Thursday, June 28, 2012

Reader Testimony: Bob W.

Check out Bob W., a client at CrossFit King of Prussia and a different man from 8 months ago! Below is his story and details of his workouts and nutrition. I've edited some things for format and emphasis, but the content is all from Bob. 

Bob W. Pre-Paleo and Pre-CrossFit
Name: Bob W. 
Age: 31
Height: 5'10"
Weight before: 250 (10/22/2011)
Current weight: 195

 Hey Chris,

Here are some details about what I have been doing/eating/lifting over the past 8 months.  For a solid timeline, I joined my "globo gym" for my 31st birthday, October 22nd 2011.
I started "Paleo-ish" once around Christmas 2011, gave up on it fairly quickly, then started back on it pretty strictly around February of this year. The last 3 months or so I have been pretty much 95% paleo.

When I first joined the gym my workouts were pretty traditional.  I did some TRX with a trainer, jogged on an elliptical as much as I could, and lifted weights at a low weight/high rep interval.  At that point I was just trying to get active again and start to even be READY to get back into shape!  My knees hurt, I couldnt do much, it was pretty bad.

My diet before was the big issue obviously.  My portion size was giant and I ate crap.  Not fast food so much, but just a ton of pasta and hoagies and heavy sauces. I was a carb-a-holic. Typical breakfast was sometimes a breakfast sandwich or similar,  lunch was usually cheesesteaks or hoagies, dinner was pasta and meatballs etc.  Obviously I didnt eat this stuff everyday, but it was a majority of the time and in far too big proportions.  In addition, a few years ago, I stopped drinking alchohol pretty much cold turkey.  You might think that I would lose weight from that, but I think my body was so used to elevated blood sugar levels that a major sweet tooth developed when there hadn't been one before.  I ate a lot of ice cream and cakes and cookies. I also ate whatever my kids were eating, which tended to be processed chicken fingers, mac and cheese, etc.  I bet I put on 10lbs a year for the fours years after my oldest son was born.

My diet now is pretty on point.  I eat an omlette with two omega-3 eggs and some eggwhites plus some kind of vegetable almost every morning.  When its not that its cold fish/chicken/steak from the night before with a veggie or handful of berries.  Snacks are jerky, some nuts, maybe and organic plain greek yogurt (I know, I know) on workout days.  Lunch is typically a big piece of meat/fish grilled up with vegetables.  I've found a number of paleo-adherent condiments to keep it interesting.  Dinners are again a big protein with a big salad (lemon juice and avocado oil dressing is the bomb) and MAYBE a sweet potato. I always add good fats like avaocado etc.  If I need something sweet later, its usually a small spoonful of organic "no sugar added" peanut butter with some berries.  A couple weeks ago Sara grilled me some bananas and drizzled a little high quality melted 90% cacao chocolate on them, it was awesome.  We eat a TON of shellfish and seafood. I go grass-fed and natural when I can, although its not 100% feasible with the quantities of food a family of five eats.  We already drop $400/wk at the grocery store so I take what I can get!  There are enough websites and cookbooks for paleo eaters right now that its pretty easy. Luckily my family has been super supportive of this and they actually eat much better now too.  They often have a bread/rice/pasta dish which I just pass on, no big deal.  I take a multivitamin, probiotic, and BCAA'a and I work outside so I get a lot of excercise during the days and lots of sunshine.  I'm working on sleeping more, thats my biggest failure.

My workouts now are dynamic, fun, and a work in progress.  I do CF KoP 2-3x per week in additon to recently adding a couple strength days (Wendler 5-3-1, body weight accessory work).   When the weather is right and I want to run I'll do CFE (CrossFit Endurance), main site WOD's, or just tabata/HIIT sprints for 12 minutes max.  I am able to do all this either at 6AM or after the kids (ages 5, 4, 1.5) go to bed so I don't take away from our time together.  In addition I work 50-55hr weeks and my wife works weekend nights.  Beyond that I'm in Grad School!!!   If I can do this literally anyone can. For my birthday this year I am getting myself one of those Rogue garage gym packages with bumper plates for my garage so I can lift heavy whenever I get time.  Oly lifts have become my favorite, I love how technical they are. I hung a pullup bar in a doorway off my living room and I dont walk under it EVER without doing 5 chinups.   I call it "muscle-toe"!

Basking in his leaned out (sunburned) glory?
The main resources I have used to make these changes are, not to be too cocky, but my own dedication and determination.  That coupled with equal parts love and support from my wife and kids.  This whole thing has been as much for them as me.  I'm am a better dad and husband now, happier and more vibrant.  Physically my body has NEVER been more well rounded.  I'm stronger, faster, leaner, more flexible.  I could not do a pullup 8 months ago now I can do 12 strict dead hang in a row. I'm SOOOOO close to a muscle up.  This allows my body do do basically whatever my mind tells it to, which is HUGE with young kids and an active lifestyle.  Mentally I'm happier, clearer, sharper, more focused.  I'm confident I can do whatever I put my mind to.  I don't want to totally discount the whole "long duration cardio and light weight/high rep" scheme becasue it got me started on this path.  In addition I was eating a more traditional low-fat whole grain heavy diet, with which I did in fact lose weight.  I'm pretty sure that at that point anything I did to sweat and eat less would have been an inprovement, but still I don't want to slam the methods that got me going.  What the CF/paleo transition did for me was switch me physically and mentally into the next gear, and make my changes less of a "diet" and more of a lifestyle.  I'll never gain that weight back (may never lose anymore either, don't care, I want to get stronger and faster and leaner and more powerful!!)  becasue I am more mindful and aware of my body everyday now.  I am aware of how incredible I feel when I give my body lots of what it was designed to take in and nothing it wasn't.  I am aware of how great it feels to work my body the way a hunter/gatherer worked, in short burst of explosive effort followed with plenty of rest and recovery.  My family is actually eating and living better becasue of it.  It really has made a huge positive impact on my life!!

There it is, the brief version!  If you need anymore details or pictures I have tons of both, don't hesitate.  Also remember that you did my "on ramp" and KoP and, while I was avoiding sugar etc before, your blog really got me going and interested in Paleo its overall benefits and effects.  I have you to thank in a big way for all this!! 

Bob and his motivation
Bob's story is all too familiar, at least in the beginning. Family man whose high carb, high sugar diet caught up to him, even with working outdoors and having a workout routine at the globo gym. His story aligns with the idea that how you look is 20% physical activity and 80% what you put in your mouth.  (some would even say 10/90 or 0/100!) So no, being on a treadmill for an hour or even doing high intensity exercise won't matter if you don't change your nutrition. The fact is, when people cut out pasta and bread and sugar, not only do they lose weight, but that "puffiness" in their faces goes away too. That's the inflammation going away, and yes, I had it too (see "You've Got a Fat Face")

 A chief complaint from people is that they can't afford a CrossFit membership. Bob shows that you can get a great workout in by just doing some sprints, modified workouts at a globo gym, and when you can afford it, get to a CF gym for solid coaching. I love that Bob is now into Oly lifting and his clever re-naming of mistletoe for his pull up bar. And I agree with him on not getting down on the cardio/typical gym routine, because frankly it's better than nothing! Bob shows that despite a busy work schedule AND going to grad school AND having 3 kids, it IS possible to hone in on your workouts and nutrition. But the motivation has to come from within and it always helps to have the support of loved ones. He does this for himself, but more importantly he does it for his wife and kids. No doubt he is and will be an amazing role model for his kids to brag about to their friends. 

If you have a testimony to share or if you'd like a nutrition or fitness consultation, email me at 


  1. Harder to kill and more useful in general, just the way I like it!!

  2. Awesome story Bob - congrats on all your success!

    Sam B.

  3. Bob,

    Very inspirational! Well done!
    I totally understand when you say you've become a better father because of it. Before I lost the weight and got more active, my son (now 7 years of age) used to sit at a computer or in front of a tv every chance he could. He avoided sports or any activity that didn't involve a screen. This past year he's turned into a vibrant, well-rounded kid who is constantly asking me to take him to the basketball court, or to play soccer. And I gladly oblige (most of the time!). Last night he shocked me by asking to go with me to the local high school running track and, while walking and chatting, all of a sudden he asks, "Dad, what's a burpee?" I gladly showed him : )



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