The Sport of Fitness and Eating Like a Caveman
Hey guys, my name is Sara and I write the blog From Pudgy to Paleo! I’m really excited to be writing a guest post for Megan and to help introduce all of you to my way of life! To give you a bit of my background, I have struggled with my weight since I was a child. I tried every single diet out there with no luck. I was a cardio addict who loved riding the elliptical or running mile after mile on the treadmill but saw no change in my physique. Then CrossFit and Paleo entered my life and big changes started happening.
Have you ever heard of CrossFit and Paleo and wondered what a lifestyle of these two things would entail? The first thing you need to know is that, much like everything in life, both of these will take hard work and dedication to be successful. That being said, let’s delve further into “the sport of fitness.”
CrossFit workouts, which are called a WOD (workout of the day), include Olympic weightlifting, high intensity workouts as well as gymnastics, among other things. Their motto is “forging elite fitness” and you will do just that when you walk into a CrossFit gym, which they refer to as a box. Does this sound intimidating? Don’t let the mystique that CrossFit seems to carry with it deter you from checking out this program. Any of these workouts can be scaled to meet with your fitness level. When I started, I wasn’t even able to squat and couldn’t lift a 45 pound barbell. Everything was scaled for me, instead of pull-ups I did body rows and I gradually worked up to being able to lift heavier weights. Anybody can do this and my box has an interesting variety of people. There are students, professionals and many people that are in their 40’s and 50’s. You can go to any box on any given day and see elite level athletes working out with regular people and they’re all doing the same WOD.
Besides a killer workout CrossFit has an even more killer community. There will not be a time when you go into a box and don’t see everyone pushing one another to finish a WOD, lift heavier or go faster. Not only do you workout with these people but you’ll go to events with them as well whether it’s a CrossFit competition or a Paleo cookout. They will call you when you don’t show up and ask you where you are. They will help you succeed and pick you up when you fall. The long and the short of it is that regardless of what you may have heard about CrossFit or if you think it’s too hard for you let your guard down then check out a box near you, I promise you won’t regret it.
Now that you’ve decided to workout like a Caveman let’s get into eating like one. Many people who CrossFit follow the Paleo diet, although they’ll refer to it as a lifestyle if you ask them. Paleo in a nutshell is “eat meats and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch and no grains, sugar, dairy or legumes.” That’s right no grains which means no popcorn, pasta or breads. This may seem daunting at first so many people start by slowly removing grains from their diet and moving forward from there.
My journey with Paleo began when I was trying to improve my CrossFit WOD times. I basically wasn’t improving as quickly as I thought I should be and deduced that it was because of my diet. I removed grains, then dairy and haven’t looked back. Most, if not all, of the people who start to eat this way see a distinct change in how they feel. They have more energy, they aren’t as sore in the morning and they lean out. I view Paleo as a lifestyle change more than a diet. Will you lose weight if you eat this way? Well yeah, but that’s what I consider to be a positive side effect to eating this way, not the ultimate goal.
So how do you get started? The best way to get started is to slowly eliminate grains from your diet. I started by not eating bread or cereal then moved forward to eliminating pasta. The hardest thing for a lot of people to give up is dairy. I have many friends who follow a modified Paleo lifestyle with dairy included but I strongly encourage you to give yourself at least 30 days without it to see how you feel. You really have to experiment on yourself to see what makes you feel great and what makes you feel not so great. Once you remove these foods from your diet and see how much better you feel you won’t go back to your SAD (standard American diet) again.