PaleoFX 2013 – Day 2 Recap

Day 2 of PaleoFX was a busy day, but good mix of nutrition and strength & conditioning talks. There’s WAY too much material to go into details (each talk could be a long blog post), but here are some of the highlights and pictures.

Paleo for Elite Athletes – Dutch Lowy, James Fitzgerald, Eva Twardokens, Nell Stephenson, Chip Conrad, John Kiefer

  • make sure to define who is “elite” and who is not. If you’re not making money or the top of your sport, you are NOT elite
  • Carbs were a big topic. Being low carb was NOT recommended. Low carb was defined as being 100g or less. Ultra low carb is 30-40g. For those looking to add muscle mass, eat 50% of your carbs post workout. 
  • Intermittent fasting is NOT appropriate for elite athletes. They need to fuel.
  • being elite does not mean you are the face of health. In fact, the sick and the elite have similar blood profiles, the only difference is that the elite is more resilient

The Dose Response of Exercise – James Fitzgerald aka OPT

  • be sure to differentiate between CP (creatine phosphate), anaerobic, and aerobic states
  • these states could be different for each athlete EVEN THOUGH the time domain is the same (e.g. Fran for one person might be anaerobic, but aerobic for another like Mikko Salo)
  • it’s very difficult for beginners to find that anaerobic state
  • make sure you give clients sustainable work aka weight training, sleep, and nutrition. This might not include long term high-intensity work!

Paleo for Endurance Athletes – Nell Stephenson

  • for most of the year, eat paleo.
  • few days out, add little more carbohydrate (e.g. 4-6oz. sweet potato at meals)
  • morning of race, eat a liquid breakfast. (eggs, oils, etc)
  • during long distance race, eat a gel. It might not be Paleo, but right now there are no paleo gels. The amount should be 4 calories per kg bodyweight per hour of exercise over 90 minutes long. Hydration should be water and maybe a salt tablet. 
  • in off season, endurance athletes should definitely be strength training for 2-3 months
  • don’t start anything new before a race! Find a good time in your life to start Paleo and either go cold turkey or ramp up. But either way, work to a full 30 days of strict Paleo to discover any allergies or changes that may happen.

Chronobiology: Knowing What to Eat When – Kiefer

  • cortisol can be fat-burning, given that insulin is low
  • you are most insulin sensitive in the morning, so he recommends to not eat breakfast
  • clarification: resistance training does not make you more insulin sensitive, but it can shuttle sugar into the muscle tissue
  • for men, recommends training and then carb backloading right after with high glycemic foods (around 100g, but depends on person)
  • for women, they don’t burn fat/carbs like men. So train and then no carbs post workout.

Training and Nutrition for Women – Eva T., Dutch Lowy, Nell Stephenson, Clifton Harski, James Fitzgerald OPT

  • I was excited for this one since I just finished up the BarBelles program at KoP
  • with women, emotion plays a bigger part than with men
  • women tend to be more open to learning and being coached. There are always exceptions though!
  • due to a neuroendocrine component, women can lift a higher volume of weight. E.g. take a high percentage of their 1RM and they can do more reps than men at the same percentage
  • focus on upper body strength improvement first, since they are usually lacking compared to men

Circadian Rhythms – Nora Gedgaudas, Dan Pardi, Dr. Colin Champ, Dr. Terry Wahls, Dr. Lauren Noel

  • how to tell if you’re getting enough sleep? track your sleep during the week and then on a weekend where you don’t set the alarm. If a large differential, you need more sleep!
  • can take up to 10 days to adjust from jet lag
  • “sleep maintenance insomnia” (where people can’t sleep through the night) – way more common than “sleep initiation insomnia” (where people have trouble falling asleep)
  • sleep disruptions might be associated with blood sugar dysregulation

Think Tank – Todd Dosenberry, Tracy Barksdale, Roger Dickerman, Josh Whiton, Judith McGeary, Dr. Shilpi Mehta, Diana Rodgers

  • as a paleo advocate, do SOMETHING! Start a blog, do a podcast, talk to your legislators, try to change school menus…no matter how small or big you are, do something to get the word out
  • someone suggested focusing on getting material out there in different languages. Plenty of info is out there in English, but very little in other languages
  • don’t be afraid to use Indiegogo or Kickstarter to get funding for projects. Sending links to this community can get a ton of support!

I liked today’s mix of fitness and nutrition panels and talks. As a CrossFit coach, I consider myself a generalist and need to know a little bit about a lot of things. I had the fortune of talking with James Fitzgerald aka OPT aka the first CrossFit Games winner (2007) for a good half hour. Jim Laird (powerlifter) was also there and we talked about smart training for clients, women-specific clinics, and professional development. Hanging out with Roger Dickerman and Marissa Pellegrino from Relentless Fitness and Dr. Colin Champ aka Caveman Doctor was also a good time to get some more insights into training and health. 

Lastly, one of the vendors was having a contest for free T-shirts. The challenges were AMRAP in 60 seconds of push ups and/or double unders. Laura Pappas had the high score of push ups for women with 47 and won a shirt! I won the double unders with 117. Pretty sweet! Thanks Naturally Fit for the swag!

Looking forward to Day 3 tomorrow. I might get a blog recap out, but we are going to a charity dinner after the conference, so it might have to wait until Sunday. 



PaleoFX 2013 – Day 1

Today kicked off PaleoFX: an ancestral health symposium held in Austin, TX at the Palmer Center. Over the next three days we will hear talks about everything from paleo eating, recommended blood work, primal movement, and way more related to health and fitness. Here are some of the highlights and pictures from the day. 


  • We arrived early, so we got to walk around to different paleo vendors promoting anything from olive oil, to grass fed beef, to kombucha. Gotta love free samples!
  • Michelle and Keith Norris are the head organizers for the weekend, so they did a quick welcome.
  • Nora Gedgaudas  – spoke about stress and the adrenals. Most people fling around the phrase “adrenal fatigue” but really there is usually a lot more than the adrenals being affected
  • Dr. Cate Shanahan – works with the LA Lakers with their nutrition and debunked the myth that endurance athletes need to “carbo load.” This wasn’t too much of a surprise to this crowd, but still good to understand more of the mechanisms with fat burning vs. carb burning.
  • Dr. Terry Wahls – talked about her battle with MS and how she basically reversed it using a real foods diet, focusing on the nutrients and minerals she needed to overcome it. Important: just doing a paleo diet wasn’t enough, she needed to dial it in specific to her needs
  • Dr. Emily Deans and Jacob Egbert – spoke about the psychology of change and how as a practitioner of health, you can’t force someone to change; they need to want to. “The key to change is the belief that you CAN.”
  • Sarah Fragoso – spoke about taking care of YOU first, in order to take care of your family or other people that rely on you. Lots of parents could identify with her message. 
  • Dr. Lauren Noel – went over a number of tests she does with her patients to see what might be missing in their diet. Some interesting physical tests of deficiencies included: white spots on fingernails could indicate mineral deficiencies; clogged ears could be lack of essential fatty acids; and dry flaky skin could indicate hypothyroidism.
  • Robb Wolf – elaborated on his “City Zero” project in helping people get better. Specifically, he has been working with the Reno Police and identifying at-risk cops for cardiovascular disease and then treating them with a food based plan and occasional drugs. “Most things can be fixed with food, exercise, sleep, and community. Sometimes medicine comes into play too, but take care of these things first.”


Overall, it was geeky stuff, but when it’s related to health, it matters to everyone. I’m excited to get more in depth with these and other speakers over the next two days. Be on the lookout for a report back!

7 Tips for CrossFit Open Workout 13.4

If you are looking to do the CrossFit Open workout 13.4, here are seven tips that you might want to consider:

1. Hook grip – use it! it will save your forearms a little, which is a big deal because this workout is a ton of grip. 


2. Shorten the radius – On toes to bar, bring your knees up to your chest kind of like a knees to elbow, then flick your feet up to touch the bar. Google Annie Thorisdottir doing toes to bar, she puts on a clinic. By doing this, you shorten the lever of your legs (radius), thus making you more efficient. 


3. Use the stretch reflex – Assuming 135 or 95 is not close to your max, immediately push the bar up into the jerk after receiving it in a power clean (seen above). Watch the Games video of Speal doing this workout and you’ll see what I mean. However, if 135/95 is close to your one rep max, then receive the bar in a power or squat clean, stand all the way up, deep breath, and split or push jerk.

4. Speaking of jerk, do it! Graham Holmberg did not, he push pressed/shoulder pressed and I think it was detrimental over time. Seven minutes is short, but it’s long for this couplet. You’ll want to use as much technique as possible to save your shoulders.

5. Avoid singles – this goes for the C+J and toes to bar. If you are capable, do multiple reps at a time. Every time you rest between reps, you will consume 5-20 seconds. It doesn’t seem like a long time when you’re in the moment, but if you’ve ever watched yourself workout on video, you know how ridiculously long the rest looks. Doing multiple reps can cut your rest in half. The exception is if you can’t get a rhythm on the toes to bar. I see a lot of beginners swinging two or three times to get going, but that will further destroy your grip. Drop down to reset, then jump up and do a quick t2b. 


6. Calm down – Don’t go crazy out of the gate. This is not Grace. Walk from bar to bar. Keep yourself calm; if there is a place to take a breath, it’s before starting a new movement so that you can focus on #5. 

7. Double tie and double clip – With this workout, every second counts. You want to avoid anything extraneous that will take your time away. This includes finding out your shoe is untied in the middle of the workout and clips coming off bars. This workout includes a lot of dropping the bar from 7-9ft. so even the Rogue HG clips will come undone (Ditty and LP just did this workout and the Rogue clips came undone). If you feel like your score is going to be competitive, then double clip. 

Here are 13.4 prep tips from K-Star, Diane Fu, Carl Paoli, and BMack

What other tips do you have for 13.4?