Thursday, February 2, 2012


Just to clarify, I AM making a big deal over what is, in the grand scheme, a little thing. I haven't lost anyone close to me or made any big changes in my life. I just received a little bad news, that's all.

I traveled to Human Health Specialists in Scottsdale, AZ for a trip through the Bod Pod (see here). It is a tiny chamber that uses a measured difference in air pressure to determine lean vs. fat mass. Since fat loss is a goal of mine, I figured it would be a good idea to have an accurate accounting of BF%. Here's my results:

If you'll notice, my BF% is 25%. The same as I measured when I was 50lbs heavier. Um... come again?

Must have been something wrong with the machine

This paleo thing sucks

I need to work out two times a day, at least

I haven't been nearly compliant enough...

And so on. I was really deeply hurt by this result. After all, I am leaner and my muscle mass is noticeably better. So after working my way through the denial, anger, bargaining, and fear; I've accepted that I have "Excessive Bodyfat".

I chalk it up to the following:
Excess interstitial fluid due to two hours of 32kg kettlebell work the day prior
All other BF% measured on the notoriously inaccurate bioelectrical impedance device
I actually have 25% BF

So, I will do the following to work on reducing BF:
Take back out the carbs, I'm not that much of an athlete right now
No WODs over 20minutes
Intemittent fasting (18hrs a couple of times a week)
Up the protein intake
and try that whole "giving up coffee" nonsense again. Post on this in the future.

Watch for the follow up post after my next Bod Pod in July

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Better than you've ever been

I want to be as good as I've ever been. While in reality, that may not be a lofty goal (I never was that good at anything), I still have a ways to go to be as fit as I once was. 5-6 bodyweight pullups? Not quite there. Sub-20 minute 5k? Some work remains. 34 inch waist? Close.

I'm working towards re-achieving some old benchmarks. But then, why not be better? Is age really a factor? Sure it is. But not as much as we give it credit for. At 35 years old, I'm not that old. I really can expect to live another 35 years and a minimum. As much as I refuse to accept that taking medication to correct chronic diseases caused by nutritional wrongdoings, I refuse to accept that I've been the fastest, strongest person I could be. And I think the key is to eat right (paleo). That's why anyone who trains with me needs to begin to learn what right eating is.

Jason Ferruggia emphasizes that "Shitty food makes you look and feel like shit. There's no two ways about it." Eating right, sleeping enough, and exercising hard has worked to keep many high-level athletes performing past the age at which they're "old" athletes. I encourage you the read the whole article here.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Resolutions, anyone?

I hate resolutions. They've never resolved anything for me. Not one resolution has resulted in... well... results.

So why have I made them again this New Year's? Because, that's why.

Actually, my resolution has nothing to do with the new year. I have set these goals into motion months ago with my first fad diet.

Before I get into more on my story, I want to bring up a couple of other points first.

First, my weight gain didn't happen because I overate, have a genetic predisposition, or experienced the "normal" metabolic slowdown that occurs with age. It happened because I damaged myself. I ate poorly, slept poorly, drank too much, and stressed too much. Simply put, I did what felt good until it didn't feel good anymore.

Illustration: I'm a firefighter. Some days in my job, we do little else but wait for someone to call. Sounds like a dream to some, I know. I have literally spent all day in a recliner. If you've ever really done this, you know the truth in what I'm about to reveal. I have literally spent all day in a recliner and felt worse than if I'd worked all day. Muscle soreness, low energy, etc.

This applies in some respect to all aspects of life. Procrastinating on some project is the easy, feel-good (for the moment) way we go about starting. But it usually results in stress, worry, failure, and a poor quality result. I've found that with fitness and wellness, the easy and feel-good way usually results in more pain, poor results, or worse. If  someone follows a lifetime of the "that's too hard" or "I don't think its worth it" excuse they will pretty much inevitably end up with metabolic syndrome. Those excuses won't cut it when the same person is forcing down fistfuls of medications to combat their ever-increasing blood pressure and sugar.

It is work to eat right and exercise hard. But it is not difficult. Difficult is quitting an addiction, battling cancer, etc.

The damage I spoke about earlier is referring to a phenomenally simple, yet eye opening blog post by Dr. Michael Eades ( wherein he speaks to damage that occurs to the metabolic machinery of our body. Please read.

In addition to the metabolic damage, I believe that hormonal dysregulation is another key component. I intend to work within the limits of my damaged metabolism and optimize my hormonal function. If I am able to  do that, I will accomplish my goals.

So... my resolutions (goals):

By July
Strict press a 32kg kettlebell
Six-pack abs

Where I am now:
Today's (1/9/2012) stats:
I am 6'4" and weigh 219lbs
Waist measurement: 41"
Hip (love handle): 46"
Chest: 43"
Neck: 14"
Thigh: 24"
Bicep (for the girls)14"

Saturday, November 26, 2011

What to do?

So you're leptin resistant. So what?

If you want to make any lasting changes in body composition, you'll need to fix it.

Any effort at weight loss can result in weight loss. If you're reading this, you want fat loss that lasts. Most likely, you've already worked at weight loss, had success but watched it come back. That's because the underlying issue of hormonal and metabolic dysfunction has not been addressed.

Start with a high protein breakfast immediately upon waking.
Eat Paleo
Three meals a day with NO SNACKS
Destress and "unstimulate"

Each of these is of critical importance and are each interrelated. One depends on the other.

It is important to signal your body that it is time be be awake, so fire up the metabolic engine. Eat a breakfast containing at least 50g protein within 30 minutes of waking. More protein is better. This will be a challenge, but do it anyway. I eat 4 eggs and 4oz meat each and every day, roughly equal to 50g protein.

Eating Paleo simply means, "eat meat and vegetables for every meal". Nothing special or exciting. Avoid food from containers. No grains, No sugar. This can get as complex and expensive as you want it to be.

Eat three meals a day with no snacks. If you get hungry between meals, do two things: look down at your body and imagine your stored energy (fat) mobilizing to energize your body and remember that the hormone that makes you feel the hunger pangs also puts your brain into overdrive (see Snacks make your digestive system, especially your liver, work unnecessarily hard.

Sleep. Eight hours at a stretch. If, because of your job, this is not possible, nap. Sleep will become easier as things become right in your body - unless:

You are a ball of stress. Whether it's job requirements, family issues, financial troubles; we all have stress. It's easier said than done to "destress". You can't just flip a switch and all is well, I get that. But humans are social animals by nature and from the dawn of our existence we have relied upon one another for our survival. The only way to reduce stress sometimes is to face the stressor head-on. Rely on God, friends, family, church, faith, even me to stand by your side when you do. Inaction increases stress. Always feeling alone also increases stress.

On the topic of stress; keep in mind that you artificially increase your stress by astronomical amounts each time you chemically stimulate your body. Caffeine is the most commonly used stimulants, but nicotine is also a powerful stimulant. If you are often stressed and can't sleep right, chemical stimulants are often to blame and you will never achieve optimal  health. Simplified: you have to quit the nicotine.

You can either spend the next few years quitting tobacco or working on all other aspects of health and fitness - not both. Climb one mountain at a time.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Leptin Rx - What is leptin resistance

Are you overweight? Do you seem to gain weight regardless of exercise, or at least seem to be unable to lose the extra fat? Does every bite of food you eat seem to go straight to your butt (thighs, belly, thighs, etc)? Do you sleep poorly and wake up still drowsy, unable to function without your coffee (tea, Coca-Cola, Monster, etc.)? Do you tire quickly during activity and experience muscle soreness almost every time?

If you answer yes to most of the above, I'll bet you also experience crushing mid afternoon energy slumps, can sense when your blood sugar gets low, and have cravings for carbs and/or sugar. I'll bet you've also worked hard to lose weight in the past, only to seemingly go out of control at some point and eventually gain all the weight back.

How do I know? Because it is very common. I also have experienced those symptoms for the last 15 years. Guess what that particular combination of symptom is indicative of? Leptin resistance.

Now, I am not a scientist, nor am I particularly well-read or spoken. But I can distill a bit of the science that pertains to leptin. I need to give credit to Dr.Jack Kruse, a brilliant man who has researched metabolic functioning and seems to understand it better than anyone I've read. His blog, is really the source for my knowledge and I openly admit to standing on his giant shoulders. If you want the science behind the information presented here, go there and read.

I'm sure you've heard of hormone involved in metabolic function like thyroid and insulin. I'm also sure you've also heard of the diseases involving these hormones: hypothyroid and diabetes. Let me introduce you to their master - leptin. Leptin is the ultimate regulatory hormone of the body and can actually influence more than just metabolism. Leptin is a chemical signal to the brain as to how much fuel is stored in the body.

When a person overeats a high sugar / high carb diet, they overstore energy as fat. The excess fat produces an excess of leptin and the parts of the brain that "listen" for leptin become deaf to it. No longer able to sense the amount of fuel stored causes the body to work to keep storing fat (continual fat storage) and blocks access to the fat stores when the body looks for energy (inability to lose fat) and forces the body to rely on sugar for its primary energy source (carb / sugar cravings).

Years of this sort of living will cause widespread dysfunction. That's why we see so many people slide into obesity, high blood pressure, heart disease, pre-diabetes, type 2 diabetes, heart attack, type 1 diabetes, etc, that we, as part of American society, tend to accept as a normal aging process.

If you too accept what was just described as normal and believe that your doctor knows how to effectively combat those diseases and is currently doing all they can, successfully, to save people from them; read no more. Go back to your regular life and forget me.

However, if you refuse to accept to live with metabolic syndrome and ever-increasing ill health, or are at least angry about being fat and scared to death about what it is doing to you, stay with me. I am too. I refuse to accept that I need fistfuls of medications to live normally. I'm fed up.

I will not promise you an easy path. I can promise that you will, in time, feel better than you have in a long time - maybe better than you ever have.

Next up, the Leptin Rx: what to do and why. AKA: the path back to the body of your youth (or better).

Friday, October 28, 2011

HPI continuation

The time had come to take action. Unfortunately, I had reached the point where either I took drastic measures or I would give up the struggle for health and accept my lot in life of degenerating knees and back and just be an XXL firefighter. Then my chiropractor mentioned MediFast.

My wife joined me as I (we) ate 1,000 cal / day of prepackaged processed "food"  and low-fat, low carb dinners for three months. Don't get me wrong, it was a struggle. But it was easier and less complex than many plans I've heard of. The results were actually pretty good - fantastic even. I lost 50lbs in that time and went from a 40 waist to a 34 waist. Now, at 210lbs and out of money to spend on the food,  I needed a new direction.

For nearly a year I scoured the internet blogs for what would work. My weight "bounced" a bit in that time, but I've maintained 220lbs and buried my 34 jeans for when slimmer days return. I stumbled upon paleo / primal through crossfit and much of what was contained in those blogs and books spoke to me. Point of clarification: Crossfit (HQ) taught me the Zone diet during my Level 1 cert and I found it to be BS even before trying it. The crossfit (community) seems to like to do periodic paleo challenges and that seemed to make more sense.

I devoured the writings of J. StantonMark Sisson, Richard Nikoley, Robb Wolf, Andrew Badenoch, Diane Sanfilipino, Chris Kresser, Rachel Jennings, Ned Kock, and others (click on name for website). But truth be told, it wasn't until I found Dr. William Davis and read his book Wheat Belly that I felt I had truly acquired "actionable intelligence".

I now use Dr.Jack Kruse's Leptin Rx as my guide. I suggest that you follow it to and fix what you broke because you can't replace it.

So, to be clear, I have NO credentials or other formal training in nutrition. I do know what does not work and am working really hard to clarify and follow what does. Day by day I feel better and stronger. I no longer feel out of control over food. And I'm looking better too (at least I think so)

Grocery Zombie

Credit where due: ThinkGeek

Usually when I go to the grocery store after not having eaten anything for hours, I wander about the store like someone in the picture above, collecting items that no human should eat and spending twice the amount I had budgeted. So imagine my surprise when I went yesterday after not having eaten for 7 hrs and not even coming close to wanting to buy the "food" I usually crave. Hmmm. Maybe Dr. Jack is on to something...