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Get In the Best Shape of Your Life Challenge. Blood Work. What did we do it all for? What does it all mean?. Blood Work. Total Cholesterol Measure of your LDL, HDL VLDLs. Safe range around 120-140mg/dl

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Blood work
Blood Work

What did we do it all for?

What does it all mean?

Blood work1
Blood Work

Total Cholesterol

Measure of your LDL, HDL VLDLs.

Safe range around 120-140mg/dl

This is the normal range for ancestors in the paleolithic era, all primates, and all newborn babies.

But it gets more complicated….

Blood work2
Blood Work

High Density Lipoproteins (HDL)

Helps move fats from peripheral body to the liver.

Generally considered the “good cholesterol.”

Act as scrubbers in the arteries and veins, bringing back fat to the liver for processing.

Normal Range: At least above 50mg/dl. There is no risk of an HDL too low.

Blood work3
Blood Work

Low Density Lipoproteins (LDL)

Generally considered “bad cholesterol” however this is a poor view overal.

The energy to run our muscles, raw material for our cell membranes, omega-3 in our brain are all moved around with the help of LDL

Desired Range 40-70mg/dl

Blood work4
Blood Work

Low Density Lipoproteins (LDL)

Of more importance in LDL is the issue of particle size. There are two sizes: small and dense (type B) and large and puffy (type A).

Type B get trapped in blood vessels. Our immune system doesn’t like things trapped in the vessels. So it attacks the cholesterol. This is how atherosclerotic plaque builds, narrowing arteries.

Eventually that plaque breaks off, plugs a narrowed artery in your brain or heart: stroke or heart attack

Blood work5
Blood Work

Low Density Lipoproteins (LDL)

Is the type of LDL (small/large) in our control?

Medical establishment would like you to believe that you have no control. Take meds is the prescription…I’m hoping to promote a different way and a different view.

Blood work6
Blood Work

Low Density Lipoproteins (LDL)

So we have Type B which are atherogenic. Type A which are not. Type B are caused by high insulin levels. If we follow the diet promoted by the AMA, it’s a high-carb, low-fat diet. That promotes high insulin, raising your level of Type B LDL.

So, 40-70 mg/dl is a great number to start with, but what’s tricky, and more important, is which type you actually have.

Blood work7
Blood Work

Low Density Lipoproteins (LDL)

Plenty of studies have been done with patients with low cholesterol levels yet still have heart attacks everyday. Those people who have CVD and low numbers tend to have more type b LDL.

So with LDL cholesterol, we need to consider quality first (large or small particles) and quantity second.

Blood work8
Blood Work


A measure of circulating blood fats.

Does that mean high-fat diet = high triglycerides? No

Triglycerides are actually an indicator of insulin sensitivity. So, high carbs and poor insulin sensitivity = high triglycerides.

Excess carbs coverts to palmitic acid in the liver and also form the backbone of high triglycerides and small, dense (type B) reactive LDL particles.

Blood work9
Blood Work


Healthy levels: 50-80 mg/dl

This measure is more of a good indicator that a direct cause of problems.

Low triglycerides = not too many dietary carbs and insulin sensitive

High triglycerides = problems with inflammation, shift towards type B LDL.

Blood work10
Blood Work


Final note


Alcohol can cause serious problems with your triglycerides.

If you’re not insulin sensitive (high triglycerides), you should go easy on the alcohol.

Blood work11
Blood Work


This is a measure of how much your blood sugar changes throughout a day.

Affected by food (specifically carbohydrate intake) and exercise

Normal Levels: less than 100 mg/dl.

Diabetes is diagnosed at a level of 126 mb/dl or higher.

Food point system
Food Point System

Each meal has three positive or neutral values:

-2 cheat meal: not Paleo quality, not Zone quantity. (-10 possible per day)

+0 paleo meal that includes dairy

+1 paleo meal: all Paleo rules apply (5 possible per day)

+2 zone meal: all standard Zone rules apply (10 possible per day)

3 Paleo/zone meal: paleo quality in zone proportions. (15 possible per day)

“Rule of 5” bonus points:

+1 5 meals per day (1 possible/day)

+1 fewer than 5 hours between meals (1 possible/day)

-1 more than 5 blocks per meal (-5 possible per day)

Zone meals
Zone Meals

CrossFit Journal, Article 21

Zone Diet is an accounting system for your food that puts you in “The Zone”

If at every meal, you can regulate the way your body works and optimize the human function, you will be much better at your everyday life.

Paleo foods
Paleo Foods

This simple definition, taken from Coach Glassman’s CrossFit in 100 Words will define your Paleo foods for the duration of the challenge:

meats and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch, no sugar.

Paleo foods the bottom line
Paleo Foods – the bottom line

The bottom line here is that we are choosing foods that are the highest quality of nutrition we can receive. Choosing the best sources of grass-fed ruminants, range fed poultry, wild caught fish for your protein will provide the highest levels of Omega-3s and the greatest ratios of O3/O6 where we need to be. We choose the highest quality vegetables and fruits that have the best sources of vitamins, minerals, and naturally occurring sugars per calorie than any other carbohydrate. And we choose the highest quality of fats in avocadoes, nuts, and saturated fats from those same animals above.

We eliminate foods that cause inflammation in our body

We eliminate foods that cause a severe blood sugar response and keep our insulin in poor condition.

And we choose the best foods available so that we get the best benefit out of our food.

Paleo foods these aren t allowed here
Paleo Foods – these aren’t allowed here


Nightshades (potatoes, etc)

Legumes (beans, peanuts)


Questionable paleo foods
Questionable Paleo Foods

These items will not count as a cheat, however they will not get you a point for Paleo meal. While these might have been available to ancestors and are in a more natural state, they 1) wouldn’t have been eaten on a daily basis and 2) aren’t the best source of nutrition. Further, part of the idea is to become less dependent on foods we don’t really need, not find a way to cheat so that we can say we’re eating Paleo.

Dried fruit

Natural sweeteners (honey, agave)

Non-Paleo substitute's (Paleo cookies, gluten free sandwich bread, etc.)

Cheat meals
Cheat Meals

What are we talking about here?

We’re always talking about carbs…dirty, nasty, tasty, carbs

Exercise points
Exercise Points


-10 fewer than 3 WODs/week

+0 3 WODs a week

+10 4 WODs a week

+20 5 or more WODs/week

Workouts outside the gym:

1 workout a week can count towards your workout totals but it must be cleared as an acceptable workout.

Bonus points
Bonus Points

Bonus points:

+1 64oz of H20 in a day

+1 8+ hours of sleep

+1 if half of carb blocks are from veggies

-1 for no PWO meal (before leaving the gym)

-1 for less than 3 grams of fish oil/day


Immune stystem and metabolism

After a week of sleep restriction (6 hours or less/night) your body increases levels of the immune mediator interkeukin-6 (IL-6) and inflammatory cytokine tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF) which casues inflammation in the C-reactive protein (CRP) and the inflammatory eicasanoid, prostaglandin-E2 (PGE2). TNF reduces insulin resistance and secretion of stress hormones to the adrenal glands. PGE2 is one o f the clinical manifestations of systematic inflammation. Elevated levels of IL-6 are associated with inflammation, autoimmune disease, impaired glucose metabolism and diabetes, and some types of cancer. Elevated CRP is a risk factor for CVD, stroke and diabetes.


Immune stystem and metabolism

Just eating to reduce inflammation, taking fish oil, eating wild meats loaded with Omega-3s isn’t enough if we aren’t sleeping and it’s causing the problems we’re fighting

Also, there is a strong interaction between sleep and the immune system. In states of illness or injury, the body recovers more quickly with additional rest.



testosterone, growth hormone, insulin and stress hormones like cortisol are all affected by sleep.

Testosterone and growth hormone secretion occurs primarily while sleeping and coincides with REM sleep. Most testosterone is released into the bloodstream at night. GH for the whole day generally occurs during the first hour of sleep and is correlated to REM sleep. Both of these are promoters of protein synthesis and critical to recovery from training.

Cortisol is a stress hormone. If you have other stuff in this program going on (overtraining, poor nutrition, excessive caffeine intake, chronic stress, under-recovery, etc) it can wreak havoc on your cortisol levels. You want this to be at its highest levels in the morning. If you have these things going on, it could peak in the evening and prevent you from sleeping more.



Acute sleep deprivation for only 1-2 nights and you know you aren’t doing well. What if you’re running a constant sleep deficit (6 hrs/night is normal)? You may not think it has an effect on you.

Studies have been shown on college athletes that receive extra sleep perform better on performance measured tasks. This is due to an increased improvement in the activation of the central nervous system and their ability to coordinate muscular activation and sport specific demands.

Fish oil
Fish Oil

EPA and DHA are Omega-3 fatty acids known for their anti-inflammatory properties. They play a huge role in brain health, protection against cancer, Alzheimer’s, depression, improvement of skin conditions like psoriasis and acne, fetal brain development, inflammatory bowel disorders and arthritis.

They play a great factor in recovery from activity (workouts, sport, etc)

Our typical diet is rich in Omega-6 (a pro-inflammatory fatty acid).

Fish oil1
Fish Oil

Omega-3 fatty acids come from green leaves of plants like grass, algae and seaweed. The animals we are designed to eat, were designed to eat these plants. So your grass-fed beef, pastured organic eggs and wild caught fish are good sources of natural omega-3s. Unfortunately because of poor meat quality and over consumption of processed foods, most diets are rich in pro-inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids.

Why not just eat more grass and seaweed? You don’t have the ability to digest grass. Cows have a rumen which is why they are supposed to eat grass.

Why not Flax? The process to convert this source to a quality omega-3s is really a lot of work for your body. It’s not efficient. It’s so difficult in fact that the process can even cause more inflammation—the exact opposite intention. And the amount of EPA and DHA you get is so small it barely counts.

This includes flax, chia, hemp or echium. Fish oil is just much better.

Post work out meal
Post Work-Out Meal

Recovery from workouts is going to determine largely how well you can gain from those workouts.

Your body is in a prime time after a workout to receive good nutrition to help it recover. If you can mix lean proteins and rich carbs like yams, fruit, or squash you can get a lot of great nutrients, antioxidants and keep the body in a good insulin control.

Your body is in a good position for insulin resistance after the workout and some reading suggests shifting a good portion of your daily carbs into this window.

To get the benefit of the post workout meal, you should eat this before leaving the parking lot. Otherwise it’s just another meal

What will cost you points
What will cost you points


-1 for each alcoholic beverage. (-5 possible per day)

-1 for each carbonated beverage

-1if you don’t spend at least 10 minutes a day stretching (outside of the WOD)

-1 if you do not floss every day


Our ancestors did not need to floss and did not have cavities or need orthodontic work.

We haven’t done as well, eaten as well, or managed to cut out refined sugars and carbohydrates.

Strong relationships exist between inflammation in the gums from not flossing to a long slope into gum disease, gingivitis, and later into possible heart disease.

Flossing helps with gum disease, bad breath, clean teeth,

and your sex life ;-)


“Every human being should be able to perform basic maintenance on themselves” Kelly Starrett, DPT

From the website:

This blog is intended as a jump off point for athletes to systematically begin to address their nasty tissues and grody joint mobility. Be cool. Use at your own risk and stop if you think it’s gonna hurt you, your spine is going to come out your throat, or your face goes numb. But, understand that you should be responsible for your own business. Don’t wait until you need a new knee. Pony up.

Ask me if you need ideas, but check that website, it has great info

Too hard
Too Hard?

I don’t really think so…this is all completely doable. The question is, why haven’t we all been doing this anyway?

Remember, the title of this challenge is NOT: Get in pretty decent shape but don’t make too many changes in your life or make yourself very uncomfortable.

It’s called: Get in the Best Shape of Your Life Challenge

The bottom line
The bottom line

You’re a Ferrari, do you want to run on 85 Octane or do you want race fuel?

Don’t cheat your body the chance to get the best fuel, the best rest, the best mobility, the best lifestyle choices you can.

You are all awesome athletes with the potential to kick some serious ass this summer!!!!

Go out, score lots of points…and get in the best shape of your life