He developed wacky routines: He had clients race their way through repetitions on a weight machine, and at one facility, he had them scramble up a 30-foot column in the middle of the room. Eventually, the owner of that gym welded disks to the pole to make him stop. "They added a hazard 15 feet up," Glassman cracked to clients, before signaling them to go up anyway. He got kicked out of that gym. He got kicked out of several gyms. "I've never wanted to be told what to do," Glassman says. "I think it's genetic."
But the truth is--and this is apparent to anyone watching Glassman wile away an afternoon at El Borracho--that CrossFit's success doesn't derive from any conventional business strategy. Glassman doesn't behave the way he's supposed to. Sometimes he rebels out of cunning, other times for the sheer petulant fun of it. Often, it's hard to tell which. As a result, CrossFit is a workout and a company no conventional trainer or M.B.A. would ever have built. Glassman is sitting atop a firecracker of a company. And the relevant question is, as always, What's he going to do now?
This is not hard. Don’t you dare tell us this is hard. Fighting cancer is hard. Birthing a baby is hard. Losing a parent is hard. Drinking your coffee black. Is. Not. Hard. You’ve done harder things than this, and you have no excuse not to complete the program as written. It’s only thirty days, and it’s for the most important health cause on earth—the only physical body you will ever have in this lifetime.
He was in Seattle on business. The calendar that morning said Thursday, but Glassman's gut said the mall, and the day had meandered from there. He had bought himself and his pilot new blaze-orange parkas at Mountain Hardwear, and taken his girlfriend to Tiffany's to buy her a diamond pendant for her birthday. At first, the Tiffany's staff had eyed him suspiciously: With his faded jeans, his parka, and the backward red baseball cap over his scraggly wisps of gray hair, the 56-year-old looked as if he had wandered in from a tailgate party somewhere or might whip out a hammer for a smash-and-grab. But then, it turned out the saleswoman was one of them. Her sinewy body should have been a giveaway. "Greg Glassman!" she said, looking at his credit card. "My husband was with you last night!"
The paleo diet is promoted as a way of improving health. There is some evidence that following this diet may lead to improvements in terms of body composition and metabolic effects compared with the typical Western diet or compared with diets recommended by national nutritional guidelines. There is no good evidence that the diet helps with weight loss, other than through the normal mechanisms of calorie restriction. Following the paleo diet can lead to nutritional deficiencies such as an inadequate calcium intake, and side effects can include weakness, diarrhea, and headaches.
Whole30 is about a physiological and psychological reset (so, not just about the number on the scale), and if you’re looking to jumpstart your system and make healthier food choices, the 30-day plan may be a good guide for you. “It’s really for someone who is looking to make drastic changes for a short period of time and understands this is a band-aid, not a cure all,” says Zeitlin.
And if you have an iPhone or iPad, go download my Webby Award-winning app! With over 100 Whole30-approved recipes, interactive guides, a customizable shopping list, fully-emailable recipes, and a 30-day Whole30 meal plan, this app is an invaluable tool for Paleo foodies and culinary newbies alike. There’s even a dedicated Whole30 recipe category in the app!
Then I had my "aha!" moment. This was the perfect time to attempt Whole30, which I had always been interested in trying. My sister-in-law, Lisa, tried it a few years ago and she claims it changed her life. She ended up going off of the strict diet after 30 days, but stayed on the Paleo Diet. I asked her to be my "Whole30 advisor" throughout the entire process. (Side note: If you know someone who has done Whole30 before, ask them if they can be your guide!) Lisa was so helpful, I feel like I probably should have paid her.
The Primal Blueprint Cookbook: Primal, Low Carb, Paleo, Grain-Free, Dairy-Free and Gluten-Free by Mark Sisson and Jennifer Meier. Recipes include: Roasted Leg of Lamb with Herbs and Garlic, Salmon Chowder with Coconut Milk, Tomatoes Stuffed with Ground Bison and Eggs, and Baked Chocolate Custard. Recipes are simple and have limited ingredients. Complaints are the book is stuffed with unnecessary photos and proofreading could have been better, e.g. oven temperatures were left out. And recipes are not truly paleo. Despite what is on the cover dairy is used in some recipes. The Amazon reviews average to 4+ stars.
To the outside world, though, as Glassman's company has exploded from a cult fitness website to a gym concept primed to have more locations than Curves by the end of 2013, CrossFit can appear risky, unhinged: Here is a fitness routine that has sent people to the hospital, overseen by people who may have had no more than two days of instruction. (Although every real trainer I met had considerable experience and was genuinely excellent, I attended the seminar and passed the test on my fourth day reporting this story. I am, believe me, no fitness savant.) And it's all led by a man who, in a 2006 CrossFit.com comment, wrote, "We have a therapy for injuries at CrossFit called STFU." As in, Shut the f-k up. That's enough to make even the most devoted laissez faire-ists get a little, well, Uncle Pukie.
The Paleolithic Prescription: A Program of Diet & Exercise and a Design for Living by S. Boyd Eaton, M.D., Marjorie Shostak and Melvin Konner. This book, published in 1988, was the start of the Paleolithic diet movement. Its recommendations are not in line with what today is considered a paleo diet, as whole grain breads and pastas, legumes and some low fat dairy products are allowed. However, it is still a profoundly important book. Used books are available for a reasonable price.
So you can imagine that their stance on cheating in the program is very stringent. If you cheat, you’re supposed to start again at day one with no exceptions. As an intense perfectionist in life, this scared me more than any other rule or dietary restriction. And to be fair, I think that any dietary change is hard. Maybe it’s not like quitting heroin, but it’s also not like a spa massage. Did I mention that I also don’t like when people tell me what to do? As a really small child, I stabbed myself in the eye with a fork because my mom told me not to. Yeah … tough love isn’t my love language. Life is complicated.
Prior to starting, athletes should state their name, and show and state the weights and equipment to be used. All video submissions must be uncut and unedited in order to accurately display the performance. A clock or timer, with the running workout time clearly visible should be in the frame throughout the entire workout. Shoot the video from an angle so ALL exercises can be clearly seen meeting the movement standards. Videos shot with a fisheye lens or similar lens may be rejected due to the visual distortion these lenses cause. If an athlete needs someone to adjust their camera during the WOD to capture all movements, this is acceptable, as long as the flow of the workout and the athlete is in view the whole time.
Some randomized controlled trials have shown the Paleo diet to produce greater short-term benefits than diets based on national nutrition guidelines, including greater weight loss, reduced waist circumference, decreased blood pressure, increased insulin sensitivity, and improved cholesterol. However these studies were of short duration (6 months or less) with a small number of participants (less than 40). [4-6]
The Whole30 is not a diet, a weight-loss plan or quick fix – it’s designed to “change your life,” the founders say, by eliminating cravings, rebalancing hormones, curing digestive issues, improving medical conditions and boosting energy and immune function. The theory behind it is that all sorts of physical and mental health issues – ranging from acne to depression to allergies – could be due to your diet. But you can’t know which foods are to blame for what ails you unless you cut out all traces of sugar, alcohol, grains, dairy and legumes for 30 days. By day 31, you’ll be free from your food fog and may not even miss your nightly wine ritual or morning muffin fix. If and when you reintroduce food groups, your body’s reaction will tell you which foods you should continue to avoid – or at least limit.
The diet ranked last among 38 popular diets evaluated by U.S. News & World Report in its 2016 Best Diets Rankings; one of the raters, dietitian Meridan Zerner said: "We want behavioral changes and dietary changes that are slow and progressive and meaningful." David L. Katz said of the diet: "The grouping [of banned foods] is both random, and rather bizarre from a nutrition perspective. If the idea is good nutrition, cutting out whole grains and legumes is at odds with a boatload of evidence." It was selected as one of the worst health trends for 2013 by Health Magazine.
As far as food goes, you’re simply going to eat a lot of fresh, good-quality eats and ditch the processed stuff. Beyond that, you’re removing all grains, dairy, soy, legumes, sugar, artificial sweeteners, and alcohol from your diet. All of these foods (especially in excess), according to the authors, have been linked to systemic inflammation, hormonal imbalance, gut issues, and more. The idea is to remove the stressors from your body and give it the nourishment and time to heal itself it needs. This means less inflammation, a healthy metabolism, hormonal harmony, a happy gut, clearer skin, and improved energy! Sounds good to me. (Although if we’re honest, I panicked a bit when I realized no cheese would hit my lips for a full month.)
CrossFit, Inc. licenses the CrossFit name to gyms for an annual fee and certifies trainers. Besides the standard two-day "Level 1 Trainer Course", specialty seminars include gymnastics, Olympic weightlifting, powerlifting, strongman, running and endurance, rowing, kettlebells, mobility and recovery, CrossFit Kids, CrossFit Football, and self-defense and striking. Other specialized adaptations include programs for pregnant women, seniors, and military special operations candidates. Affiliates develop their own programming, pricing, and instructional methods. Many athletes and trainers see themselves as part of a contrarian, insurgent movement that questions conventional fitness wisdom. In addition to performing prescribed workouts, they follow CrossFit's nutrition recommendations, adopting a paleo and/or zone diet.