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Martinpanduh's October 28-Day (PALEO) Challenge!


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Hey guys, according to Steve's recent blog, the new cycle should begin today (in my timezone, Oct. 12) and I figured it's a good a time as any to see if I got the chops to get my fitness life back in order: more specifically, if I can hack the Paleo diet for 28 days (inspired by NerdFitness.com of course).

Maybe a little about myself to make things more concrete, anyway: my name's Martin, I'm 22, I live in the Philippines. I just graduated college. Coming off of a ton of Varsity rowing, I found it hard to adjust my food intake with the little time I find dragging myself to the gym. My old fitness philosophy (mostly driven by the sport) was basically eat your heart out, and train your heart out. The funny thing was, it worked. Prior to joining the team, I was a sedentary 250 pound mass of cotton, and at my prime I was 193 pounds (at 5'9) of tanned rowing greatness (HA! I'd like to think). At the time, I didn't pay attention to my diet--I just kept on rowing on the water, rowing on land, running, weights, the works. I've never felt more epic in my entire life at that point, I was a rowing machine and I didn't even pay attention to the scale. I just kept getting fitter and fitter. And then basically, what happens next is I just graduate--the training stopped and the pounds just kept coming back. I've tried to keep it under control by going to the gym but frankly, it just isn't the same with the calories eaten, calories burned ratio. It's high time I've paid attention to my diet, and I think Paleo is a great place to start.

Currently, I'm unsure but I think I'm 210 pounds (ugh) but I still consider myself physically fit, though I would love to lose all the fat in my belly. I can run a 5k for sub 24 minutes (my best at 21) if that's any indicator, I like (HATE) to run for cardio and I usually do complex circuits in the gym (bear complex, Stronglifts etc.). But well, enough about me: here are my goals!

1) To maintain a strict Paleo diet (as prescribed by Steve and Mark's Daily Apple) for the next 28 days, with all the trimmings (no soda, no cakes, the whole nine yards)

2) To get to the gym at least 3 times a week, to run at least 4 times at varying distances and intensities.

3) To get rid of my belly (not have abs, mind you, just to get rid of all the fat)

3.1) To fit into some of my old shirts, the ones I wore during my "thin" days 18 pounds ago.

Basically that's it, it might not seem like much but this diet is such a departure from what I'm used to (being Asian, eating rice at every meal) but I'm sure with the help, guidance and accountability of the Rebel Army, I'll get through this!

Let me know your thoughts, tips and recipes! I can't wait to get this started.

P.S

If you guys want to see what I looked like before I took up rowing, just let me know! Haha it's quite funny (and it makes me damn proud of what I've accomplished). Zero to hero... NAT. Cheers.

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Day 1 Today! Huge success, who knew I could last a day without rice (or any kind of grain)! This is officially a first, in my 22 years of existence.

I had my version of a big salad today for dinner, with more or less successful results. I need more stuff to put into it though, any suggestions? I had lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers (very nice), carrots (not so nice) and a pan-fried chicken breast. I put some olive oil and balsamic vinegar on it, plus a few dashes of parmesan cheese.

Lunch was basically sauteed vegetables and fish.

I feel epic to be honest, just got home from the gym too where I did some chest exercises plus the bear circuit. Couldn't put some time in the treadmill, but I'll make sure to do that tomorrow. Wuhoo.

Another big challenge tomorrow: Today I had the day off and had the comforts of my crisper in the refrigerator, tomorrow I gots work and I'm not sure if my lettuce will keep till lunch in the office. Here's to hoping! Catch you tomorrow!

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Congrats on your first Primal Day! It'll be an adjustment but hang in there and you'll love it. Do you notice how you just feel lighter and more energetic? Remind yourself of this every time you're tempted by the grains.

In salads, I have avocado, carrots, celery, cucumber, broccoli, cauliflower, tomatos, bacon bits, orange pieces, apple strawberries, nuts, craisons (high in sugar, don't eat too much), or cheese (cheese is primal to some, others not. It's your call. Cheese doesn't bug my digestive system and I need the calcium, so I eat it).

Lettice travels well as long as you keep the dressing in another container. I use a bag for the salad stuff, and dressing in the container, then add and shake at lunch time. And then I reuse the bag the next day.

Keep it up, man!

"Let another say. 'Perhaps the worst will not happen.' You yourself must say. 'Well, what if it does happen? Let us see who wins!' ".

- Seneca, 63 AD

"There is no better way to fight weakness than with strength." - Henry Rollins

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Hi! glad to have fellow ex-rower on my NF team. It's been about 5 years since I stopped rowing in college, but I still regularly use motivation and off water training learned from rowing. I have a hard time now pushing myself as hard as I did when I was on a team, but I try. My sister coaches at a college, so if I am looking for someone to get me off my butt, it is only a call away.

The Paleo diet looks pretty intense. I had never heard of it until this site, but you'll have to tell me how it goes. It seems like a good way to push a lot of junk out of your diet.

Good luck with your goals :)

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Welcome to the rebellion, and also to our team!!

The Paleo diet looks pretty intense. I had never heard of it until this site, but you'll have to tell me how it goes. It seems like a good way to push a lot of junk out of your diet.

Good luck with your goals :)

Paleo is pretty great, once you get used to not eating grain based products. The transition is somewhat hard, but once you are doing it for a while it gets a lot easier. I have been doing it since late April/early May with pretty good success.

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Hey team mates! I'm already on day 5 of the Paleo diet and there is still no signs of letting up, it's going pretty epic. I just keep myself full with big salads (once a day, at least) and protein (so far I've only focused on chicken breasts, but I can't wait to try out new recipes for easy protein--any suggestions?)

Hi! glad to have fellow ex-rower on my NF team. It's been about 5 years since I stopped rowing in college, but I still regularly use motivation and off water training learned from rowing. I have a hard time now pushing myself as hard as I did when I was on a team, but I try. My sister coaches at a college, so if I am looking for someone to get me off my butt, it is only a call away.

Hey lwow! I know, I'm pretty stoked too. Did you row for your varsity college also? I can't wait to swap stories, recently my team (the one I just graduated from) went to our yearly regatta in Malaysia and these British guys came out of nowhere and creamed them HAHAHA. I would've been creamed too if I were in their position, but at least they still placed in both their categories (eights and fours). It's just a simple fact, rowing is a height sport. I'm one of the taller guys in my crew and I'm 5'9 or something. Those Brits looked at least 6'0 on average.

I miss the water really. Here in the Philippines, my school is the last surviving university with a rowing team so the only way for one to row is to be part of it. Either that or join the National Team. Either way, I'm jealous! You still go out on a row these days?

Welcome to the rebellion, and also to our team!!

Thanks, aye aye Captain!

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So far so good, I'm having a blast with the Paleo diet. It really is true what they say, good food keeps you full longer. I only crave (or want to cave) into eating carbs when I'm hungry and I have no food for myself. Once I get down to eating some protein and a salad, I'm good till the next meal time.

With a lot of preparation and foresight, Paleo isn't as hard as I thought it would be. Paired with the right exercise plan, I think I can finally achieve the results I want.

Hey guys, do you know any other easy recipes there for protein? So far I'm just sticking with the easy chicken breast, I marinate, saran-wrap them (however, way you spell it HAHA) and I put it in the freezer. Pop them out to defrost and pan-fry with a hint of olive oil when I'm hungry. Super safe, super accessible.

Anyway it's the weekend! I'm proud to say I went out last night with my friends and I didn't touch any beer or hard drinks, all for the sake of this challenge! It was tempting but if there's a will, there's a way haha! Cheers!

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Almost a week and a half into this thing and it's been great. Though I can't say that I am seeing any tangible results as yet, I do feel good and I plan to stick it till the end of this challenge.

I went to the grocery last weekend and I bought a ton of stuff. I bought so much chicken, I couldn't help but be happy at the counter. The cashier gave me a look, but I didn't give a fu--haha. Anyway, I went over to Mark's Daily Apple and referenced his Meat Lover's Guide to Marinating Meat (Plus 10 Primal Marinades) http://www.marksdailyapple.com/how-to-marinate-meat/ to make my Paleo journey much more tasty. I tried out the Tandoori marinade (lots of yogurt) and the Grilled Chicken Marinade.

I have yet to try the (1 kg worth) of Grilled Chicken Marinade I made but the Tandoori turned out well, though I think it could be better with more spices. To anyone who want to try it, I suggest you don't skimp on the paprika/cumin/turmeric as I think that's what makes the Tandoori, exactly that, Tandoori. And the yogurt of course! Cooking new things really motivates eating healthy, I kid you not. I would recommend doing this to everyone.

On the exercise front, I went yesterday to the gym and did the Bear complex (50 pounds plus bar) basically a sequence of a clean, front squat, overhead raise, normal weighted squat,then overhead raise x 5 = 1 Bear sequence x five sets. Before that I ran for 20 minutes, a steady state of 6.5miles per hour and then did a Chest press (100+bar) for five reps, five sets. Pretty grueling, I hope it's enough to induce some results.

Here's to another week of no grains and healthy eating! Cheers <3

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Where'd you get the Bear sequence? That looks awesome.

Excellent job keeping eating interesting. That is absolutely the KEY to surviving primal.

"Let another say. 'Perhaps the worst will not happen.' You yourself must say. 'Well, what if it does happen? Let us see who wins!' ".

- Seneca, 63 AD

"There is no better way to fight weakness than with strength." - Henry Rollins

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Looks like you are doing great. Thanks for the marinating links, I think I'll test some out on my room mates.

I rowed varsity at west virginia university, and you aren't kidding, height is everything. I am 5'8" and was the shortest one on the team. It was weird when I stopped rowing to be in the real world and realize that I am actually pretty tall for a girl.

My parents still row and my sister coaches at a university, so I still hear about rowing but I haven't been on the water in a long time. I still hit the erg at the gym, but mostly for a warm up, no hour long pieces or pyramids or anything. I have considered buying one so I can just hop on at home and watch TV while I row, but I haven't found any used ones for sale close to me and they are pretty expensive.

Have you ever seen the challenges that concept II puts out? I keep meaning to the do the holiday challenge (100k or 200k meters from Thanksgiving Day to Christmas Day) every year, but I don't see myself keeping it up going to the gym every single day. Check it out here:

http://www.concept2.com/us/motivation/c ... lendar.asp

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Hey, good job on the eating front. I was wondering about you, as I hadn't seen a post recently and the Typhoon in the Philippines was all over the news. I may have to try out the Tandoori marinade some time. I have a bad habit of not planning ahead long enough to actually marinate something.

The typhoon was intense but mostly in the North. The Capital of the Philippines, Manila, is in the southern part of the northern region (if that makes sense) and we only suffered 1/10th of the damage they had up there in the north. Very strong winds. This was nothing compared to the storm last year which had a lot of parts of Manila flooded up to the 2nd story. I kid you not, these aren't homes you see on TV. These were the homes of my friends living in posh villages, it was intense. Global warming for you. Thankfully, my house was spared from any flood (housing 5 of my rowing crewmates for 12 hours, since we had training that day). Though I couldn't say the same for the street next to mine, it was practically a river. It was that bad.

ANYWAY. Speaking of planning ahead, oh my god it could not be more simple. Just buy a bunch of chicken breasts (I personally like thigh/leg parts myself but the breast is infinitely healthier I hear) and marinate it for 2 hours (or overnight if Tandoori/check recipe) and then after, just saran-wrap them and they go straight to the freezer. Just pop some out, defrost in the microwave and bake/stir-fry. Trust me.

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Where'd you get the Bear sequence? That looks awesome.

Excellent job keeping eating interesting. That is absolutely the KEY to surviving primal.

I know! Any recipe marinades?

Basically the Bear sequence is a combination of exercises I learned from my rowing training days: namely high-pull, front squat, overhead press, back squat etc. It emphasizes full body movement and circuit training (cardio component): it's super tiring. Check this video out (the girl is too epic, I can't take it.)

Have you ever seen the challenges that concept II puts out? I keep meaning to the do the holiday challenge (100k or 200k meters from Thanksgiving Day to Christmas Day) every year, but I don't see myself keeping it up going to the gym every single day. Check it out here:

http://www.concept2.com/us/motivation/c ... lendar.asp

All the time! But I have no access to a rowing machine right now, if ever I did, I would not go for the distance legs. They are killer! Go try out those marinades, they rock!

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Still going strong with the Paleo diet, lots of temptations around the office though but I've kept my resolve strong! It's not easy working in a language school (Spanish to be exact) where the concept of fiesta is not to be taken lightly. We celebrate everything down here, with croquettas, paella and CAKE. Nothing I can eat! But it's okay, almost halfway through this challenge.

Almost time to go to the grocery again, I've almost burned through my 3kg of chicken breasts. This time around I'm going to get chicken thighs, fuller flavor definitely and I prefer dark meat over white meat anytime. Any thoughts on this? I've read that there isn't much difference in calories and cholesterol.

Also I realize I need more breakfast options! I don't want to eat 2-4 eggs each morning, any other breakfast ideas? Other than an omelette?

Thanks guys! Keep going!

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Hey guys! I just finished my last day at my office (thank God, I hope they don't call me back anymore) where I do freelance design and event planning for them. Anyway, whatever. The point is, I'm planning to branch out on my own for a while. It's exciting stuff, I have a plan and all. Exciting things--bottomline is, I'm going to have more time to go to the gym. Work's been such a distraction honestly, but the great thing is--I've kept up with my diet which is my #1 goal. I can honestly say I am loving the life without carbohydrates. I feel brighter for some reason, if that makes sense. Springy. Whatever haha!

In other news, it's Halloween and my sister is throwing her yearly party, with costumes and like a ton of people. I invited like 20 of my friends and I'm just going to go out and say it now: I plan to get sloshed. This could be very detrimental to my diet, with all the soda and all. I haven't touched anything but water for almost three weeks so I deserve this (nat)! I don't plan to drink beer but I definitely can't drink the hard stuff without the sugar. I am so stoked.

Hope everybody has a good week! Enjoy the holidays (this might sound odd but here in the Philippines, Halloween is definitely a holiday--All Souls Day and all that stuff * Semester break), don't break your diets though! Cheers.

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So far so good, 22 days in people! I'm still going strong with the Paleo diet, though a few missteps here and there (some more deliberate than others) but otherwise I'm still hanging on. Maybe I should do this in list form haha.

The good stuff and tips to keep up with the diet:

1. Batch cooking--basically buy a lot of meat at the start of the week (in my case, chicken thighs and breasts) and I marinate them all at once. Let's say 2kgs all together and then I saran wrap them individually (or in pairs) and put them in the freezer. Basically whenever I go hungry or I need to make packed lunch, I pop them into the microwave to defrost for 5 minutes then they spend 45 minutes in the oven. Or you could pan fry with a little bit of Olive oil and they're good to go! Pack with a salad and that's it! Such a timesaver and I really love chicken! I could give you guys some marinades I like if you're interested.

2. EGGS--easiest thing to eat in the morning, I just vary the toppings.

3. Soups! Great things to eat to switch it up a bit.

The bad stuff:

1. I accidentally ate corn at a restaurant, not fully knowing that it isn't for the Paleo diet. No big, I didn't eat like a tub full but I ate the corn and carrots as opposed to going for the mashed potato. Lesser of two evils, right?

2. Soda + Alcohol. A night of soda at my sister's party, well mission accomplished I got buzzed but I'm sure it didn't help.

3. Here at our house, they love cooking string beans in all sorts of dishes and I know that's a no-no for the Paleo diet but I still eat it. It's still vegetables, right?

There you go! So far, so good. I love the feel of this diet, truly! I feel springy most of the time. And to me it is so much more than a diet now, I honestly don't feel bad about the stuff I eat anymore (and that is such a good feeling). I don't have to feel behind if I skip the gym to go do other important things because I know I'm keeping it together with the diet. I know by going to the gym could help me a lot, or even make the weight go by faster but with this diet/lifestyle, I know I'm doing my body good.

Just today, my friend makes homemade cottage cheese (they're the best, I swear). She whips some out with nachos, I was so tempted to eat the nachos but my friend knew about my diet so she brought out lettuce leaves instead so I could still have some of the cheese! It was a total win! Augh, can't get over it.

Now all I have to do is haul ass to the gym, honestly lwow and CapN_Tommy I don't know how you guys get up in the morning and get your exercise on. I'm just lazy, I need to go get my training days groove back. All for now! Cheers and good luck.

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Doing my exercise routine first thing in the morning is probably the best option for me, as I cannot use the excuses of the day to justify skipping a workout. As long as I make it out of bed, it is going to happen. I can't say: "I had a bad day at work, so I am allowed to skip it today". Now that I am in the routine and sleeping a lot better, I am finding that I am waking up about 10 - 15 minutes before my alarm anyway, so I really have no excuses now.

As far as string beans go, I think that is a personal choice for paleo eating. The dried beans are out, but fresh beans should count as a vegetable (I count them, anyway).

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As long as I make it out of bed, it is going to happen. I can't say: "I had a bad day at work, so I am allowed to skip it today".

1000x this. I will admit that the first few times are definitely rough, but it gets easier. Apart from eliminating excuses for not going to the gym, it honestly just feels so good when you think about it at say, 1130am, and you think, "Hey, wait. Gym = done. Now what to do tonight?" So worth it.

 

"Did you go to the gym when you were alive?"
"I died in 1938. For exercise, we drank sloe gin and smoked Lucky Strikes."
- Dead Like Me

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As long as I make it out of bed, it is going to happen. I can't say: "I had a bad day at work, so I am allowed to skip it today".

1000x this. I will admit that the first few times are definitely rough, but it gets easier. Apart from eliminating excuses for not going to the gym, it honestly just feels so good when you think about it at say, 1130am, and you think, "Hey, wait. Gym = done. Now what to do tonight?" So worth it.

I am totally going to work on this. Thanks guys! Time to get up and hit it!

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If you find that you are able to get your afternoon/evening workouts done, then that seems fine. Personally, it just gives me all day to sit and think of excuses not to go. Or work runs late, or friends invite me to dinner. If I can get myself up early in the morning there is nothing else to be doing then. Another benefit is that all day when I have food temptations, I think "not worth it, I worked hard this morning and I am not undoing that for a doughnut" versus, "I can eat that doughnut because I am going to work hard tonight"

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Good news, I got myself to the gym today! Rundown of what I did:

I weight myself. At the beginning of this challenge, I weighed around 208 lbs at a 5'9 1/2 slash 5'10 frame. Right now I weigh around 204 lbs and I feel great about it. It might not seem like a lot (I know it's not a lot) but I feel like the Paleo diet is redistributing my weight around in all the right places. My old clothes are starting to fit again and for me, that's the greatest sign.

At any rate, I ran a 20 minute piece at 6.5 mi/hour for 17 minutes, 7.5 mi/hour the next two and then 8.5 mi/h for the last minute. I used to run faster but that's all I could pump out there. After that I did some 5x5 influenced bench press, 50lbs each side + bar. Then I did the Bear Complex, 25 lbs each side + bar going up to 27.5 lbs each side, 5 reps x 5 sets.

My legs are wiped! Good feeling. When exactly is the 28 day challenge going to end? I don't know if I'll be able to go online since I'm marshaling a triathlon this weekend, out of town, I'll be part of the 2000 meter swim leg! I'll personally be on a kayak or a jetski (it's open water) so no, I won't get a workout. I can't even swim properly so yeah. Going to get my tan on for sure (I hope).

Congratulations to everyone in advance! Keep on trucking!

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Since I won't be here for Challenge's end, I guess this is a good a time as any to evaluate my goals prior to the 30 day challenge. I know I wasn't stellar but I'm proud of what I set out to do, and more importantly, what I accomplished.

1) To maintain a strict Paleo diet (as prescribed by Steve and Mark's Daily Apple) for the next 28 days, with all the trimmings (no soda, no cakes, the whole nine yards) B+

Yeah, a B+ for sure. To the best of my ability, I stuck out the basic principles of Paleo from day one up until now. I have not touched bread (smelled, yes), rice, cakes or pasta. Nothing. I giant step from my three meals a day with a cup or two of rice. I can't believe it up until now actually, the transition was not at all hard as long as you keep yourself ready with fruits and vegetables for snacks. But more importantly, the meat factor to keep you satiated during the day.

In the areas where I failed, are the following: one was in keeping with the hardcore tenets of no beans, even string beans. I don't know, at my house, our helper always prepares string beans as the go to vegetables for most of her dishes. It's no muss, no fuss. It's not dried, it's still very green but I know it's not part of the Paleo diet but for me, it's still a vegetable so I eat it. Other areas where I failed are eating breading for fried chicken (too hassle to sludge off). Drinking soda (two occasions, with hard drinks) and beer (3 bottles/was not worth it but I couldn't reject my friend's offer) and that's that. I look forward to continuing this Paleo lifestyle for the following months, and hopefully, reap all the benefits.

2) To get to the gym at least 3 times a week, to run at least 4 times at varying distances and intensities. C-

Basically I slacked in this department. Out of the past 28 days, I only got to go to the gym (ergo run) for a total of 4 times. Pitiful but hey, like I said, the diet was my main concern (work kind of got in the way) but now that I have more confidence in my diet, I'll make the exercise my main goal next challenge.

3) To get rid of my belly (not have abs, mind you, just to get rid of all the fat) B+

3.1) To fit into some of my old shirts, the ones I wore during my "thin" days 18 pounds ago.

I've only lost 4 odd pounds but that doesn't matter, I'm fitting into my old jersey again (score) and my old clothes are starting to fit again. Great sign!

All in all, I feel like I succeeded in my main goal and I look forward to doing it again next challenge, this time with a tighter exercise regime.

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