyde

    Congrats on the success!

  • andrewhyde

    The raw meat challenge of year 1 🙂

  • Dave Heal

    Great work, Andrew. I just finished watching this cool mini-doc (http://www.hulu.com/watch/52585/ford-ironman-wo…) on the 2008 Ironman World Championship and immediately wanted to sign up. The narration is your standard breathless network announcer stuff, but it's worth sitting through.

    I haven't done nearly enough distance stuff on a bike to attempt a full Ironman in the next year or two, but it's a definite goal. Any suggestions on a good Colorado or Utah half? You didn't seem super psyched about the Boulder race if I remember correctly. I'm buying my first serious road bike from a professor of mine and can't wait to move out to CO and start riding (the roads here in Michigan are a nightmare). You doing the Arizona race alone? Anyways, if you get a free hour or need a psychological boost as you get closer to go time, check it out.

  • andrewhyde

    Wow, that looks great, didn't know it was on hulu!

    I loved the Boulder 70.3. Sold out this year but a well run race. Sign up for the tri series next year! Great way to build up the distance.

    I'm the only person I know doing IMAZ this year. Not a huge deal, it isn't like you can hang with your buddies during the race (you pass them). 🙂

  • andrewhyde

    Wow, that looks great, didn't know it was on hulu!

    I loved the Boulder 70.3. Sold out this year but a well run race. Sign up for the tri series next year! Great way to build up the distance.

    I'm the only person I know doing IMAZ this year. Not a huge deal, it isn't like you can hang with your buddies during the race (you pass them). 🙂

  • Dave Heal

    Lauren, also check out this great podcast Robb Wolf (robbwolf.com) did with the guy who runs the TriSwimCoach podcast. He talks a lot about why cutting out grains (not carbs) is not only healthier but will probably help your performance for distance racing. There's a lot of really interesting stuff packed into the podcast and I'm only halfway through.

    http://triswimcoachonline.com/tri/interview-wit

  • Thanks, Dave. Checking it out now.

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  • This is a great overview and results on the Paleo diet. It's probably one of my favorite diet types although it's hard to maintain when I'm not just cooking for myself. New Orleans is not what I would call Paleo friendly.

  • Andrew, Tara, I continue to be amazed and inspired!

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