I went full Paleo at one point in my life. And I mean I went FULL Paleo.
Sometimes we really do drink the Kool-Aid. I was in a strange phase of life because I was in law school but for the first time in my life, didn’t really have an athletic purpose. I played college baseball and when that ended there was nothing.
I tried playing softball but it just wasn’t the same. It was fun but that spark just didn’t happen. Even when the team I played for competed at the highest level of the sport, I just felt a sense of “meh”.
The journey led me into a CrossFit gym during the spring semester of my first year of law school. Crossfit214. Right there on Ross Avenue by the pawnshops, occasional gunshots, and scenes of many hit and run accidents. Not the nicest part of town but exactly where I wanted to be.
Loud music, no air conditioning, and a bunch of people all wanting to beat each other. And trust me, the paleo stuff is coming.
When I say we wanted to beat each other, I mean it. I did plenty of stupid stuff in the gym back then. I landed a box jump with no approach of 53 inches. That box was tall, made of wood, the likelihood of failure was high. But I made it. I set the record of the day by 2 inches.
Until a friend showed up an hour later and put half an inch more on the box and landed it. Then he texted me to let me know. His name on the leaderboard right above mine.
The gym was closed so I couldn’t go back.
Back in those days, the big diet philosophy inside of CrossFit was the Paleo diet. Eat as cavemen did. No gluten, soy, legumes, processed foods, dairy, etc.
It was a way to help people get super shredded. In that, it succeeded. The vast majority of people in that gym had visible abs and looked beach-ready all year round.
The first step of any workout was removing the shirt. Don’t want to let it restrict any movement.
The next step was working out to near death. If it wasn’t near death, it didn’t count.
Then go home and eat the only carbs of the day. Because that’s paleo.
Now I do want to point out that I absolutely love CrossFit, and the start I got at CrossFit214. My journey took me to Skyline CrossFit in Houston and ultimately to CrossFit Deep for many years. I learned so much about conditioning, strength training, and Olympic weight lifting. One of my friends now coaches many of the Team USA Olympians in weight lifting. But that story can be told another day.
Because it’s time I bring you to the point of this story.
The Paleo diet was step one, but step two was to take part in the Whole30 challenge.
It’s a way to reset the body by removing basically everything. No nuts (bye-bye peanut and almond butter), no dairy (bye-bye butter), no grains, no processed foods, and definitely no alcohol.
I thought how hard could it really be. I already did paleo this was just like paleo plus.
Turns out, it was really hard.
By day 4 or 5 I felt sluggish, moody, and weak. But I read the book so I knew to expect this. Just keep going.
By day 8 or 9, I hated life.
Just keep going.
Around day 13 or 14 the tide turned. All of a sudden the benefits became clear. My skin started to clear up, my stomach was much happier, and my energy was through the roof. The rest of the 30 days flew by and I told myself that I would never go back.
Except I did because having a super restrictive diet sucks.
No dinner parties unless I bring my own food. That’s rude.
No dining out because there aren’t any real options.
No fun in my opinion. I love food and drink. I love the experience. I love a dive bar or a hole in the wall taco joint. I love a fine dining experience with a prix fixe menu and wine pairings.
So I didn’t continue after the 30 days but I did do the Whole30 multiple times. I respect Melissa Urban and what she built.
And it taught me so much. Both about food and about some of these style of challenges.
I went full Paleo back in the day but I saw the light.
There’s a place for balance.
Whether it’s with a diet, exercise, or even as a creator.
Reach out to me at Robbie@beondeck.com
Follow me on Twitter @robbiecrab
I'm the Founder of Performative Speaking which was acquired by On Deck and am now the Program Director of On Deck Performative Speaking. For more information about the On Deck Performative Speaking program just reach out to me.