Exercise

Never Too Late to Make a Change

Ticking ClockI have come across a number of people in my life whose weight problems are a very real threat on their health and lifespan. Some of these people have chosen to make a change in their lives and make extreme efforts to improve their health. Other people have not changed their lifestyle choices and continued to get heavier, sicker, and more lodged into their ways. I do not know the specific circumstances each of these people are in, but what I do know is that there is never a good reason to continue in an unhealthy.

I know a woman who for many years was around 200 pounds overweight. She had been in the same downward path for over ten years and made the choice to change her life, even knowing that she the journey would not be short or easy. She has worked through emotional trauma, changed her diet, and started going to a local Crossfit gym. She has taken her health and her future in her own hands.

I view this woman as an inspiration.  She has taken enormous strides in changing her life and has regained her health. She has likely lengthened her lifespan, which is very important to her now as a grandmother. She is happier, lighter, and continues to pursue healthy lifestyle choices.

Taking care of yourself should be first priority. Life can get busy, and hard, and circumstances can change… but if you do not take care of yourself, you will not be able to enjoy that life. It is never too late to make a change in your life… the benefits are worth it.

The first step is education. Look around this site to learn about basic nutritional guidelines and healthy lifestyle tips. Start cutting unhealthy items like breads, pastas, and sodas out of your diet and getting more meats, fruits, and veggies in your meals.

Start being physically active every day. Taking a 5-10 minute walk each day around your neighborhood is a great way to start if you are not currently very active. Once you feel comfortable with that, try doing some sit-ups and wall-pushups every other day. Eventually get yourself into a good gym where you can take classes and get guidance on the healthiest way for you work out.

Focus on yourself, reducing stress, and making healthy choices. Don’t delay in your decision to make these positive changes – you could save your own life doing so.

3 R’s: Rest, Recovery, Refueling

Are you thinking, “I wanna get fast. I wanna get fit. I wanna get strong.”?  You start training day-in and day-out. Whatever your training method is, you hit it hard. You work and work and work but you never see the results you want. One of the biggest contributing factors to this is you are not resting, recovering and/or refueling well enough.

Rest is essential to gaining strength and endurance. Your muscular, nervous, and endocrine (hormonal) systems need the time to recharge their batteries, and rest is the best way to do that. Your muscles only rebuild and get stronger on your rest days. It takes 24-48 hours for our muscles to repair themselves. Our nervous system can get fatigued by over training. Only when we rest does our nervous system have a chance to “reset.” The hormones released during training, like endorphins and cortisol, are needed for a successful training session, but without the proper rest and relaxation, these hormones continue to be released, never allowing the body to return to homeostasis. Rest can consist of taking a day off from training, sleeping, or just a low impact day like taking the dog for a walk.

Recovery is often related to rest, but looks a little different. Here, we want to do the proper things to recover the muscles (and our mind) from out training sessions. Most of the time, this means stretching, doing tissue work such as self-myofacial release with a lacrosse ball or PVC pipe, or getting a massage. We always hear that you shouldn’t just lift heavy, train hard, and then go about your business. This is very true. Your body needs some “down time” before going back to your every day business. Try spending 5-10 minutes post-workout stretching, lying in “corpse pose” (flat on your back, arms by your side, palms up, heels touching but feet relaxed), or schedule a regular massage session with a therapist who knows your sport. The body needs recovery to prevent getting overly sore, tight or immobile.

Refueling… I can’t tell you how many times people fail to do this right. After a workout, our bodies are craving protein to rebuild muscles, and quick! Refueling with a small amount of clean food within 30 minutes of finishing your workout will do wonders for your training gains. We are talking primal here so when we talk about refueling post-workout we typically aren’t talking a protein shake with lots of milk or whey, and definitely not soy. The best source of refueling you can find is a great mix of lean, clean meat (turkey, roast beef, burger patty etc.) and a small amount of sweet potatoes. Mixing the sweet potatoes with a little bit of unsweetened applesauce is super yummy. There are some cases where no fuel post-workout can be considered but start with this first and see how you feel.

If you are looking for some gains in your training, especially if you have hit a plateau, remember the 3 R’s and you will see progress faster than you imagine. Rest, Recovery, and Refueling are essential pieces to proper training methods and achieving your fitness goals.

New Year Goals

2012

Happy New Year everyone! Welcome back to work, school, life… and most likely your diet, too.

We have some exciting news: more people have downloaded our Free Paleo Meal Plan in the first few days of this year than ever before! What this tells us is that a lot of people are including dietary changes in their New Year Resolutions. How great!

It’s a new year and the perfect time decide for yourself what you want to include in your health goals for 2012. You have 360 more days in the year to make your goals become reality, and we are here to help you do so.

Some of our own New Year Resolutions are to post valuable content more frequently, improve our meal plan, and provide personalized support when needed. Because of these goals, don’t be surprised if there are updates and improvements to the site, as well as what we offer you!

Let’s start off the year right by asking you right now, WHAT CAN WE DO TO HELP YOU REACH YOUR HEALTH GOALS?

Let us know by commenting on this blog post, or sending us an email using the Contact form on the left of your screen.

Best of luck to all of your Primal Healthy Fitters, and HAPPY NEW YEAR!

The Carb Question for Athletes

Austin Marathon

I just registered for the 2012 Austin Marathon, which is in about 3.5 months. I am very excited about the race, but this will be my first marathon eating paleo. As I was running this morning, I began thinking about how athletes typically eat before a big event, and I got worried. There’s always a big dinner party the night before for all of the athletes, and guess what they serve? PASTA. What do I eat the night before my race if I don’t eat grains like everyone else? Do I need to just “cheat” so I can “get the carbs I need before the big race”? I KNOW that will make me feel terrible… All of these questions sent me looking for information about paleo for athletes.

I found two pretty good sources: One source says that you can get enough carbs from veggies and fruits (including the starchy tubers we are typically advised to avoid). Eating the starchy tubers is only OK because of the intense physical activity to come, otherwise they’re big trouble. The other source likewise recommends you get your carbs from fruits and veggies, with the added comment that the time to eat “nonoptimal foods” like bread and pasta, is after a hard workout. This loophole to eat grains completely contradicts paleo (and I found it on a site focusing on paleo for athletes). Plus, it tells me to eat grains at the opposite time I used to (after the race as opposed to before the race). In addition, The Paleo Diet for Athletes discusses the possibility that “carbing up” may not be as good for us as we have been taught. So, I’m confused… and I’m the kind of person that has to see it to believe it.

It looks like I am going to have to experiment myself and figure out what works for me over the next few months. My plan is to try something slightly different for both pre- and post-activity each time I go for a long run (over 10 miles). I am going to keep notes on how I fee during and after my runs, and post more blogs with what I find works for me. Hopefully I can get a solid before and after meal by the time February 19th comes around, and help other paleo athletes in the process. Feel free to comment with your own experiences or questions.

Here are the two websites I found so you can check them out yourself:

Paleo Diet Carbs by BalancedBites.com

Quick Guide to The Paleo Diet for Athletes by TrainingPeaks.com

Work Out! No excuses

Driftwood for box jumps and a Palapa for pull-ups

When it comes down to it, there are few excuses not to work out.

I live in a really remote area where there isn’t a gym or any workout facility around… the closest is 35 minutes away. If I had a gym close to me I would use it, but I don’t. In my desire to stay healthy I decided that not having equipment or a workout facility is no excuse.

I started by running around where I live, but I felt like running wasn’t enough because I also wanted to build muscle. I watched some videos about working out without equipment but they were still showing things that you can only find in a city. So I decided to start looking for replacements, and found things that could function the same way. These things would let me do a simple but effective workout.

I started using a horizontal palapa support to do pull ups and a huge piece of driftwood to do box jumps. I use a bent over coconut tree to do inclined exercises like downward facing mountain climbers. I play catch with a coconut instead of a ball. I swim in the ocean and run on the sand.

I do what I can with what I have, which is pretty much nothing. So if you want to keep yourself healthy but don’t have gym access, that’s no excuse to work out. No matter where you are or what you have you should be able to find a way to stay fit.

My Experience with CrossFit – Thumbs Up

I was introduced to CrossFit in January of 2011, on my birthday. I started an On-Ramp course at CrossFit Dallas Central, along with around 20 other people of all ages and fitness levels. The age range had to be something like from 18-75, it was ridiculous. Also, the fitness starting point was all over the place. You had some “young whippersnappers,” a couple significantly overweight people trying to find a solution to significant weight and health problems, and a few people just trying to keep up with their grand kids. I was immediately welcomed by the coaches there, and even though I’m ironically shy and dislike meeting new people, managed to bond with some fellow On-Ramp athletes.

I was immediately taught correct technique for the movements used at CrossFit, ranging all the way from the simple strict press all the way to the olympic lift called a snatch. One of the first few classes focused almost entirely on correct nutrition. For CrossFit, this means Paleo. I remember seeing one girl’s face when Sam, our On-Ramp coach, announced that grains, dairy, and legumes were out. Hers eyes widened, and she indignantly asked, “what on Earth am I supposed to eat for breakfast?!?!” Sam laughed and said something ridiculous like, “I don’t know, how about a steak?” That didn’t help her much, I don’t think… Anyways, learning about Paleo in this setting was wonderful. A support group was already in place, and we all started together. We saw each other three times a week and got to bitch and moan as much as we wanted about how much we wanted toast to dip in our over-easy eggs or a pint of ice cream during our Friday night movie. After the bitching, we got down to business and did some serious training.

Unfortunately, my attendance at my CrossFit box was spotty after I finished CrossFit, mainly due to escalating health issues (more on that on my About page) and being in my last semester at college. This is one thing I can speak to: do your best to attend regularly. The community you can gain from being a member at CrossFit is invaluable, and can give you an incredible feeling of community and support for all the right things, like changing your diet and exercise patterns for the better. However, you cannot buy your way into this community. From my experience, the athletes and coaches especially at CrossFit expect to see you often. When you walk in from a 2-week absence, expect to hear, “where ya been?” with some attitude. Sometimes this is good, and helps kick your butt into gear. For me, it was discouraging, and made me think twice about going back to the box for a workout on the one or two days a month I felt well enough to train. This is mostly my mistake, as I chose to start CrossFit about a month after discovering I had some pretty serious health issues (what can I say, I’m stubborn). I hope that once I return to a city where CrossFit is easily accessible that I can start over and re-enter the CF community healthy and ready for some kick-ass athletic training.

In my opinion, joining a CF box is one of the best decisions you can make for your health. CrossFit provides a community where you expect support no matter where you are starting from. There is no particularly good system set up to find a CrossFit box near you, but many are listed on the left sidebar of CrossFit Nationals affiliate page. Visit it here. The price of a CrossFit membership varies depending on which box you go to (they’re called boxes instead of gyms, as these locations are more liken to warehouses than a modern exercise facility), and can get pretty pricy. My box was around $150/month when I joined. However if you have the ca$h, and are looking to make some pretty drastic, positive changes in your life, CrossFit is the place to go.

 

Running Basics – from a Marathoner

I started running about 10 years ago. It started as a hobby and a way for me to try to lose weight (even though I wasn’t big, I wanted to have a better shaped body), I didn’t go to any club or join any gym, I just started running on my own. After a while, running became a huge part of my life. I was running more and more and started participating in races around Austin, TX, but realized that I needed some help in the running arena because I knew I wasn’t training the best way I could.

After many painful races, I learned some basic lessons that I wish I had known when I started:

  1. Having the right tennis shoes is really important, especially for beginning runners. It’s best to go to a local running shoe store to get fit into the right shoes for your skill level and body. The wrong shoes won’t provide enough support and will kill your back and knees.
  2. Using the right clothes is also incredibly important and will let your body breathe better and make you feel lighter.
  3. I always like to run alone, but some people find it beneficial to run with a partner. If you don’t like to do things alone, find someone who motivates you to run with you.
  4. Don’t overrun, even if you feel like you can. You might be able to run 20 miles that day, but the next day you’ll be in pain. Pace yourself, and use common sense. If you’re a beginner, don’t try to run over a couple of miles for the first couple runs, or you will wear yourself out or even hurt yourself.
  5. STAY HYDRATED. Even if you don’t think you’re thirsty, your body is losing water and you need to recuperate that water.
  6. Keep yourself cool: Run in the shade; use a hat; run in the morning or late afternoon. Avoid running between 11am and 4pm, which will wear you out quicker (plus you run the risk of getting burned which can cause skin cancer).
  7. Eat right. You need the right food to fuel your body- despite popular belief this does not mean loading up on pasta. Visit the diet page to learn about the proper way to eat.
  8. Proper sleep: Visit the Sleep page for information on how to rest well
  9. Time yourself, keep a record of your progress.

If I had known these things 10 years ago when I started running, I would be a lot better off right now. Take my advice, learn from my mistakes, and take care of yourself.

-Carlos Capistran

Welcome to Primal Healthy Fit!

 

Welcome to Primal Healthy Fit! We are a website made up of regular people of all ages, nationalities, professions, fitness levels, and life experiences who have come together to provide information and support for others interested in improving their health. We recommend specific diet, lifestyle, and exercise choices that are in line with those of our Paleolithic ancestors. The reason? Our genetics have changed very little in the last 200,000 years, however the same cannot be said for the world around us. Therefore, we must eat, be active, and live in ways that jive with our genetics! This produces incredible health, fitness, and HAPPINESS!

The core of PrimalHealthyFit.com’s mission is to provide information about the Paleo Diet and support to make the dietary switch to eating paleo. Along with this central diet aspect, we recommend activity and lifestyle choices that mimic those of our primal ancestors whenever possible. The combination of paleolithic diet, activity, and lifestyle choices work together to bring people to their genetically healthy and fit selves.

On the Diet page you will find information about the Paleo Diet, the #1 recommended eating choice here at PrimalHealthyFit.com. Included in this information is not only how to “eat paleo” but also why this diet is the only one that our bodies are genetically designed to eat! Visit the Paleo Testimonials page to read about the experiences members of the Primal Healthy Fit community have had with Paleo. Also, we provide you with some great resources once you are ready for a diet switch, including a Paleo Action Plan, an easy 7-Day Meal Plan with accompanying Shopping List!

On the Exercise page, you will find information on circuit training, interval training, and how to combine them in a safe and effective rotation. My goal here is to help you stay active no matter where you are or how much time you have. You will find instructions on how to execute some Basic Exercise Movements in a safe and effective way, as well as some great cross-training workout on the Equipment Free Work-Out Routines page!

On the Lifestyle page you will find information on sleep, stress, supplements, and other various topics that can greatly affect one’s quality of life, health, and believe it or not, waistline! Here’s the thing about lifestyle choices: two of the most important ones are diet and exercise! So make sure you get those down before getting fancy with supplements or other products that might appear to be “shortcuts” to a healthy life. There are many additional areas that will be explored in the Lifestyle blog category, including reiki (energy movement), prayer healing, spirituality, and music. Constance Kean, Reiki Master, CS practitioner, and piano teacher for over 30 years has done me the great favor or providing her expertise for many areas in this section.

There are numerous products that I have found make life easier. These have been divided into Diet and Lifestyle categories and can be found on the Recommended Diet Products page and the Recommended Lifestyle Products page.

Feel free to look over PrimalHealthyFit.com’s Privacy Policy. Lastly, don’t forget to visit the Blog, which is constantly being populated with new information, and become part of the Primal Healthy Fit community by contributing to the Forum. Feel free to add comments, connect with other members of the Primal Healthy Fit community, and put in your two-cents about the newest posts on the Blog!

 

We appreciate your visit, confidence, and participation in our goal to help others live a healthy life.

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