One Year In The Life of a Modern-Day Caveman
My fellow flabby, desk-bound geeks—this is for you.
Last September I weighed 198 pounds, had a BMI of 30 (obese), 25% body fat, pre-hypertension, digestion problems, acne, and borderline high cholesterol. Chasing after my two girls was followed by a half-hour recovery period and a shower.
Then: Puffy and docile—Now: Stone cold predator
Today, one year later, I’m a lean (10-11% body fat) 145 pounds. My vitals are now perfect. I’ve lost 5 inches in my waistline, 2 1/2 ring sizes (new ring!), 1 1/2 shoe sizes, and went from a men’s large shirt to a small.
It’s still strange to say this out loud—I’m fit and healthy.
The perfect storm happened last October. My 30th birthday was looming, I spent 8 hours a day in a room with the ever-handsome and fit Dustin Askins, and my close friend and business partner Steve Brewer had made his own decision to take control of his health (and kicked-ass at it). On a whim, I decided to kick my five or six can a day soda habit. Cold turkey.
I dropped nearly ten pounds the two weeks. This was a wake-up call.
Over the next three months I obsessively counted calories and started cycling with Steve. Eight mile bike rides turned into 50 or 60 mile bike rides pretty quickly.
Fun fact: If you restrict your calorie intake to 1,600 a day and burn 1,000 calories per day on the bike, weight will melt off of you. Also, you’ll fall asleep at 8pm every night.
Thanks to calorie-counting, I dropped about 25 or 30 pounds from October to December. All good, right? I still had digestion problems, I still had high blood pressure, and I was still eating garbage (albeit, carefully metered portions of garbage). The calorie-counting became a ritual, my poor wife…
Finding My Inner Cave Man
My wife went gluten and dairy free late last year after discovering that she had a severe intolerance. I was her biggest skeptic. After doing some research of my own, I found Robb Wolf’s Paleo Solution and our lives completely changed.
Allow me to repeat myself: Our lives have completely changed since discovering the paleo diet.
No more gluten or grains, no legumes, no dairy, no industrial seed oils, no sugar. When you eliminate these things from your diet you immediately realize the detrimental effects that they have on your health. It’s also important to note that Paleo is not a low carb diet, however, by cutting out grains, sugars, and glutens your daily carbohydrate intake is significantly reduced. But don’t worry, you won’t die, your body knows what to do.
Today we follow a very satiating diet of beef, chicken, pork, seafood, eggs, green vegetables, “safe” starches, nuts, and fats.
- 3-4 eggs (don’t worry, they won’t kill you) fried in pastured butter, bacon grease, or unrefined coconut oil
- uncured bacon or sausage, or left-over meat from dinner
- left-over veggies (broccoli, sweet potatoes, whatever)
- 12 oz of coconut water and some unsweetened/unflavored whey protein
Eating out can sometimes be a challenge, but I’ve found a few great Paleo go-to options:
- Burrito Bowl with double meat, guacamole, salsa, pico. No rice, beans, or cheese. Also, it’s a shame that Chipotle drenches everything in soy
- No bun/no cheese burger with a side salad, veggies, or occasionally sweet potato fries
- Barbecue: You can’t go wrong with copious amounts of meat and veggies. Skip the sauce though, it’s loaded with brown sugar
- Salads at mexican restaurants. Chicken or steak, guacamole, salsa
Dinner is where the magic happens. Paleo has brought my wife and I much closer. We love to cook together. Here are some of our favorite meals:
- Beef and Broccoli: Beef, broccoli, spices, no soy sauce
- Bone-in pork chops and brussels sprouts (I really, really like brussels sprouts)
- Squash Lasagna from Every Day Paleo
- Chicken breast sautéed in coconut oil
- Sweet potato hash: Yams or sweet potatoes, peppers, onions, grass fed ground beef.
- Grilled salmon: Coat with butter, grill for 14 minutes. Get your omega 3 fatty acids for the day.
- Bacon-guacamole-fried egg-burger. This will change your life.
Back in February, Steve, myself, Dustin, and Burin all joined a Crossfit Gym (Myself, Burin, and Dustin at Grapevine and Steve at Dallas Crossfit Central). I’ve spent the last eight months learning how to run, jump, lift heavy weights over my head, walk on my hands, and row without throwing up. I’ve also made a lot of really great friends.
I push myself to the limit every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. How many people can say that?
Me, an athlete? Yep.
Show Me Some Stats, BRO
Deadlift 5-rep max 165 (2/28/2011) 285 (9/22/2011)
Strict Press 5-rep max 85 (4/7/2011) 110 (9/27/2011)
Push Press 5-rep max 125 (3/4/2011) 145 (8/17/2011)
Back Squat 5-rep max 135 (3/14/2011) 195 (9/27/2011)
Back Squat 1-rep max 245 (7/6/2011)
Front Squat 5-rep max 135 (5/16/2011) 155 (5/19/2011)
One Mile Time-Trial 8:42 (3/4/2011) 7:48 (8/9/2011)
800 Meter Time-Trial 4:08 (3/23/2011) 3:27 (6/2/2011)
I couldn’t have done it alone.
- My wife Kristi for putting up with the cold-turkey diet changes, food quality obsessions, and constant flexing in front of the mirror. She’s also lost over 30 pounds thanks to the Paleo diet.
- Steve, Dustin, Burin, and Ryan for being great workout partners. You four give me something to chase.
- Brandon and Bevin at Grapevine Crossfit have taught me how to be an athlete. They push me everyday.
- Robb Wolf and Nicki Violetti— The Brad and Angelia of the Paleo/Primal Nutrition Community. I’ve been lucky enough to befriend them both. This Paleo gig (Robb’s words) has changed my life.