Reader Testimony: Bob W.

Check out Bob W., a client at CrossFit King of Prussia and a different man from 8 months ago! Below is his story and details of his workouts and nutrition. I’ve edited some things for format and emphasis, but the content is all from Bob. 


Bob W. Pre-Paleo and Pre-CrossFit
Name: Bob W. 
Age: 31
Height: 5’10”
Weight before: 250 (10/22/2011)
Current weight: 195

 Hey Chris,


Here are some details about what I have been doing/eating/lifting over the past 8 months.  For a solid timeline, I joined my “globo gym” for my 31st birthday, October 22nd 2011.
I started “Paleo-ish” once around Christmas 2011, gave up on it fairly quickly, then started back on it pretty strictly around February of this year. The last 3 months or so I have been pretty much 95% paleo.

When I first joined the gym my workouts were pretty traditional.  I did some TRX with a trainer, jogged on an elliptical as much as I could, and lifted weights at a low weight/high rep interval.  At that point I was just trying to get active again and start to even be READY to get back into shape!  My knees hurt, I couldnt do much, it was pretty bad.

My diet before was the big issue obviously.  My portion size was giant and I ate crap.  Not fast food so much, but just a ton of pasta and hoagies and heavy sauces. I was a carb-a-holic. Typical breakfast was sometimes a breakfast sandwich or similar,  lunch was usually cheesesteaks or hoagies, dinner was pasta and meatballs etc.  Obviously I didnt eat this stuff everyday, but it was a majority of the time and in far too big proportions.  In addition, a few years ago, I stopped drinking alchohol pretty much cold turkey.  You might think that I would lose weight from that, but I think my body was so used to elevated blood sugar levels that a major sweet tooth developed when there hadn’t been one before.  I ate a lot of ice cream and cakes and cookies. I also ate whatever my kids were eating, which tended to be processed chicken fingers, mac and cheese, etc.  I bet I put on 10lbs a year for the fours years after my oldest son was born.

My diet now is pretty on point.  I eat an omlette with two omega-3 eggs and some eggwhites plus some kind of vegetable almost every morning.  When its not that its cold fish/chicken/steak from the night before with a veggie or handful of berries.  Snacks are jerky, some nuts, maybe and organic plain greek yogurt (I know, I know) on workout days.  Lunch is typically a big piece of meat/fish grilled up with vegetables.  I’ve found a number of paleo-adherent condiments to keep it interesting.  Dinners are again a big protein with a big salad (lemon juice and avocado oil dressing is the bomb) and MAYBE a sweet potato. I always add good fats like avaocado etc.  If I need something sweet later, its usually a small spoonful of organic “no sugar added” peanut butter with some berries.  A couple weeks ago Sara grilled me some bananas and drizzled a little high quality melted 90% cacao chocolate on them, it was awesome.  We eat a TON of shellfish and seafood. I go grass-fed and natural when I can, although its not 100% feasible with the quantities of food a family of five eats.  We already drop $400/wk at the grocery store so I take what I can get!  There are enough websites and cookbooks for paleo eaters right now that its pretty easy. Luckily my family has been super supportive of this and they actually eat much better now too.  They often have a bread/rice/pasta dish which I just pass on, no big deal.  I take a multivitamin, probiotic, and BCAA’a and I work outside so I get a lot of excercise during the days and lots of sunshine.  I’m working on sleeping more, thats my biggest failure.


My workouts now are dynamic, fun, and a work in progress.  I do CF KoP 2-3x per week in additon to recently adding a couple strength days (Wendler 5-3-1, body weight accessory work).   When the weather is right and I want to run I’ll do CFE (CrossFit Endurance), main site WOD’s, or just tabata/HIIT sprints for 12 minutes max.  I am able to do all this either at 6AM or after the kids (ages 5, 4, 1.5) go to bed so I don’t take away from our time together.  In addition I work 50-55hr weeks and my wife works weekend nights.  Beyond that I’m in Grad School!!!   If I can do this literally anyone can. For my birthday this year I am getting myself one of those Rogue garage gym packages with bumper plates for my garage so I can lift heavy whenever I get time.  Oly lifts have become my favorite, I love how technical they are. I hung a pullup bar in a doorway off my living room and I dont walk under it EVER without doing 5 chinups.   I call it “muscle-toe”!

Basking in his leaned out (sunburned) glory?

The main resources I have used to make these changes are, not to be too cocky, but my own dedication and determination.  That coupled with equal parts love and support from my wife and kids.  This whole thing has been as much for them as me.  I’m am a better dad and husband now, happier and more vibrant.  Physically my body has NEVER been more well rounded.  I’m stronger, faster, leaner, more flexible.  I could not do a pullup 8 months ago now I can do 12 strict dead hang in a row. I’m SOOOOO close to a muscle up.  This allows my body do do basically whatever my mind tells it to, which is HUGE with young kids and an active lifestyle.  Mentally I’m happier, clearer, sharper, more focused.  I’m confident I can do whatever I put my mind to.  I don’t want to totally discount the whole “long duration cardio and light weight/high rep” scheme becasue it got me started on this path.  In addition I was eating a more traditional low-fat whole grain heavy diet, with which I did in fact lose weight.  I’m pretty sure that at that point anything I did to sweat and eat less would have been an inprovement, but still I don’t want to slam the methods that got me going.  What the CF/paleo transition did for me was switch me physically and mentally into the next gear, and make my changes less of a “diet” and more of a lifestyle.  I’ll never gain that weight back (may never lose anymore either, don’t care, I want to get stronger and faster and leaner and more powerful!!)  becasue I am more mindful and aware of my body everyday now.  I am aware of how incredible I feel when I give my body lots of what it was designed to take in and nothing it wasn’t.  I am aware of how great it feels to work my body the way a hunter/gatherer worked, in short burst of explosive effort followed with plenty of rest and recovery.  My family is actually eating and living better becasue of it.  It really has made a huge positive impact on my life!!


There it is, the brief version!  If you need anymore details or pictures I have tons of both, don’t hesitate.  Also remember that you did my “on ramp” and KoP and, while I was avoiding sugar etc before, your blog really got me going and interested in Paleo its overall benefits and effects.  I have you to thank in a big way for all this!! 

                                                                      -Bob

Bob and his motivation
Bob’s story is all too familiar, at least in the beginning. Family man whose high carb, high sugar diet caught up to him, even with working outdoors and having a workout routine at the globo gym. His story aligns with the idea that how you look is 20% physical activity and 80% what you put in your mouth.  (some would even say 10/90 or 0/100!) So no, being on a treadmill for an hour or even doing high intensity exercise won’t matter if you don’t change your nutrition. The fact is, when people cut out pasta and bread and sugar, not only do they lose weight, but that “puffiness” in their faces goes away too. That’s the inflammation going away, and yes, I had it too (see “You’ve Got a Fat Face”)

 A chief complaint from people is that they can’t afford a CrossFit membership. Bob shows that you can get a great workout in by just doing some sprints, modified workouts at a globo gym, and when you can afford it, get to a CF gym for solid coaching. I love that Bob is now into Oly lifting and his clever re-naming of mistletoe for his pull up bar. And I agree with him on not getting down on the cardio/typical gym routine, because frankly it’s better than nothing! Bob shows that despite a busy work schedule AND going to grad school AND having 3 kids, it IS possible to hone in on your workouts and nutrition. But the motivation has to come from within and it always helps to have the support of loved ones. He does this for himself, but more importantly he does it for his wife and kids. No doubt he is and will be an amazing role model for his kids to brag about to their friends. 

If you have a testimony to share or if you’d like a nutrition or fitness consultation, email me at chris@crossfitkop.com 

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Ghee: What Is It? Why Should I Use It?

You may not have heard of ghee (pronounced with a hard “g” and silent “h”) before, but when it comes to Paleo/Primal cooking, you’ll find it’s a staple in many kitchens. Let’s take a closer look at what it is, why it’s good for you, and how you might use it. 


WHAT IS GHEE?
Take grass-fed butter, heat it up to evaporate the water and let the milk solids settle to the bottom. Remove said milk solids and voila, you’ve got ghee. It was traditionally used for cooking in many south Asian countries such as India, Nepal, and Pakistan, but now has moved into Paleo kitchens around the world. You can actually make your own ghee like Nom Nom Paleo does, but I prefer to save time by buying it from Amazon.  Typically ghee is a solid at room temperature, looking just like butter. These pictures are right after I got it shipped to me in some hot weather, so it’s a liquid here. Since the water and milk solids are not present, ghee can be stored at room temperature for months! For more on the amazing history of ghee, head over to Whole30. Did you know traces of ghee have been on pottery from 6,500 B.C.?!




WHY SHOULD I USE GHEE?
Ghee is primarily saturated fat, and by now we should all love and cherish saturated fat from grass-fed animal sources. Also, since 99.9% of the milk solids have been removed, many people allergic to casein and lactose do perfectly fine with ghee. I’m not sure if I believe in a perfect food, but this is darn close! 



WHAT WOULD I USE GHEE FOR?
I use ghee most of the time for cooking, especially sautéing, frying, etc. Basically if a recipe calls for vegetable oil to coat a pan, I use ghee. You really haven’t lived if you haven’t coated a pan with ghee and then fried your eggs in it. (Ok, well, maybe if you’ve fried them in bacon grease) I also use olive oil and coconut oil on occasion, but ghee just tastes so darn good (like buttah!) plus it has a higher smoke point due to the lack of milk solids and water. You can also use ghee in any application you would use butter. Sometimes if we have run out of Kerry Gold butter, I’ll put ghee on my baked sweet potato. Or I’ll even put it in my coffee with coconut oil! And I’m not gonna lie, I’ve been known to just drink ghee straight out of the container. The possibilities are endless!

CrossFit A.C.T. Garage Games Recap and Pics

Update: I wrote this immediately after the competition and may have been too nice about the fact that it resulted in me needing surgery five months later due to the weighted overhead sit up. Surgery pictures here.  

 This past weekend, Ditty and I had the opportunity to compete in the CrossFit A.C.T. Garage Games at CF A.C.T. in Saddle Brook, NJ. As part of the Garage Games series of CrossFit events, this was a “minor” competition where athletes could accumulate points towards the series. Although “minor,” there was serious competition, with several athletes having competed in their respective Regionals as individuals. Going into this, I had not trained these specific workouts, even though I knew them. I just wanted to use the competition to stay “alive” and keep the motivation burning to train. As you’ll read below, there was one, maybe two workouts that I probably would have wanted to try beforehand. 

CrossFit A..C.T. Garage Games crowd watching a demo

There were three main workouts and a fourth for the top ranked at the end of the day. With a Rx’d division and scaled division, here were the workouts and how I did:

WOD 1:

AMRAP 7 min

1000m row

Max reps squat cleans 135/95 (scaled 95/65)

I was split on how I felt about this one. I don’t like rowing, nor does my short stature and light weight really lend to any stellar performance on the erg. However, I do like squat cleans. I didn’t think about any kind of numbers before the weekend until the night before when my buddy, Dan, asked. He was going for 20, so I thought that was a good number. That’s exactly what I hit. I got off the rower around minute 4, and had 3 minutes left. I did sets of 3s and 2s for the most part. Looking back, this is a workout that I might have benefited from practicing. Although I felt like I was moving pretty well, there wasn’t much fire in me to push into the mid 20’s…plus, I wasn’t counting during the WOD. Out of 73 competitors, 20 reps tied me for 45th with a bunch of others. Top score was 33 by Ian Berger, Regionals qualifier.

Heat 1 ready to go 

Kacie H. from CF Apex on cleans (ended up 2nd overall)

WOD 2

AMRAP 5 min

10-7-3

OHS 115/75 (scaled 95/65)

weighted sit ups 45/25 (scaled 25/10)

SDLHP 115/75 (scaled 95/65)

Overhead squats are my nemesis, but I felt ok going into this one. The CrossFit Open in 2010 was a disaster when I went to do 120# OHS’s. Since then, especially this year, I have been working on my OHS’s and I was happy to get all 10 reps strung in the beginning. Unfortunately, the weighted sit up got the best of me, or rather, my shoulder. The movement called for athletes to sit in a butterfly position and hold the plate in front of their feet, then swing it up and over the head behind you where you would lay down and touch the ground with the plate with extended arms. Then you had to violently sit up with the plate in extension to bring it back in front of your feet. On my round of 7 sit ups, my right shoulder gave out and I felt a *crunch* as my torso wanted to move up from the ground, but my right arm (and weight attached to it) wouldn’t let it. I eventually used momentum to get the plate up and continued with the workout, but not nearly at the same intensity. I ended up with 57 reps, just 3 reps shy of a full round, and good enough for 59th place. Top score was by Ian Berger again, with an amazing 104 reps.

me on OHS

the dreaded weighted sit up

Ditty on OHS

WOD 3

AMRAP 10 min

10 T2B (scaled k2e) (later changed to burpees)

25 double unders (scaled 75 single unders)

10 thrusters (95/65) (scaled 65/45)

Going into this workout, my shoulder was definitely feeling a strain. It was tough for me to be in an overhead wide grip position (for instance, holding a snatch over head), but I felt ok about this third WOD because everything was in a vertical plane to my torso. A surprise came when Bill, head of CF ACT, announced a change in format. Instead of toes to bar, it was going to be BURPEES. The reason was that there was only a corner of the gym with pull up bars, and it wouldn’t be fair to the guys at the other end of the gym. As Bill announced this, you could hear a sea of groans ripple through the crowd. I was fine with either and was just hoping for an equalizer for the big guys who took WODs 1 and 2. 

The workout was certainly a lung burner. I kept a solid pace on burpees and dubs felt great. I knew the thrusters could slow me down, so I tried to string as many as I could. I didn’t feel my shoulder during the workout which could have definitely slowed me down. In the end, I got 5+ rounds for 231 reps; good enough for 11th place.

Kurt M. of CF Apex on du’s

Dan M. of CF Soar on thrusters

Overall, I got 39th place out of 73 Rx’d guys. The top five went on to compete in a 4th workout that

I actually don’t know what it was because we had to leave early

 I later found out was a 10 min workout: 15 hspu’s, “Grace” (30 clean and jerks 135/95), and max c2b pull ups for women, or max muscle ups for men. The top three guys happened to all have competed at Regionals as individuals, so these were no slouches. 

In terms of the programming, I had mixed feelings. I liked the first workout and would have kept it. Although rowing and cleans are almost the exact same movement, it’s a good workout and test of metabolic conditioning with strength endurance. Plus, the time domain is just right for a competition. As for the second workout, I might be biased because of my injury, but I thought the weighted sit up was just silly. To put that much torque on a joint that is already fragile is asking a lot. If they wanted weighted sit ups, we could have held the plate against our chest. I also thought the time domain was too similar to WOD 1. Instead of a 5 minute workout, program a max effort movement, such as a box jump, deadlift, etc. The third workout was a good lung burner, and I’m glad they changed the T2B to burpees. Not because I like burpees (I don’t), but because T2B and a weighted sit up from before would have been very similar movements. This similarity among workouts didn’t stop there. In all three workouts there was a barbell squat of some sort (squat clean in WOD 1, overhead squat in WOD 2, and thruster in WOD 3). While I’m all for squatting, I think there could have been better variety. 

Karyn Marshall (the first woman to ever clean and jerk 300#) on OHS at 56 years young

I realize there are limitations in programming a competition, so as much as I wrote my criticisms, I didn’t come away with hard feelings. In fact, there were a ton of great things about the day: Overall,

 I thought the actual day ran extremely smoothly. Announcements were clear, heats were organized, and even the scoring system was updated live so we could all check our scores and rankings. The judges and staff ended up working basically all day, and having been in their shoes, I am grateful for their time and hard work. And at the end, t

he cream still rose to the top, as evidenced by the top 3 in each category. By no means do I feel like I was even close, and that’s a good thing. I can walk away with more competition experience and drive to get stronger. Not to mention making more friends, as we sat next to a bunch of athletes from CrossFit Apex, another PA affiliate that we often cross paths with and had competed side by side at the Mid-Atlantic Regionals. 

I’m also proud that Ditty did this, as I know it was out of her comfort zone, but I think she did awesome!

If you haven’t done a competition, get out of your bubble and do one. Whether it’s CrossFit, Olympic lifting, a 5k, tough mudder, thumb wrestling…whatever it is, it will make you a better person.