Fad diets are shortsighted, extreme and often unhealthy regimens that promise rapid weight loss to profit from desperate dieters. The Paleo diet is not so much a diet as it is a lifestyle that focuses on optimal human nutrition — favoring food sources that we evolved to thrive on more than 2.5 million years. Many people have found Paleo as a means to treat or heal serious health issues where traditional medicine failed them. It's a grassroots movement, not a marketing ploy. If anything, it is an anti-fad diet.
First, I’d just like to acknowledge that I’m not a nutritionist or a healthcare professional. The opinions I share here are simply my own experiences and thoughts while trying this program. I also acknowledge that the topics of healthy eating, dieting, and illness are very personal, and what might work for me, might not work for someone else. We are all unique.
I wrote a book called The Paleo Solution which went on to become a New York Times Bestseller. This book incorporates the latest, cutting edge research from genetics, biochemistry and anthropology to help you look, feel and perform your best. I am a research biochemist who traded in his lab coat and pocket protector for a whistle and a stopwatch to become one of the most sought after strength and conditioning coaches in the world. With my unique perspective as both scientist and coach you will learn how simple nutrition, exercise and lifestyle changes can radically change your appearance and health for the better.
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The Open is the single largest participatory test of fitness on the planet. And it all begins at your local box. What’s special about the Open is that it pushes all of us to dig deeper and to do better than we ever thought we could. It’s an empirical test against a standard applied to hundreds of thousands of people throughout the world. That’s an invaluable challenge for each of us as athletes and as human beings. For those who don’t see the inherent and unambiguous value in such an examination of self and community, no amount of convincing will suffice. If you’re not in the Open, you’re missing out.
“Any non-CrossFitter who’s suffered through a conversation with someone enthusiastic about CrossFit knows that it has its own language,” says Cobb. For instance, WOD stands for “workout of the day.” But this shared lexicon provides the foundation for CrossFit’s community. Cobb continues, “It’s a warm, welcoming feeling to walk into a CrossFit you’ve never been to before and immediately find people who speak your language.”
CrossFit, Inc. does not dispute that its methodology has the potential to cause rhabdomyolysis. The company states that exertional rhabdomyolysis can be found in a wide variety of sports and training populations and argues that its critics have conflated CrossFit's high awareness of rhabdomyolysis with high risk. One CrossFit spokesman stated that "ESPN's report on the 53 deaths in US triathlons from 2007 to 2013 should have put the issue to rest."
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In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto by Michael Pollan gives a guided tour of 20th century food science, a history of "nutritionism" in America and a look at the marriage of government and the food industry. Then the book presents a commonsense shopping-and-eating guide, which like the paleo diet focuses on shopping the perimeter of the supermarket. He also now has a much shorter Food Rules: An Eater's Manual.
One recent Saturday morning, I dragged myself to a CrossFit class at BRICK in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood. It wasn’t a proper CrossFit class, but rather a variation called B | FIT, that incorporated CrossFit movements but focused more on high intensity interval training. I was disappointed to find I was the only one to show up in spandex tights, but I did notice a significant gay presence and the instructor was an adorable gay named Matthew.
Sometimes referred to as "The Cave Man Diet," the Paleolithic diet focuses on real, pre-agricultural whole foods such as wild-caught seafood, pastured meat and eggs, vegetables, fruit, nuts and seeds, and eschews dairy, legumes, grains and all processed, industrialized foods such as wheat flour, high fructose corn syrup and soy bean oil, which form the majority of calories consumed in a Standard American Diet.
Paleo eating requires a lot of planning, prep time, and mental resolve. For instance, eating out on the diet isn't as simple as ordering chicken and a salad. Think: In what oil was the chicken cooked? Did any of the salad toppings come processed, canned, or packaged? "As with every elimination diet, it's just not doable long term," Dr. Ochner says. While weight loss is far from the sole purpose of eating paleo, going on and off of the diet can lead to big weight swings. Any yo-yo diet starts in weight loss from both muscle and fat, and usually ends with weight gain of all fat, which contributes to a slower metabolism and increased insulin resistance.
"Loren Cordain's extensive research demonstrates how modern westernized diets drastically depart from the original diet humans consumed for millions of years. In The Paleo Diet and The Paleo Diet Cookbook, Dr. Cordain shows how diets high in grains, dairy, vegetable oils, salt, and refined sugars are at odds with our genetic legacy and then shares his uncomplicated strategy for losing weight and getting healthy."
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.