Planning a week’s worth of meals

Planning all of next week’s paleo meals. Luckily I love planning and list-making.

If you’re actually reading the list, please ignore “18 oz bottle BBQ sauce” and “hamburger buns”. I’m going to be making pulled pork sandwiches for a lunch meeting at work, but I’ll be putting some pork aside to eat plain.

Tomorrow’s the big day! Unfortunately I’m going to the Eastern Shore for the weekend with friends so that’s going to make this a little more complicated. I’ll be pre-making a couple salads and will be bringing my own breakfast foods just in case (eggs, veggies, etc). I’m going to feel like a huge turd but I’ve got to stick to the plan. We have a crab feast planned for Saturday night and I’m so thankful that’s allowed. But I’ll miss the beer.

30-day Paleo Challenge

From October 1 – October 30, 2011, I will be taking part in my local CrossFit gym’s 30-day Paleo Challenge. During the challenge, participants are only allowed to eat REAL food: meat, seafood, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds. Basically, we can only eat what our ancestors ate.

Now, I’m not sure how I got roped into this, but the Paleo diet has always intrigued me. I’ve forever been plagued by acne/rosacea and I think I’ve tried everything except messing with my diet. I attended the kick-off meeting on Wednesday night and was eventually sucked into the idea of giving it a shot. The idea seemed insane at first: I won’t be able to eat sugar, grains, legumes or dairy. I love beans. I love milk. I love coffee. I LOVE beer. Have I gone nuts? On the other hand, it’s only 30 days, it’s super healthy for me, and there’s a great prize involved: first place scores a huge amount of grass-fed beef! As a lover of food, this makes me really excited.

There are three aspects to the challenge:

    My compliance to the diet (and your sleep)
    My performance on the initial workout
    My improvement on the workout after a month of the challenge

Just to make it clear, here’s a listing of all the food that would be considered a cheat:

Grains – Wheat, rye, barley, sorghum, millet, quinoa, oats, rice, spelt, “sprouted” grains, buckwheat, hominy

Dairy – Milk, cheese, ice cream, butter, ghee

Sugar – Any added sweeteners, whether natural or artificial, including: cane sugar, honey, or agave syrup

Legumes – All kinds of beans, soy, peas, peanuts, peanut butter

Industrial chemicals – Take your pick. Processed meats fall under this category

Beverages – Juices, alcohol, or artificially sweetened drinks

My initial and ending workout will be:

    Take 15 min to find your 3rm (rep max) back squat
    Rest 5-10 min
    4 min row
    1 min rest
    3 min pull-ups
    1 min rest
    2 min shoulder to overhead (135/95)
    1 min rest
    1 min KB (kettlebell) swings (53/35)

I’m pretty sure I’ll have to scale down some of those weights (the numbers after the slashes are the weights that females are suppose to do). And I’m definitely going to have to use a resistance band for the pull-ups. Ugh, I feel tired just reading it. I want to kick its butt so hard at the end of this challenge, though.

The scoring gets a little complicated, but here are the important parts: It’s assumed that participants will eat three meals a day, so on any given day, there are three possible points (one point per meal). If I go the entire challenge without cheating, I get 90 points. If I cheat in one meal by doing just one thing wrong, I don’t get a point. That’s rough.

During this whole process I must keep a food log listing what I ate for each meal (we don’t have to get too detailed about it). There’s also a spot for recording my sleep hours.

This is going to be pretty difficult. The sleep I have no problem with. I get an average of 7 – 8 hours a night without any issues. Here’s the real kicker: I’ve started searching for bacon that has no nitrates AND no sugar (neither are allowed for this challenge), but it’s pretty much impossible. I’ve even tried researching the bacon sold at my local farmer’s market, but they all add sugar to it. What am I going to do without my beloved bacon? I’m also going to have to start drinking my coffee black. What?!

But you know what? I don’t care. It’s only 30 days and I really, really want to win! And I wonder if some of these dietary changes will stick with me. That would be pretty interesting.

I will try my hardest to take photos of all the meals and snacks I eat throughout the day in an effort to give this my best shot while the Internet watches. Wish me luck!

How I got involved with Crossfit

Fitness was something I never thought I’d be into. I’ve been a skinny female my entire life and just assumed I was healthy, so I never exercised or watched my diet.

After college I became friends with Peter and Hattie and noticed that going to the gym and practicing yoga was a huge part of their lives. I went to yoga with them for about a year, once a week, and thought that was “good enough.”

During the summer of 2010, my husband Cory and I decided to set a goal for ourselves: to run the 5k race at the Baltimore Running Festival in October. I had never trained to do anything even remotely close to a 5k, but we were up for the challenge. We followed the Couch to 5k plan from start to finish. It was extremely difficult but I knew it was good for us. I finished the race with a time of 30:01 and felt great.

After doing a ton of research, I decided that I wanted to start supplementing my casual running with some strength training. I joined the local Y and followed the Starting Strength Practical Programming Novice program. I purchased Mark Rippetoe’s book Starting Strength, read it in full, and learn to adjust my form to slowly got better at the big lifts: squat, bench, deadlift and press.

Feeling like I was getting nowhere without some kind of social support (yes, I’m that kind of person), I decided to end my membership at the Y after only a few months. Luckily I stumbled across Tim Guarino and the Dumbarton Barbell Club. After one session with Tim I knew that Dumbarton was the right place for me. Everyone there was so helpful and I always looked forward to my Starting Strength workouts with like-minded people.

During this time, I also ran two more 5k races: the Charles Village 5k (28:47) and the Boordy Vineyard 5k (28:03).

Crossfit had always been in the back of my mind during all of this. My friends Ramsey and Daniel had been training through Crossfit for years and got amazing results and huge lift numbers that I was super jealous of. I was also starting to get sick of running, especially since my left knee was beginning to bother me (still hasn’t really gone away to this day).

After getting bored of Starting Strength since I wasn’t really seeing any changes (admittedly, I didn’t really push myself that hard and probably should have drastically improved my diet), I decided to bite the bullet, end my membership at Dumbarton, and sign up for Foundations classes at South Baltimore Crossfit. It was expensive, but I knew that I would be paying for great quality service, especially since I’d be getting a ton of one-on-one training from certified coaches…not to mention the amazing community aspect of Crossfit that I’d always heard about. I was ready to do and feel things I’d never experienced before.

After a month of Foundations classes where I pushed myself harder than I ever have before (I’ll never forget the night John, one of the Crossfit coaches, yelled me through some intense bear crawls), I knew that this was what I was looking for all along: helpful, intelligent coaches, members that are just excited about working out as you are, and non-stop motivation to do your very best. A little friendly competition doesn’t hurt, either.

So far I am loving every second of it.

My goals

Aesthetically, I would love to lose my tiny pouch of belly fat and get a six-pack, but I’m learning to look at Crossfit as more than just a way to look good because I know that will come with time.

Eventually I want to see big progress in all of my lifting numbers, especially in my deadlift since that’s my favorite lift. Right now my 1RM (rep max) seems to be about 143 lb, and I’d be happy to hit 200 lb at some point. I also can’t wait to do my first dead hang pull-up. Seriously, I can’t even do one! Additionally, I will feel super awesome once I can do the WODs (workout of the day) “as prescribed” (no scaling back the weights).