’tis the season ~ 21 things…

20 things…to consider.  One’s health is more than just eating nutritious foods.  Sometimes in all of the holiday madness, what is important to you can get lost.  This can leave you feeling stressed or unbalanced.  These are feelings and notions that can often lead to some sort of downwards spiral that may gain momentum towards the end of December.  Maintain in control and recognize the accomplishments you have made so far this year in your life.  Don’t get caught up in the “commercialism” surrounding Christmas, but instead reflect on what really makes you feel good and keep acting on it.

As you read on…you may consider or perhaps even disregard some of the suggestions that I have made.  The purpose of this post is to get you thinking, not to convert you with my ideas.  What works for you?  If it doesn’t, why do you keep doing it time and time again?  Ask yourself – what gives you balance and satisfaction?  Value yourself enough to stop and think about this, if only for a moment or two.  While coughing my face off in bed and unable to sleep, the hamsters started turning the wheels in my head.  I got up, started blogging and came up with this list of things to consider.  Many of these thoughts will help define me, not only this holiday season but throughout the entire year.

Chime in!  Now I want to hear from you.  How do you stay balanced?  What do you do to make the holidays brighter for yourself and those you love?

  1. Sweat, lift heavy and eat real food. Your body and mind will thank you! ~ Super key! Don’t use the holidays as an excuse to stop exercising. Plug through. You are stronger than you think. Push yourself.
  2. Surround yourself with positivity. Be around people that make you feel good and vice versa. ~ Ask yourself, would you want to be around you?
  3. Skip the “New Years” resolutions this year and be mindful of working at the goals that you have ALREADY STARTED. Don’t let those slip away. ~ Reinforce your goals by writing them down and posting them somewhere if you haven’t already.
  4. Even if you don’t send Christmas cards in the mail, choose one person that you haven’t spoken to in a long time and drop them a line. ~ Getting something other than bills or junk in the mail, might just make someone’s day.
  5. Take part in some sort of outdoor activity that you normally wouldn’t. Bust out a random snowball fight or try something new like snowboarding. ~ If you are not a fan of old Jack Frost, this may help the long, winter days to pass with greater enjoyment.
  6. In the midst of all the hustle and bustle, do something nice for you! ~ Treat yourself to something like a facial or a massage.
  7. Keep an old family tradition and start a new one too. ~ This helps to give special meaning to what the holidays represent for you and the ones you love.
  8. Find time to read a book that you have been dying to dive into. ~ Crackling fire and cozy blanket optional, but highly recommended!
  9. Try out a new healthy recipe and take it along to a holiday party. ~ Remember – it’s okay to walk away from the dessert table. Load up on meat and veggies instead.
  10. Lose a grudge that you have been holding towards someone else. ~ Especially if you can’t even remember why you were upset in the first place.
  11. Opt out of the random 10-20 dollar gift exchange with friends, family and/or co-workers and put the money you would have spent towards helping children or families less fortunate.
  12. Don’t try to keep up with the Jones’ ~ Focus on putting that energy into creating a stronger you – both physically and mentally.
  13. Get excited about tackling something, perhaps a new project or venture.
  14. Go off the grid (no cell phone, computer etc…) for a day or two. It can be quite refreshing. ~ At the very least keep your cell in your purse or coat when out for dinner or visiting family and friends.
  15. Make sure you are getting your Vitamin D. ~ Soak up some sunshine or supplement.
  16. Compliment someone, but make sure it is genuine. ~ And if someone compliments you, accept graciously and say ‘thank you.’ Not always easy to give or receive.
  17. Don’t talk badly about others behind their back. ~ Resist, even if it is that second cousin that you see once a year at Christmas, who drives you crazy. If you wouldn’t say it to their face, than don’t!
  18. Snuggle up and watch one of your all time classic favourite movies. ~ We did this the other night, and laughed our bottoms off.
  19. Drink lots of wine, I mean water. ~ Something I tend to forget if I am busier than usual. Hydrate yourself.
  20. Get quality sleep when possible. ~ And if you are tossing and turning like I was, don’t fight it. Get up and do something productive.
  21. Do something nice, like an act of kindness for someone that you don’t know. ~ Pay for someone’s order behind you in Tim Hortons’ or at the gas station. I have done this a few times. Guaranteed to make you feel warm and fuzzy.

Happy holidays to all and best wishes for health, happiness and new adventures in 2013!!!

PALEOdISH prezzie guide 2012

Well hello hello hello…I mean HO HO HO!!! As many of you are this time of year…I have been a total full-on busy bee! With that said, I sincerely apologize for not checking in more often. I have been busy working, visiting friends/family & just enjoying life…you know how it is…living it up.  Last year, I had so much fun putting together my gift guide for all of you…and now I bring to your another edition…chalked full of wicked-awesome goodies. Better late, than never right?!? Right. If you are a last minute shopper (like me), hopefully you will find this post practical and useful, as you surprise someone special on your list this holiday season. Included are some of my all-time fav products/things…as well as goodies that are on my wish list as well! HA!!  Browse away at your leisure and have fun clicking away like mad on all the product links that I have provided throughout!  (Note:  I am not partial to the specific brand (except Lulu! HAHA…they are merely gift suggestions!!!)

For your bookshelf, computer or iPad…

Books e-books & apps:

Winter is the perfect time to snuggle up and get cozy while reading one of these fabulous books!  A brilliant gift for that wee ‘book worm’ in your life. I highly recommend snapping up one, two or hey even three of these wonderful pieces of work. Check out the links provided in order to purchase these bad boys. They are all written by folks I admire and several who are dear friends of mine.  Their incredible talents really shine through in each masterpiece.

Paleo Budget Shopping Guide by Robb Wolf

This awesome e-book is jammed full of simple and practical tricks, tips and strategies on how to save money while eating nutritiously delicious paleo meals.  This 70-page interactive guide, complete with original videos, audio files, bonus reading, and all the lessons like:

  • Finding free money and extra time
  • Learn to cook
  • Meal Planning 101
  • Money Saving Tricks
  • Budget Shopping Priorities
  • Making it work in the kitchen
  • Tons of resources

“Is yours for just $19.99. For only $19.99, you can learn to save hundreds or even thousands of dollars a year, stick to your budget, and keep yourself and your family in the best health possible.” Sidenote – you may even find ME in there too! ;)

It Starts With Food (ISWF) by Dallas & Melissa Hartwig

When I first read this book. I was fully intrigued by ISWF right from the first chapter…I literally couldn’t put the book down. A total page turner. Eyes glued for 1.5 days…and done.  Completely satisfied…but the love affair is far from over. I am basically telling anyone who will listen, that this book is honestly a MUST read. Don’t think twice about it. If you eat food and care about your health…than this book is for you or a beloved friend or family member. A perfect combo of science and wit! A no nonsense approach that will change your life! Check out my full review HERE to find out why it should be a part of your home library collection. 

 Practical Paleo by Diane Sanfilippo 

This gorgeous gorgeous book is a true piece of art. Trust me…in all honesty – you won’t be able to take your eyes off this lovely. Each page is filled with riveting information and is arranged in a way that is so visually appealing to the eye. ‘Practical Paleo’ really does have it all. It is a massive comprehensive guide loaded with information on how food actually works within your body, many 30-day meal plans to suit specific needs/conditions, as well as lots of amazing recipes. This book doesn’t sit on my bookshelf…I use it as a coffee table book for all to see! I have and will continue to purchase this New York Times Bestseller (8 + weeks in a row!) for many folks that mean the world to me!!!

Well Fed by Melissa Joulwan

Mouth-watering recipes galore! This book is perfect for that special man or lady in your life that loves to cook. Hey – even if they are just starting out in the kitchen…this book is guaranteed to offer them some serious inspiration. Cook from this book and you will develop a whole new appreciation for flavour!!! I have made several recipes from this book…and they are all to die for! Melissa really knocked it out of the park with this cleverly designed cookbook. An added extra bonus is that this book comes in various versions – you can purchase the softcover, the PDF or even one for your kindle…you choose! “Well Fed: Paleo Recipes For People Who Love To Eat is packed with 115+ original recipes and variations for food that you can eat every day. It’s 175 pages of deliciousness, with no grains, sugar, legumes, soy, dairy, or alcohol.”

Nom Nom Paleo’s iPad App by Nom Nom Paleo

“Introducing the first and only Paleo cookbook app designed and developed specifically for the iPad! This uniquely immersive culinary experience is a visual feast packed with recipes by Michelle Tam, the  award-winning blogger behind Nom Nom Paleo – all presented with her special brand of whimsically snarky commentary. Optimized for the new iPad’s Retina display, the app is bursting with over 1,500 stunning photographs demonstrating each step of the cooking process.” When we first heard about this app…we downloaded it right away onto our iPad. We were so impressed with all the work and creativity that went into making something so innovative. As such a ‘visual person’, this recipe/cooking app is sure to excite your eyes and satisfy your belly once you make some of their scrumptious recipes. This is honestly a ridiculous value for the amount of amazingness you will receive once you download this app! An excellent gift for that ‘techy’ in your life!!!

The 4-Hour Chef by Tim Ferriss

I have yet to read this book…but I am curious (it’s on my wish list). I first heard about this book a couple weeks ago while listening to Robb Wolf’s ‘Paleo Solution Podcast’, where he was interviewing Tim Ferriss. They started talking about how Tim was a ‘non-cook’, well an ‘anti-cook’ rather (in his words) and how he changed this notion up until very recently. This book is written in a gradual way, that is designed to take you through the process of learning how to cook. “The 4-Hour Chef features tips and tricks from chess prodigies, world-renowned chefs, pro athletes, master sommeliers, super models, and everyone in between, this “cookbook for people who don’t buy cookbooks” is a guide to mastering cooking and life.” 

Catalyst Athletics Book of Programs (E-book) and Performance Menu – Journal of Health & Excellence – Catalyst Athletics

PLUS –  Weightlifting Programming: A Winning Coach’s Guide by Bob Takano

Last (but not least), in the literature department, I thought that I would add in some of the amazing books and reading material that Catalyst Athletics has to offer on their site. Go peruse and shop around over there, as they have loads of terrific gift options for folks that are interesting in learning more about the fundamentals of weightlifting. You will be guaranteed to score something excellent for an athlete or coach that you have on your list this season.

Personally, I have already purchased the ‘Catalyst Athletics Book of Program’s for a friend, as well as for myself…and it rocks! ‘This handy little e-book contains 20 complete training cycles, from 4-16 weeks in length, focusing on Olympic weightlifting and containing a small amount of conditioning. (All cycles are from the Catalyst Athletics website training program.)”  There are many titles over there…go have a looksy!

For your kitchen…

Devices, gadgets & more:

Top Row (L to R) = SodaStreamCookbook StandFrench PressStand Mixer.

Middle Row (L to R) = Herb KeeperMeat SlicerMagnetic Knife Bar, Knives – Amazon or Nom Nom‘s recommendation.

Bottom Row (L to R) = Touchless Garbage CanChest Freezer, Indoor Grill, Portable Rotisserie Grill – Paleo Comfort Foods recommendation.

For your lifestyle…

Clothes, electronics & more:

Top Row (L to R) = INOV 8 Shoes, BOSE Portable Music Player/iPod, Silkscreen Wall Hangings, Anything Lululemon.

Middle Row (L to R) = iPad/iPad MiniGym Bag, Wall Chalkboard, Leather Cuffs (Just because they are vintage/handmade).

Bottom Row (L to R) = Vintage Apron, Flip Video Camera, Weightlifting Shoes, Nixon Watch (Just because I <3  & collect them).

For your belly…store-bought or homemade…

Items to stock your fridge, pantry & more:

Top Row (L to R) = BaconCoconut Pure WrapsBeef Jerky/Pepperettes Salt and Pepper Mills.

Middle Row (L to R) = Assorted Nuts/Nut ButtersGo Raw Snax – Different VarietiesCoconut ButterOlive Oil & Balsamic.

Bottom Row (L to R) = Sea SnaxKombutcha/Coconut Water – a WHOLE case, SauerkrautChocolate Dipped Bacon.

For your stocking stuffers…

Extra gems, wee gifts & more:

Top Row (L to R) = Rocking Garlic PressLemon PressKitchen ShearsVegetable Peeler.

Middle Row (L to R) = Salad Dressing MixerHeadbandsGlass WaterbottleAthletic Socks.

Bottom (L to R) = Vauxhall – Assorted Handmade and Natural Beauty Products (Brickworks)Bodum Travel PressHair Elastics, Wool Socks/Leg Warmers.

…and if you still need more ideas…

Other Experiencey Type Gifts:

Gift Certificates or packages for:

  • a health food store
  • massage/reflexology
  • spa treatment
  • favourite restaurant
  • butchering classes
  • food prepping/wine tasting
  • dance classes
  • gym membership/bootcamp classes etc…
Finally…ideas from some of my readers…
Top Row (L to R) = Magic Bullet, Mix n’ ChopGPS Run Watch.
Bottom Row (L to R) = Epsom Salts, Parallettes, VitamixSpiromat.
What?!? You are still stuck??? No worries…have a peek at my gift guide from last year for additional help!!!


robb wolf, THIS, THAT and the OTHER

sweet potato, sausage & kale soup

Holy smokeroo…there is just so much wicked stuff going down as of late.  Over the past couple weeks, I have felt a total surge of paleo love.  Okay, where to start?!?  Hmmm…how about getting the chance to meet ROBB WOLF for reals!  Robb was kickin’ it in Tdot for a few days before giving his Paleo Solution Seminar, last Saturday. Rewind to the Wednesday prior to this…

March 23, 2011

This was definitely a ‘happening humpday’ to say the least.  The opportunity to chat it up, dig into some fab eats, while dinin’ with Robb Wolf, his beautiful wife Nicki Violetti and 6 other amazing and driven paleo peeps.  Surreal.  When I was included in the invite to this small gathering at Enoteca Sociale, I was beyond ecstatic.  Thank you to Dhani Oks for organizing this wee soiree.  In true ‘Dhani style’ this night was well-thought out, unique and truly something to remember.  He arranged with the owner of the restaurant, alongside the chefs to create a complete paleo menu for us…

Yep…it all sounds so good doesn’t it!?  Well it was.  I fully had a difficult time deciding which options to choose.  Totally unreal, especially the Cornish hen & spicy cacciatore.  This was the ‘secondi’ that I ended up ordering.  Prior to this, I had the sweet potato, sausage & kale soup, which was so delish as well.  To round things off, we were served a fresh pear dessert for ‘dolci’.  Take a peek at some of this fantastic food…

cornish hen & spicy cacciatore

Feeling so fortunate, it was really refreshing to be in such close quarters (we dined in the wine cellar, which was cool!) with progressive thinkers, who beam with a passion to help others in various ways.   It is not everyday that this ‘salt of the earth’ and selfless nature is so visibly clear.  Mirroring our own personal ‘podcast’, Robb and Nicki shared experiences and stories with us, as well as their opinions on different topics.  After spending not even five minutes in the same comfy confines…it was clear that Robb is hugely charismatic, funny as hell and extremely committed.  Such down to earth and ‘real’ people.  I am a huge fan of his ‘tell it like it is…not bullshit attitude!’  As the convo continued…everybody chimed in and had something different to bring to the table (pun intended)!  As in the title of this blog post, the THIS, THAT and THE OTHER represent things that I discovered that night, which are happening within our paleo community and wanted to share with you.  To find out…keep on truckin’…

 A few days later…all of us there took part in Robb’s day long Paleo Solution gig (that is def his word haha!), which took place at the Weston Harbourfront Hotel.  This amazing vibe continued on.  In one word…WICKED AWESOME!  Okay…that was 2, but you get the point.  I will have full details of the seminar for another blog post, as I learned a TON! Thank you times a mill!!!

That was Robb…but what about THIS you ask?  THIS>SHIRT  is what I am talking about!  Wear your care.  Founded by Dhani Oks of Academy of Lions…this initiative is nothing shy of incredible.  “Our Partner Global Medic has been in Japan since the disasters providing support to victims. Profits from THIS SHIRT will be directed to providing clean drinking water and hospital care to those in need.”  Check it…and buy a shirt to help Japan!

Also, another exciting venture over at Academy of Lions is The Primal Grind  espresso bar.  If in the Parkdale area…be sure to pop in and try some of their goodies!  “Everything for the modern hunter-gatherer – the primal grind is an espresso bar and food shop just off the ossington strip.  All our treats and grocery items are 100% gluten-free and free of processed sugars. we use coconut milk and almond milk to create your favorite lattes and wholesome ingredients such as eggs, walnuts, fruit, cacao and pure vanilla in our treats.   We’re open early, so we can give you the kick you need, when you need it.”

Next stop, is THAT!  THAT = MOVNAT.  Have you heard of of it?  No?  Yes?  Maybe so?  Regardless, check out this video of Greg Carver, co-owner of Strengthbox explaining just THAT!!!  Click here.  Such a solid video.  I have yet to try it out for myself, but I am definitely intrigued and interested in giving it a go!  Their basic philosophy is as follows.  “We believe in General Physical Preparedness (GPP), meaning functional, diverse athletic ability (including the ability to perform tasks in the real world). As a natural movement gym, we strive for lean, well-proportioned physiques. This is primal fitness; fitness levels that our hunter-gatherer ancestors would have possessed.To gain real-life athleticism, we need to learn to move naturally, lift heavy objects, and work occasionally with a high degree of intensity.” 

In addition to that wonderful video…Robb and Greg were also busy last week shooting various segments of the Wylde on Health Show, which aired on Toronto’s CP24.  In case you missed it…here is the link for your viewing pleasure. 

Have  you made it this far???  Well if you have…thank you!  Finally, THE OTHER…a quick update on the new and noteworthy going-ons in my life.   I will keep this brief(ish).  Well, heck ya, let’s even throw in some bullet points to wrap this baby up!

  • Having fun chillin’ as a MOD in Robb Wolf’s Forum - chatting. posing, answering and learning.  If you haven’t been there…GO!  It’s very friendly and welcoming!
  • Was recently featured on The Foodie Project website…very exciting!  “The Foodee Project brings the best paleo friendly meals and resources to one easy to use location. There are some incredible people spreading the good paleo word and we aim to bring as much attention to what they are doing as possible.”  Check out the site…a terrific resource. 
  • Finally…The Ancestral Health Symposium.  So stoked to be attending this event in LA this summer.  A fabulous opportunity to be part of an audience that will hear presentations from Loren Cordain, Art De Vany, Kurt Harris, Erwan Le Corre, Nora Gedgaudas, Mark Sisson, Gary Taubes, Robb Wolf  and many more!!!  There are still tickets available, so perhaps I will be seeing you there!?!

ontario real food challenge

Helllooooo out there! It has been awhile…my goodness where do the days go??? Anyhoo, I am back in full force and will be posting more regularly now…I promise!

This past weekend I competed in the Element CrossFit Team Challenge, @ Element CrossFit in Missisauga/Oakville. What a blast it was! Thank you to everyone involved. While I was there I saw something written on one of the whiteboards about signing up for the upcoming Ontario REAL FOOD Challenge.

This immediately peaked my interest. For the most part, I already eat strict Paleo, but decided to email Alex to see if I could participate anyways in this challenge for a few different reasons.

My goals:

I want to GET STRONGER…and work on building more muscle mass.

I also want to take this time to focus on improving food quality.

Oh ya…and finally…people often ask me what I eat for various meals, so I decided this would be a great way of tracking exactly what I am throwing down on a daily basis through the posterous food log blog!

So excited to do this…it really couldn’t have come at a better time!!! =D

So here is the run down…as outlined by the fine folks @ Element CrossFit.

Step 1: Create your own blog at posterous.com

Why Posterous? Their free service allows you to upload a blog post by simply emailing yourself! It’s super easy for you to compose an email, with a title, body, and even pictures, and send and update from your smartphone. It’ll be easy for you to stay on top of posting your meals. If you don’t have a smartphone, email from your desktop!

Step 2: Register herewith your name, posterous.com account, and $40

Step 3: Send a picture in a bathing suit to rachael@elementcrossfit.com. We will NOT post pictures. You can post yours on your blog if you like. We will keep your pictures private. We encourage you to take your own weights and measurements at the beginning, middle, and end (not everyday!)

Step 4: On your posterous.com account, your first post should talk about your goals for these 6 weeks and your plan for achievement. Whether you’re going for strict Paleo or Primal quality, Zone-quantity, or just focusing on better Real Food habits, make your commitment and stick to it. Need help finding your best fit? We’re here to help!

Step 5: Post what you eat every day. No exceptions. Even if it’s not part of the plan, though we know you’ll do your best to Plan Ahead with Simple Meal Ideas and Eat Well On The Run. Find a sample post here.

October 29th: After the 6 weeks, send in your new picture. We will decide the winners based on physical transformation, but your measurements will help, too. In order to qualify to win, you must have posted your food log every day of the challenge. The male and female winners of each category (fat loss and lean mass gain) will win cash and prizes!

Happy Eating!!

…and so it has begun, i am waking up to day 5 tomorrow! eating real food does just make you feel so wicked! the hardest part is staying strong and overcoming any roadblocks that may be encountered along the way. feel free to follow my journey over the next 6 weeks. check out my daily successes @ www.paleodish.posterous.com

Day 1 – Food Log


2 hard boiled eggs
1 cup mixed berries (strawberries, raspberries and wild blueberries)


2 handfuls of mixed nuts
2 small cans of tuna
1 avocado


1/2 roasted chicken
2 small cucumbers
1 tomato


beef jerky/handful of shredded coconut flakes

my 1st crossfit competition


 A special thank you to all friends that came out to watch and cheer.  Your positive vibes were greatly appreciated.  Also, a massive thank you to my “handler”, aka the Duster (my husband), for always making sure I was set with everything I needed and his ongoing support!  Last, but not least a huge thanks to my coach John Vivian.  His ability to make me feel at ease and confident in my technique is uncanny.  Also, his delivery, feedback and constant encouragement is like no other (I think both of them were more nervous than me all day! Hehe!)

 I LOVE experiencing firsts…don’t you?  Your first kiss, your first date, your first love…hahaha…or perhaps switching gears…your first un-assisted pull-up, ring dip, handstand push up or muscle up!  All great feelings.  The best part of “firsts” is that you don’t really know what to expect and you don’t necessarily know how they will turn out.  The anticipation and mystery definitely add to the excitement.

Let’s REWIND to 3 wks prior to the competition…

After hearing Mat Lalonde speak at his nutrition seminar, (early June) I decided to take to heart and “get serious” with some of the suggestions that he made.  I thought in my head, what better time than now.  So I devised a plan.  Here’s how it went.

  • cut out all pop- Mat’s opinion that “it (pop) has no redeeming qualities at all” point stuck with me.  Still going strong “sans pop” and I actually don’t miss it at all.
  • increase protein and fat intake- significantly…have kept this up as well
  • went super low carb/cut out fruit (maybe some berries 1/wk)-reintroduced certain carbs a couple days prior to the competition.  Now back to low carb (15-20%)

Even though these changes were only in effect for 3 wks prior to the competition, they all without a doubt had a positive impact on how I looked, felt and performed.  Cleaning up and tightening your diet really does make a HUGE difference people!  Give it a try…TRUST on this one!  Before you go talking yourself out of it with excuses and saying you can’t…stop yourself.  You CAN, it just takes more effort, that’s all.  A small price to pay in my opinion, once you reap the benefits.  (Ok…rant over…for now!)  The 2 biggest things that I noticed after “tweaking” my diet, were my mood and energy levels.  Both were through the roof!

June 26th, 2010

I slept like a baby the night before (surprisingly)!  Alarm went off, showered up, made sure we had everything and we hit the road.  This was the same weekend of the G-20 in Toronto, so “the Duster” and I left super early, just in case.  A quick stop for Americanos, then we continued on to Element CrossFit in Mississauga/Oakville, ON.  We were one of the first to arrive (traffic wasn’t bad at all), and were greeted by the friendly ECF staff at the door.  Having some time to spare, also gave us a chance to check out this fantastic box. Several minutes later, other competitors started to arrive, alongside fans and my coach “Johnny V”.  Time seemed to pass so fast and before I knew it, I realized that I had to go warm-up for the beep test.

 Event #1 – Beep Test
The test involves running continuously between two points that are 20 m apart. These runs are synchronized with beeps at set intervals. As the test proceeds, the interval between each successive beep reduces, forcing the athlete to increase their speed over the course of the test, until it is impossible to keep in pace with the recording (or, in rare occasions, if the athlete completes the test).
I had never done a beep test before, so this was new.  Instructions were given and all the gals took to the line.  With a light drizzle upon us, the first beep started the event.  Within each overall stage, there were 9 sub-steps in between.  This test obviously started off super easy, then progressively got more difficult.  I made it to the third step in the 8th stage.  I still think I had more “juice” in me, but actually had to stop, because I had to REALLY go to the bathroom! LOL!  I placed 3rd in this event.  Can’t wait to give this one a go again.

Event #2 – Clean-to-Thruster/Chest-to-Bar Ladder
Competitors will have 20 seconds to complete a rep at each of 10 Clean-to-Thruster stations, then they have 10 seconds to move to the next station. There are four pullup stations interspersed through the event at which competitors will have 20 seconds to complete as many reps as possible before moving to the next station.
1 – 155#/65#/45#
2 – 165#/75#/55#
* – Chest-to-Bar/Pullups/Jumping Pullups
3 – 175#/85#/65#
4 – 185#/95#/75#
* – Chest-to-Bar/Pullups/Jumping Pullups
5 – 195#/105#/85#
6 – 205#/115#/95#…and continue on until step 10.

Prior to the challenge, we had a goal in mind for this ladder wod.  I was confident that the jumping pullups would act as a strength in this event, as I knew I could bang them off quickly.  My target was to clear at least 75 lbs with the clean-to-thruster.  Goal accomplished…check.  After that, I knew I had 20 seconds to attempt 85 lbs.  Both attempts failed.  I placed 11th in this event.

Event #3 – Deadlift, HSPU, Kettlebell Swing
As many rounds as possible in 8 minutes of:
5 Deadlifts 275#/185#/135#
5 men/3 women Handstand Pushups*/5 Pushups men & women scaled
10 Kettlebell Swings 70#/50#/35#

This was by far, the wod I was looking forward to the most!  LOVE all the movements and was totally stoked.  Eight minutes…seems like nothing right? WRONG!!!  It was an AMRAP…I made the “mistake” of checking out the clock only 3 minutes in!  Ignored this, and ended up pushing myself like I never have before.  The last minute or so was almost a complete blur.  Now I fully understand the concept of INTESITY and pushing through your THRESHOLD.  Completed 8 full rounds and was only 10 kettle bell swings shy of 9.  I placed 4th in this event.  For the record, I didn’t puke and was able to see straight within a reasonable amount of time! Haha!

Event #4 – Clean & Jerk, Burpee
Clean & Jerk 135#/95#/75#
Yikes…the dreaded BURPEE + more cleans…oh and jerks!!!  Really???  Yes, this was the case and I had to tell myself to just suck it up!  To be honest, my burpees aren’t that bad at all.  This was the only wod that actually made me shake a little in my “chucks”.  For this wod there was a cut off time of 13 minutes.  Fell apart a little early on, with a couple failed attempts, but was so happy that I was able to regain my composure and focus.  In this time, the work that I successfully accomplished was exactly 10-9-8.  Damn that weight got heavy for me fast!  I placed 11th in this event.
Since competing in this challenge, many people have asked questions like…would you do it again?  Are you glad you did it?  Were you pleased with where you finished?  Yes, yes and yes!!!  It was so motivating and inspiring to see and be amongst so many skilled athletes.  I was also so impressed with my placing.  In fact, being 7th and not 1st or 2nd for example, gives me even more drive to improve, succeed and work towards accomplishing new goals.  This experience definitely highlighted my strengths and reaffirmed to me the areas which need continued training and practice.  Can’t wait to get better and compete again!!!  Thank you again to Alex and his crew for hosting and running such a well-organized event!
Original photos courtesy of S. Crowley~ thank you so much!

jumping pull-up

clean and jerk

the aftermath of wod # 3

my interview with mat lalonde

 I had the pleasure of hearing Mat Lalonde speak in Ottawa this past March at his nutrition seminar.  Since then, we have kept in touch through email.  It was finally great to “actually meet him” and have the opportunity to pick his brain and attend his seminar a second time, in Toronto. (highly recommend that btw!)  A truly inspiring individual.  It is rare in this day and age to meet someone who so honestly “practices what they preach”.  In his case, it couldn’t be more genuine or apparent.

Saturday, June 5th, 2010

Interviewed by: Cindy Sexton- www.PALEOdISH.com- also, you can join my PALEOdISH page on Facebook.

The first part of the day at the Academy of Lions  flew by so fast.  It was already lunch.  Mat came over to me after he was finished with the first part of the day and we decided to have our little interview while sitting on the box jump boxes. 

Me: Thank you so much for giving me the time to ask you some questions.  I really appreciate it!

Mat: No problem.

Me: This music sounds like “porn music”!

Mat: Ya, it does…porn music with a little bass in the background.

Both laugh.

Me: Okay…let’s get started!

Describe your credentials— background, current ventures, future direction…

Mat: I obtained my BSc with a concentration in chemistry from the University of Ottawa. I spent the summer of 2000 working for Boehringer-Ingelheim and the summer of 2001 for Merck-Frosst as an intern.

I obtained my PhD in organic chemistry from the department of chemistry and chemical biology at Harvard University.

I’m currently a postdoctoral fellow in an inorganic chemistry lab at Harvard.

 Me: What has driven your career in nutrition?

Mat: I had and still have a desire to understand how nutrition affects health and how the inner body really works.  I also have a strong desire to help people.

 Me: What would you tell someone just getting started with Paleo?

Mat: Hang in there! Haha…Basically, I would tell them to stay on the bandwagon for at least 30 days, to see how they look, feel and perform.  I guarantee that so many positive changes will be present even in that amount of time.

Me: Do you currently train or offer nutritional counselling to people as a service?

Mat: No, technically and legally I am not allowed because I am a scientist, not a dietitian or a “doctor” per se.

Me: That blows my mind…but that is another story.

Me: What are your thoughts on taking supplements and vitamins?

Mat: In my opinion, multi-vitamins are totally useless.  Vitamin D3 is useful for those of us not getting enough sunshine. In other words almost every body. If you live a solid lifestyle, then you really shouldn’t require any vitamins.  Also, if your diet is in “check”, then there is really no need to supplement!

Me: Who is your “idol” in the world of science/nutrition?

Me: Don’t say Robb Wolf …giggles (just kidding Robb!)

Mat: Ya, ya, then pauses and chuckles…Robb! (grins with admiration).  Also, in the world of science I admire the work of this scientist by the name of Alessio Fasano, who studies topics surrounding autoimmune diseases and “leaky gut”. 

Me: I believe it.  Your explanation of “leaky gut” was so clear and explained so well when I first saw you at the seminar in Ottawa.  You gave such a concise picture of what this whole concept is. 

Me: Who has had the most significant influence on you in your life and why?

Mat: Hmmm…great question.  Let me think about that (pauses as he gazes across the gym) Wow! Tough one…you know what, I would have to say it was my college advisor Dr. Tony Durst. Tony took me under his wing and believed in me. He encouraged me to excel and push the limits of what I could do. He was the one that encouraged me to work for the pharmaceutical industry during the summer of 2000 and 2001 and he insisted that I study abroad in a graduate chemistry program. He was a truly wonderful mentor at an important time in my life and I owe him a debt of gratitude.

Me: What are your views on cheat meals? 

Mat: A cheat meal will not kill you from time to time, especially if you exercise regularly and follow a low-carb approach in your diet.  I mean a “cheat meal”,  not going on a full on bender or having a complete cheat day.  Choose your cheats wisely, make them gluten-free, hit them hard to make sure they satisfy, and then get back on the pony the next day.

Me: Describe some of your ideas for post-WOD snacks or meals?

Mat: I would suggest having something with glucose in it, such as tubers.  Sweet potatoes work great in these instances. Eating post-WOD actually lowers cortisol levels.  Keep the snacks fairly small and tailor them to the workout. Throw in some carbohydrate for glycogen replenishment post metcon, but stick to protein and fat after strength work.

Me: What time frame would you say when eating post-WOD?

 Mat: I would recommend having your post-WOD food within an hour after the workout.  Within 30 minutes or less would be ideal. 

Me: You must travel quite a bit.  What are some of your ideas for “Paleo-on-the-go” type meals?

Mat: Ugh, I don’t eat!

Me: What do you mean?

Mat: I fast usually a lot of the time when on the road.  I may have a breakfast in the morning when I wake up, eat nothing really in between (during the day), and then have a dinner early in the evening.  Even when I am flying to different places, I never eat airplane food…ever!

Me: Ugh, I know me too!

Mat: When I know I am going to be travelling or out of town, I also like to take Paleo Kits  with me too.

Me: What is your stance/opinion on the association between an increase in protein and risk of kidney stones etc…myth or does it hold any truth?

Mat: Totally incorrect!  Kidney stones are actually due to an increase in calcium and dairy into your diet.  It’s actually those “low carb- Atkins” diets that are heavy in dairy that can cause it, so really there isn’t a direct link or cause and effect between an increase in protein and kidney stones.  It’s the calcium in the dairy!  Protein has no adverse effects on the kidneys. It’s a myth that will not die. 

Me: What nutritional advice would you offer athletes/people who are trying to “lean” vs. “gain”?

Mat: Well there are several factors that need to be considered here.  Several questions come into mind.  What kind of athlete are they?  What is their metabolic state (derangement)?  How is their tolerance to carbs?  Are they fat adapted?  In a nutshell, someone looking to lean out should lower their carbs to 10%, for 3 weeks or so and stay slightly hypocaloric. Low intensity work can be high in volume, but high intensity exercise must be low-volume. Make your metcons really short (5 minutes or less). Put on a weighted vest and go take a walk or a hike. Get plenty of sleep and eliminate stress from your life. Once the desired amount of weight is lost, you can increase the amount of carbohydrate. If you are sedentary, I’d say no more than 20% of calories from low-fructose foods (mostly veggies). If you are a powerlifter or Olympic weightlifter, then I’d recommend either ketogenic or cyclic low-carb. If you are a CrossFitter, then I’d recommend carbohydrate post metcon, but not post strength WOD. There is no need to go above 40% of calories from carbohydrate as a CrossFitter. Endurance athletes may need up to 50-60% of calories from carbohydrate. Get that stuff from starchy vegetables and tubers, as opposed to tons of fruit (a few serving a day is fine here).  On the other hand, if someone is trying to gain mass, then they should eat ad libitum Paleo/Ketogenic and lift heavy weights. 

Me: What are your thoughts on “hard” vs. “easy” gainers?  (Endomorphs vs. mesomorphs)

Mat: Well to start, there is a huge difference in insulin sensitivity.  Hard gainers have muscle tissue that is slightly more insulin resistant than that of the average individual, whereas easy gainers have more insulin sensitive muscle tissue.  Hard gainers would probably benefit from a low-carb, perhaps ketogenic, hypercaloric diet. Easy gainers are well…easy gainers.

Me: Describe any special recommendations that you would provide for pregnant/nursing women, children, menopausal women etc…?

Mat: I always feel bad giving advice to pregnant mothers. As a dude, the only part I play in conception is ejaculation, which really isn’t all that hard. I always get the feelings that mothers listen to me and think “easy for you to say”. Would you be surprised if I recommend eating a strict “Paleo” diet?!?  There is plenty of folic acid in veggies, but I have no objections to supplementation. I would highly encourage not only these groups of people, but people in general to get their Omega 3 and 6 ratios in order.  Also, after women have given birth, I would recommend (if possible), that they breast feed their baby for as long as they can…one year minimum. As an incentive, breast-feeding is great for melting off accumulated fat during pregnancy. Pumping the milk all the time and feeding it to the baby in a bottle is not always a good idea, it has been shown that the composition of the milk changes during the day. The concentration of a specific compound increases in the milk just before night time and this helps put the child to sleep. Children also start with a blank slate as far as gut flora is concerned. Breast milk contains a pro-biotic (good bacteria) that helps populate the flora of the child. This will result in a healthier child that is more resilient to disease.

Me: How might you advise someone about the recovery process who has just competed in the CrossFit Games or a major endurance event?  Would this differ?

Mat: Well it’s so important that both take time off afterwards.  I would say take up to 1 1/2 weeks off. 

Me:  I think I a lot of athletes have a hard time doing this.

Mat: Totally, but your body needs the rest.  I would also advise laying off the metcons for awhile, but try to maintain strength. Strength is easily lost and takes time to build. Metabolic conditioning is also easily lost, but can be regained much more readily.

Rapid fire questions to end off the interview…

  •  BACON- yes or no? Hell ya!!!  Thank god! 
  •  Best fat source? Saturated animal fat
  • Most satisfying cheat? Ice cream…it’s my only cheat.  I make my own coconut ice cream. 
  • Book you would most recommend? The Vegetarian Myth, by Lierre Keith
  • Best nuts?  Raw, unsalted cashews or macadamia nuts
  • Paleo in one word? Umm, Paleo is one word!  LOL…smart ass!
  • Fav meal?  Meat
  • Fav WOD? Thrusters @ 135 # – 10-8-6-4-2 and Double Unders- 50-40-30-20-10  for time
  • P.O.P- percentage on Paleo?  100 %
  • Boxers or briefs?  (haha…for all the ladies)  Both!  Right now boxers though…laughs.  

Me: Thank you so much Mat!

Mat: You’re welcome!

And with a couple minutes to spare, a pee break and a sip of water,  Mat was back at it again for the rest of the afternoon sharing his knowledge with a room full of eager listeners!


Harvard University, Cambridge MA