Archive | Nutrition

Majoring in the Minors

Majoring in the Minors

When I was getting my CrossFit Level 1 certification, we had a lecture on nutrition. The instructor, a woman named Nicole, was discussing the major macro nutrients — proteins, carbs, and fats — and how to make sure you get the right amount of each.

A guy in the back raised his hand. “What about Vitamin B12?,” he said. “How do we make sure we get enough of that?”

What Nicole said next has resonated with me ever since. She let out a sigh, and said, “Listen, don’t major in the minors…”

I think this point is true of how we approach diet and fitness in general.

Nicole was saying that there are large, basic things you need to do before you start worrying about smaller, more intricate things. The biggest nutritional problem for the average person is not a vitamin B12 deficiency. The Western Pattern Diet is so out of whack in terms of portion size and carb consumption that obsessing over your vitamin levels is a little silly by comparison.

You consumed 6,000 calories today? Congratulations, you got a lot of vitamin B12. You also got Type 2 Diabetes.

The underlying problem here is that majoring in the minors is really a subtle form of procrastination. When it comes to fitness and diet we all know what we need to do. We need to eat less, eat better, and exercise more. This basic formula hasn’t changed in thousands of years.

But we don’t want to do this. The food industry has got us hooked on sugar and it’s become really easy to sit on the couch and watch a Friends marathon on Netflix (remember when you had to wait for a TV show to come on?). So we willingly confuse the issue with ultimately pointless questions about specifics and subtleties, when the basic problem is staring us right in the face.

While I realize some people have legitimate health issues that complicate things, let’s face facts — the average person doesn’t have questions. Instead, they have excuses masquerading as questions.

Mainstream health clubs are built around exploiting our tendency to major in the minors. In my two years in CrossFit, I’ve become increasingly amused by modern exercise equipment. I just spent a weekend in Chicago, and the Globo Gym attached to the hotel was packed with some of the most arcane machinery I’ve ever seen. There is now a machine to isolate almost every muscle in the human body, apparently.

(I’ve often thought if someone from the Middle Ages was transported forward in time and walked into a health club, he’d think he was in a dungeon. People are strapped into scary-looking machines, sweating, grunting, and in obvious physical pain. Clearly, they’re being tortured for crimes against the Throne.)

I’ll freely admit that I was so guilty of this as a younger man. In my 20s, I was a body-building gym rat. I used to say things like, “Dude, if you do a inverted reverse cable crossover at just the right angle, it totally blasts your inner pectorals.” The truth was that I couldn’t find my “inner pectoral” with a map. I half-suspect it’s sitting around with a magic unicorn somewhere in a dark corner of my imagination.

Anyway, I wandered around Globo for 10 minutes looking for two things: (1) a squat rack with a decent number of plates, and (2) a straight pull-up bar. I managed to find the former, but the latter was completely missing (apparently all pull-up bars are cambered now — bent down at the ends; when did this become an exclusive thing?).

However, I did manage to find something called “The Power Plate.” The company that makes this contraption calls itself “the global leader in whole body vibration therapy” (pretty sure that’s not a crowded market). You stand on this machine, turn it on, and it vibrates…or something? According to their website, it harnesses “the body’s natural response to destabilization,” whatever that is. I wasn’t quite sure and you needed to take a class in order to use it.

(I don’t know about you, but I hear this all the time: “Hey, can you strap yourself into that Power Plate machine and help me move these boxes?”)

Now, I’m not trying to pick on the Power Plate, but it’s a handy proxy for the larger problem: the entire paradigm of today’s fitness industry is an example of majoring in the minors. An acre of machines says to the world, “Hey, this is complicated and tricky. You need all this stuff to do it right.”

No, you don’t.

I maintain that if you did these five exercises — and nothing else — you’d pretty much cover everything you need:

  1. Squat
  2. Push-Up
  3. Pull-Up
  4. Sit-Up
  5. Burpee

And that’s it. Honestly, the first four are enough. I threw in burpees just for cardio. (And because we all hate them. Suck it up.)

These exercises have been around for, well, ever. There’s nothing intricate here. The squat, in particular, is the very picture of purity. There’s nothing complex about a squat — other than knowing good, solid form, there’s not a lot of technique to it. A squat is a raw staredown between you and gravity. It’s beautiful that way, but some people are almost disappointed.

“That’s it? You just…squat?” they’ll say.

Yes. First you stop whining, and then you squat.

The way fitness is viewed these days, it’s almost a liability to say you need virutally no equipment to do these things. After all, without fancy equipment, how can we be doing anything productive?! Sure, you need bar for the pull-ups, and a barbell for the squats is handy, though a bunch of air squats will be enough for many people. If it’s not, pick up a heavy rock or a random toddler.

Regardless, humans will remain in a never-ending search for the easy way out, or for some complication or angle to take our mind off what we know we need to do. We thrive on novelty, we’re quick to seize on and magnify excuses, and we’re convinced there’s some secret we’re missing that will unlock The Miracle of Fitness™. Since it’s so hard, there clearly must be a magic diet or fitness regimen that will make it easy.

There’s not. It takes effort. The major pillars of fitness haven’t changed: eat right and sweat a lot. Does this suck? In the short-term, yes. In the long-term, it’s freaking awesome.

Getting and staying in shape is the same as it was a thousand years ago. CrossFit, Zone, and Paleo are just throwbacks and amplifications of the same things humans have been doing since we started walking upright. I get seriously defensive when people call these things “fads.” No, how we’ve been eating and exercising for the last 30 years is the fad! Fitness and diet didn’t change. We did.

So, instead of obsessing over the supposed intricacies of it all, just get under the damn bar and squat. Don’t stop until you get tired and sweaty. Then do that again tomorrow.

Lather, rinse, repeat.

It’s not complicated. It never was.


Posted in Crossfit Philosophy, CrossFit Workouts, Lifestyle, Nutrition0 Comments

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

Posted in Featured, Lifestyle, Members, Nutrition0 Comments


New Year = New Challenges



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!


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 – and if you are ready, just walk in…let’s get started.

Welcome a NEW YOU in a New Year!

– Liza and Team.




Posted in Events, Featured, Lifestyle, Members, Nutrition, Uncategorized0 Comments

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


Overview of the LuRong Paleo Challenge- Meeting Wednesday Sept 10th 6:30



All right I know many of you have questions about this new Paleo Challenge that we are trying and after reading the 60 pages of rules and “to do’s” I totally understand why you have questions.  I am going to try and summarize as much as I can for all of you and then we will be having an info meeting Wednesday night at 6:30 for more questions.

The challenge starts on Monday September 15th-Sunday November 9th; in order to be eligible to win cash and prizes you must complete all of the requirements of the 8 week long Challenge.  These rules include completing 10 standardized workouts, dietary compliance, taking before and after body measurements, recording your weight at the beginning and end of the challenge, setting and tackling goals, trying new recipes, and submitting a video or written experience.  I know this list is long and it sounds a little overwhelming at first but all of these things are going to help you be successful with this challenge.  We will plan on covering every requirement in our weekly meetings as well.  I think one of the most important requirements and key to your success is goal setting and that will be covered in our first meeting.

You will be required to complete 10 workouts during the challenge, weeks 1 and 2 you will be required to complete 3 workouts; these are going to be your baseline workouts.  In weeks 7 and 8 you will test these workouts again to see how much you have improved on your performance.  During weeks 3-6 you have 1 workout each week to complete.  We will have these workouts programmed into our Thursday workouts, or you are more than welcome to come into open gym and do the work.  There is an option for each workout to choose your skill level, level 1 being the easiest and level 3 being the most challenging.  The level that you choose for workout 1 -3 must be the same level that you use for workouts 8-10 as these are the testing workouts.

Weeks 1&2 Week 3 Week 4 Week 5 Week 6 Weeks 7&8
Benchmark Workouts (WODs 1, 2, and 3) WOD 4 WOD 5 WOD 6 WOD 7 Benchmark Workouts WODs 8, 9, and 10
Initial Body Measurements Ending Body Measurements
Starting Weight Ending Weight
Set Goals Track Goals
Recipe Explorer
Educational Blog
Written Experience
Video Experience
Optional Progress Photos Upload

Measurements and Pictures:
During the challenge we will be taking 7 different body measurements; these measurements will be taken at the beginning and at the end of the challenge.  The seven areas are waist, hips, chest, right and left legs, right and left arms.  We will be doing the measurements at the gym starting Monday morning September 15th; please make sure you email me and set up a time to get your measurements done.  Weight will also be done at the same time as your measurements; again try to make sure to wear the same clothing for your first weigh in and your last.

Dietary Rules and Guidelines:
Everyone will submit their food log on the challenge platform page for everyday of the challenge.  You will mark a “cheat” or “clean” for each of the 6 time periods during the day.  This will make more sense when you go to the challenge platform and see how it is set up.  The time periods that you are accountable for logging are Breakfast, Morning, Lunch, Afternoon, Dinner, and Evening.  You will receive 3 points for every “clean” and receive 1 point for every “cheat”.  If you fail to submit any score at all that will result in a 0 score for that day.  You will have 6 full days to enter in your scores for a given day.  You will need to read through the dietary rules to find out exactly what counts as a “cheat.”  Below is an overview of Paleo foods and foods you are allowed to eat in moderation.

General Paleo Diet Rules

  • Eat lean meats, lots of vegetable, some fruit, some seeds and nuts, limited starches, no sugar, no dairy, and no legumes.
  • No candy, soda, pastas, wheat, rice, oats, rice, artificial ingredients, bagels, tortillas, corn, or cereals.
  • No, beans, peas, lentils, white potatoes, or soy.
  • No milk, cheese, yogurt, ice cream, or butter (see ghee exception).

General Moderation Defined

Many foods are perfectly acceptable and nutritionally beneficial for someone to consume while trying to become healthier or when losing weight. However, some of these items need to be limited in their quantity or frequency of consumption in order to help Participants reach their goals.

Foods that are listed in the Food Search under Moderation without any specific rule, serving, or allotment are considered General Moderation. The Sponsor puts it in the hands of the Participant to police themselves on these items. With these items more is not better, primarily due to either their high calorie content or potential effect on blood glucose levels or insulin response.

Specific Moderation Defined

Some foods need a little stricter monitoring than a general call to moderation, especially when the goal is weight loss, body transformation, and improved performance. Therefore, some food items listed as moderation will also contain a serving size and allowance in order to help keep Participants on track and more likely to reach their goals.

Reference the Food Search for comlete details.

Special Allowances

Natural Sweeteners- 1 total combined tablespoon per day or 1 pack of Stevia (1 Packet per day= 1 gram). Allowable sweeteners are listed in the food search. Some of the included items are raw agave, honey, coconut crystals, erythritol, and pure maple syrup.

Bacon- eat in moderation only if no nitrates or nitrites and nutrition label says “0″ Grams of Sugar. Some are cured in traces amounts of sugar so sugar could be on the ingredient list but if it says “0” grams of sugar it is allowed.

Ghee- Grass fed clarified butter is the only dairy exception. When grass fed it is a versatile and healthy fat source with valuable Omega-3 fatty acids. Limit Ghee to 2 tablespoons per day.

Caffeine- Naturally occurring caffeine from tea or coffee is in general moderation, but caffeine in a supplement or listed as an ingredient on the label is limited to 30 mgs or less in a serving. Zero Calorie Chewing Gum- no more than 2 sticks per day

Wine- One 6 ounce glass of red or white wine per day with dinner. You cannot save up days for a weekend splurge.

Lemon juice or fruit juice- if used for flavoring or cooking (3 oz or less per day)

Protein Shake Supplementation- Due to the wide spectrum of Participants in the Challenge and different end goals we are allowing 1 serving of your choice of Protein Powder supplementation if it is taken within 30 minutes post- workout. It cannot be used as a meal replacement or used in any manner other than as a post WOD Protein Supplement. A pure egg white or hemp protein with no added sugar or other banned items would not be held to the same limitation.

Endurance Athletes- many Participants may be training for or competing in an endurance event during the Challenge. For any event or training session that lasts for 120 minutes or more of continuous and strenuous exercise a Participant is allowed to supplement with electrolyte replenishing drinks, goo, energy blocks, etc.

Bonus Points:
You will also get the opportunity to earn bonus points which will help you on some of those days that your “cheats” may have been high.  Here is how the bonus points work….

Bonus Point Title Why Points Possible
Benchmark Workout Completion 5 points for completing each benchmark workout 30
Performance Workout Completion 15 point for each workout completed 60
Goals 5 points each for your first 6 tracked goals 30
Recipe Explorer 4 points for up to 5 recipes submitted 20
Written Experience Submitting a written experience 10
Video Experience Recording and submitting a video of your experience 20
Total Bonus Points Possible 170

I hope this helps clear up some of the confusion and makes the challenge easier to understand.  Remember that we are having a meeting tonight (Wednesday) night at 6:30, so if you are thinking about doing the challenge or you have already signed up and just have a few questions please come to the meeting for feel free to email me at Also the link to the rules page on the LuRong Challenge website is  and please go to this page, it will give you all of the information you need to know.  It will also give you all of the deadlines you need to know for the whole 8 weeks.

Challenge ahead!



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LuRong Paleo Challenge Starting September 15th

For those of you who are interested in changing your way of thinking about food and improving not only your performance in the gym but in life this Paleo Challenge is for you.  Registration opens today August 11th, so stop thinking about making a change and get ready to do it!  Athletes will be tested in 10 workouts which include 3 benchmark WODs and 4 performance WODs.  This allows participants to challenge themselves physically, see how much they improve, and how they match up with others.  This is also a great opportunity to win prizes and learn how easy eating Paleo can be. Check out the challenge at, get signed up today!

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This Is Gonna Be Hard

There’s something destructive we do with the best of intentions, and that the entire diet and fitness industry does with more sinister intentions. It seems innocent, even benevolent, but it wears people down in ways we don’t anticipate.

We tell people that something is going to be easy, when it’s not. Specifically, we tell people that eating well and staying in shape is simple. We wrap it in friendly phases like “simple lifestyle changes” and “healthy exercise habits.”

We mean well, certainly. But we’re often coming at this from the perspective of (1) someone who might never have struggled with their health, and (2) someone who is already on “the other side” and has developed good habits. From this perspective, it might seem easy, now. But it probably wasn’t always easy and we know it.

The diet and fitness industry perpetuates this. I was reminded of this when someone jokingly posted a magazine cover in the Paleo Challenge Facebook group:


“Paleo Made Easy: Drop 40 Pounds This Month,” it says. No joke: forty pounds. In a month. It’s “easy.”

While this is clearly hyperbolic and downright stupid (not to mention potentially dangerous), those criticisms are easy to spot. The more dangerous one is subtle: we’re telling people that Paleo eating and weight loss is easy, when it’s really not.

I eat largely Paleo, and I love it. But it’s not easy. Restaurants are tough. The craving for sweets goes way, way down, but it’s still there. And losing 40 pounds is a Herculean task for some people. It sucks. It will be the hardest thing some people have ever done. (I should know — I lost almost 100.)

Here’s why this is destructive: because when someone gets into the thick of it — when they’ve lost 5-10 pounds and they’re past the quick win and the novelty begins to wear off — then it gets hard. Suddenly, the scale doesn’t go down every day, and cupcakes start looking better, and all the dedication gets called into question, and they’re having a down moment, and they think, “I thought this was supposed to be easy…”

The next mental leap is the fatal one: “I must be doing it wrong, or I must just not be the type or person for whom this is going to work. I’m done.” And then they quit. When it got hard, instead of understanding that it was just hard, they assumed they were broken, and so this clearly wasn’t for them.

(For the mainstream diet and fitness industry, of course, this is just good business. They need us to keep quitting and starting over so they can keep selling us stuff. Understand that 99% of the industry would go out of business if we just stuck with it. Your failure is their next paycheck.)

With anything — fitness, diet, weight loss, even marriage — the beginning is easy and fun. We love novelty. New things make us happy, and when we see immediate changes to our health and fitness level, it’s easy to stay motivated because these results convince us that our path to success is linear.

It gets tougher when those changes come slower. After the initial success, you dip into a trough that you’re slow to climb out of (Seth Godin wrote an entire book this phenomenon, which he appropriately called “The Dip.”)

It’s not long before you don’t PR every WOD, or you even start to go backwards, and you can’t seem to break out of last place — these are the times that suck and when you start to question just why the hell you get out of bed at 5:00 a.m. to drag yourself into the box.

(You want morning motivation? Watch this video. It gets me going every time.)

Angela Duckworth is an education researcher at the University of Pennsylvania. She gave a famous TED talk in 2013 where she discussed research into high school students. She discovered that the key to success for students was an intangible personality trait that she called “grit.”

Grit is passion and perseverance for very long-term goals. Grit is having stamina. Grit is sticking with your future, day in, day out, not just for the week, not just for the month, but for years, and working really hard to make that future a reality. Grit is living life like it’s a marathon, not a sprint.

Grit is what gets you up at 4:30. Grit is what makes you pass on the dessert menu. Grit is what makes you keep working out when you’ve been in a downward spiral for two weeks and you can’t remember the last time you were happy after a workout.

A key component of grit is accepting the reality that your workouts won’t always be a Rocky training montage. I’m reminded of Jim Collins and his explanation of The Stockdale Paradox from the book “Good to Great.” James Stockdale was a Vietnam POW who survived, largely through his mindset, which some people view as pessimistic, but was actually just realistic.

What the optimists failed to do was confront the reality of their situation. They preferred the ostrich approach, sticking their heads in the sand and hoping for the difficulties to go away. That self-delusion might have made it easier on them in the short-term, but when they were eventually forced to face reality, it had become too much and they couldn’t handle it.

Stockdale approached adversity with a very different mindset. He accepted the reality of his situation. He knew he was in hell, but, rather than bury his head in the sand, he stepped up and did everything he could to lift the morale and prolong the lives of his fellow prisoners

Seeing the world through rose-colored glasses ultimately leads people to failure because they can’t make it through the difficult times. We contribute to this when we set people up with unrealistic expectations.

If Bob walks into CrossFit carrying 100 extra pounds and not having exercised for 10 years, then here’s the merciless truth: this is gonna be really freaking hard. Dropping that extra weight and getting back to good health is going to be one of the hardest things Bob has ever done.

I want to tell Bob this because he needs to be “vaccinated” against the hard times. When those crappy moments come, Bob needs to know that he’s not wrong, he’s not fatally flawed, and he’s doing everything right. It just sucks sometimes. There are going to be plateaus, setbacks, depression, backslides, doubts, heartache, illness, and injuries. But that’s okay, Bob, because we’re in this for the long haul, buddy.

The unglamorous times are lurking out there: the rote workouts, the lonely mornings, the boring meals, the AMRAPs when you just plain sucked, and the post-WOD flops on the ground when you wonder why the hell you even bothered to come into the box that day.

These are the moments when it’s not “easy.” These are the moments when you think, “Am I really cut out for this?” These are the moments when you need to pick yourself up, ignore the voices that told you it was gonna be simple, and just keep going.

If you’re prepared for these moments, you can push through them. If you’re not prepared because you were convinced this was going to be easy, then these moments will destroy you.

This is gonna be hard.  Great things usually are.

Posted in Crossfit Philosophy, Lifestyle, Nutrition2 Comments

What is Happening at CFSF………



*Holiday Party is this Saturday the 18th at Bros Brasserie downtown 332 S Phillips Ave. Bring your friends and family; everyone is welcome.  It’s going to be a great time to meet new members, see friends and socialize.  We will be having drinks and appetizers.

* The first Paleo baseline workout was this Thursday, yet you will have until next Thursday to get your times in your folder so please get in and get your baseline workout done.  The next workout will be released this Thursday in class and will be on the Paleo whiteboard through the week.

* Our first Paleo meeting will be held this Sunday  the 19th at 6pm.  Please come prepared with your food journals and questions for us trainers to answer and look over.  We will also be having some food for you to sample and recipes to give out. It’s going to be a great time to learn more about Paleo and how to implement it into you and your families lifestyle.

* The sign-up has begun for the CrossFit Open!  If you are signing up for the open please make sure that you are signing up under CrossFit Sioux Falls team and affiliate.  There is two separate sign up options you must do.

* Classes are getting busy, and we are at an exciting time of year for CrossFit so please make sure that you are signing in for class!  It helps us have staff on hand so we can assist everyone in class better.

* Reminder of the new class time on Monday and Wednesday nights at 7:30pm; we had a great turn out for the first night 10+ people.

Posted in In the News, Lifestyle, Members, Nutrition0 Comments

who you are

Happy New Year and Happy New You……..

It’s the start of a new year; Happy New Year!  Did you also make time for those New Year goals for your health and nutrition?  Well all of us at CrossFit Sioux Falls are here to help — mark your calendar and get ready to commit yourself to health and wellness.

CFSF Paleo 2014 – New Year New You Challenge

Start Date: Wednesday January 15th and will run 6 complete weeks through February 26th.  We added in an extra 2 weeks from today to allow you to plan, prepare, get mentally ready to succeed.  So January 15…no excuses.

Cost: $50, yet all the money will be given back in-full via prizes to the top 3 Men and Women winners; additional winners possible if warranted.

How the Challenge Works:

1).  Though our last Paleo Challenge was a partner challenge, this one will be an Individual Challenge.  That doesn’t mean you are on your own though as we are all a team working to better each other.

2). We will take measurements, pictures, weight, and a baseline workout that you have never done before; yeah not the 500M, 40,30,20,10 but something a bit different.

3). There is also going to be a point system to hold you accountable for what you are putting in your body, both food and supplement wise, along with your activity level and workouts.

4). You will not be required to journal your food but we highly recommend doing so.  Knowing what you are putting in your body is one of the most important ways of being successful with any type of lifestyle change.  We can’t help you unless we know and understand what you are eating and putting into your body.

5). We will also be having weekly meeting. These meeting are not mandatory to do the challenge, but they will be extra credit points and also be filled with great information to keep you motivated and have great success during the 6 weeks.  We will have trainer’s rotation on the meeting so that you can get a different perspective on how Paleo works in everyone’s life.  We will also be bring in meals for you to try and see how great Paleo can taste.

6). We will also have a different baseline workout once a week we will run in class; you are not required to do all of the baseline workouts but you do get points for them and they are FREE workouts to all that are doing the challenge.  We will have them run the same day each week as a class workout.  The only required workout is the first baseline workout; you must do that to compare times for the finals.

7).  All of the trainers will get together and pick the top 3 men and woman at the end of the 6 weeks.  Everyone who participated in the challenge will get to vote for the winners.

*We will have measurements and pictures taken on the 13 and 14th with the official start date being Wednesday January 15th.

Things you need to do before meeting: 

1). Sign up on the Whiteboard next to the Attendance Challenge.

2). Get a notebook and a pen; your going to want to journal your food.

3). Commit to working out at least 3 times a week.

4). Get ready to learn a lot, have fun, and feel better than you every have.

* We will have a detailed CFSF Intro to Paleo meeting on Tuesday January 7th; at the meeting we will give out a shopping list, help you with a food journal and answer any questions you may have at that time.  


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Holiday Schedule for this week…..

  We have a couple schedule changes for the week…
Wednesday NO 6:30pm class
 Thursday NO Class
 Friday class 8:30,9:30, and noon
Saturday regular schedule
Sunday NO Class

Also for the rest of this month and all of December 6:30pm class will be a regular CF Class we will not be starting another intro class until after the holidays.  Please make sure you are using Mindbody and signing up for class.

With the new year comes many new and exciting things at CFSF we will be getting some new equipment, new class times, our annual holiday party, and a bigger than ever Paleo and Fitness Challenge.  Keep checking our blog for more details coming soon.

We are always interested in what you have to say and any additions you as members feel the gym needs, so do not be afraid to stop Greg or myself and share your ideas!

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