The CrossFit gym I go to is starting a six week Paleo challenge this week. It’s great to see the people that are giving Paleo a try for the first time and to see how excited they are. A couple weeks ago Robb Wolf stopped in and gave an amazing talk about the benefits to Paleo, which I think helped get a lot of people very motivated and interested in giving Paleo a shot. Two of our coaches, Chandler Walker and Steph Bentley, is another amazing asset our athletes, and really the entire community, have who will gladly answer questions and provide helpful tips to them.
Besides the basic Paleo do’s and don’ts, I wanted to share with any of the CrossFit Sparks Elite members who are participating in the challenge, and anyone else who reads this, five helpful things that helped me get through my first Paleo challenge as well as everyday life.
- Don’t get stuck in a rut! If you eat the same thing every day, you’re guaranteed to get bored of the same flavor. I can take the same five main ingredients and make over a dozed different meals, it’s all about proportions, spices, and herbs. Get creative and you’re more likely to stick with the challenge
- Snacks, snacks, snacks. One of my biggest challenges when I started Paleo was feeling like I was hungry every two hours. Make sure you have snacks available for you to eat, but also make sure they’re healthy snacks. You don’t want to end up eating nuts by the handful, because the calories they hold add up quickly! Snack items I like to keep around the house include beef jerky, sliced turkey deli meat, small amounts of fruit, and leftovers.
- Find a Paleo version of your favorite dish. The number of people talking about Paleo on the Internet is quite impressive. Another advantage is that many of these people love to eat and love to cook. If you like pasta, there’s spaghetti squash. If its mashed potatoes you love, there’s sweet potatoes. If its pizza you crave, there’s almond meal crust recipes that are amazing. Whatever your favorite dish is, you’re likely to find a Paleo version somewhere.
- If you cheat, don’t cheat yourself! I already wrote about my view of cheat meals in a previous post. If you do decide to have a cheat meal, make it that, a meal. Not two meals, not a day, and definitely not multiple days in a row.
- Eat to lose weight. Just because you’re doing a Paleo challenge, and we took measurements and weight, which we will compare to your new self in six weeks, doesn’t mean you should be eating minimal amounts of food. Paleo is about fueling your body for performance. Your body needs fuel to function efficiently and healthily. When you eat food regularly throughout the day, you keep your metabolism running. Eating breakfast within thirty minutes of getting up gives your metabolism a kick start for the rest of they day. Eating within thirty minutes of finishing a workout gives your body the fuel it needs to rebuild muscle. If you don’t eat in the morning, your metabolism is slower throughout the day, and if you don’t eat after working out, your body turns to muscle stores in your body to get the fuel it needs.
There you have it. Those are just a few helpful tips to get you started, or keep you going. If you’re participating in our challenge, good luck! I’m excited to see how everyone progresses. If you aren’t participating with CrossFit Sparks Elite, I wish you the best of luck with Paleo. Everyone, please share any other tips you have so that we can all learn from each other!