Eat Smarter 3 top picks for healthy dining out in Southwest Florida
FIT NATION // southwest SOUTHWEST florida FLORIDA
The Scoop on the Paleo Diet Good for you—or too good to be true?
Back on Track
One runner’s journey from hospital bed to marathon in just 6 months
Mud Run Survival Guide
Smartphone apps to amp up your workouts
How to prep like the pros
may 2013 FITNATIONmag.com
contents may 2013
features 20 The Truth About the Paleo Diet
What you need to know about this prehistoric way of eating and how it affects your presentday performance.
22 Ready, Set, Spartan
How a team of Naples fitness pros trained for—and overcame—one of the most grueling obstacle races around.
2 From the publisher
Back on Track
We’re creating a Fit Nation, and it starts in Southwest Florida.
4 What’s in Her Gym Bag? Ironman and triathlon coach Angie Ferguson shares her five workout essentials.
6 Fit Tech
A terrifying bike accident left duathlete Lisa Buohler clinging to life in a hospital bed—but it didn’t leave her there long.
Four smartphone apps that can help you lose weight and get in better shape.
8 Try This These protein-packed salmon cakes with cucumber dill sauce are a breeze to make.
10 Dine Smart Dietitian Karyn Capozzo picks three of the healthiest menu options at Seasons 52 in Naples.
12 Monthly Workout Fire up your core for a paddle yoga session with this step-by-step warm-up sequence.
26 Fitbook Scenes from the Bad Ass Bash, Orange Blossom Special and Color Vibe 5K.
32 Invictus Kiteboarder Nick Shirghio flies high at Wiggins Pass.
on the Cover Duathlete Lisa Buohler (story, p. 14). Photography by Erik Kellar.
hello, world! FIT NATION / southwest florida
p: erik kellar
he launching of Fit Nation Magazine signifies growth and opportunity in Southwest Florida. We aim to bring you the knowledge of local experts on the benefits of eating well—both at home and at local restaurants—workout tips and techniques, fitness trends and more each month. FNM will be distributed to more than 300 locations in the region, including local gyms, yoga studios, doctor offices, restaurants and local retailers, as well as at all local fitness events. You don’t have to be a fitness pro to be included in our pages. Each issue will include a section called Fitbook, which features photos of local health enthusiasts competing in marathons, mud runs and the like, or just mingling at cool events around town. You never know when one of our cameras might catch you being Fit! Check out our latest Fitbook albums on fitnationmag.com or on our Facebook page (facebook.com/fitnationmag), and tag yourself and your friends. Ultimately, my vision for Fit Nation is to be more than just a resource to the fitness community; it’s to build a grassroots company which partners with the community to unify like-minded people who believe they can do something incredible. When belief is strong enough; when emotions are strong enough; our abilities are limitless. I challenge you, as well as myself, to do something incredible. Chase your dreams, and believe! In the words of an innovator by the name of Steve Jobs: “Stay hungry; stay foolish.”
Spencer Campbell Karyn Capozzo Yael Grauer Elizabeth Kellar Heather Olson Dana Leigh Smith
Contributing photographers Mark Gaines Erik Kellar Tish Kelly Vanessa Rogers Nick Shirghio Brian Tietz Tahlia Urbinati
Market Executive Director Winston Pennant
Chief Operating Officer Freddie Escobar
Social Media Manager David Simmons
(239) 221-8102 email@example.com
Stan Dougé Founder and Publisher Fit Nation Magazine
Connie Ramos-Williams Kendra Sutton Derek Carlson Lisa Grant Melissa Waring Bates Patrick Ruff
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NAPLES PATHWAYS COALITION
FIT NATION MAGAZINE
Naples Pathways Coalition Is A NonProfit Advocacy Group Working For A Fully Integrated Transportation Network Of Sidewalks, Bike Lanes, And Multi-Use Pathways To Be Used By Cyclists, Pedestrians, And Other Non-Motorized Users Throughout Naples And Collier County Florida.
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www.naplespathways.org Naples Pathways Coalition May 2013
This 18-time Ironman and USA Triathlon Level II coach
GEAR shares five fave workout essentials you won’t catch her without.
What’s in Her Gym Bag?
Goggles and cap “I have my TYR cap and goggles on me everywhere I go so I’m always ready for a swim.”
Running shoes “My Nuton running shoes feel great and provide a lot of support. Not to mention, they’re extremely durable.”
Garmin 910 XT Watch “My Garmin watch does everything I need it to do and more. It records distance, pace, elevation and heart rate for any sport I’m performing—even swimming. After a workout, I can plug it into my computer, analyze the data and track my progress.”
iPod “During a workout I love to listen to anything by PINK, Big & Rich, classic rock and ’80s music. I’m very eclectic.”
“I carry a complete set of workout attire for every sport, along with its complementary gear, at all times. TYR is my go-to brand for swim gear. I love De Soto Tri Gear shorts for biking and running.”
p: BRIAN TIETZ (5)
Change of clothes
by Brooke Zalis
personal training • group training • boot-camps • mobile training youth training • nutrition coaching • meal planning
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FORCES! May 2013
AN APP(LE) A DAY ...
Our favorite smartphone apps keep the doctor away —
GEAR and help whittle your waistline.
by Dana Leigh Smith
hile technology is often blamed for making people lazy and unhealthy, smartphone apps have the capability to do just the opposite. In fact, studies have shown that committing to a digital diet can help people shed more weight than traditional approaches. How? Apps make improving health interactive, which helps users stay on track, say Florida Atlantic University researchers. Here are our top picks:
MealSnap ($2.99) This calorie-counter is like Instagram with nutritional feedback. Users snap a photo of their food and instantly get a calorie estimate. Not sure if you’ve earned dessert? MealSnap also tracks total daily calories so users can decide if they have wiggle room for a sweet treat.
Fooducate (free) Not sure which peanut butter is the healthiest? Simply scan a food’s barcode, and Fooducate will display its nutritional profile. The app also warns users if a product has too much sugar or too many additives, or is highly processed. Based on the food’s nutritional value, the app assigns it a letter grade from A to D and offers similar but smarter choices.
GymPact (free) Chances are you want a thin waist—not a thin wallet. That’s the idea behind GymPact, an app that charges users an agreed-upon amount for skipping workouts and pays cash to those who stick to their fitness plan. There’s no cheating, either. The GPS-enhanced app knows when you’re at the gym and how long you stay. If you leave before the required 30-minute workout, your sweat session is void. The only exceptions are injury and illness. A doc’s note can eliminate the fines.
p: nick shirghio
GainFitness (free to download, exercise packs $2.99+)
This app creates personalized workouts based on users’ goals, interests, body type, time constraints and fitness level. It can also customize workouts based on what equipment is available. Bonus: The 10-minute, equipmentfree “Quick Plan B” option is perfect for lastminute conflicts that could otherwise cause exercisers to miss a workout.
Salmon Cakes with Cucumber Dill Sauce
This flavorful, protein-packed recipe carries a big nutritional punch.
by Brooke Zalis
Fresh Salmon Cakes 12 oz. fresh Atlantic salmon 1 large egg 1 cup low-fat milk 2 tbsp. non-fat Greek yogurt 1 tbsp. lime juice 1 tsp. Dijon mustard ½ cup scallions, diced pinch of salt and white ground pepper 1 tsp. fresh parsley, chopped 2 oz. coconut oil
Poach salmon in low-fat milk for 10-12 minutes. Remove and let cool. In a bowl, whisk the egg, yogurt, lime juice, mustard, salt and pepper together. Mix in salmon and onion. Form salmon mixture into 4 oz. patties. Heat a skillet and add 1-2 oz. coconut oil. Cook patties 4-5 minutes on each side. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.
p: Vanessa rogers (2)
Cucumber Dill Sauce 1 large English cucumber ½ cup Greek yogurt 1 tsp. lemon juice zest of ½ lemon pinch of salt
hen you work out as hard as you do, you want the food you eat to help you achieve your goals, not hinder them. And while striking a balance between preparing meals that simultaneously power you through your workouts and help trim your waistline can be tricky, it doesn’t need to be.
Naples-based chef Anne de Piero’s salmon cakes with cucumber dill sauce are not only a treat for your taste buds, they also deliver much nutritional value and—best of all for athletes—protein. Plenty of additional vitamins and minerals are hidden in this recipe, including the calcium, omega-3 fatty acids, potassium, zinc and iron in salmon, and vitamins A, C and B in cucumbers. To top it off, dill acts as a digestive aid and promotes relaxation, so you can eat and sleep happy.
Peel cucumber, cut in half, remove seeds and dice whole cucumber into small pieces. Mix yogurt, lemon juice, zest and salt together. Stir in diced cucumber, and serve with a lemon wedge. Calories: 230
De Piero has 30 years of experience in the culinary field. As the oldest of a family of 11 whose parents grew all their own produce, de Piero has had the love of health-based cooking ingrained since childhood. She is currently a chef at Sur La Table in Naples.
FOR YOUTH DEVELOPMENT FOR HEALTHY LIVING FOR SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY ®
Get to know the Greater Naples YMCA! Did you know the Y has... • 100+ Fitness Classes a week • Classes from Boot Camp to ZUMBA and everything in between • 40+ Certified Personal Instructors • 12+ Certified Personal Trainers • Small Group Training Classes taught by Certified Personal Trainers • Classes include Hard Core and Circuit Training
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SeaSonS 52 fuel
Our top three picks for healthier eating at this North Naples hotspot.
p: Vanessa rogers (2)
ating at a restaurant doesn’t have to mean eating badly. Registered and licensed dietitian Karyn Capozzo of Appleaday Lifestyle Counseling in Bonita Springs dug into the menu at Seasons 52 at Mercato to identify three options you can feel better about eating when you’re there—as well as some general tips for making the most of your meals out.
The ReSTauRanT Seasons 52 offers a seasonal selection of foods—meaning you get the fruits and vegetables at the peak of flavor—prepared with natural cooking techniques that allow the natural flavors of the foods to shine.
All of its dishes are under 475 calories, which accommodates calorie counters easily. But if you’re watching your waistline, keep in mind that number refers to each dish, including appetizers and salads, not for the total of all you choose. If you order an appetizer, salad, entree and dessert, each around 400 calories, you have over-consumed calories for that meal. Beware the sodium, as well; restaurant dishes are usually loaded with salt. Though it’s impossible to avoid it completely when dining out, opting for the lowest-sodium choices on the menu (like the ones we’ve highlighted here) is smart, particularly if you have high blood pressure or a history of heart disease. How much is too much? The American Heart Association recommends consuming no more than 2,000mg of sodium per day (or 500 to 600mg per meal for those without heart disease or high blood pressure).
piedmonTeSe all-naTuRal bone-in STRip STeak CALORIES: 470 TOTAL FAT: 17g CHOLESTEROL: 135mg SODIUM: 770mg SUGARS: 4g PROTEIN: 60g The biggest benefit to eating red meat is its natural source of iron, which is better absorbed from meats than from plant sources. Iron is a component of hemoglobin, the protein that transports oxygen to working muscles and, in turn, optimizes athletic performance. However, iron is lost through sweat and can even be broken down through the pounding of feet during long-distance running and other surface contact. While there’s no need to take an iron supplement unless you are iron-deficient (it can be toxic in high doses), it’s best to get your daily dose from lean cuts of red meat, like this strip steak. This is one of the lower-sodium entrees on the Seasons 52 menu.
Ripe plum TomaTo FlaTbRead CALORIES: 300 TOTAL FAT: 10g CHOLESTEROL: 18mg SODIUM: 584mg SUGARS: 6g PROTEIN: 17g Flatbreads are a good source of carbohydrates, which—as your body’s most efficient fuel source for muscles—are a must for every athlete. Consuming enough of them allows the protein you eat to do its job properly, rather than acting as a fuel source to muscle. This is one of my favorite flatbreads; tomatoes are an excellent source of vitamins A and C. They’re also a source of dietary fiber and rich in potassium, which can be lost through sweat. This could make a meal with a small salad, or it’s perfect to share.
alaSka Wild CoppeR RiveR Salmon
THIS IS ONE OF My FAvORITE FLATBREADS; TomAToeS ARe AN exCelleNT SouRCe oF vITAmINS A ANd C.”
SeaSonS 52 8930 Tamiami Trail n. naples, fl 34108 (239) 594-8852 seasons52.com
CALORIES: 460 TOTAL FAT: 14g CHOLESTEROL: 109mg SODIUM: 870mg SUGARS: 6g PROTEIN: 44g Not only is salmon a great source of protein, it’s also rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are lauded for their heart health-boosting benefits and for lowering triglycerides. This special blend of polyunsaturated fats has also been found to help with conditions such as arthritis, asthma and even depression. The American Heart Association recommends two servings of fatty fish per week to ensure adequate amounts in the diet. Though still slightly high in sodium, the Wild Copper River Salmon is lower in sodium than many of Seasons’ other entree offerings.
SUNBIRD SEQUENCE TRAIN
Gear up for a paddle yoga session with this gentle warm-up.
by Heather Olson
p: eRIK KeLLAR (7)
hether a novice or expert yogi, paddler or yogi-paddler, the following sequence will prepare you for a day on the water by opening up your shoulders and firing up your core through asana (pose), pranayama (breath) and vinyasa (linking movement with breath).
throughout this sequence, engage your core and build strength from the inside by utilizing a diaphragmatic breath. each time you inhale, allow your abdomen to expand. While exhaling, mindfully squeeze your navel toward your spine. through breath and motion, you can begin to connect with your surroundings, build inner stability and prepare for any challenges you may face on or off the water.
1. ChIlD’S PoSE (BalaSaNa) Surrender to gravity, and begin to inhale and exhale slowly through your nostrils. Use these first few moments to quiet your mind, observing only your breath and slowly following its path through your physical body.
5. SUNBIRD Flow
With hands directly under shoulders, spread your fingers wide, and press into the ground. Stack your hips directly over your knees, and press the tops of your feet into the ground as you begin to contract your abdominal muscles.
Return to tabletop, and extend your right leg straight back. Find a steady point to gaze at (drishti) , and reach your left arm in front of you with the thumb turned up toward the sky. inhale, fully extending the arm and leg, then exhale and round through the back, squeezing the elbow in toward the knee. Repeat 2-5 times.
2. KNEElINg SUN SalUtatIoN (oPPoSItE) Begin the sequence by warming up the spine with 3-9 kneeling sun salutations. On an inhalation, circle your arms around and rise to your knees with your palms lightly touching overhead. As you exhale, press your navel back toward your spine, using core strength to drop back to child’s pose with your hands falling by your heels. Continue to move with your breath, rising to your knees with each inhalation and pressing back to child’s pose with each exhalation.
HeatHer OlsOn teaches yoga at Joyful Yoga and Edison State College, as well as at Rancho Margot in Costa Rica part of the year. She is a lululemon athletica and BOGA Yoga ambassador, as well as a high school English teacher.
WAnt tO GivE pAddlE YOGA A tRY? Visit wellfitinstitute.com or meetup.com/paddle-fitness for weekly class schedules in naples.
4. BowINg SUNBIRD (ChaKRavaKaSaNa) Stretch your right leg out long behind you, keeping it even with your hip while pointing your toes. lean forward, bringing your shoulders a few inches in front of your hands, and begin to slowly lower your nose to the ground, squeezing your elbows back and in toward the rib cage. Hover with your nose a few inches above the ground for three deep breaths. Slowly press back to tabletop, and repeat with the left leg lifted.
6. FlyINg SUNBIRD Reach your right leg out long behind you and your left hand in front of you, engage the core, and extend. Begin to bend your knee, lifting your foot up toward the sky, and reach back with your left hand for your right ankle or foot. Continue pressing your foot upward while opening through the shoulder, and raise your gaze toward the sun.
WORKOUT TO GO print this and other gym-ready, step-bystep workouts online at fitnationmag.com.
on tr ack A terrifying bike Accident left duAthlete lisA buohler clinging to life in A hospitAl bedâ€”but it didnâ€™t leAve her there long. by elizabeth kellar photos erik kellar
After the bike Accident that fractured her spine in five places, Lisa buohler had only one question: how did this happen to me? the question wasn’t philosophical; buohler simply didn’t know. She remembered going out for her ride, spinning out into the warm sunshine on her new trek Speed concept 9.9. then, she remembered a giddy moment just after the collision when she touched her hand to her shredded bike shorts and felt a jolt of panic. With the extent of her injuries not yet known, her first fear was to wonder how she would find another pair of shorts in time to compete at the itU World duathlon championships in Spain, just two days away. but the actual accident, the moment on Sept. 14, 2011, when an SUV struck her from behind and threw buohler more than 20 feet down a stretch of pavement, was lost. eventually, buohler allowed herself to surrender the memory, accepting that it was her body’s way of protecting itself from something perhaps too painful to bear. it’s just one of the many mental shifts buohler has made since the accident, one of the ways she now grants herself a little more latitude than before she was injured. the word she most often uses to describe her pre-accident training attitude is “obsessive.” “Gosh,” she says with a laugh, “i’ve learned so much about patience.” throughout the healing process, she pushed herself to improve, occasionally ignoring medical advice in favor of what she sensed was right for her own recovery. At the same time, she found herself confronting the fact that her body— once her strongest and most reliable ally—was often unwilling to cooperate. reconciling her goals with reality meant achieving a level of acceptance that was previously unfamiliar to the endurance athlete. “coming back, it was so mental,” buohler explains. “i was constantly fighting with myself
because i had doctors here saying, ‘no, no, no,’ and then i’m thinking, ‘a little bit, a little bit. i’ve got to do this, i’ve got to do this. i’ve got to make some changes. i’m not just the average. but do i know my body?’” in time, “how did this happen?” was replaced by another question: “When will i compete again?” the answer was sooner than anyone expected.
a time to cry Originally from england, the 43-year-old buohler began running and biking competitively in 2006. She ran her first marathon, the Athens classic 2500th anniversary in Greece, in October 2010, and qualified for the boston and new York marathons. now a personal trainer and running coach, buohler has several sponsors, including triathlon Lab and Livewire energy. Prior to the accident, she was preparing to leave for the itU World duathlon championships. After the accident, her back was broken in five places. her sternum, patella and pelvis were also fractured, her liver was
riding. And when it came to competition, buohler was passionate about achieving her personal best, completing a 5k in a brisk 17:27 and a sprint duathlon in just 49:22. now she was reliant on her friend to eat, help her to the bathroom, even to roll over in bed. it was terrifying, she recalls. “i realized how un-independent i was, how i couldn’t do anything for myself,” buohler says. Someone else might have spared themselves any details of the itU World duathlon championships, but buohler sought it out. the morning of the race, she lay in bed and went online to view the results. Many of her friends competed in the event, and buohler pored over their status updates on facebook. She thought about how hard she had trained and how much she hoped to earn a spot on the podium. After everything, it was all too much. “i just started to sob,” she says. “that was the first time i cried since my accident. that was the first time everything hit me, that i was so useless.”
“I realIzed how un-Independent I was, how I couldn’t do anythIng for myself.” lacerated, and the muscles in her left buttock and calf muscle were severely damaged. Additionally, she had a tear in the muscle of her shoulder and a lung contusion. As her days in the icU stretched into six, the list of injuries seemed to lengthen, buohler recalls. fitted with a brace to support her back, she was released to a friend who could care for her until buohler was stronger and able to return to her own home and family. Out of the hospital, buohler began to realize how foreign her world had become. All her life, she had been active, embracing everything from judo to horseback
First walk, then run After her friend’s care, buohler returned to her own home in Lee county. there, all her thoughts turned to recovery and to when she might be able to ride and run again. but even simple tasks defeated her: the brace limited her mobility and made everyday tasks such as brushing her teeth impossible, and as she tried to regain her independence, buohler discovered new aches and pains from her injuries. four weeks after the accident, she decided she was going to go for a short walk in her neighborhood. She was still in the brace—she
Now a personal trainer and running coach, Lisa Buohler uses her personal experiences to help others deal with challenging mental and physical setbacks.
Though Buohler is not yet back to where she was before her injury, she doesn’t let it discourage her. Instead, she’s focused on a new goal in her training: having fun with it.
wore it for 12 weeks total—but she felt she had to get out of her house. She started slowly building her time, until she was walking up to an hour and a half daily. On her walks, she often daydreamed about the Walt disney World half Marathon in January 2012, which she had intended to do prior to the accident. Already, buohler was making her plans to return to racing. not that she shared those plans with anyone. When she asked her doctor about running, he told her she wasn’t ready yet. When she persisted, he scolded her for being selfish and reminded her she could easily be in a wheelchair or worse. his words gave her pause, especially since they touched a tender spot. buohler admits she often felt guilty after the accident, especially because she couldn’t care for her family in the same way as before. 18
“i really thought then, am i being selfish? it humbled me a little bit. i do appreciate that i’m still here, and i do appreciate that i’m not in a wheelchair,” she says. “but i’m not stopping there.” She began to add a few more activities to her routine, such as a recumbent bike and resistance bands. She read voraciously, trying to learn as much as she could about the right kind of physical therapy for her injuries. everything was trialand-error, she says—if she didn’t see a benefit right away, she switched to something else. through it all, she kept her efforts private, knowing that she might be told to take it slower than she was ready to go. She especially rebelled at the thought that her doctors expected her recovery to be similar to someone who was not a world-class athlete. if
there was one thing buohler didn’t want to be called, it was ordinary. “it depressed me,” she says. “i’m not going to be judged like the average person.” that’s advice she gives to other recovering athletes, too. “never give up and think that you should have all these limits because of something,” she says. “You might find that some things that people told you were limits at the start, they’re not really limitations.” it was a difficult time for buohler. in competition, she could share her successes. now in recovery, she struggled alone by choice. “that was really tough,” she says. “it was very confusing. And that was why the walks were very important.” but on new Year’s day 2012, buohler was tired of walking. relieved of her brace and
“the fact that I had completed that mIle just gave me Inner strength.”
Top, after her accident, Buohler spent six days in intensive care, wondering if she’d ever be able to ride or run again. Bottom, Buohler crossed the finish line at the Boston Marathon just six months after her accident.
feeling stronger, she gathered a few of her closest running friends together and decided to try for one mile. At first, she was frightened, wondering how her back and spine would feel. choosing to trust in the therapy she had done, she began to run. her body felt odd and everything ached, but there was no sharp pain. She continued to run, powering through to the one-mile mark in 7:15. “the fact that i had completed that mile just gave me inner strength,” buohler says. the disney half Marathon was just one week away. if she could run one mile, buohler reasoned, she could walk 13.
Boston and Beyond When buohler lined up for the disney half Marathon, she was in the elite start at the front of the pack. Also at the start were several disabled
athletes competing in wheelchairs. Standing in the dark, buohler began to think about the accident and how it could have gone differently. She quickly shoved those thoughts aside. “but no, i’m here,” she recalls saying to herself. “i’m standing here, and i was able to run a mile a week ago.” She started out at an easy jog, allowing many of the runners to pass her by. At the twomile mark, she was still running but began to experience some sharp pain. rather than try to push through it, she decided she was done. At her spot on the course, she couldn’t find a medic. So after a short break, she slowly continued to run, walking and running her way to the finish without any more pain. After the disney half Marathon, buohler began looking ahead to another race: the
legendary boston Marathon. One week before the April event, her doctor had given her permission to run again, and three days before the race, buohler managed to run six miles without stopping. encouraged, she decided to do the race, but when she and her husband, Sebastian, arrived in boston, they were met with record temperatures. thousands of racers were deferring to the next year rather than face the heat, and the race time had been extended to six hours to give runners extra time to finish. buohler didn’t want to defer. She reasoned that she might never get another chance to be there, and she just wanted to be a part of it. She decided to run, and went on to complete the race in 3:48—two minutes shy of qualifying again. “i didn’t even know what my time was at the finish because i just came through and was thinking, i’m here and i’m at the finish line. i just ran the boston Marathon six months after my accident,” she says. running the race gave her a sense of accomplishment, but buohler is quick to add that it didn’t mean she was back to her old self. in truth, that day still hasn’t arrived. Almost a year and a half after her accident, her biking and running times are strong, but her duathlon transition times are the worst she’s ever experienced. because of the spine injury, mobility and flexibility are issues in a way that they never were before, she explains. “i don’t feel normal, still,” she says. “i can really feel and tell my injuries sometimes. but i’m doing amazing. i feel good. i’m able to keep up with my fitness, and i’m able to do what i like to do.” for now, that’s enough. She still wants to be the best, but also she wants to enjoy it. “i definitely feel that i should try to have a little more fun and not be so obsessive about my training,” she says. “i don’t feel like i have to go out and run that race. it’s Ok now. i realize that the time goes by, and it’s no big deal.” May 2013
the paleo diet
a prehistoric plan for present-day performance By yael Grauer PHOTOGraPH By erIK Kellar 20
imicking the diets of cavemen seems a bit counterintuitive. While most of us enjoy our meat and veggies—foods our evolutionary ancestors thrived on—giving up bread, pasta, beans, milk and cheese is a pretty radical shift. But many people have embraced the Paleo diet, which consists of proteins, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds, saying they look and feel healthier. How is that possible? Chad O’Connor, who runs Naples-based healthy food pickup service Real Fit Foods, says the results people see on the Paleo diet are based on physiology. “Whenever you eat a piece of bread, your body breaks it down as a sugar,” he explains, “so when you limit grains in your diet, along with sugar and dairy, as the Paleo diet does, you never have spikes in blood sugar. When you don’t have spikes in blood sugar, you’re able to digest your food a lot better, and you have less inflammation.” In addition to blood sugar spikes, grains (including wheat, rye, oats, barley, rice, millet and sorghum) can lead to a host of other problems. Gluten, a protein found in grains such as wheat and rye, often causes joint pain. As a self-defense measure, grains—even the gluten-free variety—have a protective layer of toxins that defend themselves from human or animal consumption and can wreak havoc on the gastrointestinal tract by damaging the gut lining. They’re also loaded in phytates, which leech minerals from the body. In fact, O’Connor believes that many health problems are due to poor diets including grains, dairy and sugar. “What we see in our culture is that everyone’s eating breads and pasta and sugar, and everyone’s running rampant with diseases like diabetes and heart disease and hypertension,” he says, adding that changing one’s diet can help prevent some of these issues. O’Connor isn’t the only one. The Paleo Physicians Network, an organization linking doctors who operate from an evolutionary perspective with potential patients, has 37 doctors in Florida alone. New York Times bestselling author Robb Wolf, who wrote The Paleo Solution: The Original Human Diet, recommends that people try the Paleo diet for 30 days and then slowly reintroduce other foods so they can see how they react to them. (Taking blood tests before and after can be helpful as well, but most people will see and feel a difference without them.) The effects are individual. For example, although dairy causes blood sugar spikes, some people can tolerate it better than others. Taking 30 days off and then reintroducing it will help you see what effect it has on you. Ready to give it a try? Here are some strategies that will make things easier.
focus on the positive In order to successfully transition to the Paleo diet—or even just try it on for size—it’s important to be aware of the abundance of food you can eat. “When you tell people they can’t eat bread or pasta or drink milk or eat dairy, they start thinking negatively in their head, ‘What can I eat then?’ and thinking they can’t eat anything at all, but it’s really the contrary,” O’Connor points out. You can eat any fruit or vegetable in existence. You can eat pretty much any form of protein. You can eat nuts and seeds.” Instead of fixating on the spaghetti dinner you’re missing out on, focus on what you can eat—chicken soup, steak salad, eggs with sweet potato hash.
plan ahead Got a late meeting and only 10 minutes to figure out dinner? Instead of hopping to the nearest fast food restaurant, make sure you have some frozen veggies and seafood on hand, or pick up a rotisserie chicken and steam some broccoli. Planning meals ahead of time can be helpful, and preparing for those late nights by sticking some ingredients in a crockpot can be the difference between a delicious dinner and a whole lot of scrambling. And if you’re used to dining out more regularly, make sure to plan some extra time for dish duty!
eat those leftovers The cost of strictly regimented meal plans can add up over time, so take advantage of your leftovers, heating them up for lunch or dinner the following day. Other ways to stay within your budget while eating Paleo include focusing on in-season vegetables, looking for sales for staples (such as extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil) and avoiding prepackaged meals. (Although a Paleo diet may lead to some sticker shock at the grocery store, the costs of eating out add up over time, so make sure you’re comparing what you spend on all your meals, not just groceries.)
Beware the first two weeks The Paleo diet retrains the body to burn fat instead of carbohydrates, but the transition isn’t always easy. “For the first couple of weeks, a lot of people complain that their energy levels are down, but once their body starts running off of their fat stores as opposed to the carbohydrates that they were used to feeding it, they actually feel a lot better and have a lot more energy, and
they’re able to sustain higher levels of energy for longer,” O’Connor says. Eating starchy carbs such as sweet potatoes or yams can help ease the transition, but knowing that it’s temporary can help you through it when things get rough. “Get through the first couple of weeks, and it’s pretty clear sailing after that,” he says.
expect results When trying to lose weight, hitting the gym or going for a run or a bike ride is often a first approach. But as the old adage goes, you can’t out-train a bad diet. Combining a Paleo diet with a smart exercise program is your best bet. “To have someone say you look different or your stomach looks flatter or ask if you’ve been working out harder, and you’re trying to review in your mind all of the things that you’ve changed, it definitely comes back to nutrition,” says Nicole Walker, who works at CrossFit gym Real Fitness in Naples and has been eating Paleo since January 2011. “In my opinion, nutrition is more important than working out. They complement each other, but without good nutrition, there’s no way that you’re feeding your body the nutrients it actually needs to perform at peak level.” Body composition changes and improved recovery in the gym are just a few of the improvements those on the Paleo diet experience. Walker recalls losing the feeling of being bloated after a meal, better sleep and being in a better mood in general. Others noticed improved recovery between workouts. Keeping track of the changes you see in your mood, sleep, recovery, energy levels, body composition and performance is important. It’ll help you remember why you’ve decided to give up Froot Loops and pizza and keep you going strong in the face of temporary cravings.
let go of perfectionism Beyond the first 30 days on a strictly Paleo diet—which is a bit like hitting the reset button— expecting yourself to be 100 percent Paleo at all times is not realistic. Knowing how your body reacts to other foods is crucial, so you can make an informed decision about when to indulge and in what. A great way to limit cheat meals (ideally to just two or three a week) is to make sure they are truly memorable. Will you remember them in a week or two weeks, or are you just mindlessly snacking? Not every snack has to be a Paleo snack, but make sure your cheat meals count.
+ paleo (or “foods to eat”) • meat • fish • eggs • fruits • vegetables • nuts
- not paleo • bread • pasta • rice • beans • milk • cheese
• yogurt • healthy oils • seeds
How a team of Naples fitNess pros traiNed for—aNd overcame—oNe of tHe most grueliNg obstacle races arouNd. by Spencer Campbell photograph by Brian Tietz
of obstacles that would seem to discriminate against the vertically challenged. At 5-foot-6, he can overcome 10-foot walls just by using his upper-body strength to hoist himself over. A canopy of electrical wires? That’s a different story. “I’m not even sure they’re going to have that in Miami, but supposedly there’s this thing you have to crawl through,” he says. “If you don’t stay at an Army crawl, if you lift up a little bit too much, you might get zapped. Electricity just sounds scary when you hear it.” No matter his training regimen, conditioning his body to ignore a current coursing through it might be too much to ask. But the Naples resident believed he was ready for whatever else an obstacle race could throw his way. A certified trainer at Transcendent Fitness in Naples, Del Sordo is part of a group of Southwest Floridians who trained together and ran the 8.3mile Spartan Race in Miami earlier this year. Its appeal isn’t hard to understand. “At Spartan Race, we believe that people are coming back to their roots, and that’s why the appeal is there, and that’s as old as humanity itself,” Spartan spokeswoman Carrie Adams says. “We spend our days behind desks and immersed in technology. We’ve become disconnected from our DNA that tells us we want to run, jump, climb and enjoy our physical selves. And you can’t get all of those things running on pavement. You get to jump over fire and throw spears at our races. These races give us a chance to reconnect with who we are, what makes us human. And it’s fun to do something different, to get dirty and to spend a few hours with your friends challenging yourself in what will probably be the hardest thing you’ve ever done.”
Del Sordo, 27, looked forward to facing the challenge 125 miles to the east. One of those who signed up to run the obstacle race with him in Miami was Micah West, owner of Transcendent Fitness. His motivation? “It was probably peer pressure the most,” he says, laughing. “I had a lot of guys at the gym that wanted to do it.” At the same time, he saw the race as a fitness goal. “It’s a lot of fun training with this group because the atmosphere is great. There’s a lot of competition going on during the workouts, which makes it a lot easier to train.” Transcendent Fitness, which the Illinois native opened in 2011, isn’t a typical gym. West claims it’s the only kettle bell-certified gym in Southwest Florida, and some of its trainers are also CrossFitcertified. He promotes weight lifting and personal training, as well, for the kind of well-rounded preparation needed to survive an obstacle course that happens to use terms such as “Beast” and “Death Race” to describe its levels of competition.
overcomiNg obstacles — of all kiNds
Obstacles races—also called adventure races or mud runs—combine distance running with physical challenges such as pools of ice, barbed wire and 15-foot walls made slick by oil. Two of the most popular are Spartan and Tough Mudder. The latter, whose races are typically 10 to 12 miles long and have 25 to 30 obstacles, held just three in 2010. That jumped to 35 last year, and the number of competitors skyrocketed from 20,000 to more than 460,000. Spartan, named Outside magazine’s best obstacle race in 2012, has four levels of competition, from 5K to ultramarathon distances.
From left, Doug Garner, Alex Franco, Bruno Valdivia and James Del Sordo teamed up to train for and tackle the Miami Spartan Race in February.
Because their regular fitness routines focus so heavily on metabolic conditioning, which builds energy, there wasn’t much Del Sordo, West and their crew had to change to prepare for the Spartan. The intensity, however, was ratcheted up considerably. “We did a lot of interval training,” says Del Sordo. “Start off with a light pace until you’re doing sprints. Keep a solid pace but go from mailbox to mailbox; just do a sprint. Then the next one, or the next five, just jog. You have to work on these intervals. Otherwise you’re going to be stuck at the same level.
“But it’s all about how hard you push yourself. It’s the old adage: ‘Mind over matter.’ If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.” Still, Spartan Races don’t require their participants to maintain a fast pace over the entirety of the course—they have to stop and overcome the obstacles that are sprinkled throughout. Both Del Sordo and West weren’t big on distance running. “I haven’t run eight miles in … I don’t remember when,” West says. So Del Sordo and his training partners devised a workout designed specifically for an obstacle race. During an eight-mile run, they stopped every six minutes to do 20 burpees or 20 pushups, then started running again. Del Sordo also kept up a steady routine of lifting medium weights with high repetitions to build muscle endurance, burpees, 400-meter sprints and thrusters—a front squat that bursts into an overhead press. “Full-body movements,” he emphasizes. “You don’t want to do anything sitting down unless you’re rowing. Rowing is actually really good for metabolic conditioning.” So did his hard work pay off? Del Sordo wanted to finish in the top four. Finishing among the top three men would have qualified him for the Spartan Death Race, a 48-hour adventure race that 90 percent of competitors don’t complete. But after the Miami course that featured 21 obstacles, Del Sordo placed 178th overall. Still, his time of 1:37:15 was in the top 5 percent of the 3,934 people who competed. And perhaps the best news? There were several walls he had to scale, but not an electrical wire in sight. May 2013
fitbook bad ass bash // aPRIL 13, 2013
p: Tahlia UrbinaTi (10)
Redneck Yacht cLub, Punta GoRda
See more photos from this and other fitness events around Southwest florida at facebook.com/fitnationmag. tag yourself while youâ€™re there!
fitbook oRanGe bLossoM sPecIaL
p: TiSh KElY (8)
MaRch 9 & 10, 2013 // aVe MaRIa and naPLes
fitbook color vibe 5k // MARCH 16, 2013
p: Mark Gaines (9)
Lee Civic Center, North Fort Myers
See more photos from this and other fitness events around Southwest Florida at facebook.com/fitnationmag. Tag yourself while youâ€™re there!
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