I’m gonna ramble like a mofo in this post, as I slept less than optimally last night.
This past weekend I was lucky enough to be able to go to Austin, TX and attend PaleoFX13. By attend I mean sit through as many speakers/lectures as possible while also sitting on the Mastermind for Training and Nutrition for women, as well as teaching a bootycamp and TGU workshop. Oh you want pictures of that? Sure….
We can learn two things from this: 1. I am a dork. Or awesome. Or hilarious. Or all of those things. 2. Amy and I might actually have a career in superherodom.
PaleoFX does a really good job of giving USEFUL information to the uninitiated, and also to the paleo war veterans. What I mean is: if you are paying attention you can pick up new tidbits of awesome from the presenters, even though for the most part it is a huge rehash of what most of us “know”. Now, that is not a bad thing because IMO we all need validation/verification that what we are doing is the right thing to do, or at least maybe…which leads me into
SIDE RANT 1
The term that you should “find what works for you” is largely bullshit. That’s an excuse to NOT do what you might need to do.
Example: client-“I can’t lose weight” me-“have you ditched the wheat/liquid calories/sugar/dairy?” client-“no, that doesn’t work for me.” me (internally) – “you don’t know that. You just won’t commit to actually trying something, because you’re scared it won’t work/you’re physchologically attached/addicted to it/you don’t actually want to try.” (externally) – “well, perhaps we should try it for a whole month. Like legit removal. You know, where you actually remove it. And don’t eat it. For that 30 days. At all.”
Example: client-“I tried lifting weights, and it didn’t work for me. I was skinniest when I was running a lot in my early 20’s.” me – “yep, getting older makes things harder, you can’t get away with as much from diet/lack of sleep/exercise choices. Also, machines don’t count in my world, you probably did really not optimal training”
Look, things work until they stop working. When you are a sedentary POS, if you start anything you will see improvements. This is why when you are a beginner the MOST IMPORTANT thing you can do is find an exercise/activity that you like, and do it as often as possible while maintaining safety (read, NOT CROSSFIT/SUPER HARD WORKOUTS 5-6X/WEEK!). As you gain fitness, continued progress becomes harder and harder, and so you must be more selective with the exercise/diet/lifestyle choices that you employ if you really desire to continue progress. This is really hard because you become emotionally attached to what worked for you: kettlebells, barbell, pilates, zumba, walking, whatever. You lost 20lbs and felt better doing what you did, and you LOVE it because of that, and you have a hard time switching gears to something else. All that happened is what you were doing stopped working for you, so find something else…there is one most important thing that you need to do from a health/performance/longevity standpoint: strength train.
But that doesn’t mean you only strength train. I’d like to see you lift relatively heavy (for your experience/strength level) 2x a week and then do lots and lots of easy fun stuff the other 4 days. Seriously, workout 6 days a week if you want to and the activities are enjoyable. Just pay attention to how you feel. One thing that we don’t get in the paleo crowd (which really means crossfit crowd) is that outside of crossfit, and other extreme/high intensity exercise programs is that most people don’t train that hard. I know that most of us have blinders on and don’t really look outside of our own community, so we only see the constant beatdowns and underfeeding of exercisers in our community-and we mock all other modalities/systems because we are so elite, but, there is tons to be learned outside of our community. This is why having Kiefer, & Joel Jameson at the PaleoFX was so important-hearing some “outsider” voices.
**I hesitate writing that last paragraph because of course it doesn’t cover job demands/diet/lifestyle, but I’m just gonna say that if you manage your stress levels with those things, you can exercise more and harder which will in turn make you more resilient to everything. If you can’t manage that other stuff…then yep, you’re gonna have to take it easy with the training most of the time.
Ok, that was a tangent and a half…back to PaleoFX
My favorite new-to-me tidbit came from Dr. Layne Sebring. The weston price folks/pottenger cats experiments have talked a lot about how poor nutritional choices affects the dental, jaw and facial structure development of offspring: generally being smaller and more frail. Now, this is easy to see with the high prevalence of people needing their wisdom teeth removed, and the large amount of orthodontics which I guess weren’t needed much before our shitty diets started. BUUUUUT…..the fascinating part to me was this: the nasal passage way, and nose itself has become smaller for most of us-which makes it much harder to breathe diaphragmatically. This is important because a hot hot “trend” in fitness/performance right now is addressing the diaphragm and how it functions. Well, bad news, if you got itty bitty shitty nasal passages, you might be mostly out of luck and be doomed to being an open mouth breather….which negatively affects posture, diaphragm and thus core function, and then that affects stability negatively, which then affects mobility negatively. So say thank you to your previous 3 generations for eating nutritionally poor food stuffs and leaving you with shitty small facial structure (not to mention indented chest and thoracic cavity as well which also negatively affects posture and then that leads to poor breathing as well). **Posture and breathing is sort of a chicken or egg type situation…we can argue which causes each but the right answer is they both affect each other. Now…since we can look at our diaphragm function and still improve it, be it through DNS/PRI/whatever we should do that. An interesting thing that many in the “gluten isn’t bad” camp would do well to listen to is this: both Charlie Weingroff and Dean Somerset have talked about how wheat/gluten can cause enough intestinal discomfort/bloating to negatively affect proper breathing patters. This is interesting because they are pointing out ANOTHER negative attribute of wheat/gluten/any food that causes distended belly-which may include beans/dairy/soy or anything that personally makes you “farty and bloated”. So basically I’m saying eating shitty foods like wheat/other nutrient poor yet gas/bloat inducing foods fuck up your breathing patterns now, and also through epigenetics probably predispose your kids to sucking wind through a dry open mouth as well. Seriously…just stop eating wheat. It has zero redeeming qualities except being yummy. I choose ice cream instead.
Also from the weekend I learned that PaleoFX presenters really love ice cream.
Notes from the training and nutrition for women talk: it is really really important that ladies strength train. But also really important that you find something you like to do, so that you have a positive association with exercise instead of viewing it as another ‘chore or job’. Women can handle more volume, generally speaking-of course this is with the caveat that proper form is maintained, and that the volume and intensity have been worked up to. My personal opinion is that beginners (to any new program) should do high frequency training at lower intensity/volume to get really good at what they are doing….then layer in the volume and intensity. If you must start heavy and hard, then go less frequently. Just don’t do both. I think learning the form and NOT beating the shit out of yourself is really important when starting out. Get good, then occasionally beat your ass down (again, read my ramble above).
I think an important piece that isn’t tackled much, because it is a very sensitive subject is the encouragement of leanness but not super leanness for women, as a little bit of extra bodyfat seems to be appropriate for proper hormonal function. I know that female body image is a very challenging subject, as is basically any talk about women’s health/fitness etc-but it’s still an important subject to discuss. I really dig the female centered websites that encourage to “lift like a man” “strong is sexy” “I’m woman hear me roar type thing” because they ARE/CAN BE very empowering for women-and I’m being sincere when I say that women seem to have it harder than men. Sometimes that’s because women don’t/can’t employ the “don’t give a shit” attitude that we men seem to be good at, and sometimes it is because we truly do live in a male dominated world-in the former, that perception that you have it really bad matters, and I/we men need to try and recognize/understand that perception is reality-even if/when we don’t understand how that seemingly small thing that happened sends a lady over the edge. Back to the “be strong” woman movement (and this can pertain to in the gym/workplace/anywhere): I think it sucks that it often times becomes an “anti girly” movement at the same time. Look, it is awesome when a woman lifts heavy, shucks girly stereotypes, and kicks ass, takes names and is a stud(dette). But…that doesn’t mean it’s a bad thing when a girl/woman wants to put on a pretty dress, make up, heels, play with glitter and do stereotypical “girly” things. You CAN DO BOTH! It’s not one or the other. You shouldn’t have to apologize for wanting to do certain things. And any person who looks down/talks shit about that type of thing is being a bully, and can kiss the ass of every nailpolish wearing deadlifting #BA lady out there. I feel bad for you if you are constantly thinking about the image you are putting out there…that’s not someone else’s problem, that’s your own thing. I think that there is a serious lack of fun in much of the fitness industry, and that is horse shit. If you are so serious about your training that you don’t really enjoy it, or actually get mad at what other people are doing then you seriously suck at doing fitness. I dress up in short shorts and tights to try and relax people and get them to enjoy the experience rather than focus on the outcome. I only get mad when bad advice is thrown out about things like lifting weights will make girls bulky.
PaleoFX note: nobody agrees on carbohydrates and how many are a good idea. My thoughts: eat real food. You can’t overeat vegetables. You’ll shit on yourself if you eat too much fruit. And it’s really hard to overeat MOST animal products. Just don’t be an asshole. I’m pretty well firmly believing that carbohydrate timing can be optimized by placing it into the post workout window, or at the end of the day so long as you worked out that day. Broadly speaking, the leaner you are and the more muscle mass you have the more carbohydrates you get to have. At this point, after a certain small amount (in a range a state later) I basically see carbohydrates as a supplement for performance, not something you need for health. If you are looking to kick ass in the gym or in a sport, you need more of them. I’m not saying always be in ketosis-I’m saying have metabolic flexibilty where you can go no carb days, low carb days, and occasionally have more some days. Having to rely on gluconeogenisis all the time is probably too stressful for the body-for brief periods it probably provides some sort of benefit, as is the case with most things I think. Simple as that. If you are looking to lean out, you probably would do well to have less of them, at least for a while. I don’t see
the debate ever ending, but I would be shocked if within the next 5 years we don’t start seeing sweeping recommendations across all fitness/health communities that involve LESS carbohydrates. Just understand that we probably don’t need to “optimize” our carb intake, and that a range of 25% of your BW in grams of carbs to 50% of your BW in grams per day is plenty for feeling awesome and staying lean in the absence of high intensity workouts. Carb up more on high intensity days. I basically just made those numbers up…but they make sense to me.
PaleoErs are (mostly) well to do anglo saxon americans. That’s not being discriminatory, its just an observation. It has some stuff to do with the fact that the diet/lifestyle can cost more-but I think mostly it comes down to the fact that for the people there, health and fitness are worth the $$. This is in contrast to anyone who thinks that $100/month for expert instruction in fitness/nutrition/lifestyle is not worth it, yet complains about their weight/health/energy and stress-but still manages to spend much more than that on self medication via booze/drugs/food. My opinion is that most people who won’t spend the money on improving their health could do a better job of not spending money on negative health inputs, and that would have exponential positive effects on their lives. We humans are exceptionally good at self sabotage and coming up with excuses for why things WON’T work. I’m not much for inspirationy quotes/talks, but please focus on the things you can control, and let go of those things that you can’t.
PaleoFX/AHS crowds are HAWT. Simple as that. I Haven’t seen that many fit and healthy people at any other gathering of people ever. Fitness conventions are visual proof that lean/fit/high performance does not = healthy. Those things have people who are wafer thin skinned freaky looking folks who are freaking out every 2 hours that they need a powerbar because they are hypoglycemic and going catabolic. Pretty funny. At this event we gots super smarty physchiatrist Emily Deans doing 1 handed stands, and the only Physician and athlete presenter I’ve ever heard of, Dr. Jacob Egbert.
Keith and Michelle Norris should be applauded and celebrated for working tirelessly to assemble the who’s who of the paleo crowd and putting on an awesome weekend. I wouldn’t want to take on the task of organizing that event, but I’m sure glad I got to be a part of it.
If you are interested in hosting a Turkish Get Up/KB workshop, or online coaching, email me.