Posts Tagged ‘Paleo Challenge’

Paleo is Hard!!!

Uncategorized | Posted by Kayla Castro
Aug 27 2014


“But Paleo sounds so hard!!!” We hear that a lot when we start talking to athletes about the Paleo Diet. Really, it’s about as easy as it can possibly get, but we have to help you understand and equip you to make the right decisions.

Since we’re going into the weekend, lets talk about compliance, eating out and drinking alcohol:

Compliance = Results There’s no getting around this. If you sleep at least eight hours a night, reduce non-hormetic stressors, eat strict Paleo and don’t drink alcohol, and train 5-6 times per week you’ll get amazing results. Wherever you compromise on those points, you’ll compromise on those results.

Brian, can you just call in my order for me? I’m busy not complying with the above guidelines on the weekend, so no. But all you have to do is the following when you sit down at a restaurant: “Hi Waitron, I’m deathly allergic to gluten, dairy and legumes. If you put that into my food I will projectile vomit all over this place.” That will motivate them to help you a great deal.

How do I replicate my amazing Clarendon Ballroom dance moves without booze?!?!?!!?!? My guidance is ripped off from Robb Wolf and is simple yet challenging: drink as little as possible to improve your fitness and as much necessary to improve your sex life.


[Originally posted Potomac CrossFit 140715]

Starchy Carbs and Paleo/CrossFit

Uncategorized | Posted by Kayla Castro
Aug 26 2014


Something that I think is an issue for a lot of athletes is carb intake. I’ve talked to a lot of clients about this, wrote about it, and talked about it during the Paleo Challenge, but dialing in the right amount of carbs still seems to be an issue for folks. I’ll give you some good rules of thumb:

1) If you are training 2x/week and have significant amounts of body fat to loose, you just want to eat starchy carbs in your post workout meals. So if you work out in the morning, eat at least a fist sized portion of starchy carbs in your post-WOD meal.

2) If you have some body fat to lose, up your starch intake to at least 2x/day with meals.

3) If you are training 4-5 days a week, and have some body fat to loose, you need to eat at least 2-3 fist sized portions of starch on your training days.

You can find info on what we consider starchy carbs here in our Paleo FAQ section.

Now if you want more clarity, we’re here to help! You can just post to comments anytime, you can post to our Facebook page (on the wall or just in the daily WOD post)or you can sign up for nutritional counseling with one of our coaches. Maria does these all the time and is a great resource. When I’m sober, I’m ok at this too.


[Originally posted Potomac CrossFit 140616]

Find What’s Right For You

Uncategorized | Posted by Kayla Castro
Aug 18 2014


Just like we scale workouts based on your level, we also scale our versions of the Paleo Diet. If you’ve done our Paleo Challenge, you know we take a very simple approach to this. If you’re primary goal is weight loss, then you need to take in enough starchy carbs to support your CrossFitting, but no more. This usually equates to a minimum of one fist sized portion of starch in your post-WOD meal. For folks that want weight loss and performance gains, minimum two fist sized portions with meals. One of these portions post-WOD. For folks that are primarily focused on performance, the minimum is three fist sized portions.

This is a pretty straightforward rule of thumb and one which works for a lot of people. But this is the minimum and the determiner is how well it’s working! Some of our athletes and I have been messing with a high and much more specific quantitative measure of their starchy carb intake through the Eat to Perform plan. We have all seen significant gains in our work output and energy levels and no increase in bodyfat. This is very much a diet plan that fits into the “Rxd” category of athlete, but it’s good info for all athletes as many people think that if one piece of starch a day is good for weight loss, than no starch ever must be perfect!

The key is finding what’s right for you, and we’re happy to help with this. You can talk to a coach at the WOD, you can post to comments, or you can email me or Maria or any coach you’d like to setup a nutritional consult to help dial you in.

[Originally posted Potomac CrossFit 140512]

Sticking to What Works

Uncategorized | Posted by Kayla Castro
Aug 07 2014


“The person you are most afraid to contradict is yourself.” -Taleb

One of the most difficult things to face as an athlete or a coach is the fact that you were wrong about something. This can be broad in scope or very specific. For example, I’ve had many athletes fear a high fat diet. They refused to even try a diet high in fats, especially animal fat, and hence had to replace those calories they should be getting from fat with refined carbohydrate, leading to increased body fat. Even though this approach has never shown them any benefits, they are committed to it and don’t see nearly the same improvement from CrossFit as they would with a high fat diet.

It was also very difficult for us to fully embrace this concept as coaches. We followed the dictums of CrossFit HQ for our first several years and prescribed the Zone Diet to many of our athletes. After watching that diet never work for anyone ever, it became obvious we needed a new approach, but we were slow to try adopt the Paleo Diet in it’s stead.

We like to think that we are a nimble and rapidly adaptable gym. If something repeatedly works on a small scale (Paleo, gymnastic EMOTMs, etc) we test it on a broad scale and see if it continues to work. If something doesn’t work (Zone Diet, etc) we drop it.

What were some concepts you were wedded to before you started CrossFit? What was the straw that broke the camel’s back for you?


[Originally posted Potomac CrossFit 140331]

Cholesterol Explained by Robb Wolf

Uncategorized | Posted by Kayla Castro
Jul 21 2014


I set out to write a unique and interesting blog post today about cholesterol, but once I found Robb Wolf’s post, I gave up. This sums it up too nicely for me to even try to compete. The following is reprinted from Robb Wolf’s blog. You can also tune into his Paleo Solution podcast here and purchase his books and ebooks here. Enjoy!

The basics of the diet-heart hypothesis go like this: High cholesterol leads to atherosclerotic plaques that precipitate a clot which can result in a heart attack or stroke. This whole notion grew from a disease called Familial Hypercholesterolemia and subsequent experiments that involved feeding rabbits (herbivores) oxidized cholesterol. These critters do not eat ANY cholesterol so the fact oxidized cholesterol caused problems is not surprising but also completely unhelpful when talking about people.

Anyway, 50 years to failed dietary recommendations to lower cholesterol have done nothing to alleviate the CVD epidemic. In fact, the epidemic is rolling along bigger and badder than ever before. Well This Study was pretty interesting. It indicates that most people who suffer a heart attack have…low cholesterol!

Now, everyone is in a fix to get folks on cholesterol lowering diets and statins to save them, but most heart attacks are in folks with…low cholesterol! Ok, doesn’t make any sense and it completely calls into question the notion that we need to reduce cholesterol levels…but why not give people statins and see how folks do on those. Well, interestingly, statins appear to decrease heart attack rates in people…with low cholesterol.

The mechanism? Possibly a reduction in C-reactive protein (CRP), an indicator of systemic inflammation. Know what else reduces systemic inflammation? A paleo diet which controls insulin levels, removes gut irritating foods, balances omega-3/omega-6 fats. Add some vit-d and consistent good sleep and you have effectively turned off the type of inflammation underlying CVD, cancer and neurodegeneration.
Oh! Then there is the fact low cholesterol increases stroke rates!!
So, just to clarify:
1-Cholesterol supposedly causes CVD, But
2-Most heart attacks are actually occurring in people with low cholesterol, Yet
3-Doctors insist on cholesterol lowering protocols, including statins, Even though,
4-The benefit of statins has nothing to do with cholesterol, but rather it’s mild anti-inflammatory action, Which
5-Can be accomplished with simple dietary modifications and a few inexpensive supplements.
It would be funny if people were not dying from this stuff.

[Originally posted Potomac CrossFit 140120]


Paleo Works

Uncategorized | Posted by Kayla Castro
Jul 15 2014


The single biggest reason to join the Paleo Challenge is…..completely different for everybody. Some folks want to get #sexyasfuck, some want to live a longer and healthier life, some want to win money, some want to prove me wrong (that Paleo doesn’t work). Whatever the reason, what I’ll guarantee is that you’ll see a significant observable, measurable, and repeatable improvement in how you look, feel and perform by doing the Paleo Challenge.

[Originally posted Potomac CrossFit 140106]


No Such Thing as a Snack

Uncategorized | Posted by Kayla Castro
Jul 09 2014


For folks that are looking for weight loss as their primary goal, we do a “modified” Paleo Diet. In this model, we remove all starchy carbs (think sweet potatoes, carrots, rutabaga, etc) except for a fist size portion in their post WOD meal. We encourage as much meat (especially fatty meat) as they like, and in addition to the removal of grains, dairy, legumes, and sugar, we eliminate nuts and fruit.

A lot of people get a bit peeved when they hear this. They seem to be able to deal with the new diet fairly well, but eliminating fruit and nuts pushes them over the edge. The issue with fruit and nuts is that they are both significant doses of sugar.

Usually the next question I get is “but what do I snack on?!?!?!?!” I have a few answers to this:

1) Meat and veggies. In this version of Paleo there is no such thing as a “snack”. There is just bigger meals and smaller meals. These meals include meat and veggies.

2) Don’t snack, eat more at meals. If you’re hungry between meals, eat more at your meals. #mindsplosion.

3) The reason you have a hard time giving this up is that your body currently runs on sugar and these are “Paleo Delivery Vehicles” for sugar. Progress = Compliance.


[Originally posted Potomac CrossFit 131126]

Get Started by Writing a Check

Uncategorized | Posted by Kayla Castro
Jul 04 2014


There’s nothing stopping you from starting a “Paleo Challenge” right now. I mean like this minute, going “I’m going to eat strict paleo for 30 days.” All you have to do is look here for the five or so pages of info you need to get started, and do it.

And by nothing, I mean nothing but our shared genetic programming which makes something like this nearly impossible.

The biggest thing I think is missing in just doing it (even though you know at some rational level that you should do it and you’re killing yourself faster by not doing it) is skin in the game. There’s no immediate downside.

Something I’ve used on a variety of occasions is a pure skin in the game challenge for individuals. I do absolutely nothing for them except take something they want and not give it back until the end of the 30 days. This mostly included large checks made out to the Ku Klux Klan, Nancy Pelosi and Sara Palin. If you don’t do Paleo for 30 days (and I’ll know if you don’t), I mail the check.

So if you want to start before our next Challenge in January, hand a buddy a check to your most hated individual/group and get started.


[Originally posted Potomac CrossFit 131112]

Buy Meat from Pasture Raised Farms

Uncategorized | Posted by Kayla Castro
Jun 26 2014


Last Tuesday I talked about the silliness involved in vegetarianism. This ties in very neatly with modern/government Run farming.

Whether it’s an accident of bureaucracy or a dedicated effort by the government/corporate kleptocracy to eliminate competition from the mass of small businesses/farms that consumers want to buy from, the result is the same: incredibly unhealthy/easy/cheap food competing with incredibly healthy/difficult/expensive food.

We all react to supply and demand through price. The massive subsidies provided to soy, corn, wheat, and drug companies funded by our taxes assures continued consumer access to unhealthy/easy/cheap food. What we try to do at Potomac CrossFit is make healthy food available to our clients as cheaply and easily as possible.

Why pasture raised meats are so much healthier than factory farmed food seems so patently obvious at this point it seems ridiculous to have to go over it again and again. But if you want to dig into the why of this, you can take a look at the following resources:

Inside a chicken factory
Food, Inc.

You can eat healthy and fight against the government/corporate kleptocracy by buying your meat from pasture raised farms like Mount Vernon Farms.

[Originally posted Potomac CrossFit 130930]


Jumping on the Paleo Bandwagon

Uncategorized | Posted by Kayla Castro
Jun 25 2014


What seems to make sense to me often doesn’t make sense to other folks. A few glaring examples are: vegetarianism versus Paleo, factory farmed food versus pasture raised food, and fitness as defined by magazines trying to sell you supplements because the training they prescribe doesn’t have any effect versus CrossFit.

To take the first example of vegetarianism (especially since it’s the hardest one for me to wrap my head around) I’ve deconstructed and dismantled the moralenvironmental and health reasons to do it (and this is completely due to Lierre Keith’s Vegetarian Myth which you can pick up on Amazon, paperback or Kindle).

Now if you ask many folks to just try to eat another way, they just won’t do it. Heap argument over argument, appeal to their reason, appeal to empiricism, and you get “no, I can’t do it.”

I’ve tried some silly shit in my lifetime: I used to do Body-for-Life when I was in my early 20′s, I did yoga 5x/week when I was in my mid-20′s. I think the entire reason that I’m a fairly healthy, quasi-well adjusted adult is just because I tried shit and tried to figure out if it was working or not.

CrossFit and Paleo got me far and away the best results in how I look, feel and perform, so I’m pretty sold on this stuff. However, if something better comes along, I’m certainly willing to try it.

So come on vegetarians, come on board for the big win and at least give it a try. I know I have a surprisingly high number of former vegetarians in the gym who have also seen great results by changing their diet to Paleo, so you guys can feel free to gang up aka provide a more rational argument on the benefits in the comments section. What sold you guys on at least trying Paleo?


[Originally posted Potomac CrossFit 130924]