If it works for a SEAL…

Good word from DR. Harris at Panu. I don’t want to just copy and paste that piece here but I do want to throw in some observations. Dr. Harris’ Brother in Law, Jason (who is a SEAL):

1-Started doing CF and saw dramatic improvements in his work related performance. Not too surprising, swapping out flutter kicks and high volume running for OL-complexes and more variety. Makes complete sense. And there is data to support this.

2-Jason changed his food along Zone parameters, eventually getting to 3-4x fat and saw vast improvements in his body composition and performance.

3-Jason then dropped his carb intake (shifting to fruit and veggies only), ate the bulk of his carbs post work out,  upped his protein and fat…started doing intermittent fasting…and crushed all his previous benchmarks.

I have almost 1300 testimonial virtually identical to the above from people in every conceivable profession and walk of life. So much for my lack of data and clinical experience! I’ve been approached by a few statisticians to analyze that data and we might tackle that at some point. The problem is I would need to harvest and organize that information from thousands of emails…unfortunately I have not been entering the data into and XL spreadsheet for the past few years…yeesh.

The take home here is “Shift the bulk of your fueling along ancestral lines and you will see optimized performance”. The only place I see this breaking down is EVENT epecific nutrition (100mile foot race, tour de France) or if we need to build a 300lb lineman for football. In the case of the former we’d likely benefit from some liquid nutrition like maltodextrin and whey protein, in the later we’d certainly benefit from a Gallon of milk per day. Other than these extreme outlies however we consistently see folks perform best on somehting akin to the ancestral diet.

Coach Glassman has a great line “The Paleo diet is compelling, but largely anecdotal…”

I just need to point out, the existence of the Universe is largeley anecdotal…

So, some kind of ancestral diet appears to fuel optimum performance for most people under most situations. Even SEAL’s. Check.

What about training? Is CrossFit better or worse than the standard PT that has traditionally been used to prep people for BUDS and then for subsequent duty? Well, despite my recent falling out with CrossFit, the truth is CF is far better than the standard PT, even when implemented in a sub-optimal fashion. I’ve seen data on this, and talked to far too many people for this not to be the case. But just becasue CF is better does not mean it is BEST. More on that later.

Right now I want to look at some thoughts Mike Caviston has on CF, nutrition and training. I think my first awareness of Mr. Caviston was when I was asked to write a rebuttal to his article that painted the Zone in a poor light. That rebuttal was supposed to go in the CrossFit Journal, but that’s another story! So, I posted it here in the form of The Zone and Athletic performance. Mr. Caviston also had this to say about CrossFit training in general. Short hand here is how I see all this:

1-Caviston thinks the Zone is inadequate to the needs ot SEALs and operators. CrossFit thinks there is nothing besides the Zone with regards to nutrition. Obviously, I think both are out to lunch. People do far better on the Zone than they do the standard high-carb chow. They do even better when they start tinkering with some kind of higher protein, higher fat paleo oriented eating. The example at Panu simply supports what I have seen now in thousands of people AND it’s a very simple experiment.

2-Caviston thinks CF is inadequate to training SEALS. CrossFit thinks a constantly randomized program ala- CF.com is the best way to train EVERYONE. Here again I disagree with both camps. CF+ some other specific work has produced better results than the previous PT incarnations. An even better approach would be something like CF Football. Agility work, short hard sprints heavy weight lifting, progressive overload, planning…this simply works better.

Is your first exposure to the deadlift better if it is under no metabolic duress, with sets of 3-5, scaled appropriately and then met-con based on movements you have aptitude in, OR is it in a 21, 15, 9 format using PVC, or weight that produces “20% slop”? I think the planned structured program is better. I’ve played both ways…you tinker and make your own conclusions.

So, perhaps you can boil the whole thing down to:

1-A planned, structured approach to training works best. There are logical progressions for various movements, and appropriate times to introduce movements. Strength is the foundation of strength-endurance. Strength & Conditioning is a balancing act between the general needs of an individual and the specific demands they will face.

2-Something approximating an ancestral diet fuels optimum performance in most situations.

Categories: CrossFit, Paleo Diet Basics, Zone Diet


Robb Wolf’s 30 Day Paleo Transformation

Have you heard about the Paleo diet and were curious about how to get started? Or maybe you’ve been trying Paleo for a while but have questions or aren’t sure what the right exercise program is for you? Or maybe you just want a 30-day meal plan and shopping list to make things easier? Then Robb Wolf’s 30 Day Paleo Transformation is for you.


  1. says

    Happy Holidays, Robb.

    Well said, “I just need to point out, the existence of the Universe is largeley anecdotal…” It’s conjectures and refutations; that’s how we operate.



  2. says

    Hey Robb

    Hope you and Nikki are having a great holiday season. On this post, agree and 1/4 disagree, but I may have read this wrong off the blog even.

    Nutrition-wise totally agree with Paleo and the quality first before quantity comes into play (for most people).

    But with the training in regards to CF and specific training, I feel that CFFB and Welborn address this best. CF in and of itself is a great GPP program, even off of CF.com. However, that’s not what everyone is looking for, and even for elite level Crossfitter’s, .com programming isn’t going to win the games. That’s the foundations.

    Programs like Endurance and CFFB, designed under CF, though they are strongly under-emphasized in some aspect can bring the specificity that CF in itself lacks. In cases where specificness is necessary, such as FB, there must be more then just CF. If you look at most fitters, they are typically smaller and lean, and not able to run over a 260lb linebacker (easily). CFFB strength+CF keeps mass and power while encompassing specific GPP as well. For GENERAL POPULATION, CF will work. If I were in any level of US Armed Forces though, I would want more then just CF training, such as a environmental + weapons training, along with CF mixed with weapons or closed combat training as well.

    So regardless of the programming, if competitive or combat related, Cf works great for a base model, but you should always train above the level that you need to compete at.

    Just another view and my two cents.

    Thanks again for all the great podcast and help out with your blog, and thanks to Nikki for her blogs as well and helping others in development of their gyms.

  3. Kevin Perry says

    If someone has no interest in the constantly varied thing and just wants to be strong and decently conditioned won’t they just be better served by lifting heavy and doing sprints and intervals? Hell that’s where my focus will be for 2010.

  4. Steve says

    Great post. And I believe this kind of post is the best way to move forward with the CFHQ problem from this point on. I am being asked by people what did you do to lose fifty pounds and I tell go visit Robb Wolf’s site. This post covers your back side without all of the drama and thus will not turn off the newbies to your site.

  5. says

    Mike Caviston’s main error is not understanding that CrossFit is a GPP program meant to be combined with specific training as work and/or sport demand. CrossFit encourages BJJ guys to train CrossFit and BJJ, distance runners to train CrossFit and extra running (i.e. CrossFit endurance), and SOF candidates to train CrossFit plus specific training (swimming, rucking, calisthenics, distance running, etc.)

    As for your points, Robb, I have no doubt that your methods are effective. The people who use your methods do tend to become fitter. I have not seen enough performance data to support your assertion that strength-biased programming combined with lower carb nutrition is SUPERIOR methodology.

    It is not enough to show people who improved their fitness using your methods. I also have ample examples of people who have improved their fitness dramatically using contrary methodology. Charlie Dunifer, for example, eats higher carb than Zone recommends and has a 36 round Cindy and 455 lb. deadlift to show for it. Kari Utz tried a lower carb approach inspired by your nutrition cert, and sufferred sustained, long-term, and significant performance loss. Upon returning closer to Zone parameters her performance quickly returned to previous levels and began climbing again. As far as I can tell, Mikko Salo and Moe Kelsey are not even a little bit afraid of frequently training longer “metcons”. Moe competes in triathlons regularly and Mikko performs several extended “metcons” per day.

    In order to make an effective argument that lower carb and paleo eating combined with strength specialized training is a superior method, you will need to show me not just improvement in fitness, but consistently higher levels of performance than those achieved by different methods.

    If the top 15 guys and gals in next years games are predominantly lower carb/ barbell strength specialized trainers, then you have my word that I will start specializing in barbell strength and cut my carb intake in half. Until then, your high level of confidence in the superiority of your methodology is misplaced.

    • says

      You are spot on and there is no doubt some serious selection bias is represented on this blog. How many people migrate here and do NOT benefit from a lower carb intake and just never mention that? Impossible to tell. In the example of Joe Friel he transitioned from a high carb, grain based diet to a relatively high carb paleo diet and saw improvements. I think that food quality issue pops up pretty consistently. From there it’s a matter of finding optimized intake levels. Focussing on PWO nutrition goes a long way to drive this but there is obviously no singular magic ratio that looks anything like 40-30-30.

      so, yea, I need to make sure the message is “food quality, appropriate macros” as opposed to “quality and low carb”. That is a more accurate an encompassing message.

  6. Dave Wells CF Lovela says

    Love the post and your podcasts! My own results, nothing to brag about, but mirror what you talk about in nutrition. For a year I zoned hard. Once I started trying the paleo aproach I feel better and perform better. My clients are making similar progress and we are performing better with a progression built into our training as well. Also we aren’t beat to hell all the time! Hopefully CF will come to its senses. Thanks for your great work and Merry Christmas!

  7. JFlorian says

    Regarding your first point about Jason the SEAL: his work related performance is not a PT test. It is about hitting targets and coming home. Not sure any PT test makes you better at that. Obviously fitness is important but if he or any other SEAL, SF, MARSOC, PJ, etc. spends all of their time doing PT and shoots once a week (and some SEALS only shoot once a week) then his WORK performance will suffer. Caviston stated that Crossfit was not optimal for preparing BUD/S candidates for BUD/S and he is right. Why anyone with train with a random approach to a known objective is beyond me. As far as the ZONE goes, it is entirely impossible to consume appropriate ZONE portions if you are indeed operational. Mountain passes and FOBs don’t make the ZONE diet doable. I agree with eating Paleo however when it is possible but even that is not always possible. I’ve never been a fan of Crossfit as a fitness program due to it’s randomness and I’ve never tried to hide that from anyone. I think Rob Shaul and Ross Enamait are smart enough to know how to program for military operators (Ross is not military but his work lays out ways to program your own workouts). I know some will disagree with me about my thoughts on Crossfit and that is fine. I’ve done my time in the crap holes and I know what worked for me. That’s all the anecdotal evidence I need. Keep up the good work Robb.

  8. Joey says

    … it’ll work for a firefighter as well! Robb thanks for all the amazing info. I have been CF’ing for over 2 years and recently shifted to CF Football programming the last couple of months. I have seen increases in my strength and overall performance, even though my crazy schedule doesn’t allow me to follow it perfectly (work, 2 kids under age 3 etc). With the switch to CF Football, I have been going more paleo in all my meals. I was doing an eyeball approach to the zone, but even that was a pain when I was the only one @ work or home eating that way. While I still incorporate dairy, I have drastically cut back most other carbs (breads, rice, pasta) and beans, and use only those as sparingly as possible (again, kind of hard @ work when others are cooking). I feel that my diet change has been the single biggest reason for my continued increases in strength and conditioning. While lately my sleep has been less than ideal, my energy level is better than when I was eating like crap. This stuff works, and I will continue to eat as close to paleo as possible!

  9. Justin says

    Thanks for all you do. Two questions:

    1. I realize you haven’t had time to do a major statistical analysis, but could you describe the source of the data behind your beliefs–i.e. what kind of data do you really have? I’m perfectly prepared to accept that these are things you’ve learned from training thousands of people (many important things are learned through experience, as opposed to “data”), but do you really have data that could be analyzed by a statistician?

    Relatedly, is this similar to the somewhat mysterious “data” behind crossfit’s “data driven approach?” There’s a lot of talk in crossfit about being data driven, but (as Caviston points out) all this data never seems to be available.

    2. Caviston says:

    “In fact, recent trends such as better PST scores, fewer performance failures/rolls/drops, fewer medical drops, and especially, more Hell Week successes – can all be attributed in part to the structured approach to training promoted in the Physical Training Guide and the NSW Prep Course. ”

    Is this “approach to training” from the PTG and the NSW traditional military PT or is it something else?

    • says

      From a legit, scientific perspective the information i have is at best interesting, possibly influential. there are some interesting trends…but that’s about it.

  10. Drew says

    Hey Robb,

    Love the podcasts and the nutrition info and everything. Just wanted to give a little input on this, I don’t know if continuing to bring up the whole HQ debacle is beneficial. I think the way you’ve handled this has been very mature, and HQ has been a bit ridiculous. I’m just hoping to avoid seeing the posts addressing the HQ conflict rather than nutrition. I know Greg Glassman was out of line throwing false accusations at you, and hope you continue to be the “bigger man”. Thanks for the great nutrition guidance, and good luck in 2010!

  11. ASD says

    Harvested data from emails seems like pretty uncompelling evidence, as it will suffer from a huge dose of survivorship bias as well as a lack of control.

    OTOH, you don’t need a particularly big study to get strong evidence. 10-20 subjects can be plenty if the difference in effect is big and you select them reasonably well. For instance, to show a big difference in effect amongst white, athletic guys 25-40 you should be fine with just randomly assigning 20 guys, with those characteristics, in two groups and follow their results for maybe 2-3 months.

  12. says


    What is your take on the recommendations Dr Harris provides for the paleo diet. He doesn’t recommend vegetable intake (from what I can tell) and recommends a ton of butter and cream intake.

    What about his comments on Nuts? and nut oils? and not using them?

    Dr Cordain recommends a few nut oils on his website (or did, cant find it)?

    Also, I keep getting mixed understandings on Saturated fat and fat intake in general as Cordain suggests trimming meats and staying away from sat fat while you recommend large amounts of Coconut and Dr Harris suggests all grassfed fat and pasteured dairy fat to be ideal.



  13. Jason says

    I think you are on the right track with the lifting heavy and sprints/intervals. I’m in the process of deciding what to do with my training after the holidays, right now I’m leaning towards heavy lifting 2-3 days a week with 2-3 days for conditioning (sprints and some type of 5-15 min. metcon). Maybe lift heavy M,W,F ; Tuesday sprints, Sat metcon. Thoughts?

  14. Xi Xia says

    I do Paleo and I feel great.

    HOwever, I find this reoccuring observation of Zone-to Paleo and then ensuing increase in performance to be often confounded by the fact of experience with training (whatever you maybe be following CF, CFFB, etc.).

    Almost all the stories I hear are the individual started out with CF, set benchmarks. they changed to Zone and saw weight loss and an increase in performance in those benchmarks and they feel better. Later, they switch to Paleo, feel even better, and the performance in those benchmarks increase again. I have no doubt that the change in diet makes them feel better. However, their increase in performance could be simply from more training hours logged in the gym. As they become more profiicient and efficient with the movements in their respective benchmarks, the times on those workotus start to improve.

    Are there any stories of starting CF with Paleo, setting benchmarks, and then switching to Zone, and seeing how performance changed? I wouldn’t be surprised if performance for some would increase in this set of circumstances as well.

    Just a thought

  15. says

    Great comment Robb. As we know, the only people who try and argue with the above, are the ones who haven’t tried it 😉

    Keep up the good work. I’ve been finding myself on this site more and more lately.

  16. says

    Robb, good thoughts in this article. I agree entirely with not siding on either CF’s or Caviston’s point of view. I further find it despicable on CF’s behalf that they continue to ignore anecdotal evidence from Paleo followers.

    Kevin Perry
    Posted December 26, 2009 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

    “If someone has no interest in the constantly varied thing and just wants to be strong and decently conditioned won’t they just be better served by lifting heavy and doing sprints and intervals? Hell that’s where my focus will be for 2010.”

    Dude, this is me as well. I’ll work on my METCON as I approach the last few months preceeding the 2012 CF Games. :)

  17. George says

    I disagree with ya on the CF thing Robb.

    I’ve carried Seals around the world, they don’t do shit but sleep on the plane ride. The majority of their time is spent operating, not in the gym. I’ve seen em sleep for 16 hours straight on a plane. They don’t want to get their ass kicked, they want to recover, just like the NBA teams you’ve been touting in your podcasts.

    The Zone is horrible for operators, just like JFlorian said. You’ve also said it yourself Robb when talking about CF Games recovery meals. Fuck the Zone – its not needed. They need fuel to keep going. Paleo isn’t an option most of the time either, even though I agree it would be better overall.

    I suggest we start moving away from the SEAL talk. They are a select group of individuals who know how to ruin a lot of people’s day and they don’t need any help from the outside community. For God’s sake they put 3 bullets dead on from one boat to another, with waves hitting the boats, in sync to those pirates. They don’t need our help!

  18. AB says

    Hmm, it is so interesting to read the perspective about planning vs.randomness. From the very start of my CF experience, I wondered what the method was behind the programming at the facilities where I was training. To me it seemed logical that if you wanted to improve at a certain skill or workout (ie Fran etc.) you would want to make sure you strategically integrated those movements into workouts over time to improve your Fran time. Not many people are doing it that way as I have discovered. But yours is the first i have read that aligns with what I have suspected all along. I was just sitting down to do my January programming too, so this is good news.

    On the nutrition front, I have had incredible body comp improvements myself by using the Zone/Paleo combo. I lean toward fresh, real food, and leave out the dairy and processed stuff as much as possible. I also integrated 2-3x fat which made my fat loss incredibly quicker. I did not think it was possible at 44 to experience such a change or to be lifting the amount of weight I have been. But since CF, 3xs a week O-Lifting sessions and Paleo/Zone, everything has changed for the positive….

    I just wonder how it is possible for there to be so much credible information available within easy reach and so many people refuse to think for themselves and not just take someone else’s word for everything.

    Thanks for your insights. I don’t always agree with everything, but I do respect your knowledge and perspectives.

  19. Chad Cilli says


    Have you seen Rob Ord’s website Brass Ring Fitness? It’s like sport specific training for warriors. After attending the Crossfit Football cert and talking with John Welbourn, it is my belief that all training must be sport specific. CF is great for general fitness, but for anyone training for a purpose, the training has to tweaked and adjusted to focus on the demands of their chosen event.

    In the case of BUD/S and other spec ops training, standard PT may not be the best way to develop “fitness,” but doing Crossfit is not going to prepare you for PT sessions like 1000 flutter kicks. I would consider that “sport” specific. After all, some of the training such as SFAS is really more like a competition than preparation. There’s plenty of stupid crap too like “hold this log overhead for an unknown length of time.” Further, the PT tests don’t really reflect true fitness either but one has to prepare for them anyways because the Navy/Army/Marines/etc believe that the PT tests have merit. Quick example, the Marines test max crunches and the Air Force PAST actually tests flutter kicks. The requirements? Move your legs 4 count, range of motion is 12 inches max. How is that any measure of fitness or preparedness? You’ve got me, but those who make the rules believe it is important, so you have to train for it.

    Anyways, just my 2 cents. I know this is pretty much in line with what you were saying, but I just thought I’d take the moment to point out how absurd some of the PT tests are.

  20. Dan says

    The only problem I have with all of this is that old mantra, “data is not the plural of anecdote”. What you’ve got is a collection of anecdotes and while they are certainly very compelling, there is no critical mass at which all of your collected stories will suddenly become actual scientific data. So, as much as I really hate to say it, Glassman is right — for now. Even worse, it’s so difficult to do a controlled study on the effect of diet on human performance that we may never have anything other than anecdotal evidence to support the paleo diet.

  21. says

    Harris is great!! Great post… luv those haawwt SEALS.

    HEY DUDE, Holly wants to hear you speak at our gym Diablocrossfit.com 😉 Please come soon dear! Happy holidays to you and Nicki for ALL that you do for our wonderful Paleo community (every growing in span and width).


  22. Stephen says

    Hey Robb, Happy New Year!

    I had sent out a comment earlier regarding my case of familial hypercholesteremia, but didn’t want to follow up until I received my most recent lab results. I’m very careful in monitoring my lipid profile due to this genetic issue and also have a family history of heart disease. I was wondering if you’d have a look and possibly address which of these numbers could be improved upon. Obviously there are “expected ranges” near each one, but as you’ve mentioned, those are all relative to our current population. I’m currently in med school right now and have been doing crossfit for a while and have started following your advice as well as Dr. Harris for the past 3 months. I just finished reading Lights Out and Good Cals, Bad Cals, which provided a ton of interesting information, and definitely no where near what’s being taught to us in school. These values are in addition to 20mg of lipitor a day ( which I stopped after taking these blood tests just to see what the difference would be) and about 5g of carlson’s cod liver oil each morning. I asked for a Vit D test, but I don’t see those numbers anywhere and I also asked for a breakdown of LDL into size particles, which also aren’t present for reasons I can’t explain (expensive too!)

    Glucose – 79, cholesterol – 288, triglycerides – 31, HDL – 61, direct LDL – 222, VLDL – 6, CRP – .21, HbA1C – 5.66, mean blood glucose 102

    I asked the cardiologist if I could get tested for the EPA or DHA to arachadonic acid ratio to check my omega 3:6 ratio. The look on his face was priceless, not only had he never heard of such a test or why that would be relevant, but wouldn’t order me it cause he couldn’t ask for something he didn’t know of. Anyways, I appreciate all your work and can’t wait for the book!

  23. James says

    Good post. I’ve always looked as Crossfit as being a brand name, not something that is completely different from other high intensity types of training. What Glassman did, which was genius by the way, that other people hadn’t done was to put it all together. I think the next step to this type of training is adding the specificity to it. CFFB and Anaerobic Endurance (CFE) has shown this is possible. You could actually add in the Strength Biased program too as the specialty is strength. I know he gets a bad wrap by some, but this is similar to what Twight has done, with having special high intensity programs for certain disciplines, even though he has different theories on some things though. I would argue that the right specialized high intensity training, whether you want to call it CF or not, would be much more effective for BUDs than the traditional programs (Stew Smith and so on) and that those Mr. Caviston suggests. The evolution (yes, everything evolves) of CF the brand doesn’t have to advance for other people, involved with CF or not, to take the same philosophies and advance it for specific sports. As far as the radomized argument, anyone that has programmed for themselves or anyone else knows that it isn’t truly radom. Even the CF.com WOD isn’t truly radom as some think, but more of not set in a specific pattern. I’m not an expert, just someone that is opened minded and loves to learn as much as I can and keep my mind open for what works.

    Robb, love your blog and how you get people thinking.

  24. says

    Right on, Robb. I know this sentiment has been expressed before, but it bears repeating: once someone begins to twist a theory beyond it’s practical and useful simplicity, it’s time to head for the door (while keeping a firm grip on the ol’ wallet). By the way, I’m loving the podcast. Keep’ em coming – I’ve got two hours worth of commuting a day, and I need to prevent brain rot.

  25. richard says

    First of all, I am in the Navy, not a SEAL, not spec ops, but just a surface warfare officer accustomed to navigating a ship in the middle of the night in the tanker-laden Arabian Gulf. I’ve even had to stand bridge watch for 8 hours at a time as we drove through the straights of hormuz and the straights of malacca. my point, if i had been following a zone diet and measuring all the pieces of cake i ate on a weekly basis, i would not have survived on such miniscule eating. Zone not only doesn’t work for SEALS or other operators, it doesn’t work for ANYONE in the military. I am constantly feeding my face with protein shakes, peanut butter, meat, fruits, vegetables, jerky, nuts, whatever, to keep my body going out at sea and i definitely don’t eat in blocks or measure what i eat. as far as crossfit being a way to train for specific situations, i think a structured AND a randomized approach works equally well together. i do a lot of strength lifting and a lot of randomized wods and it is good knowing that when and if shit hits the fan, i can keep going with an elevated heart rate and possibly save peoples lives. that’s where randomization works. but i also supplement that with a strength program like Coach Rip’s or Wendler’s 5/3/1 because that strength component is so vital to what we do in the military.

  26. says

    Robb you are the man. Sucks to see your falloutwith HQ but when 3 industry titans (you, Greg and Rip) leave it makes me wonder about the future of CF.
    Any way I’ve dumped 80lbs using your method of eating, as well as proper planning with CF and a balanced functional strength program that I got from the Performance Menu.

    I still love the Constantly varied idea of CF but its seems as if they only want to toss out Certs to unqualified and uneducated people in the world of fitness, A&P and bio-mechanics.

    I have a Master in Health & Sports Science and is sickens me to my core that anyone with $1000 can be certified to train another human being in the intense world of CF.

    Now I am blathering too much, happy holidays

  27. Jay says


    I couldn’t agree more with your training ideas. My concern for Crossfitters in general who follow a programming that “focuses” on random high volume reps with mediocre at best form is NOT the acute injuries so much, which certainly is a concern, and not the lack of efficacy for overall fitness, but the long term degenerative issues for the articular surfaces of the major joints. Having followed Coach Rut’s MEBB style programming for about 8 mos after doing HQ wod for almost 3 yr ,the results are staggering, both in benchmark PR’s, strength, and joint health. I’m sorry, but you can’t tell me doing 300 pullups, for example, in a week ,repeatedly isn’t going to result in elbow and shoulder arthritis down the road. In my opinion, that’s where the HQ protocol will come back to “bite” those with poor programming, if not from any acute injuries from the “slop” as you say. Please continue to challenge the “status quo”, it is very refreshing.

  28. says

    George posted:
    “I suggest we start moving away from the SEAL talk. They are a select group of individuals who know how to ruin a lot of people’s day and they don’t need any help from the outside community. For God’s sake they put 3 bullets dead on from one boat to another, with waves hitting the boats, in sync to those pirates. They don’t need our help!”

    Yah!! SEALS dont need any help Robb!! Either do the MARINES! Stop trying to help us. Lee Harvey Oswald and Charles Whitman were both awesome shooters and Im pretty sure they didnt CF or eat Paleo when they were Marines.

    LOL. “I am Jack’s Smirking Sarcasm” Happy New Years, again!

  29. Joe P says


    I encourage you to start organizing your data, as painful and tedious as it may be. It would be great to see you in a position to argue your opinions with more than anecdotal evidence. CF should do the same, and may the best program win. Happy New Year.

  30. says


    You won’t get any arguments from me against the importance of food quality. In my experience, long term (measured in years) attention to quantity isn’t likely without simultaneous attention to quality as well (though not always up to the rigorous standards of the paleo diet.)

  31. Scott Pauly says

    “I still love the Constantly varied idea of CF but its seems as if they only want to toss out Certs to unqualified and uneducated people in the world of fitness, A&P and bio-mechanics.

    I have a Master in Health & Sports Science and is sickens me to my core that anyone with $1000 can be certified to train another human being in the intense world of CF.”

    Having a Masters is Health & Sports Science DOES NOT necessarily qualify you anymore that some of the people that go to a level one cert. It seems that many people who get degrees feel automatically qualified to be experts. After 21 years in the Fire service the one thing that I have learned is that experience in invaluable. And you don’t get that from a book or a degree, you get by doing. The best trainers in the world have a lot in common, a great understanding of movement, an ability to pick out and correct flaws, and the ability to listen and understand the needs of their trainees, among other things. Don’t ever discount somebody just because they don’t have a piece of paper from an overpriced university. Book learning is one thing, putting it into practice is quite a bit more difficult.

    Robb, you’ve never been better keep it up, if you get to PHX come by.

    Scott pauly
    Crossfit Phoenix

  32. Rafael says

    “Coach Glassman has a great line “The Paleo diet is compelling, but largely anecdotal…”

    I just need to point out, the existence of the Universe is largeley anecdotal…”


  33. Chad Cilli says

    I would be very interested to see what Jason’s programming is like. I’ve been playing with 12-15 hours fasts and working out at the end of the fast since I read this article, and I’m just not sure that it’s optimal. Robb, you and I have spoken about my training, so I’m not going to list it here or what I’m training for, but some of my workouts stretch well beyond an hour. I can only imagine that Jason is sticking to short metcons or heavy lifting.

    Perhaps I’m wrong, and it will just take time for my body to adjust, but on the longer training sessions, I really feel like I’m running on empty. What’s your take on this?

    • says

      I think yes on both counts. Yes, you are running on empty, yes it MAY take more time to adjust…but here’s the thing. CF levels of output are likely too much stress for a protocol like IF. It is WAY beyond what our genetics are wired for on the short side, completely inadequate on the long easy rambling side. Martin at Lean Gains has produced great results with folks, some CF’rs included, but my sense is they are modifying volume and intensity in an intelligent way.

  34. Chad Cilli says

    Thanks Robb, I had a hard time picturing someone doing workouts like Murph, running a 10K, or doing a 2 mile swim at the tail end of a fast. I think it is safe to assume that Jason is training primarily in short metcons.

  35. Johnny Null says

    Dan completely hit the nail on the head. Data is NOT the plural of anecdote. This post is another anecdotal tale. And to call the Universe anecdotal is beyond absurd and shows a lack of understanding between data and anecdote. That being said, I’m keeping an open mind and I will take data and proof as it comes. If a Paleo diet is proven, I will sing its high praises.

    • says

      Awesome Johny, let me know how and when that is “proven”. Also, (since I am sleep deprived from the Lou Mars gig and damn cranky) how EXACTLY is the existence of the universe NOT anecdotal? Show me your lab and your replicated experiment.

  36. Johnny Null says

    Robb: Cool, hope you enjoyed the concert. I have no idea who that person is, but that’s the norm for me.

    Now for me to qualify, I’ve had a bit of rum, so don’t expect a top-notch response.


    If you’ve ever listened to The Fitcast, Dr. John Fass sums this idea up quite well. When people try a new diet, they often claim it works, and this diet is the way that people should go. However, they are committing the logical fallacy of anecdotal evidence. That person has NO idea what aspect of the change has improved their body composition. The results you see can just as easily be found in another person, doing another diet, given the amount of scrutiny and tweaking you employ. If the Paleo diet is truly the be-all and end-all of diets, the tweaking, supplementing, and blood tests would not be necessary. The results you see are extremely similar to people claiming a vegetarian diet is the way to go. But if you do actual experimentation, you find that for most people, the improvements are from the new level of clean-eating, not the removal of meat.

    The existence of the Universe is not anecdotal because we can perform scientific experiments across the globe, and achieve the same result. If your representation of the Universe is anecdotal, we call you crazy. That’s when chairs start talking to you, and you drive a car of pudding. Really, this is covered in day-one of basic physics, and first year philosophy.

    • says

      Thanks Johny-
      We are just now seeing a few metabolic ward type comparisons of paleo vs other approaches. Iso-caloric, qualitiative shifts producing different outcomes. The next layer of complexity beyond calories and insulin appears to be how lectins affect things like Leptin and cck.

      Now, it’s been a long time since I took quantum, but my recollections are that even things like the universal constant are NOT variable based on factors like time. We do not see this on a local level, but we do see this on long time spans. So, these experiments you are talking about are suggestive of and support theories about the universe. But for true experimental replication we need to understand the pre-universe environment (whatever that is) and make another universe. If I’m out to lunch on the quantum stuff, by all means, issue me a beat-down!

      BAcking up a bit, this all stems from a favorite commentary of. Greg Glassman’s about the Paleo diet. That it is interesting, has some compelling anecdotal points, but is not supported experimentally. Interestingly, the Zone is not held to this standard. I guess because it has some numbers associated with it?

      Anyway, thanks for being a good sport. If I am turning chais to pudding, let me know so I can cut that crap out! I tried to leave that stuff in my college days.

  37. Johnny Null says


    Please allow me to lead with the fact I know very little about quantum physics. I know only the bits that I have read or heard online. So you’re a bit beyond me there. But to leap to quantum physics is unnecessary. If we’re talking uncertainty principles, then our certainty is by definition blown, right? And really one of the major points of quantum physics, if not the major point, is to discover why the insanity at Planck distances give rise to the stable reality that we see. See and share, thus reality being non-anecdotal.

    Re-creating the Universe is not necessary to show that it is not anecdotal. If you want to show the forces that created the Universe, that’s another story. And I am not aware of anyone that believes we would get the same Universe we currently have back.

    To my knowledge, which is indeed very little, the Zone diet has gone through a bit of testing. It’s been found to be generally healthy for the average human, however unrealistic. Very few people are willing and/or able to get all of their macronutrients in the correct proportions day in and day out. This being said, I can think of one difference between the Paleo diet and the Zone diet. The Paleo diet makes stranger claims. Therefore, I can see more rigorous tests being called for. In addition, I am not pro-Zone nor am I pro-government-stupid-pyramid-thing. If the Paleo diet is truly the correct way to eat, it can stand on its own, without comparing itself to other methods.

    If you can take 1000 people and put half through the Paleo diet and half through an equally clean general diet, and give neither one more supplementation than the other, and the Paleo diet comes out on top, then you’ve got something.

    Thanks for discussing this with me as well. I’m anxious to learn, and I like to hear opposing viewpoints.

    • says

      interesting. i like it.

      Now obviously I am quite biassed in all this, but I see the paleo information as being significantly more than strange claims. It offers testable hypotheses and a world view (like Quantum) to evaluate these issues. For example, it;s generally accepted that an organism is superbly suited to the environment to which it evolves. Change the environment one way or another and it may be beneficial or deleterious to the organism based on the characteristics that organism brings to the table. this allows us to answer a lot of questions with much more understanding. Why are some foods more allergenic than others? Why did Northern europeans develop such low melanin levels in their skin? What role does acid base balance play in health?

      Without some kind of model to evaluate these questions It’s tough to make the pieces fit together.

  38. says

    I have lots a lots of weight-5 stone and I m a bit wobbly!! I am going to try to employ some of you tips and will keep you posted. Tori

  39. Melissa says

    I know this is an old set of comments, but I’m wondering where things stand today re Robb and CF. Ironically, it is through CF that I learned about Robb and Paleo – and that was just the other day (December 2010).

    • says

      Well…I serve the community of CrossFit every day by helping folks run better gyms, coach better and be more effective with nutrition. The problem arrises with CF HQ, and in the way they handle things. At the end of the day CF loses far more than I do, but ultimately it brings the whole thing down.

  40. says

    “CrossFit thinks there is nothing besides the Zone with regards to nutrition.”

    That may be the official line, but I did want to say they were quite receptive when I sent them a write-up of a Paleo study we did internally at our gym. They published it in the CrossFit Journal in late September and interviewed me on CrossFit Radio shortly after. The people I was in communication with were quite open and positive about it, even when I said I didn’t think Zone ratios mattered much and the positive results were due to the food quality/type. Perhaps there’s some progress being made in HQ. I was prepared for hostility and got none.

    Thank you for all your great work. Paleo has changed my life and health and allowed me to finally start a family. You are my go-to resource. Scientists unite!

    • says

      That’s good to hear and great job doing that. I’d burry the hatchet if I had even an inkling of an apology. But once you are called pseudo scientist, and deal with all the BS I did, I’m not letting that one go away easily.

      They are changing their position because the lost that battle and in an epic, public fashion. It should have never come to that, instead of protecting a failed nutritional approach they should have had their first home-grown NY times best seller, a physicians network and a bunch of the other stuff I’ve done. I’d have been happy to make all that fly under their banner, but not with the shenanigans going on behind the scenes. The leadership forgot that folks WILL find what works and not listen to hyperbole.

  41. says

    Oh crap, this is an old post, just showed up for some reason. Weird things happening with Google Reader. No need to respond of course.

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