I often get caught up in focusing on numbers and scales, so I decided not to officially weigh myself before or after Whole30. But I can attest that everything about my body just felt better. I know saying something like "I lost eleven pounds" would sound much more convincing, but I could see that my stomach was slimmer, as was my face (which is awkwardly the first place I gain weight).
For many years Arthur De Vany Ph.D. has been writing a book called Evolutionary Fitness on "What Evolution Teaches Us About How to Live and Stay Healthy." The diet he follows fits into my core diet definition. He may have been the first one to use the paleo diet to maximize fitness. His current site is Art's Blog on Fitness, Health, Aging, Nutrition and Exercise [archive.org].
Glassman began refining his approach. He favored gymnastic and powerlifting moves he knew from growing up, and functional calisthenics (squatting, pull-ups) that forced the body to use large muscle groups together, like in real life. He liked the idea of throwing exercises at clients seemingly randomly, believing it resembled the way early humans had to overcome daily physical obstacles. To goose participants' natural competitiveness, he mandated that the workouts be for time, or for as many rounds or reps as possible in a set time period, so that no one slacked off.
Originally, teams were awarded the "Affiliate Cup" for having the best overall score from the individual athletes that had come from the same CrossFit-affiliated gym. In 2009, the Games began having a separate set of events for affiliate teams and consisted of four to six athletes from the same gym. The next season, the format was finalized to teams of three men and three women. In the 2018 games, each team was changed to four members, two men and two women. In 2019, CrossFit removed the stipulation that team members had to be from the same affiliate. Teams are subject to a similar qualification process as the individuals.
So what does the science say about the paleo diet? Some research suggests that the health claims hold truth. A review analyzed four randomized, controlled trials with 159 participants, and researchers found that the paleo diet led to more short-term improvements in some risk factors for chronic disease (including waist circumference and fasting blood sugar) compared with other control diets. (4)
Fresh fruits, fresh vegetables, fresh meat—the paleo diet is all about eating foods straight from the Earth just as our ancestors did. Those ancestors didn't have livestock or crops to call their own, so Cordain advises to go with grass-fed and organic varieties whenever possible to limit exposure to pesticides, antibiotics, and other chemicals that didn't exist back then. Research from Emory University suggests that Paleolithic people obtained about 35% of their calories from fats, 35% from carbohydrates, and 30% from protein.
In making the case for meat, Cordain presents anecdotal evidence of Eskimos who lived their full life without a heart attack. The Eskimo diet consists of 97% meat, which he concedes causes all Eskimos to develop atherosclerosis—a common precursor to heart disease. But Cordain says Eskimos never die of heart disease. He discusses one Eskimo who lived 45 years and another who lived 53 years, both without heart disease! He then jumps to the conclusion that because these Eskimos didn’t get heart attacks, even with severe atherosclerosis, meat must have protected them from heart disease. So Cordain’s best case for lots of meat is that you can live to the ripe age of 45 or even 53 without a heart attack. But do people—even unhealthy smokers or the obese—generally get heart attacks before age 53?
“The Whole30: The 30-day Guide to Total Health and Food Freedom” contains more than enough recipes to get you through a month of breakfasts, lunches, dinners and even holidays and dinner parties. Plenty of recipes – think prosciutto-wrapped frittata muffins and Greek meatballs with avocado tzatziki sauce – can be found online too. Just search the hashtag “#Whole30” on social media sites such as Twitter and Instagram.
If you've been on the Whole30 and counting down the days until February 1st, step away from the cheese! Before you transition back to your normal diet, here are five solid lessons that I learned from the eating plan that I stuck with even after the 30 days were up. Not only did following them beyond the 30 days prevent me from rebounding back to my higher weight, but they also help keep me on the straight and narrow the rest of the year when I’m not following the program.
"CrossFit is not a specialized fitness program, but a deliberate attempt to optimize physical competence in each of 10 recognized fitness domains," says founder Greg Glassman in the Foundations document. Those domains are cardiovascular and respiratory endurance, stamina, strength, flexibility, power, speed, coordination, agility, balance, and accuracy.