Posts filed under Nutrition

CrossFit, the Caveman Diet and Kool Aid.

Is CrossFit a cult and do I have to eat that?

The Caveman Diet, aka Paleo diet, is a high-protein, high-fiber eating plan. It is also very popular with CrossFitters. In abundance you will find vegetables, lean meats, nuts and seeds on this diet. Not allowed are refined carbohydrates, dairy, legumes and processed foods. Studies have shown that eating this way will also help prevent an inordinate insulin response. Acute, chronic elevation of insulin causes hyperinsulinism, which is associated with obesity, elevated cholesterol levels, blood pressure, and mood dysfunction.

 Why do CrossFitters swear by it? Because it works. A real Paleo diet produces a lean body, which naturally leads to improved performance in fitness and in daily living. “It’s kind of a self-fulfilling diet,” explains Loren Cordain, PhD, co-author of The Paleo Diet for Athletes. “You feel better and perform better.” On a Paleo diet, you essentially eliminate grains and simply eat more meat, so you’re getting more muscle-building protein.

 It’s not hard to understand why CrossFitters love the Paleo diet – they want to lift heavier, do more reps, run faster and build a body they are proud of. Does that mean you have to eat Paleo if you do CrossFit? In a word, no. This balanced methodology to eating, combined with CrossFit’s high-intensity workouts are a winning duo, but it’s definitely not mandatory.

 But is it a cult? CrossFit is a community not a cult.

 “CrossFit provides a rare place of community and holistic transformation. It may not be religious institutionally, but CrossFit does a better job than many religious communities in transforming people’s lives. It may seem strange for what is essentially a fitness program, but CrossFit involves an identity shift that carries over into life well beyond the gym. “CrossFit starts with an identity shift off the bat: You become an athlete,” Herz says. “Not just a lady who doesn’t like her thighs or a guy trying to lose the spare tire but an athlete.”

When people start CrossFit, Hertz says, they start thinking about what their bodies can achieve and stop focusing on their perceived physical flaws. “They start eating for performance, which is about getting the nutrients that you need versus the passion play of self-denial,” Herz says.

 “The cult of CrossFit: How the workout can bring out the best (and worst) of faith” by Ragan Sutterfield published March 24, 2015 in The Washington Post Online

 Communities form at CrossFit gyms in the most random ways. People from all walks of life end up in a class together, they sweat, suffer and overcome weaknesses together. You will always find a wealth of support in every class. The importance of social support is that it provides motivation. When you are tired and struggling to finish the W.O.D. you begin to doubt your ability to finish, having people cheer you on gives you the confidence that you can do it!

Research at Oxford University found that working out in a group resulted in a greater release of endorphins than when working out alone, even when the same amount of work was done. The sense of community, sometimes known as a ‘cult’ to outsiders, is one of the finest features of CrossFit.

Posted on September 13, 2018 and filed under Fitness, CrossFit, Dieting, Nutrition.

My First Week of "Flexible Dieting" - Coach Michelle

By. Michelle Craig, Coach & Personal Trainer

Michelle is the early-AM coach at Inner Beast CrossFit. She has competed in multiple CrossFit competitions and obstacle course racing events.

My decision to start a “Flexible Dieting” program began several weeks ago, when I realized that stumbling around eating whatever sounded good at the time had led me to gain about 30 – 35 lbs. in 2015. A good friend of my mine, Strongwoman competitor Kate Hanson, had great success following this program and I wanted to give it a whirl.

What is Flexible Dieting?

 In short, it is a diet plan (the definition of diet here being: “the foods eaten, as by a particular person or group”) that consists of calculating the number of calories, carbohydrates, fats, and proteins, that your body needs each day. The theory is that as long as your daily intake meets your macronutrient needs, you will lose, gain, or maintain (depending on your goals and calculations.)

The Numbers

My daily macro targets for this past week were:

1960 Calories, 94g Carbs, 186g Protein, and 93g Fat (Sample Day of Meals & Macros)

I didn’t hit these perfectly on a single day (that’s okay!), and my average carbohydrate intake was 100g, ranging from 78g-130g.

Macro Profile Examples:

Chobani Greek Yogurt: 150 Calories, 19g Carbs, 12g Protein, 2.5g Fat

Ground Turkey (6 OZ): 240 Calories, 0g Carbs, 33g Protein, 12g Fat

Justin’s Maple Almond Butter (2 Tbsp.): 190 Calories, 8g Carbs, 6g Protein, 16g Fat

Rice (1/4 Cup Dry): 160 Calories, 36g Carbs, 3g Protein, 0g Fat

The Results

FIRST, let me say that when I gain weight quickly, my body can sometimes lose it more quickly than normal (mostly water weight/bloat from sugar/alcohol/carbs). Second, prior to this diet, I was eating a lot of crap. I also wasn’t working out consistently, so my body responded positively to a new strength training & cardio program.

Weight Loss: 7lbs. (Again, this is not a normal, expected, or calculated loss. My goal for the week was 2lbs.)

Activity: Cutting gluten, dairy, sugar, & alcohol made my body feel better within a day. My workouts felt better and I didn’t have any of the nausea/stomach pain that usually comes from over-eating & eating crap.


There are definitely challenges with a program like this, but there are many more benefits that make it worth it. I'm looking forward to seeing what kind of progress I can make in the coming weeks.. physically and mentally.

Follow me on Instagram for a glimpse into my program - @mcraigpdx 

The Plan

My approach, as influenced by "Flexible Dieting 2.0 - A Flexible Dieting Approach for the Modern Athlete" By. Krissy May Cagney, is to hit my macros with mostly whole foods, minimal gluten, and minimal dairy. This is because I know my body responds well to limiting certain foods, and is not because everyone should be “gluten-free” or “Paleo”. Since most of the fall and early winter were consistently “cheat months” for me, I also decided to eliminate alcohol, treats, & “cheat meals” for the first four weeks of my program. My goal is “cutting” also known as reducing fat mass, or losing weight.

Every meal that I ate over the last seven days was tracked in the MyFitnessPal app. About 90% of my meals were weighed and measured and, with the exception of a couple of packets of Justin’s Almond Butter, two Quest protein bars, and a couple Americanos from Starbucks, all of my meals were cooked at home.

I created a workout program, with the help of Cameron Kerns, and started that along with my new “diet”.


Highlights: I was able to be consistent, and my program was relatively manageable for me. I hit a 140lb. push-jerk (lifetime PR) and had a killer Sunday morning workout.

Struggles: My carbs were super low, and as a result my energy levels were as well. Most days I crashed in the middle of the afternoon, but with caffeine and the appropriate snacks I survived. It was also hard going out to the Growler Run (tap-house) and not drinking a delicious beer or skipping across the parking lot for a burger, fries, and Oreo milkshake.