Needs Improvement (Paul ruminates on the 2014 Lurong Paleo Challenge)

I must unequivocally state that I would not have considered hosting the Paleo Challenge at CrossFit Surmount had it not been for Dianne suggesting that I do so. I trust Dianne. She’s spectacular. I would not have entered the challenge myself if I didn’t think that it was important that I do so, for as the owner of the box I feel obligated to put my money where my mouth is. My former sugar-, grain-, legume-, and dairy-consuming mouth.

When I informed folks that I would be “going Paleo” for two months the first question I was most often asked was, “Are you going to be able to give up beer for that long?” My answer was always,”I like beer. I don’t need beer.” I also used to like cream in my coffee, bread slathered with peanut butter and jelly, ice cream, pasta, and much, much more.

I am goal-oriented; thus, I enjoyed setting SMART goals for the challenge, including giving up alcohol (even though wine was allowed) for the duration of the Challenge.

‘Twas a rocky start, as I felt very weak and lethargic during the first week or so. I craved sugar most of all. The easiest transition was drinking my coffee black, as I truly enjoy the flavor and texture of coffee. The hardest transition was giving up my daily PB&J sandwich. I quickly discovered that an apple slathered in almond butter was a wonderful substitution.

I also become very fond of bacon, often consuming 5 or 6 slices, along with 2 eggs and a half an avocado, most mornings. Bacon was also my one demise in that my only cheat meal consisted of a slice of nitrate-laden bacon placed upon a juicy burger I ordered at a diner. I just wasn’t thinking, probably due to low blood sugar.

My biggest challenge was maintaining ideal body weight of 143 lbs. I know, I know, this isn’t the case for most people, and many members lost pounds that they wanted to lose. In addition to bacon-laden breakfast, I would eat as much as a half a cup of tree nuts (mostly walnuts), 2 to 3 apples with almond butter, Paleo pancakes, dried fruit (figs and dates), and eat very large portions of food at meals. I never felt bloated and I never felt like I had overeaten.

I did review my results after completing the workouts and was often pleased with my performance, particularly in the category of male masters+, i.e., men 50 years and older. I didn’t, however, keep track of my points and ranking, and I didn’t even know the category existed until Jeff made me aware just last week. I was surprised and delighted by how high I ranked.

The chart lists workout, level, score, overall ranking, male masters+ ranking, and males masters+ in the South region ranking. I ranked as the #1 male master+ — until the improvement points were tallied. I should’ve thought this through, as I didn’t earn points for losing weight or gaining muscle. Uhm, I was already at my ideal body weight. Uhm, I don’t want to get more muscular than I already am. Uhm, there’s only so much I can lift.  When the final rankings were posted I had dropped to 24th place overall and 7th in the South. I ranked 737 out of over 8K participants, so at least I ended up in the top 10%. I scored high on most of the workouts, even posting the highest score for male masters+ for Dynamax (my favorite of the workouts). I also had the highest score for male masters+ in the South for Boomsauce (one of my least favorite workouts). I was pleased with improved performance for the Capacity test, unhappy with results of Olympian retest (I just couldn’t pull myself under 155#), and was very pleased with improved performance for Triplet, particularly since my left hamstring was still somewhat sore and this impeded my performance. And I was happy that I was able to maintain body weight of 143#.

Screen Shot 2014-11-12 at 12.40.36 PMSo, it appears that the Challenge is best for those whose goal is weight loss. That’s not my goal. Thus, those who lost the most weight gained (notice my word chose) the most points for improvement. Well, okay then.

I’m convinced that eating Paleo is very good for me, and I’m sold hook, line, and sinker. Yup, I did have a beer this past Monday as well as tonight, and both were very, very satisfying. I also had pizza Monday, and it was far less than satisfying. So far that’s been my only cheat meal since the challenge ended. I don’t crave cream in my coffee, ice cream for dessert, and/or PB&J sandwiches. I feel much better.

“No, I don’t need room for cream in my coffee. Thank you.” That’s what I’ve been saying, and that’s what I’ll continue to say.

On a somewhat related note, I’ve taken it easy the past few days. I completed a 65# weighted kipping pull-up on Monday and the following metcon in a time of 9:09: 1, 2, 3…8, 9, 10 thrusters (95) & 10, 9, 8…3, 2, 1 hip touches/side. I didn’t, however, attempt push press (Monday) or back squat 1RM (Tuesday) and didn’t complete metcon Tuesday or benchmark “Elizabeth” yesterday (Wednesday). I’m just not feeling it, and my body is telling me to rest. Or maybe my brain is telling me to rest. Either way, I’ve rested.

I had reservations about attending Barbell Club tonight, but I told myself that I’d at least do the warm up. It went well, so I completed the workout. We first established squat snatch 1RM, and I was able to successfully squat snatch 100#. I failed at 105 — but I was able to easily power snatch that weight. My hips have been tight and my shoulders are sore, so I was pleased that I was able to lift that much. I next completed 25 squat snatches at 77#. I missed 7 or more reps (and didn’t count them) and finished in a time of 6:34. I focused on form, and didn’t worry about the time. Just saying.

Others practiced muscle up progressions. I completed 2 muscle ups, felt soreness in my shoulders, and, at James’ suggestion, completed strict weighted chest to bar pull-ups. I was able to successfully (and rather easily) complete a rep at 50#. I couldn’t find the both weight vests, so I had to settle on 35$# in the vest and a 15# dumbbell between my thighs.

The final metcon was 500m row, 90 seconds rest while remaining seated, and another 500m row. I completed first 500m row in exactly 1:47, averaging 27 strokes/min, and the second 500m row in 1:45.7, once again averaging 27 stroke/min. That was tough! Total time was 3:32.7.

I needed that. I may very well rest tomorrow, however.

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