30 Observations on The Whole30 and Other Things I Didn’t Expect To Learn

We recently concluded one of the more enlightening 'clean eating' campaigns in the last 11 years of group training practice. What started out as a discussion amongst the coaches turned into a gym wide project with over 55 participants. I learned a bunch about myself and I learned (confessionals) and observed a number of different things from those who participated and those who did not over the last 30 days. I wanted to share them with you today in hopes that you will become more aware and possibily help others become more aware as well. If you are uncomfortable with any of this then that's a good thing too.

1. 30 days is more about the 6" between your ears than the 30 days on the calendar. How soft we have become.
2. Alcohol continues to derail more body transformation than any other single practice.
3. I was using coffee as a vehicle for heavy cream. I'll drink less coffee as a result and far less heavy cream.
4. When you seriously curtail your alcohol drinking your dream state returns and you sleep deeper. Don't you think your brain is telling you something?
5. Even little changes add up to serious changes in fat loss.
6. Even a little sugar can be significant enough to trigger inflammation. In other words subbing a baby snickers for a regular snickers won't cut it.
7. Reading is more fun when you run on 100% clean fuel. Treat yourself to a new book. I finished THE ART OF FIELDING in 30 days.
8. Olive Oil IS a good snack.
9. There is sugar in almost EVERYTHING pre packaged.
10. People will be snide and sometimes hateful about your eating. Eat healthy anyway. It really grinds them.
11. I now prefer a massive (1/2 pound at least) grilled ground sirloin to steak. Grass fed naturally!
12. Creamy avocado dressing is good on everything.
13. Use avocados on everything. It's green butter
14. When they take your butter use EVOO.
15. Medium chain triglycerides (MCT) are good in your start up coffee.
16. Movie snacks are lame. Smuggle in your pistachios.
17. You can attend a birthday dinner party or a high school reunion and not drink.
18. ...or a July 4th gathering.
19. One drink will really be enough because two is slippery and three means you are gone.
20. It makes me feel bad when you tell me XXXXX is sabotaging your health efforts. Be an adult and acknowledge that things are toxic with that person (thing?).
21. If your every social experience involves drinking then you have a distorted social life.
22. If you clean up your diet your hormone profile will likely improve.
23. The chocolate fountain advertisement on television is repulsive but I'll rank chocolate as something I can't moderate.
24. Jimmy Johns has the fastest Paleo to go meal (Unwich) on the planet.
25. Appropriate protein intake will deliver undeniable transformation results.
26. I still can't burpee better following the Whole30 but I ran 12 miles.
27. My body fat is lower today than 1982 & my strength is at least 95% but I'm slow.
28. Coconut oil is cooking magic and might help reverse dementia. Buy your parents a tub and tell them to cook EVERYTHING in it.
29. I still don't know what's in GSB rub but I use it all the time.
30. Some people can moderate but others simply must abstain. Part of the secret to success is recognizing which you are in different situations.

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Just Squat

Squats came under fire the last few weeks.  Seems that everyone from FACEBOOK to my current client list had advice and information on squatting,mostly bad. Just when I think we have put the lid on all the negative slanderous discussion about the squat move another round of assaults occur.

Fortunately I have an insider.  He trains with me when he's not putting people back together from trauma related events.  He is a great sounding board on all topics from orthopedics, his specialty, to endocrinology.  He walks his talk!  Flat belly with a respectable snatch, clean & jerk and yes..squat.

So when I saw him, I ask the question. "Is there any reason why the squat would be contraindicated? " His response was worthy of repeating.

"Only an unstable knee would be a contraindication for squatting.   Posterior horn meniscus tear would be painful.  Even osteoarthritis, especially anterior compartment OA wouldn't be a contraindication to squatting.  What, do they think it could be made worse, by increasing  quad strength and improving fulcrum angles be quad hypertrophy. I don't know of any realistic reason not to squat daily!"

I'm going to make the assumption that the coach or trainer knows how to teach the movement and recognizes movement inefficiencies and can correct faults, otherwise let's all get back to squatting and training smarter.



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It Starts With Food

The food you eat either makes you more healthy or less healthy. Those are your options ~

We eat real food - fresh, natural food, like meat, vegetables, and fruit.  We choose foods that are nutrient-dense, with lots of naturally occurring vitamins and minerals over foods that have more calories but ;less nutrition.  And food quality is important- we are careful about where our meat, seafood, and eggs come form, and we buy organic, local produce as often as possible ~ Dallas and Melissa Hartwig, Nutrition in 60 Seconds

I'm known as an eighty percenter. I work, play, eat, and participate until I reach a level of proficiency in the eighty percent range and then I'm good to go. I have little incentive at this stage of my life to seek more.

After finishing my copy of IT STARTS WITH FOOD by Dallas and Melissa Hartwig, I'm prompted to reach at least another 10% in my nutrition practice.  It was that motivating

The book starts with a great framework of what they call good food standards.

1. Promote a healthy psychological response. (Think about it !)
2. Promote a healthy hormonal response.
3. Support a healthy gut.
4. Support immune function and minimize inflammation BIG ONE HERE!

Chapters 3- 7 take a more in depth look at each one of these food standards.  I like them so much I've caught myself a few times getting on my soap box while taking to a client.  As I read through the book it was nice to fall back on their criteria of good foods to evaluate almost all possible food experiences.

Part three takes us to the dark side of our current food options. Sugar, sweeteners,alcohol, seed oils, grains and legumes and dairy.  All of these have a tendency to appear as "Supernormal" foods or food creations.  Things that over work or confuse our body because they are not....real food. I felt they did an excellent job here relating back and explaining how Supernormal foods trip up hormonal system (See #2 in Framework) like a car on the road with no breaks.  We eat and then eat beyond satiety because of these Frankenfoods.

In part four we can start to feel better about ourselves as they lay out the components of more healthy eating and follow it up with part five, meal planning made easy.

The encore is their famous WHOLE30 elimination process.  If you are not familiar with their work this is the launching pad in my view of their approach.  Eliminate the less healthy foods and introduce a 30 day "clean" eating plan. They are wise to promote the mental part of this process as this is the real essence of the 30 day process.   Training the brain practicing self control and willpower to complete the 30 days is a big part of the conversation in this book.  We often times neglect to include this yet it's likely the most important part of someones transformation.  They are also candid in acknowledging that there is nothing magical about the 30 days and that it might indeed take longer.

Finally reintroduction of the eliminated less nutritious foods is tackled.  I like how a schedule is presented so as to reveal which foods might be appropriate and those that might be less desirable in your diet.

They are generous with their receipe offerings and I'm already a fan of the Dreamy Avocado Dressing (pg 277) and the mocha steak rub (pg 279) is next on my weekend steak preparation.

If IT STARTS WITH FOOD isn't the best of breed then it certainly in the top two. Do yourself a favor and order it today.


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Sweet Potato Power


I should confess that when I meet Ashley Tudor I was a tad nonplussed about another book on diet.  Part of if has to do with my cynical attitude (blame Barry Sears and all my money he got)  and the other being that our intro took place during the surprise birthday celebration for The Paleo Solution Diet author Robb Wolf.  Certainly good company and terrific street credit, it's not a place for a topic like nutrition especially when the Casadores was flowing like water.

When my copy arrived the first thing that struck me was the esthetic appeal of the book. In an age of hardcover, paperback and now e-books, a title might die from a lack of street appeal. Your eyes are drawn to the covers color and the interesting subtitle of smart carbs.  I liked the handy size.  It opens & lays flat should it's owner wish to have it in the kitchen for easy reference during meal preparation.

Ashley and her editors have done a splendid job with the graphs and illustrations.  They not only thoroughly explain some difficult topics they are appealing to the eye!  Here are a few of my favorite graph and illustration pages. 42-43, 51, 82, 107, 117, 130, 180. This is the more scientific stuff kids, the recipe sections is equally good!

What I did expect when I opened Chapter 9 was to find some new ways to Sweet Potato my world.  Ashley did not disappoint.  I've used sweet potatoes in my arsenal for awhile but never with this much creativity. Each recipe and photo surrenders nothing to Bon Appetit. Each week I'm repeating the Sweet Potato Gratin Stackers.  They are super easy and portable!  While I like my greens the sweet potato, and there are a number of varieties, has been elevated to a new level of respect. It's a "smart carb".

Self monitoring and self testing is an emerging trend today.  Ashley challenges all of us to go the extra step and find out exactly how we are reacting to foods with the use of  glucometer, ketones strips & biomarkers from lab work.  Here's a take away folks.  While there are some general statements that can be made regarding foods, everyone will react differently to macro nutrient consumption. As an example. Fasting may NOT be what YOUR body needs!  It may in fact elevate your insulin and your cortisol to deleterious levels.  Only with self testing will you know. She presents case studies on how intelligent dietary practices can positively alter our health and performance as well as looking better in our underwear.

The book looks good but the beauty lies in the pages of information that Ashley includes here.  I would not hesitate to put Sweet Potato Power in your library but don't forget to bring it to the kitchen.




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Adrian Sanders ~ BMX Racer Our Athlete of the Week



Adrian (pictured above in blue and green) has been training with coach Dan Ammon for the last several months in preparation for the upcoming season BMX season.


Adrian started in youth sports at a young age playing on travel soccer teams and an AAU basketball team. Just when it looked like she was going to enjoy a life long love affair with basketball, she asked if she could try her hand at racing bicycle motocross. At the age of 9 she dabbled in 3 or 4 races towards the end of a summer. The next season she said she wanted to race BMX full time and race a lot. By the age of 14 she had won the NBL National Championship title. Adrian has earned a spot on Team USA for the Worlds Event three years running, however funding has kept her from attending those events. Adrian has won a training camp spot at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista California from her competition in the UCI Jr. Development Program. Adrian is currently leading the National points standings in 15 - 16 Girls Cruiser and is 3rd in the National points standings in her 15 Girls Class. Training with coach Dan and the staff at Bootcamp Fitness / CrossFit Kansas City has helped her tremendously and has given her a significant advantage over her competitors.


Last race:         Desoto Texas Super Nationals

Finishes:         1st Place 15 - 16 Girls Cruiser Saturday

1st Place 15 - 16 Girls Cruiser Sunday

2nd Place 15 Girls Class Saturday

3rd Place 15 Girls Class Sunday

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Boot Camp Sports Performance Summer Schedule

Summer represents the best opportunity to prepare physically for the upcoming school year.  Our Boot Camp Sports Performance program is a movement based conditioning plan that places a premium on improving athletic performance and aiding in the prevention of injury.  The training template has been developed and will be executed by one of the best Sport Performance Coaches in the area.  Coach Dan Ammon has worked with Division I athletes in the Big 10, Pacific 10 conferences and athletes participating in the Olympic Games. Are you leaving your child's physical preparation to chance?  Classes begin on June 4, 2012 and space is limited.  Enroll now!


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The Education of Zach Fletcher

I was so hoping that I could help pen this post but the guy just likes to type. Enjoy this story because it's so heartfelt and he is such a great guy.  I call him "2 Tech" because he reminded me of a space eater from my football coaching days... but far more athletic.  I know you will enjoy his transformation story.

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Weightlifting, Supplementation & Life With Dr. Brian

Dr. Brian Works On His Deck Clean

Dr. Brian Petroff is a gym member you rarely see unless you are in the gym at an off hour.  Brian is a research physician currently looking at cancer and how different variables impact it's growth or recession. This includes various lifestyle and supplement routines.

As a boy scientist, I bend his ear whenever I can to learn more.  I got Brian to answer a few questions on current items of interest.

Q: Tell our readers about your current role ? 

I'm a translational scientist in breast and ovarian cancer research, shuttling back and forth between promising basic science and human cancer prevention trials trying to identify new and improved ways to prevent cancer in women.  I'm exposed to a fair bit of nutrition as a cancer prevention strategy, but my main specialty is hormonal effects on cancer risk.
Q: I am a believer in supplementation. I take a multi product, Omega 3, Vitamin D and some spices like cinnamon and turmeric Do you take any supplements?  
I'm a big believer in fish oil and vitamin D as well as multivitamin to cover the bases, both from personal experience and the work I've seen in cancer prevention.   Curcumin (tumeric) is another up and coming natural product for cancer prevention  as well as green tea and flaxseed.
Q:Green tea is showing up in a number of nutraceuticals. Beside a potential link to cancer prevention are you aware of any fat cell apoptosis findings?
I know that work is out there - my overall impression is that green tea can be helpful for fat loss in a very modest way, but then again, every little bit helps when you're fighting body fat.
Q: Is there a blanket recommendation for supplements at this point and what do we know specifically about Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Omega 3 (Fish Oil). 
 Even the experts hesitate to make blanket recommendations, but my response would be that most people need more of all of those.  We know pretty definitively that vitamin D levels are often too low with decreased sun exposure and increased sunscreen use, although this has improved as more people supplement.  For fish oil, we know that western diets typically skew the omega 3:omega 5 ratio and fish oil can help to correct this resulting in a number of health benefits.
Q: What is your position on dietary practice? Paleo, Zone, SAD ?
I personally am a lowish carb/high protein guy, but have always been more focused on my workout than my diet.  I know this is mistaken, but then again my goals have always been strength rather than body composition.
Q: T.S. Wiley penned a book called LIGHTS OUT and drew links with the advent of the light bulb and cancer. Has your work found any link between disturbed (shortened) sleep and malignant tumors ?
I'm not familiar with that one but have seen some basic studies showing impact of altered circadian rhythmicity on carcinogenesis.
Q:So a shift worker (24 on / 24 off) is going to pay a price with their health ? 
It's possible.  I am aware of several studies showing a slight increase in cancer incidence (and several other diseases) when you look at night shift workers vs. daytime workers as populations.  However, these studies are generally confounded, making it difficult to dissect the effect of photoperiod from other things that are different about night shift workers.  Personally, I have worked both shifts and feel much healthier on day shift, like most people.  I think a big problem with night shift work is the inability to get good quality sleep.  It sounds simple but we know that is very important.
Q: Do people over due monostructural cardio routines like running and cycling?
That's an easy one for me.  Yes.  I think everyone benefits from strength training, almost regardless of your goals.
Q:Is there a mortality link with excessive monostructural cardio plans? 
I'm not aware of specific mortality data on that issue - you probably know that area better than me.  What I can say is that the trend for weight loss interventions for cancer prevention studies is away from relying on one exercise or just dietary intervention.  Like everyone else, people in the cancer prevention arena are finding that getting the weight (i.e. fat) off, while not easy, is not so difficult as keeping it off.  So we're moving to multifactorial and even changing regimens for diet and exercise studies.  I like the idea (I think it I heard it from Dan John) that weightlifting increases the "size of your glass" (i.e. your total metabolic capacity or degree of flux) making fat loss goals easier.  Fat loss, of course, would benefit mortality.
Q: What about alcohol consumption? Is it generally safe?
Alcohol consumption is a dose dependent minor risk factor for breast and ovarian cancer (and lots of others).  However, resveratrol (a main pigment in red wine) is being actively studied for its beneficial impact on cardiovascular health and cancer risk.
Q:Do we know at this point how much wine (resveratrol) we need to consume to get the benefit ? 
Well, I don't want to oversell it.  1-2 glasses per day is the usual figure given for the health benefits.  We haven't established that for cancer yet.
Q: What have you unearthed regarding intermittent fasting? 
One of my students came in last week with a draft of a review article he is writing mainly focused on intermittent fasting as a cancer prevention strategy.  There are some animal studies out there showing cancer prevention with alternate day calorie restriction and some human data showing weight loss and benefit to diabetics.  I think the most exciting thing about IF is the potential for better long term compliance.  Also, it makes some sense that this approach might get around the resetting of nutrient homeostasis (going into "conservation " mode) that plagues some of the standard diets.
Q: How are your lifts progressing?
Never fast enough, but I've had a number of PRs over the past year.  I lifted in my first O lifting meet a couple of months ago and had a PR there.  Coach Dan is a big help.
Q: Do you have a post exercise nutrition practice?
Broadly speaking, I try to get some calories and protein down ASAP after a workout.  I've never settled on a particular product, although chocolate milk is alway a favorite (and cheap).



The disclaimer provides that  information above is merely information - not advice. If readers need medical advice, they should consult a doctor or other appropriate medical professional. The disclaimer also provides that no warranties are give in relation to the medical information supplied on the website, and that no liability will accrue to the website owner in the event that a user suffers loss as a result of reliance upon the information. 


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Toxic Males

The Disappearing Male from Life in Pierce County on Vimeo.

In 2006 I became suspicious of a particular portable water device used by a number of young athletes I was coaching. This US Plastics product seemed handy enough and was almost bulletproof. Oddly, the water seemed to take on a plastic taste. I never embraced it.

Fast forward and it turns out that many of these portable water systems included a highly toxic element known as Bisphenol A (BPA). We know now that BPA is a xenoestrogen and can have deleterious impact on our health. In particular with the male endocrine system.

I've been around and coached males for over 25 years. I do see a trend in young males that I find disturbing. Much of this trend is sociological but at the same time there is less man in todays young males. My friend calls it the old mold verse the new mold. The new mold is just softer.

Last summer I saw the worst case of gynecomastia in my 52 years. I ask my brother who is a physician and who was with me at the time if this was a case of mother nature or environment. He indicated the later. Cruelly enough this teenage boy was lucky to be 50% male.

I encourage you to spend 45 minutes with the embedded program and figure out how you can minimize your exposure to these toxins. Look everywhere from the bathroom to the kitchen.

Now you know why I wrinkle my nose at micowaving your lunch fixings in plastic or drinking hot beverages in styrofoam. It's just not good.

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