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Open 2015

Open Season is Upon Us…………..

Open 2015

Registration Begins Thursday January 15th

Here we go CrossFit …. it’s now time for the CrossFit Open to begin and we are excited!  This year we are doing things a little different.  Instead of having every Saturday morning and afternoon consumed with competition, we are bringing the festivities forward and going to be doing “Friday Night Lights.”  The staff of CFSF believe this is a great way to continue having Saturday classes for those not going to participate in the open and give everyone who is going to participate a better opportunity to do the workouts with the group while creating a fun Friday event community night.  This does mean our Friday schedule will change slightly, our last class of the day will be at 4:15 on Friday.  This schedule will not start until the first week of the open which is the week of  February 26th.  Our plan is to have our first heats starting at 5:30pm and going until we are done.

This year along with the prescribed Rx division there will also be a scaled division similar to our throwdown where the movements and weights will be scaled.  When you do the workout each week your score will be ranked among others all over the world who are also doing the prescribed or scaled divisions.  We are encouraging everyone to sign up on CrossFit.com under our CrossFit Sioux Falls team and be a part of this great six week event.  If you are not able to make the “Friday Night Lights”  we will have other opportunities to do the workouts as follows: Friday during regular class and a couple hours on Sunday during open gym to get the workout in.  Unless you are planning on going to regionals as an individual you will not be able to redo the workouts during the week – for most of our athletes this will be a one and done giving your best effort in that single shot.

Those of you who are interested in volunteering to judge, help with equipment, or video please let one of our coaches know so we can get you on our volunteer sheet.  We do not expect you to volunteer every week, please just give us a heads up on what weeks work best for you.  CrossFit is holding the judges course online again this year; if you took it last year you must take it again this year in order to be a registered judge.  If you are interested in judging you do not have to take the course but it is recommended by CrossFit.

Our plan is to have an informational meeting a couple weeks before the open starts so please check facebook and the blog for upcoming meeting dates.  We are really excited about this years open and after watching all of you compete this past weekend, we know we can have a great amount of athlete participation.

Here is a link to the CrossFit Games main site, this will give you all the information you need to get signed up and ready to compete.  http://games.crossfit.com/article/whats-new-2015

Let the Games begin…or at least the Open.

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paleo diet

Make Your Diet a Lifestyle- Paleo Challenge 2015

motivation paleo
It’s  a New Year and with a New Year comes resolutions and many goals to accomplish.  To be successful you need a plan of action and additional support from your fellow CrossFitters can come in really handy.  We don’t want you to think of a Paleo Challenge as limiting what you can do but taking advantage of all you can be and do!  We want this to be a life changing experience that changes your thinking and feelings about what you eat.  It is not meant to be a diet that makes you think about food all day and how deprived you are of everything you love to eat.  We also do not want you to have to give up social obligations with friends because you are doing a Paleo Challenge.  We want you to live life…full, healthy, and with long-term success!  If you are a new member or an old member this is a great way to check and recheck your nutrition especially after all of the holiday fun and festivities.

Paleo Challenge Coming…

This time, we will be running the challenge within the gym.  We have tried other challenges such as Whole Life and LuRong but this time we are going to run the challenge within the gym holding ourselves and you accountable.  This means that the more people we get to sign up the more winnings there will be.  The challenge is set to start Monday January 19th  and run through March 1st; we will have our informational meeting, measurements, pictures, body composition and weigh- in on Monday January 19th at 6:30pm.  There is a sign up sheet on the whiteboard, and shortly after you sign up you will receive an informational packet that will have the rules, grocery lists, and other additional information to help you get started.  We will have meetings every Sunday night at 6pm going over different topics and answer all your weekly questions.  The price of the challenge is $40 and all we will award prizes of the total value to the top 3 men and 3 woman finishers – we will announce the prizes midway through the challenge.

We will have a baseline workout on Thursday, January 22nd and retest the last week of the challenge.  This will kick off your personal evaluation.

Let’s start the New Year off right and get everyone involved in this fun learning experience that will not only change your way of thinking about food but change your family’s way of looking at food.  We will have weekly family friendly recipes, cooking workshops, and special informational guests to break things down.  Registration will begin on Tuesday January 6th and go through Sunday January 18th.

Here is an overview of the Challenge and dates:

  • January 6th- Registration begins + pick up info packet
  • January 19th – Informational meeting, measurements, pictures, body composition, and weigh-ins
  • January 19th- Challenge begins
  • January 22nd- Baseline workout
  • January 25th- First Sunday meeting 6pm

Let’s get after this CrossFit Sioux Falls!  Not a member, and want to join us?  Come in, check out the gym, and let’s discuss a plan that gets you on a New Year kick-off.  See you in the gym!

paleo diet

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fearless

New Year = New Challenges

2015

 

Happy New Year and welcome to 2015!  What a great year we have had, filled with births, weddings, new coaching staff, and a ton of new faces in the gym.  After 5 years of great members, both new and old, we are still going strong and 2015 looks to be another amazing year for us.  If you have been on hiatus from the gym because of the craziness of the holidays and Christmas vacation we are ready for you to get back on track; come WOD with us.  We have many exciting things coming up including the Winter Throwdown and the Holiday Party: this January 10th is going to be a blast.   We all know it’s that time of year … the beginning and everyone is talking about resolutions and what you are going to change or delete from your life.  But my question to you is more challenged: what can you add to your life or your family or friends life?

So many of us sit on the sidelines and watch life pass us by.  We talk about how time flies and how there just isn’t enough hours in the day.  Is 2015 your year to start getting off the sidelines and get into the game of life?  If your not healthy or happy with yourself then how can you be happy in your life?  Change is hard and not always wanted but there comes a time when its needed.  You may not even see it until it happens, or you may have to struggle to let change in.

What will the new year bring you?
What do you want it to be, for not just you but your family?

Maybe its time to focus on your health and wellness, your diet, or maybe its your kids health and wellness?  The new year for CrossFit Sioux Falls will be focused on all those things and more!  We have a family focus and with the new year comes the start of our kids classes, parent and teen classes, our nutrition counseling and challenges, and we can’t forget about the amazing community and friendships along the way.  If you are looking for a change for yourself or both you and your family, then please come to challenge us to help change you to feel better and look better in the new year. I go back to the question “what are you going to add to your life or your family or friends life?” … maybe health, wellness, friendships, and community!  How about CrossFit?  Take the first step…and we will walk, jog, and run and row with you to success!

fearless

If you are ready to walk in, just as we welcome in a energized 2015, we welcome you to CrossFit Sioux Falls. Come in, call 605.274.3474 or email info@crossfitsiouxfalls.com – and if you are ready, just walk in…let’s get started.

Welcome a NEW YOU in a New Year!

– Liza and Team.

 

 

 

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CF Christmas

Winter Throwdown Standards and Movements…….

  Here is what a bunch of you have been waiting for all week, and I am going to give it to you in the simplest form that I can.  We have 40 teams signed up for the Throwdown and  as a coaching staff we couldn’t be more excited about the turn out.  The deadline for team sign up is going to be Monday, December 22nd so there still is time to get a partner and sign up, and remember this is a fun event, with IN-Gym teams only.  After Monday we will start doing heat assignments and getting last minute preparations done to make this event amazing.  We will have our overall winners which will receive our traveling plate trophies, and we will also crown our scaled winners.  This is going to be a great day to not only get a couple workouts in but meet new members and socialize.  After the competition we will let everyone go home and get ready for the evening festivities which will be at a downtown location to be named soon!  The fun awaits. Enough logistics here is the nitty gritty of the day with the movements and weights for each division….. Event One will be a Max Lift (for both RX and scaled) – this will be a 3 movement 2 rep max unbroken complex.  In other words, you must go through all 3 lifts without the barbell touching the ground.  There will be a max time limit for this event of 6 minutes and each athlete will get 2 attempts at a max weight.  You will need to complete  2 reps of a hang clean, front squat, and shoulder to overhead, after completing your lift you will have the opportunity to deadlift for the remainder of the time.  Your score is your max weight combined by both partners and your number of deadlifts performed after each lift attempt. Here are the rest of the movements for RX: Handstand Push-Ups Power Snatches (115/75) Double Unders Rowing KB Swings (55/35) Wall Balls (20/14) Slam Balls Thrusters (95/65) Pull Ups Burpee Box Jumps AND, the movements for Scaled athletes: Hand released push-ups Power Snatches (95/65) Singles or Double Unders Rowing KB Swings (55/35) Wall Balls (20/10) Slam Balls Thrusters (75/55) Banded or unbanded Pull Ups Burpee box jumps It is likely, you have many questions.  No problem, but be patient. This is just to give you an idea of the movements; we will give you more information a week out from the competition. So, while we will help answer your questions, if you let the event unfold…the entire story will be told.  Remember this is for fun so there is no need to run through the workouts, freak out about something that you may not be an expert at, or add any discomfort to your preparation.  Go into this with an open mind of making yourself and your partner better, competing and just have fun.  If you do have any questions please direct them to Liza and Cody as we are the ones in charge of this event. And remember, the deadline is fast approaching (TOMORROW) but we can accommodate if you make the list and commit. Thanks, Liza and Team   holiday party

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gift of fitness

Tis the Season For Fitness……

gift of fitness

 

Tis the season for gift giving, so why not give yourself and a friend the gift of fitness and get rewarded for it in return.  CrossFit Sioux Falls is all about friendships and fitness and this is the perfect time to get all of your friends in the gym to workout with you, because nobody likes to workout alone.

For every active member who brings a friend in to join, here is the deal for BOTH of you

Starting December 15-January 2nd we will be offering current members half of there next month and there friends half of there first month for joining CrossFit Sioux Falls.  This is for everyone – part time and full time members if you are a student, fire, military, or police you still get the regular reduced rate plus the half off your first month.  If a member brings in 2 friends who join, each friend will get 1/2 off their 1st month and the current member will get a free month (1/2 x 2).

The holidays can be a crazy hectic time of year and the first thing that we forget to take care of is ourselves.  This is the perfect gift to give yourself and a friend.  Challenge yourself to be more than what you ever thought you could be.  What ever your goals are to gain muscle, lose weight, gain some great friends, or just a stress release make 2015 your year, CFSF can kick-start you.  What are you waiting for? Stop by the gym, call (605) 274-3474, facebook , or email (liza@cfsiouxfalls.com) today!

CrossFit Sioux Falls
3505 S Phillips Ave, Sioux Falls, SD 57105
(605) 274-3474

 

 

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CFSFd2_back

NEW CrossFit Sioux Falls Apparel is Coming.

It’s long overdue, but apparel is on the way.  Matt took a great role in finding a great way to make sure we have consistent apparel and put it into action.  The “605BBC” t-shirts that everyone pre-ordered are on their way and should be available this week.  Please work with Matt on all the pre-orders, and note there are a few extra that will be stocked and sold at our standard apparel rates. Building upon Matt’s experience and the desire to make sure we have a reliable means to have apparel for all, we are excited to also have 2 new CrossFit Sioux Falls pieces on their way.  They should be here late this week as well.  Liza put together the designs and styles and we have an awesome assortment of colors and sizes coming.  These are all American Apparel 50/50 or tri-blend t-shirts and a few Hoodies coming in the mix as well. We ordered a BUNCH of colors and sizes but some of them have just 1 or 2 in a certain size and color to spread out the options.  I am excited to get these. So you can plan ahead, these will launch at $25.00 + tax = $26.50 total for the t-shirts and $40.00 + tax for the sweatshirts.  I believe there are 8 color options for a couple designs so there should hopefully be something for everyone.  Sweatshirt quantity is a bit more limited. Here is a sneak peek at a couple:   Design 1: FRONT and BACK CFSFd1_frontCFSFd2_back     Design 2: FRONT and BACK CFSF_d1fCFSFd1_back As mentioned, some of the colors will be gone in a size right away but we have a large total coming.  And please remember just to note what you purchased on the sheets in the gym so we can best track the inventory. THANKS!

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Fall throwdown winners 2013

Winter Throwdown and Holiday Party

Fall throwdown winners 2013

 

The date has been set, and we are ready to roll!  The 2014 Winter Throwdown and Holiday Party is Saturday, January 10th tentative start time is 8:30 am and we should finish around 2 pm.  In the evening of the 10th, we will be having our Holiday Party downtown with full plans and location disclosed as the date approaches; this is open to all members and their significant no matter if you participated in the Throwdown.

The format will make fun a fun yet competitive event to motivate all.  The Winter Throwdown will consist of a 2- person same sex team, and we will be running scaled and Rx teams together just modifying weight and reps so there is equal work between groups.  Every level of CrossFitter is welcome to sign up, and this is an in gym CFSF members only Throwdown.  If you are having trouble finding a partner and want to participate talk to me or one of the coaches and we can help you get paired up with some.

This event is a fun event for everyone.  All the movements will be general CrossFit movements, nothing unknown or crazy.  We will be having 1 lift and 3 workouts all in the moderate time frame.  We will be announcing the workouts the week of the competition so you have a chance to digest what you need to do.  Cost for the event is $50 a team, we will have a sign up sheet on the whiteboard on Monday.  If you don’t want to compete but would like to volunteer to help set up, move equipment, or judge I will have a sign up sheet for volunteers as well.

The traveling-plate trophies are on the line for both male and female divisions, this is going to be a great day of fun and festivities!

winter throwdown

 

 

 

 

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605BC

605BC Shirts

Tcolors

 

605 Barbell Club shirts are becoming a reality… don’t be that person without one. I do appreciate the participation/interest we’ve already had at Barbell Club classes thus far and look forward to the future of “the club” and whatever it becomes.

Starting right now up until 2:30 PM next Wednesday the 26th we will be offering a pre sale at a discounted price to ensure you get the size you want. For the Presale the t-shirts will be $20.00 cash/ $22.00 credit and the tanks will be $18.00 cash/$20 credit. You must pre pay as well to have one reserved as limited inventory will be ordered to have on hand (Which will most likely be $25/$23 respectively). The order will be placed next Wednesday after the pre sale ends, with expected delivery two weeks after. I am using a different vendor than the past and I will be able to share tracking/status information.

Both the T’s and tanks are American Apparel 50/50. Here is some sizing information…

Click for T Shirts Sizing Chart

Tank Sizing Chart

All shirts/tanks will have “#605BC” in white lettering on the back.

The options are black, blue, gray… it’s actually “heather lake blue” and “asphalt” if you are researching. This gray is different that the tester shirt I (MattyB) was wearing around the gym and was earlier posted on IG/FB.

If you have any questions, please let me know or email matt@crossfitsiouxfalls.com . I would be happy to ship to anyone not currently in town as well, we will just make sure the price of shipping is added to the price of the shirt.

All orders will be handled by myself (MattyB), do not use the product list in the office. Do not just tell a coach after class. Once I know your size/color/type of shirt and have either received cash, or your permission to hit your card, I will add you to my pre order list. Again… matt@crossfitsiouxfalls.com with any questions or to get an order going.

 

 

 

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colette and scott

November’s Member of the Month is a Couple…..Colette and Scott DeVos

colette and scott

 

Congratulations Scott and Colette!  I have known Scott and Colette DeVos for over 10 years; we have kids that are the same age and when they were young we went to the same gym to have some kid-free time mixed in with a little elliptical and running.  Colette and Scott are two of the most positive people I have ever met.  I will never forget the day Scott walked into the office and said “Colette and I want to start CrossFit.  When is your next intro class?”  I was so excited I couldn’t wait to get them both in the gym.  Here is a little Q and A with Colette and Scott……

When did you start CrossFit…
July 2013 Colette and Scott started with the Intro to CrossFit program with Jeremy.  They were very excited and nervous but wanted to do something together to get in better shape.

What is your Favorite and Least Favorite movemements……
Scott’s
Favorite Movement-anything shoulder to overhead and least favorite Double Unders
Colette Favorite- Double Unders and least favorite is anything overhead.
I guess opposites really do attract!

If you could design a perfect workout for you what would it be…
Scott’s
workout would consist of rowing, push-ups and push press
Colette’s workout would consist of running, double-unders, and squats

How has CrossFit Changed your life and what has CrossFit taught you about yourself….
Scott- Prior to CrossFit, working out was something I didn’t want to do and rarely did.  I have been consistent three times a week since starting over a year ago and I really look forward to going to the gym.
Colette- CrossFit has changed me for the better.  I am stronger, more confident, and have learned to believe in myself.

What things can you do now that you thought you would never be able to do before you started CrossFit…
Scott-
I struggled through the warm-up during my first intro class (hamstring cramps) and every movement was a challenge.  I enjoy seeing how far I have come.  I can do most movements and know I will continue to improve.
Colette- LIFTING WEIGHTS!!  I was completely overwhelmed at first.  Slowly, my form has improved and I have gotten stronger.  I am proud that I didn’t give up on myself.

—A snippet of testimonial from Scott and Colette on Member of the Month—

We were having pizza and beer when Liza let us know about athlete of the month. We were celebrating the completion of the Lurong paleo challenge and talking about CrossFit and laughing with each other. CrossFit has brought us closer in our marriage. The community, coaches and friends we have made over the last year are what keep us coming back! Our kids see us as an example of health and fitness now which is a wonderful gift. I know we don’t consider ourselves athletes, but I guess maybe we are.  A couple that works out together, stays together is true for us. Thanks Crossfit Sioux Falls.

————–

Scott and Colette, we all love your positive attitude, your friendly smile, and above all your ability to be coached.  You are both amazing role models for both our new and old members.  Congratulations on being members of the month keep up the great work and striving for your goals.

 

 

 

 

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My Year Without Sugar

I made a Facebook post a couple days ago. It said this:

As of today, it’s been one full year since I ate anything with added sugar.

The response was immediate. In addition to the comments on the post (worth reading), I got a half-dozen private messages on Facebook, a few text messages, and multiple people stopped me over the next few days both at church and the gym to ask me questions about it.

Apparently the idea of removing sugar from their diet completely was incomprehensible to people.

In an attempt to mass-answer as many questions as possible, I decided to write everything down. If you asked me questions I didn’t get to, I hope I answer them somewhere below.

(I’ll warn you in advance that this article starts out very matter-of-fact but gets more touchy-feely and pseudo-psychological as it goes on. Feel free to bail out at any point. The nuts-and-bolts information is at the top.)

Yes, I stopped eating added sugar a year ago — October 18, 2013, to be exact.

How am I defining “added sugar”? Basically any sugar that God Himself didn’t put in the food. Yes, yes, I know there are naturally occurring sugars in all sorts of foods — fruit, dairy, etc. These are fine. What I’m avoiding are the sugars dumped into food during manufacturing specifically to make the food sweeter.

How strict have I been? Very. So much so that I can still remember most of the accidents. For example:

  • I was eating some trail mix in an airport in Boise, Idaho when I realized there were yogurt chips in it. I spit it out.
  • I got halfway through a steak salad that tasted suspiciously sweet. The server swore the dressing was vinaigrette…”Oh, wait, it’s maple vinaigrette…” (Maple vinaigrette? Seriously, who does that?)
  • I accidentally had some cranberries on a salad a few weeks ago. (Watch out for cranberries, as they’re essentially inedible unless soaked in sugar. If something has cranberries, I guarantee it has added sugar.)

There were a few more accidents (and I’m sure even more that I probably didn’t catch), but you get the idea of how far I took this. When you’re leaning over an airport garbage can spitting yogurt chips out in full view of everyone walking by, you’ve clearly become somewhat obsessive.

No, I do not feel deprived. Not at all.

  • I’m eating more food than at any other time in my life.
  • I’m enjoying food more than at any other time in my life.
  • I have a healthier relationship with food than at any other time in my life (much more on this below).

What do I eat? Damn-near everything. Contrary to what everyone thinks, it’s quite possible to avoid added sugar completely. Yet, the most common question I got was, “If you don’t eat sugar, what can you possibly eat!?” People apparently think I’m starving.

You’d be amazed how much stuff you can eat, but the current American diet can’t see past manufactured, processed foods, so people tend to overlook all the other stuff. Factory food is the default, and real food has almost become a fringe diet. I should package this and market it as “The Retro Diet ™” because I’m essentially eating what your grandparents ate in the 1950s.

Basically, I eat lots of meat, fish, fruit, vegetables, nuts, eggs, and dairy.

I’m thinking back over today, and it was a pretty average day food-wise, so here’s the play-by-play:

  • For breakfast I had the same thing I always have: a big cup of frozen strawberries (defrosted in the microwave) and two cups of bulletproof coffee. (The BP coffee is something I’ve been having in the last few months. Prior to that it was four eggs fried in butter and smothered with goat cheese.)
  • I had a couple handfuls of almonds about halfway through the morning. I wasn’t really hungry, but smoked almonds are awesome.
  • Lunch was at a Rotary meeting, so it was a buffet. I had a salad, some cold cuts, some cheese, cooked beef of some kind (I think it was brisket), a few potatoes, and milk (I’ve started to love whole milk again).
  • I was a bit hungry later in the afternoon, so I had some grapes and some cheese slices from a big hunk of “Seriously Sharp Cheddar” that I keep in the fridge.
  • For dinner, Annie made flank steak with sweet potatoes and green beans. (My wife is an awesome cook, and she’s been really supportive of my diet for this last year. Bless her.)

Yes, that’s a lot of food. My diet beats up rice cakes for fun and takes their lunch money. Clearly, I’m neither deprived nor hungry. In fact, I’m writing this at 9:33 p.m. and I’m still stuffed.

And I’m writing this from memory only because it’s fresh. I do not track my food. I can’t remember what I ate yesterday, and I don’t care. If I’m hungry, I eat until I’m not. I don’t plan anything in advance, and I don’t write anything down afterwards.

There are some generalities you can draw out of yesterday’s food –

It’s almost Paleo, with the exception of the dairy. In particular, note the lack of grains . I went through a Paleo challenge at CrossFit Sioux Falls in January and loved it. I’ve been avoiding grains for almost as long as sugar. I usually find myself in a social/group situation a couple of times a month where I don’t have much choice but to eat grains (bread, essentially), but I never eat it otherwise. I did finally bring back dairy (I even have a blog devoted to cheese plates), so I’m “Paleo + Dairy,” if that’s even a thing.

There’s a lot of fat in my diet. I’ve come to understand that dietary fat doesn’t make you fat — sugar and carbs do. After much experimentation, I can say that my weight is unaffected by how much fat I consume. I’m eating more fat in my diet now than at any other time in my life, yet I’ve never been leaner and my weight has never been more stable (I’m invariably within 2-3 pounds of 210, to the point where I’ve stopped bothering to weigh myself).

In addition to weight stability, I’ve never been in better physical condition or had more energy than I do today — both background energy throughout the day, and acute cardio endurance for CrossFit WODs. Even at 43-years-old and two solid years of CrossFit, I still set a couple of PRs a month. If I don’t have my BP coffee in the morning I can feel it. Fat is my biggest energy source.

(If you want much more on the effect of fat in your diet, I highly recommend The Big Fat Surprise: Why Butter, Meat and Cheese Belong In a Healthy Diet. This is a meticulously-researched book on the effect of dietary fat on the body, and how we’ve been led down the wrong path for decades. It was recommended to me by a cardiologist.)

Note too that everything I eat is awfully close to its natural state. Very little in my diet is manufactured or processed. I didn’t do this on purpose, but if you eliminate sugar and refined carbs you end up removing most processed foods as an accidental byproduct, which tells you a lot about how food is produced in this country.

I try to get my diet as “irreducible” as possible — which is to say, I try to eat food that cannot be reduced any further.

Consider a piece of cake — there are probably 30 ingredients in it, all mixed together. You could never separate all these ingredients back out. On the other side of the coin, consider a simple tomato. There’s one ingredient — the tomato itself. You can’t “reduce” it any further than that. Even if you have a salad, this is still reducible. If I wanted, I could pick it apart and separate all the different stuff in the salad onto little piles on my plate. This is a good thing because I know what’s in it.

If I can’t visually separate (reduce) food to its base components, I get nervous and generally avoid it. You just don’t know what’s in it, and if it’s not irreducible, there’s a good chance sugar crept in somewhere along the way. The best food hasn’t been changed much from how it was pulled out of the ground.

Finally, if the food can’t rot, it’s probably not good. If you can leave something sitting in the open for months without worrying about it going bad, then for God’s sake don’t put it in your body. Real food rots.

(Yes, there are exceptions to everything I wrote above. Relax — they’re just guidelines.)

There’s clearly a lot of food you can’t eat. Check the ingredients because sugar has become something of a default ingredient. We can trace this back to the low-fat diet craze of the 1980s. The government told us that dietary fat was bad (based on poor evidence), so food manufacturers pulled the fat out of everything and just replaced it with sugar. The “cure” was worse than the “disease” (in quotes, because it was a cure that didn’t work for a disease that didn’t exist).

(A sad byproduct of this was that obesity rates almost immediately began to climb and never stopped. Read this article for some handy visual evidence.)

Sadly, there’s lots of sugar in “healthy” food too (looking right at you, granola bars), so you have to be diligent about ingredients. A pet peeve of mine is that “Applesauce” has sugar. If you want it without sugar, you have to buy “Unsweetened Applesauce,” which just contributes to the expectation that sugar is normal and deserves to be in everything. Someone needs to be slapped for this.

A good rule of thumb is that if you have to individually unwrap something, it’s probably not good . Sugar and carbs get injected into food in factories. If it’s wrapped individually, then it was manufactured, and it’s likely loaded with things you don’t want.

I’ll stop here before I go all tin foil hat on you, but you get the idea. You have to know what you eat. Read labels religiously, and try to keep food as natural as is practical.

So, why did I swear off sugar completely? Well, there’s a lot of background behind this, and this is where we get touchy-feely and personal. You might read this and think, “well, that has nothing to do with me.” Everyone has their own story and if you’ve never related to food the way I did, then good for you.

But even if none of my story applies to you, I’ll talk a bit about the lessons I learned from it, which I think are fairly universal to the human condition.

Here we go –

Last October, I was returning from a four-day trip to Boston and New York where I spoke at back-to-back conferences. It was stressful — lots of travel, lots of people, two full speaking gigs for two different talks, which means double the work. I ate my way through it all. I was delayed in the Minneapolis airport, and was on the tail end of a three-day sugar binge.

You have to understand that when I binged on sugar, I binged hard. I would stop at the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory in whatever airport I happened to be passing through, and that would kick off days of eating anything sweet I could get my hands on. I’d eat so much that I’d essentially get hungover — I’d wake up in the morning feeling like crap, and the only way to feel better was to eat more sugar.

It had been like this all of my life. I had always had a sweet tooth. Even in the four years since I started my fitness journey, and the two years since I started CrossFit, I still measured my diet in “days since the last binge.” When I would start eating sugar, I couldn’t stop. I’d start to slip, and then I’d consume 5,000 to 6,000 calories a day for several days before I could get a handle on it. (It wouldn’t stop at sugar, but more on this below.)

I was (and am) obsessed with CrossFit, but it was barely stemming the tide. It was the only thing keeping my weight in check. What I would do is absolutely kill it in the gym for a week, then trade all the progress I made for some (read: lots of) Haagen Dazs.

This made me feel like crap, both physically and emotionally. It was the latter one that really took a toll — physically it was bad enough, but the feeling of being out of control was tough to take. Food would just kind of roll over me and there was little it seemed I could do about it.

And once you blow it, you figure, “What the hell? I already blew today, so I may as well go for broke.” So, it started with a little treat here and there, and ended up with me eating anything and everything.

It was at this low point sitting in Minneapolis that I pulled out my trusty Kindle and searched for “food addiction.” At the time, I wasn’t sure this was appropriate, but it certainly seemed reasonable at the time and I didn’t have anywhere else to go. The top result was this book: Food Addiction: The Body Knows

I read the book in one sitting (I read fast). The first half forced me to confront the truth — I couldn’t control what I was eating. When it came to sugar, I was an addict. (For the record, the book is uneven. The first half is great; the second half, less so.)

I decided to detox myself. I decided not to eat sugar for a week, which I did and felt great. Then I went another week. Then another. Then another. As of a few days ago, it was 52 weeks.

I wish it was more complicated than that, because everyone keeps asking me how I did it. There was no trick to it. I just did it.

It was not planned. There was no way I could have looked out at a year stretching in front of me and decide not to eat sugar. I started with one week. But what I found is that it made my life better in so many ways, many of which were not physical. It quickly became something of a self-sustaining thing. The more I did it, the better I felt, so the more I wanted to do it.

I’ve given it a lot of thought over the last year, and I’ve come to two realizations –

First, I’ve realized that some humans (read: me) are not good at moderation. We can be “on” or we can be “off,” but we find it tough to exist somewhere in the middle. And the complicated thing about food is that we have to eat to live. You can’t quit all food cold turkey. I find it virtually impossible to moderate addictive food, but simply quitting that type of food altogether wasn’t that difficult.

(Consider this: what if we had to have just a little heroin each day to live? How many heroin addicts would we have? For many people, sugar is just as addictive as heroin. This has been proven.)

Second, while sugar is bad for you in an immediate sense, the really destructive part of it is the secondary effect it has on your appetite. It’s not just the sugar you’re eating right now that’s the problem — a more destructive effect is what that sugar is going to encourage you to eat later.

I have a pet theory I call “The Lonely Carbohydrate.” Carbs are inherently lonely, and when they get inside your body, they try to invite company over. They’re like the loser that comes to your house party and then invites all his friends.

Sugar begets sugar. If it gets inside you, it will try to prolong the spike in blood sugar by getting you to eat more sugar. This is true of all refined carbs. Carbs are lonely. Invite them to your party, and they’ll text all their stupid friends, and the next thing you know your house is over-run by douchebags who crash on your couch and won’t leave.

These two lessons combined to make it weirdly easy to quit sugar. Where I thought I would feel deprivation, I felt…peace. Moderation is stressful. Constantly keeping track of how much sugar I’ve eaten, whether or not this “treat” is deserved, and whether or not I’d be able to stop after one cookie — it extracts a mental toll. When I completely removed that, it eliminated an enormous and constant source of stress. I could finally just stop thinking about it all.

Yes, it would be wonderful if I could moderate my sugar intake. If I could just eat a reasonable amount of sugar, then I’d still be fine. I’m sure some people can do this. I am not one of them.

And somewhere in there, I discovered a very hard truth: there was no way to win my battle with sugar.

If I ate one Mint Brownie, I would want to eat 10 and would just end up pissed off that I wouldn’t let myself eat 10. But if I ate 10 (oh, I’ve done it), then I’d end up pissed off that I ate 10.

Damned if I did, damned if I didn’t. Moderation would still piss me off, just from a different direction. I lost either way.

I found some comfort in a saying that’s been floating around addiction recovery circles for years.

One is too many. A thousand is never enough.

And therein lies the absolute truth: an addict can never get enough, and they’ll destroy themselves trying to fill a hole that can never be filled.

To quote the computer from Wargames:

The only way to win is not to play.

So, will I never eat sugar again? I don’t know. Maybe not.

The cravings pass after a while. Avoiding sugar starts out as a novelty, and you wonder when you’re going to quit this latest fad. But at some point — and I imagine it’s different for everyone — it ceases to be a novelty and just becomes the new normal. There is now a huge category of food that just doesn’t even register as an option for me. If I’m in a situation where there’s nothing I can eat, I just don’t eat, and this feels entirely normal.

I’ve learned to love food again and I’m not giving that up. Few things make me happier than my strawberries and coffee in the morning. There’s rare joy in demolishing a 20oz ribeye and not feeling the slightest bit guilty about it. Give me a bag of trail mix and I’ll be the happiest guy on Earth for five minutes.

I love real food again. I can’t get enough of it, and when you eat the right things, you almost literally can’t eat too much. I defy you to blow your your diet on almonds. Or chicken. Or green beans. You’ll run out of hunger long before you’ll do any damage to yourself.

I can say this: I have no current desire to eat sugar ever again (or grains, for that matter). To say that I’ll never eat it again seems a little drastic, but I doubt I’ll have a craving for it tomorrow either.

If you string enough tomorrows together, then I guess you have…well, forever.

I suppose we’ll see. Talk to me in 20 years.

Posted in Crossfit Philosophy, Lifestyle, Members, Nutrition, Uncategorized8 Comments

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