My Training at 39

I receive quite a few emails asking what I’m up to with training and nutrition. Now seems like as good a time as any to do a little update on that. Birthdays are always a good point for reflection…see what’s working, what’s not and what trajectory you are on. (Note-I know the videos look terrible, I’ll try to get that fixed.)

Square One

After the book tour I was about beat to death. Don’t get me wrong, it was an exciting time but between wrapping up the book, doing the PSS, pimping the book, time zone changes and the random gluten exposure while eating on the road…well, I was a mess. My biosignature showed high Cortisol, insulin resistance and the testosterone levels of an 80 year old. Woman.

I was NOT in good shape. I did not at that time do an ASI test which I now regret as I know things have improved dramatically but I’m just not that into reaffirming via diagnostic measures what I know already by observation. I’ll be better about that in the future as solid numbers ARE important for benchmarks. For sure I was not in great shape, about 170 lbs and body comp was around 15% body fat.

I was not digesting of my food very well, energy levels were low and on days when it was cloudy in Chico I got VERY squirrely. Luckily I had 5 weeks ahead of me with no travel so I decided to really get my shit together and do whatever it took to get healthy and strong again. The areas that I focused on supporting were sleep, adrenal function, digestion, and androgen production. Here is what I did:


I started going to Chico Community Acupuncture 1x/week to support digestion and “kidney yin building.” In Western terms this relates to adrenal support. Each week my Doc would, in addition to the needling I received, mix up a bath of herbs that I took 3x/day. I felt better immediately when I started this and really wanted to shoot myself because I could have been going to this place for the past few years instead of letting things get so bad. I preach prevention every day but how often do I listen to my own advice? Not enough, but as my responsibilities grow I owe it not only to myself but also our NorCal staff, the blog readers, my wife and The Gato to stay on top of my maintenance, whatever form that may take. This is a gentle reminder to you trainers, coaches, caretakers, parents (is there anyone left?) who need to prioritize YOUR health so you can be better for the folks who rely upon you.


These came from some of the biosignature recommendations for Cortisol management and increasing testosterone production. I’ll give you the amounts I was taking but you need to keep in mind this was for MY unique situation. I think you can get a lot of mileage out of various nutriceuticals but it’s not a one size fits all gig. You need to know what you are doing and know how to modify the program as your body changes and adapts. Ok, with that, here is what I did:


Before breakfast-2 caps of Yang R-alpha lipoic acid. You can find good varieties of R-ALA+ N-acetyl L-Carnitine many places. If you read the book you’ll notice this is one of those things that I think might benefit most folks. This stuff clears the AM fog and decreased my need for caffeine, which I’ll talk about later. I also took about 500mg of Pantethene for the beneficial effects on adrenal health.

After breakfast:

NowFoods Super Enzymes. I started off with 6 caps and felt NOTHING. Like I said, I was a mess. Over time I titrated down to 1-2 caps per meal and I’ve stabilized there.

CoQ10– 100mg the Jarrow Q-sorb variety. This stuff is very fat soluble so it went down with breakfast. Scotty Hagnas mentioned that he really felt an energy boost when he added this to the mix, I gave it a shot and like it.

OrthoAdapt-3 capsules after breakfast and lunch. This is a “kitchen sink” supplement aimed at adrenal health and it’s phenomenal. I used this for a month and then rotated to the Gaia Herbs Stress Response. This product is built around Holy Basil, Ashwaganda and Rhodiola; all potent adaptogens. In talking to Ido and Scotty they recommended switching this adaptogen blend as the OrthoAdapt works via different mechanisms than the Stress response.

Cod Liver Oil– 1 tablespoon/day. I took this mainly for the vit-D. If this was not handy I’d take a NowFoods 5,000IU vit-d.

DHEA-50mg from MRM. I suspected that the symptoms of low testosterone I had were from Cortisol depleting the substrates that build T. So, I tinkered with the DHEA, but only used it until I was feeling good, about 3 weeks. You run a big risk of seeing this stuff cascade into estrogen (yes, there are ways of blocking the process, all with their own problems) so I played that fairly conservatively. If you are a guy and tinker with DHEA keep your “eyes open” for prostate problems.

NowFoods Tribulus 1000. I took 3 tablets with breakfast and lunch. The research on tribulus is a bit inconclusive as to how much if any T boost you get. It DOES seem to increase luteinizing hormone and this has effects on dopamine, focus libido etc. What I do know is my testosterone sights improved on my Biosignature and everything that you’d expect from increased T levels (libido, muscle mass, recovery, focus) improved.


Just the Super Enzymes, Tribulus and whichever adpatogen blend I was taking.

Before bed:

NaturalCalm-Fizzie orange water just knocks me out! Go easy on this, it can give you the trots. Unless you LIKE the trots, in which case, knock-yerself-out.

Melatonin-I’ve experimented with this a good bit and found results with levels as low as 5mg and as high as 30mg. I talked to Grace about this and I’m no longer worried about down-regulation of normal production. I do not sleep as well when I do not have it and have had a really busy day. Cortisol is antagonistic to serotonin, which is why melatonin can be so beneficial ina Cortisol management program. BUT, it is not a fix-all. Some sleep issues can be GABA related in which case melatonin could actually worsen your situation. Again, it pays to know what the heck you are doing.


Like I mentioned, I was not digesting my food very well and I could take large does of the SuperEnzymes so I knew my HCL levels were low which means the normal signaling that governs the pancreas and gall bladder was lacking (remember most digestion takes place in the small intestine). I also suspected some dysbiosis (overgrowth of the wrong type of bugs) So I ate VERY low carb for a few weeks to starve any of the nastier bugs and started supplementing with some beneficial flora. I used Jarrow’s probiotic and a product from NewChapter. I know the Jarrowdophylis has a bit of dairy in it, but I’ve always liked the product. In the future I’d like to start making some homemade kraut and kimche as a probiotic. I just loves me some kraut!!

Macro wise I shot for 1gProtein/lb BW, lots of well cooked veggies ( to aid in digestion) and a “little fat.” This should look familiar to y’all. I took this in typically three meals although occasionally it was four or two. Because of the adrenal issues I had I was not pushing the intermittent fasting other than I tried to finish eating early (5-6pm) as it seemed to help my sleep. No food in the system allows for les competition with the melatonin passing the blood brain barrier AND it allows for your body temp to drop. At this point I was chubby and needed to lean out. So, I used the same plan I’d recommend to pretty much anyone. BEWARE the person who does not follow their own nutrition and exercise recommendations.


CrossFit and metabolic conditioning are very powerful and very beneficial when properly used. They can also take you down at the knees if improperly employed. Because tapping into the glycolytic pathway releases adrenal-cortical hormones, it’s not a good idea to push ANY type of met-con during an adrenal recovery phase. It’s tough, you feel “out of shape” but you really need to keep things to strength training and not much more than a brisk walk if you want to get the best, fastest results. Then you can get back to beating yourself to death.

So, I focused on strength work and playing. Here are a few examples of some playing, very MovNat inspired. In the first video I’m jumping onto a 42” pommel horse, then jumping about 8” to a rope. I’d then walk around and do it again when I felt fresh. I did not count reps, or track time, I just had fun.

This would be some play time after stuff like squats, DL’s, dips or standard strength stuff. I was staying in the 1-3 rep range and just playing with volume and intensity. Pushing one element forward for a few sessions (say 3, 4 then 5 sets of three on a given movement at a given weight. Each session adding a set) then I’d add a little weight and start the process over. I did a fair amount of open-ended gymnastics type stuff like this video of some “depth jumps” for the pulling muscles of the upper body. I was feeling pretty damn good by this point, had put on some muscle and lost some fat. This is definitely an advanced move, even when I’m a fat out of shape slob I am a very strong climber/puller. If you try to do this without the strength base and preparation you will seriously injure yourself.

Ido and Scotty Visit

Scotty and Ido came to town for a few days and we got to do a fair amount of training. Ido set me up on a template I’ll describe below but I’m not going to go into too great of detail. The moves are certainly scalable but we can get Ido on here at some point to describe where you should start. At this point I was getting pretty lean (below 10%) so I tinkered with some PWO nutrition to help recovery and minimize Cortisol production. I used a few different whey proteins mixed in coconut water. You may realize this but not all proteins are created equal. Easily the best tasting, easiest to mix was Mark’s Primal Fuel. Mark sent me a can, it’s about the best protein I’ve tried. I know some folks had their panties twisted when he released Primal fuel…don’t know what to tell you, but “Chill-ax-the-Frack-out” seems appropriate.

Try Mark’s, try some of the other popular brands. Give it an honest review. If you are working for CrossFit HQ…well, be smarter than me and say whatever will not get YOU fired.

As to results, I really felt like I bounced back from training faster, but the whey protein gives me acne. Is a little systemic inflammation and tweaking on the IGF axis worth the benefits? Depends on the situation. When I grapple it is so demanding it’s worth it, especially if I will not be able to eat for a while post workout. So, I will tend to save this for very hard training only, and I may tinker with whey and no coconut water in the future to see how that goes on medium intensity days. My message with shakes and liquid foods remains the same: if you are lean play with them if you want, if you are overweight and trying to lean out, you are not doing yourself any favors taking in liquid nutrition.


I’ve been doing a rotating template with two different upper body gymnastics days and a lower body weights+OL day.

Day 1- Straight arm: I work a ton of isometric holds on the rings, handstands, scapular protraction and retraction movements. Mixed into this is also front/back lever work and planche work. It does not look like much on paper but it’s very demanding. I use a few bands to aid the planche work. I’ll shot some video on a few of these when I get a chance. Reps are in the 1-5 range, always progressing movements to more technical variants when I can consistently get more than 5 reps.

Day 2-Bent Arm: This video shows me doing some 1-arm pull up work using a rope and a 30#DB as assistance weight. I do 1 rest 1 minute, switch arms, do another. When I make 3 total reps on each arm, that’s a set. I have progressed to using a 20lb DB and doing 2 reps per arm. I can do an unassisted pull up with my right arm, close on the left. Then I do some straddle planche push ups. These are super hard and I had no mojo on them initially, but can actually do a few now. I am doing sets of 3-4 on this, just trying to make the movement harder.

Day 3-Lower: I forgot to mention that I do a ton of warmup and mobility work before all of these sessions. Scotty and Ido have some great sequences specific to which day I am working.

After warming up I do some activation/speed work. This may mean doing jumps from kneeling to standing (I had trouble doing this initially, I can now jump onto a 10” box). I also use box jumps and round offs. This is all to further the warm up and prime the nervous system for some speed-strength work in the form of an OL derivative. I’ve mainly been using a power clean. I’ve worked up to doing 110kg for a triple in the PC which is plenty for me at this point. Some days when I’m not feeling good it’s 80kg for the top end. Other days, I feel good and go for it. I just play with volume and intensity as I described above. I finish with back squats, DL, RDL or similar moves. Reps are 1-3, sets 2-8.

Day 4-For about 6 weeks I just repeated the template or took a day off and started over. Lately I’ve been doing a conditioning day comprised of either sprints (if the weather permits) or heavy bag work. I’ve been keeping the work either low intensity to avoid lactate or I make the rest periods quite long. I want to get back to jits again and am slowly building some conditioning before going back.

*Achtung!!!Every 3rd time I do a given WO I take a half volume day from the previous effort. Feel good that day? Doesn’t matter, take a back-off day.

I cannot describe how much better I feel. I’m productive again, want to write, enjoy my training, feel creative and I know I’m a better person for my wife and the Gato to be around. Digestion is much better, not perfect but better. I had a few gluten exposures while traveling but it did not affect me nearly as badly as when I was beat down. I greatly credit the acupuncture and herbs in this specifically but it’s obviously the whole package. My body comp has gone from 170 15% BF to 176 and 8%. I’m not usually one for posting shirtless photos of myself, but I’m pretty stoked with the progress.

The challenges as always are managing stress, sleep loss (I’m on a plane for NY while I’m writing this) dodgy food etc. What is different now however is I’m sipping on some of the tea I got from my acupuncturist, I have a number of supplements I’m traveling with and I protect my sleep like a mad-man. Oh yea, I’ve really cut back my coffee consumption. I do a double Americano in the morning, perhaps another a little later and that’s about it. It’s interesting; if I am on vacation (we spent a week in Nicaragua a few years ago) I can drink coffee all day long and feel great. Add the stress of travel, work and sleep deprivation and I think we have a problem.

I hope that helps answer the questions folks have, thanks for the continued interest. I do not hold myself up as a paragon of fitness, but I do try to lead by example. I had some very important projects to attend to this past year and “fitness” had to take a back seat. Unfortunately however, I did not do things which could have kept the fitness in the backseat and not bouncing down the road like a discarded gum wrapper. As with all this stuff, I hope you can learn from my success and mistakes to achieve your goals more efficiently than I have tackled mine.

364 days till 40!

Categories: Athletic Performance, Fitness, Paleo Testimonials


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. Garth says

    Great work! I’m sad to say I’m what you would call fat and out of shape at a level I feel fine with. Should we all aim for >10% body fat, or do you just hold yourself to high standards?

  2. says

    I just went and hung from the rafters to perform a depth drop pullup in my studio. It’s very much a rock climber exercise and a ton of fun.

    Looking good on the body comp front. It’s difficult to practice what we preach because we tend to forget that what we preach applies to us as well. As a trainer, we have to remind ourselves that we’re not special and the rules apply. A timely reminder.


  3. Penny says

    Hi Robb…I’ll leave the training remarks to others and give some voice to the “moms” that follow you. We love to see our boys strong and take on difficult challenges that are true to their beliefs. We hope they don’t spread themselves too thin physically, mentally or spiritually. So, so happy to hear that you caught yourself spiralling and said NO!

  4. says

    My website where I’ll be offering the Adrenal Stress Index (ASI) and male and female salivary hormone tests is nearing readiness to launch. This should help those readers that don’t have access to BioSig practitioners and want to start addressing their issues. I will keep you posted.

    BTW, you know you can always shoot me an email or phone call if you want another opinion on your situation. Obviously, you did what it took for you, the biggest thing being resting along with HEAVY adjustments of nutrition and training (the hardest parts with the biggest payoffs).

    Good on you.

  5. Kevin says

    Hey Robb,

    Great post, I am basically banged up post holiday and trying to get my suspected cortisol and digestion issues under control. I derailed myself nicely with an Intermittent Fasting phase which I am now realizing was probably stalling my fat loss and wreaking havoc on me since I was combining lack of sleep (<7 hrs per night) and skipping breakfast.

    Question for you is for someone who is just beginning to try and manage stress and cortisol what approach would you recommend first? Obviously, trying to get tons of sleep in a pitch black room. But after that, and ditching the IF, would any of the supplements listed above definitely have a benefit across the board without knowing an individuals situation as closely as biosig can analyze it?

    As always, thank you for your wealth of knowledge!

  6. says

    Hey Robb!

    I really like the workout you’ve followed. After a year of CrossFit, I feel it’s quite limited in terms of mobility, isometrics, & other MovNat types stuff. Do you know how and where I could get myself a good workout program?


    • Squatchy says

      Happy Birthday!

      I like the way you set your training up, sounds like a good routine. Gives me a few ideas of some things to incorporate. I’ve been loving doing the GymnasticsBodies WODs.
      Nice work, thanks for sharing this stuff. Grats on getting “all your ducks in a row” after the craziness of travel and promoting the book and all that. You’re looking like a badass!

  7. 6th Listener says

    Love the training videos and info. Would love to read/hear more of that from you and Andy ont that. Seeing all the different kinds of movements you practice help get me motivated to try different things at the gym.

    Regarding the supplements – Holy cats!!! That’s a lot of stuff! To be honest my eyes started glazing over reading a lot of that stuff. So when is that supplement podcast coming….. 😉

  8. Marcus says

    Does anyone have a recommendation on where to get a full set of relevant blood tests w/o going to the doctor? (e.g. an online lab)

    I’ve read/heard that one can get tests done (such as testing vit D levels) in this manner but I’m wondering if anyone has specific suggestions for a lab to work with.

    Also, what tests would be good for general benchmarking? I just loaned out my book so I can’t look in there…

    • says

      I’ll likely be offering basic bloodwork as well through my upcoming site, ranging from a panel covering Robb’s Paleo Solution labs, all the way through a significantly more comprehensive panel that looks at many more markers.

      It will be done through LabCorp.

      I’m hoping Robb will announce it here, so no regulars to the site miss it.

  9. brandon says

    Hey Robb,
    Sorry to go off topic from this post but I have a question registering for your toronto seminar. I am from canada, just north of toronto, and when processing my visa payment there is no option to choose canadian provinces, only american states.
    Will they payment go through if I choose a random state, as normally visa needs the complete adress of the card holder.
    Its completely possible I am totally missing something on the page haha, but any help is greatly appreciated.


  10. says

    Damn Robb! You gained 6lbs and lost 5% BF? In other words… your total fat mass went from 25.5 lbs to 14 lbs AND your total muscle mass went from 144.5 lbs to 162 lbs? And you are in no stretch of imagination even close to a beginner! Low volume and high intensity also? Holy f*ckin shit!

    How long did this take Robb? And any idea on how much you ate (other than hunger dictating quantity)?

    Nevertheless this is seriously the awesomest body recomposition I’ve ever seen! Body comp looking great. Kudos to you!

    And about the photo… looks like Andy’s prediction of shirtless-Robb on the Paleo Solution book might just happen!

      • DrDawny says

        My sentiments exactly… the first thing I said after reading your post was, “He did that in 5 WEEKS???” Did it really only take you that long? I have been dealing with adrenal fatigue sx and a subsequent excess of bodyfat for months now and haven’t seen much improvement at all despite a change to paleo eating, mild caloric restriction, improved sleep, stress management, recommended supps, etc. Do you think it’s muscle memory or “body memory” since you’ve been at that elite body-comp level before? Is it the fact that your elevated cortisol wasn’t elevated for that long (in contrast to me who has been dealing with increasing stress for a few years)? Is it the supplementation? What’s the secret Robb??

          • DrDawny says

            Hey fellow Tucsonan (actually I’m an ex-Tucsonan): I’m going to email you on your website “contact us”; would love to tell you my story. Not looking for free advice or anything (I understand being sensitive to that) but check it out and give me your thoughts!

  11. Ricky H. says


    Really appreciate this post, congrats on the results you got!

    Off topic a bit, what are your thoughts on Jimmy Moores eggs and grass fed beef diet he is doing until 4/1? Love to know if you had any part in suggesting it as he says he got the advice of experts in nutrition before starting it.

  12. says

    Hey Robb,
    Really great stuff. Congrats on the progress, that’s awesome. Also, sorry that I have been slacking on the podcast show topic indexing. It’s been crazy here at work but I’ll get back on it. Happy Birthday by the way.

  13. Ben Wheeler says

    This is great. I was running with a template of Wendler 2x week, but I dropped the press/bench for all gymnastic upper body movements from Coach Sommer’s book and loved it Third day was just Oly, I’d Snatch, Split jerk and Front Squat. I saw great gains, got super strong, remained lean and didn’t drive myself into the ground. I like the bent/straight arm days. I might have to give this template a go.

    Thanks Robb, and Happy Birthday!

  14. Raj says

    This was a great post! But I thought you weren’t a fan of biosig?

    Changing subjects, when you come to Toronto for the Paleo Seminar what portion (as a %) will be a regurgitation of the book and what % will be application / discussion?


  15. Pat Q says

    Any chance Scotty and Ido’s mobility warm-up work can be documented? The only stuff i’ve seen is from Ido’s blog.


  16. says

    I’m so glad you’re feeling (and looking) better, Robb!
    Kidney yin deficiency is a bee-yotch and not something to f*ck around with! I’m glad you caught it early before it became chronic- unlike moi, who, by the time I finally went to see an L.Ac., it was bad enough that I was very frankly informed I could take up to 2 years to heal. I had tried to self medicate w/ supplements for years before that (I was a retail buyer for a supplement dept. for 8 years- I had access to lots!) Of course, I was also a vegetarian during those 8 years- you get the picture;)

    After my acupuncture treatments, my practitioner, a little lady from Shanghai, would take my pulse, shake her head and say “such weak spleen qi!” and ask me if I was eating enough (I wasn’t absorbing what I was eating) and then comment that my kidneys and hormones levels were a 1 or 2 on a scale of 1-10.

    After six straight months of weekly treatment, I felt a little better, but my pulse readings weren’t improving much and my L.Ac. was mystified. I ended up going for the BIG guns: medical qigong treatments. I immediately improved. Apparently, my kidney qi had reached the point of “collapse” (yes, that can really happen!) and the kidneys wouldn’t hold any qi -it would just “leak” right back out. Leaky Qi Syndrome, heehee;-)
    All I can say is, thank goodness for Eastern medicine- it saved me!

  17. LauraB says

    I loved the book, so thank you for putting your needs aside for a while to write and market it:) I turned 40 last week, and, thanks to my paleo lifestyle, I feel and look better @ 40 than I did @ 20! Happy Birthday to you, and here’s to a fabulous 364 days!

  18. says

    “I just loves me some kraut!!” Me too! It’s so easy to make at home! Once you start making it, you’ll be kicking yourself that you didn’t start doing it sooner!

  19. says

    Happy Birthday! You look great and are proof that your message works. Thanks for such a comprehensive post. I’ve used similar techniques with women to balance out hormones, especially the overproduction of cortisol, as the body uses progesterone to create it and it can cause imbalances, especially in the female hormone systems. I’m finding that cortisol really plays a big role in overall hormone balance (of course) but is a major factor not often considered by doctors.

  20. StephenB says

    People taking CoQ10 should be aware that it can cause an allergic reaction in some folks. (Hopefully this is pretty rare, but I needed a CAT scan to make sure my breathing was clear — ugh. I was using Jarrow Q-Sorb, but ubiquinol causes it too.)

  21. Squatchy says

    Happy Birthday!

    I like the way you set your training up, sounds like a good routine. Gives me a few ideas of some things to incorporate. I’ve been loving doing the GymnasticsBodies WODs.
    Nice work, thanks for sharing this stuff. Grats on getting “all your ducks in a row” after the craziness of travel and promoting the book and all that. You’re looking like a badass!

  22. Primitive says

    Happy birthday Rob.

    It’s a pretty inspiring post for those of struggling at the last few miles of body recomposition; do you mind stating how long it took you to get back in your ideal form?

  23. says

    Robb, that’s a pretty good Clarence Bass imitation you got going.

    Here’s something I don’t get. We’re roughly the same age. You have 10x more athletic ability than I do. But I can do all sorts of stupid shit pertaining to eating poorly, not sleeping enough, and overtraining, but I’ve never gone off the rails like you seem to do.

    Is there anything to the idea that you have a body like a finely tuned sports car, and I have something more akin to a station wagon? Is the some kind of biological trade-off there?

    Sorry for the weird question, but it’s been rattling around in my head for a while.


    • says

      Well…thinking back I’ve always been pretty Type A. In College I switched my major from microbiology to biochemistry, necessitating 20-23 unit simesters of chemistry, physics and calculus. This mixed into being: Chemistry club president, Pre-med vice president, member of the biology honors society, chasing girls and doing an undergrad research project in synthetic chemistry. I would sleep 4-5 hrs per night, train hard (mainly thai boxing at that time) and that was when i tinkered with veganism. I Think I;ve just pushed way too hard at various points and have taken more out of the account than I’ve generally put back.

      Starting a gym was fun but also mega-stressful. Several years of skinny financials, lots of unknowns and I had no idea how to run/structure a business. CrossFit…Oh, I;ve had my fair share of stress from that camp!

      So, I don’t know what the deal is other than I think I’ve seriously beat myself up over the past 10+ years. Add to that a wicked gluten intolerance and I think it’s relatively easy for mee to get overextended, especially when traveling etc.

    • Jeremy says

      The same thought crosses my mind occasionally, too. Some people can eat total crap, and still perform day-to-day activities well enough to make it to the next day, much like reliable station wagon. Others are high-performance machines, and can easily be derailed by poor fuel.

      I think its partly genetics, which dictate things like how sensitive you are to certain foods and vitamin deficiencies. I also think, tho, your diet and activities have the largest impact on whether you are the station wagon or the ferrari. We all have the potential to be either one, depending on what we fuel ourselves with and if we floor it now and then.

      I think the better you fuel yourself, and the more you floor it, the more you become the ferrari, and unfortunately, you become that much more sensitive to bad fuel over time. If you turn yourself into a ferrari, you are stuck buying high-octane fuel if you don’t want to break down. I think it’s worth it.

      • says

        totally, agree. I think Robb’s “derailed” is still in the 95th percentile of “achievement” if there is such a measure. I know from my experience with Robb’s diet and exercise recommendations, as I have found what I am capable of, it is more fun to be a Ferrari (I am hardly that but sticking with the metaphor) than a station wagon.

        I will say this post totally inspired me. I am looking 49 square in the eye and may have to step it up a little. :-)

      • Dana says

        I’m coming in late on this but let me share a story that might interest you. I used to own an ’86 Monte Carlo, purchased in about ’96 or so. It gave me some typical old-car trouble, but my husband and I kept it more or less maintained and when he and I split up it went with me.

        The splitup was sudden and dramatic and involved my entire life falling apart and him going to jail. Incredible amount of stress, I think that in that last seven months I had my car I changed the oil maybe once. Maybe. I’m not clear on that now. I know I got new tires. Through all this the car worked fine. I would even take it out into the county to ride around just for fun. (Gasoline was around 99 cents a gallon where I lived back then.)

        My ex and I had split in January ’99. July ’99 I was at an intersection in the middle of a bright summer day and all of a sudden, bam. Smoke coming out of the dashboard, car wouldn’t go, she was dead, Jim. A friend diagnosed burnt-out bearings. The engine needed replaced.

        I find myself shaking my head now when someone goes “But I function just fine eating/living/acting this way. Haven’t gotten sick yet.” Sickness isn’t always obvious. This is true for cars and it is true for people. I would say it is even *more* true for people because people are self-healing, unlike cars, and can mask serious problems for far longer, just exactly as if you had a tiny gremlin living in your car’s engine patching up all the coolant hoses or running a strainer through what was left of your oil to make sure your car ran just one more day. Our bodies are like that. Then we get the massive heart attack or the brutal cancer out of nowhere and wonder WTF it came from.

        It’s like the “obesity causes chronic disease” meme. Society honestly believes that only fat people get chronic disease. Or they notice that slender people get chronic disease but they believe that in that case it’s “genetic” while in fat people it’s induced. But fat people are lucky. Slender people can get just as sick as fat people from the exact same poor dietary habits but they don’t see it coming because they don’t get the visual cue of the excess weight. Fat people *do* get that warning and have more time to prepare against that eventuality.

        Likewise, you may be functional and feel OK, as far as you can tell anyhow. Important qualifier–it’s like the kid who grows up abused and doesn’t know that being beaten after school every day is not how most kids live. As far as you know, you feel healthy. But that doesn’t mean anything. Could be you’ve got symptoms and don’t recognize them. Could be you’ve got a disorder but no obvious symptoms. For example, I’ve heard of people with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease who did not have elevated liver enzymes. So… while the way your body feels can *help* diagnose a problem, the value of that diagnostic criteria depends on a lot of factors, and you can’t always control them all.

        Not trying to make anyone here a hypochondriac. Just saying.

  24. CanadianArcticPaleo says

    Hey Robb, congrats on the awesome progress. You must be pretty stoked to be back at er’

    I was training/eating solid for the past 3 months and then dipped into the Molson Canadian a week and a half ago – I’m still recovering and definitely felt the effects of that.

    Gettin’ back into Mundial form again eh? I miss the jits…making it a goal to be back at er for the summer. At 5’11 150lbs, rolling with a 200lb power package is likely the greatest taxing stress my body has ever experienced. I bet you’d agree – jits is a fracking nightmare haha

    Regardless, great post and awesome progress!

  25. says

    Nice to read about your training Robb, i am glad to hear its going well.

    I have been doing some similar gymnastic strength, and picked up alot from Ido when he spent a week up here in Portland. Mainly handstand skill work, front and back lever progressions, planche progressions, etc. Its fun and challenging as my body learns these new positions. I would like to work in some of Ido’s Floreo sequences but between the strength work and Jits its about all I have time for at the moment.

  26. says

    Great post Robb! I always love hearing what you and Andy are up to with your training. For someone who loves bodyweight movements, but doesn’t have a lot of experience in more demanding gymanstics moves (plaches, holds, etc.), what is the best place to start? I.E. What are some good starter progressions? I own a set of rings, and live in the middle of no-where in Japan. No coaching of any kind is available, so I’m on my own. (No, not even CrossFit has come this far…yet) :). Any suggestions would be awesome.

  27. Greg says

    Would love to hear more on how to begin and structure the gymnastic days to replace general upper body weight training. Have been interested in this type of work. I’m afraid I’ll do it wrong and either not progress or start to lose hard earned muscle by doing it wrong. Thanks for the insight btw!! Still working on fixing my digestion, don’t feel anything with 6 caps of superfoods enzymes.

  28. Roelant says

    Hey Robb,

    read you were taking Cod Liver oil? thought you and Cordain were not so crazy about it due to VitA being added to it….did you find evidence that Cod Liver oil is good to go? (asking because I live in Montreal, and it’s pitch black at 5pm…) if so, I’m getting me some cod liver asap….ran out of my now foods VITD pills.



  29. Luke says

    “Achtung!!!Every 3rd time I do a given WO I take a half volume day from the previous effort. Feel good that day? Doesn’t matter, take a back-off day.”

    Have you been following the wood guidelines of poliquins 5 element theory approach to training?

    “Chinese doctors best describe Wood types as pioneers. They are very good at devising plans and sticking to them. They love challenging themselves and pushing themselves to the limit. They are bold and decisive, and they have a tendency to overdo things. That is why you have to plan recovery phases within the cycle – in other words, you have to hold them back every third workout.

    Wood types are the most likely to abuse stimulants and sedatives. One might pop three Red Bulls before a workout and eat a Valium sandwich before going to bed. They are most likely to complain of tendon injuries, and they are genetically predisposed to liver problems.”

  30. Erin C says

    Hi Robb –

    I’m pretty new to Paleo – but loving it so much; such a life-changer! – and I’m curious about all the supplements. Our primal ancestors didn’t pop pills and powders to balance out their nutrients. What are your thoughts on this? It strikes me as being somewhat counter-intuitive to getting back to our evolutionary roots, which is what I love most about the Paleo diet. To me, it just makes sense to eat this way. But taking so many supplements doesn’t make sense to me. Can you help make some sense of it?

    • darius sohei says

      fyi – our primal ancestors ate the whole animal, including glands and intestines… so they got a lot of authentic medicine that is replaced today with supplements/herbs/tinctures. also, those ancestral animals ate their food from a non-depleted, non-polluted ecosystem.

      the more civilization advanced, the more herbal tonic medicine was developed to offset all those health concerns.

  31. Alex says

    Hey Robb,

    I know you are into alternative medicine and dig some of the traditional chinese medicine stuff, but was wondering what you thought about homeopathy? Thanks!

  32. Patrick Johnston says

    Robb, this is an awesome bit of info. I’d really like to come up there and follow you through a workout if possible. I’d let you choose from two options: 1) I would just sit there and take notes. When you finish, I’d take you and Nicki to Sin of Cortez and I’d hammer you with any questions that Nicki didn’t answer for me while you were doing your work. 2) I would follow you through the workout. This has the added benefit of making you feel stronger and more athletic due to our relative abilities. After the workout, Nicki would call an EMT to check my vitals. Once I get the A-O-K, we hit Sin of Cortez.

    Seriously, I’d love to see this stuff in action.

  33. TomH says

    Hey Robb,

    I have just started the book and the diet, so far its going well.

    Quick question about Acupuncture/Chinese medicine. It would seem from your book and some of the podcasts that I have listened to that you are strongly based in empirical based science vs anecdotal. I know there have been a few studies in the recent past affirming acupuncture as valid to the western mind…how about the chinese herbs? Curious to see your rationale on this…obviously you ‘feel’ they work…how do you believe to know they do…


    • says

      I DO like the N=1 experimentation. Try something, see if it works. Is acupuncture a cure-all? Absolutely not, but I’ve had some solid benefit. Very anecdotal, but good enough for me at this point.

  34. Carly (Seaburgers) says

    Jiminy Christmas looking good Robb!!! Happy birthday to you (and to me 23rd Jan 😀 ) People are always surprised when I tell them you’re nearly 40, you’re a great walking advertisement for what you endorse. Gives me hope that my youthful appearance will also remain….. hooray 😀

    • Andreas says

      Just asking about the Jarrow-Dophilus because I’m unclear as to whether FOS are something to embrace or avoid in a daily probiotic and they offer some with and without. It sounds like Kurt Harris has something against them…

  35. Rod Milking says

    Please please oh please if you are going to post such a picture stick a big curly moustachio and suitably askew leather motorcyle cap upon.

    This proves what i have always suspected (since i met you in Justins Night Club in Miami..i actually did a search and there seems to be such a place..i digress, i digress) about you.

    Just don’t ask me what i was doing there with a feather boa and half peeled banana (why do i write such emails i ask.. and write them all too well?!?!?)

    Anyways good luck to you sunshine.

    Wifell is pissing orf to Europe for 6 months on Monday so its me, le petite chat and Madalm Rosy Palm and her Five Lovely Daughters for shits n giggles.

  36. KobeTony says

    Very impressive-especially the standing jump onto the horse. Only in my dreams…

    >My body comp has gone from 170 15% BF to 176 and 8%

    How do you measure BF?
    You and Andy have mentioned quite a few times in the podcast about throwing out the scales, and you’ve also been critical of the accuracy of BF measurement, but I take it you still believe it is useful.

    Look, feel and perform are what are important, but in conversation everyone likes to talk about numbers.

    Also, you mention you took about a dozen different supplements during this recovery. Is there any danger of having negative interactions when taking so many?

  37. Jamie says

    Thanks so much for this post! I recently took on a new career and now commute 130-150min. a day which has subsequently ate into my ability to workout, eat, sleep, etc. Basically I no longer am able to lead an active healthy lifestyle and as a result I have added weight and fat to my body. I’m now ~162lbs and 15% BF and complain about how horrible I feel and look. As a result of this verbal complaining, I get so many responses from co-workers, friends, and family asking me how crazy I am since I still look healthy/athletic. Your post here just solidified that I indeed am not crazy!

    I do have what will hopefully be a quick question: I obviously realzie all three are important, but if I were to focus on improving one the most should I make sleep, diet, or exercise a priority right now in my new stressful, less active life? I will be moving to within minutes of my new workplace in 3-4 months at which point I will be able to focus on entire whole body health again.


  38. says

    Great post, Robb! I have been that I’ve got low Testosterone, especially since my brother has been diagnosed with super low T after extensive blood work as a result of some frightening symptoms (loss of chest hair, no sex drive, super low energy, belly fat, etc.) I sent him a copy of your book, btw.

    Anyways, my symptoms were much less unsettling (low energy at times and I’ve always had a huge problem putting on muscle). I’ve solved the energy issues by going paleo, but I still can’t seem to put on muscle. I’ve definitely shifted my focus in training to more weight/full body movements, etc. I am also tinkering with my food (trying to choke down at least 4,000 cals per day) and trying Tribulus, but I couldn’t find a “dose” anywhere, other than the 1 a day recommendation on the bottle. I see you take 6 per day and haven’t started growing horns or anything, so I’m going to give that a go. Thanks for giving us an in depth look at your training/eating/supps regimen.

    And a heartfelt thanks for all that you do.

  39. sam says

    Great blog entry – Would really be interested in seeing 2 or 3 days worth of fitday records or meal records to see what the food looks like!

  40. says

    hi robb,

    i had a blood analysis done today and found out I am type O. Am I still able to follow the paleo diet because the nutritionist told me to stay away from coconut oil and anything ‘pork.’

    i was able to look at my blood magnified 1000x and saw i have rouleaux in my blood, some bacteria and yeast. i eat generally a paleo/ zone diet.

    please advise…

  41. Joe says

    Hey Robb,

    I’m interested in giving Tribulus a try for the benefits to libido and recovery.

    Reading your post closely, I think I’m getting this right that you’re taking the NOW Foods Tribulus, three pills each at breakfast, lunch, and dinner, for a total of 9 grams per day of the supplement, or 4.05 grams Saponins (@45%).

    I just wanted to confirm that this is what you’re doing, and that I didn’t misread it.

    I’m a good bit heavier than you (195lbs @ 10-12% BF), but I figured I’d start at a similar dose, and up it a little if I don’t see those benefits.

    Thanks for the awesome post showing how you put all the pieces together. Has helped me a LOT!!


  42. Ashley Smith says

    I’m curious about that ALA supplement that you use in place of caffeine. Does it wire you like caffeine? I could use a brain fog clearer but caffeine makes me a nervous wreck. I get jittery, hungry, anxious, etc. I’d appreciate your thoughts on this. Thanks!

    • says

      No, it does not wire me at all, just clears the fog. You DO need to play with it as it will improve insulin sensitivity and can thus lower blood glucose…so you may need to take it around meals. I do fine on an empty stomach.

  43. says

    I’ve thought about acupuncture. How expensive can acupuncture be to incorporate into one’s lifestyle on a regular basis?

    Joe, I’m interested in Tribulus as well. I guess at this point in life I’m a bit overwhelmed with all the herbs we hear about that we should take. I currently take ginseng, ginkgo, echinacea on occasion, as well as green tea for the antioxidants. I wish there was a way to get all the benefits of all this stuff in one plant. It can get expensive taking all these natural supplements on a consistent basis.

  44. Cornell says

    Why can everybody see these videos?

    Firefox just prompts me to install the appropriate plug-in, but doesn’t say which I need.

    What technique do the videos use? Can I view them somewhere else?


  45. Jessica says

    Hey Robb,

    Just curious…will the Carlson’s Norwegian fish oil CAPS have the same benefits as the liquid? And why the NOW enzyme caps as opposed to the tabs?


  46. says

    Robb, how did I miss this post?? Thanks for the insights; I’ve had some great results (biosignature, bloodwork) from Tribulus as well(Tribulus Synergy from Metagenics); but think u have to stick to the good stuff – there is so much cheap junk on the market.

    And you look GREAT! 39? It only gets better, my friend.

  47. Joe says


    Does this protocol still apply if the issue is low cortisol? ASI shows cortisol level below normal in AM, at the low end of normal during the day and the night at high end of normal although it is the lowest reading of the day. Progesterone was low as well.


  48. Greg says

    I may just be being impatient, but I was wondering if there was any news on when you might have Ido on here to go into a bit more detail on how one would start a template like you described? As well as proper progressions for that template. His thoughts on nutrition would be interesting to. Thanks!

  49. Richardo says

    Hey Robb, just got a biosig done and it said I had high cortisol and a good amount of estrogen. The biosig practitioner told me to get the Poliquin products but it seems a bit pricey to me. I think I’m going to take the Gaia Herbs Stress Response for the cortisol, but what would be a cheaper alternative to the high estrogen? He recommended either the Estroclear or DIM plus Cal-D. Any help would be appreciated, thank you!

  50. john says

    Hey Robb,

    You mention you went low carb to starve out the bad bugs, but what if someone has high cortisol. Would going low carb for a while just worsen any cortisol issues? How can someone with high cortisol get out the bad bacteria without having to restore to very low carb and potentially worsening a hyper-cortisol situation? Do you ust have to bite the bullet and fix the gut if you ever want to be able to fix cortisol as well?

    • john says

      Thanks. I dont think I have any auto immune problems? Or am I missing something?

      So the auto immune protocol is no nuts, dairy, nightshades, grains, legumes, Ill keep fruits low, am I missing anything?

      Moderate amounts of starchy root veggies still good (yams, rutabagas, turnips, yucca, etc)??

    • john says

      And I really appreciate all the the help. Been listening to your podcasts starting at 1 recently. Good stuff.

      Just confused on how low carb I need to go. Was thinking of either lower carb paleo or GAPS, but GAPS gets rid of almost all starch and I dont want to rely on a lot of fruit for carbs (to keep from bombing the adrenals)

      • john says

        I dont show any signs of autoimmunity I dont think, I just bombed myself with 50-60 miles running a week for years on top of running on top of lots of stimulant pre workout stuff, etc, and I have never really properly rested and tried to repair the adrenals, and so it bombed my testosterone and thyroid. So if I can fix the gut and adrenals the others should fall back in line and I can try and come of test therapy hopefully at some point.

  51. john says

    And one thing I am a little confused on is how does the low carb diet kill off the bad bugs, but not kill of the good bugs? Do the good bugs live off the veggies and fruit fiber, and the bad guys needs the starch, so when you take it out they die off? Need some assurance I am not killing off the good guys as well.

    • says

      No, it tends to decrease everything, this is why we need some probiotics to shift the ratio of beneficial flora our way, especially after the re-introduction of carbs.

      • john says

        Cool. I will hold steady at around 50-75 grams carbs for 3 weeks or so, with little or no fruit and only non veggie sources being kombucha, turnips, rutabagas, pumpkin, etc. Supplements during this time regarding the bacteria will be oil of oregano and olive leaf (alternating days) to kill off the buggers, while simultaneously using some strong probiotics multiple times daily along with kraut. At week three or so I will gradually increase the starch and see if things go well. Ill be implementing kind of a GAPS diet strategy of introducing foods and such over that three weeks, emphasizing broths, cooked veggies, lots of healthy fats.

        Hopefully all will go well after a while as I tolerate eggs fine already (will keep to only yolks for now though), and I handle butter and cream like a champ (havent tried any other dairy yet, but may try and implement very small doses of raw goat kefir towards the end when stopping the ant bacterials).

        And as far as food rotation goes, you usually recommend doing a week of a protein source, followed by a week of another, etc. Others like poliquin recommend different sources daily. Are there any drawbacks to daily, and do you just think a weekly approach gives you a longer break?

        Does that sound like a decent plan, and how low carb were you when you did this? Also, how many times a day would you dose the antibacterial herbs?

  52. john says

    What kind of anti-microbial protocol do you recommend/did you use? I have oil of oregano and olive leaf extract, and would like an idea of a good dosing protocol and length of use.

  53. Elizabeth says

    Would you recommend meeting with a FirstLine therapy practitioner if a BioSignature practitioner were not available in your area? I want to do a check on my hormones, cortisol and thyroid, and there aren’t any BioSignature people in my area–but I found someone who does FirstLine (part of Metagenics).

  54. z says

    Hey Robb,

    A big thank you for posting a “where I am at” perspective. Knowledge changes over time as does an individual’s current needs. I read this, researched the supplements listed (since I have similar health challenges), picked a few that seemed to address my current issues and tried them for 30 days. They have helped significantly. How awesome is that?

    Keep up the great work and don’t take any flack. You are doing the right thing, you are helping a ton of people, and you totally geek-rock my world!

    PS – I know you get tired of answering the same questions over and over, but sometimes people (like me) need to be reminded of the basics cuz we live in an ADD world. Even though you and Greg may feel that there is a lot of repeat on the podcast, the information is often presented with a different perspective and that can make all the difference in what a listener hears.

  55. Nick Earls says


    I noticed when you were mentioning your HCL levels you said you would like to try making sauerkraut or kimchi. I have been using both to aid in digestion, but is the store-bought variety inferior from a bacterial perspective to making it yourself? Or do you just think it would taste better?

    Nick Earls

  56. Heidi says

    Robb, I know this is an old post, but if you see this…I tried taking the Now Super Enzymes before and got heartburn from it so I stopped. Was only taking one pill a day for less than a week. Does this mean everything’s working properly in my gut?

  57. Tom says

    You know what’s interesting, Robb? You actually gained more mass in 6 weeks doing it the zen-way (eating normally, smart training & minimizing stress) than you did in your mass-gain protocol a few years ago (overfeeding, etc).

    Kinda puts things in perspective doesn’t it!

  58. Odin says

    Hey Robb, just came across this page and I gotta say, you look great! Hoping you wouldn’t mind answering something ( if this page still gets any love )

    What do you think of alternating routines, i.e…. Do a full month of a 5×5 routine, take a week off, then switch to CrossFit for 3-4 weeks, take a week off… repeat?

  59. says

    Hi Robb,

    I lost about 70 lbs over about 3 years, then held steady for about 2 more years. I estimate I’m about 20-25% bodyfat and would love to get to 10-15%. I could definitely improve my compliance: I eat a paleo diet plus some junk food I intend to get rid of in the near future. Is my goal reasonable, given my former fatness, or am I lucky to be maintaining?

    Thanks for all you do.

  60. chuck says

    Hey Robb

    I been having alot of sleep issues , stay up in bed and it takes me forever to fall asleep i do crossfit training all bodyweight no weights really and eat Paleo , i only have 1cup of coffee a day wit coconut oil in it and train fasted pwo is usually bacon and eggs . Gettin really dark circles under my eyes as well

    Please helpwwell

    • Amy Kubal says

      You may have some adrenal issues. Also, it may help to try some Natural Calm Magnesium pre-bed and add some starchy carbs at dinner.

  61. Austen Miller says

    Hey Robb,
    How long did you run your cortisol Managemet/Test Increase cycle? For the past couple years I have been consuming over 500 mg of caffeine daily, eating the standard American diet, and sleeping horrible. My circadian clock must be in shock since I never have one week with the same sleep schedule. I started exercising and eating paleo last month, and it seems like something similar to what you did will help me bounce back!

    Thank You

  62. justin says

    Hey Robb,
    With you training, were those 4 workouts a repeating 4 day cycle, or were those 4 training sessions a week like m/w/f/sa? I like the balance in the routine, I may incorporate something like this.

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