I’ll admit it. I kinda dig reality shows. Well some of them. Anything with “Jersey” in it I prefer to wait for The Soup highlights to catch all the bronzed-boobs, nip-slips and cat-fights.
But adventure shows, I am “in.”
Now, what if we had an adventure show that had a pretty cool premise (run around the desert, try to kick the other teams asses) and the folks doing all the ass-kicking were Paleo/Primal fueled, CrossFit doing, Mustachioed dudes wearing purple? Too good to be true? Not so, meet The Modern Gypsies (Taylor, Eric and John).
You can read a great write-up about these roving hooligans at Mark’s Daily Apple, and here is a brief interview with the Men In Purple:
1-Tell folks a little about yourself, athletic background etc.
Eric: I never was much of a team sports man; I played basketball & lacrosse through high school, but never truly excelled (I was the big, goofy kid on the court). However, in individual sports I found my place. I developed a passion for “extreme” skiing, rock climbing and surfing. For some reason, these sports just made sense to me. Nowadays, I still ski/surf, but CrossFit, Yoga and climbing are my big 3. I am in the best shape of my life and continue to be.
Taylor: I had actually never done CrossFit before training for the show. I had heard of it through Eric and it sounded like something I’d hate. The intensity of the workouts just seemed like torture! The more in got into it, the more I fell in love with it. I had about 2 months of CrossFit under my belt at Crossfit Invictus here in San Diego before I went to Morocco for the show. Since we’ve returned from the show I’ve gone back to Invictus and have really made it a part of my life. I’m looking forward to heading to the Crossfit games at the end of the month to cheer on our top ranked athlete and team. (Editors Note: Invictus is one of the best gyms around, if you can train there, do it.)
John: I’ve always been pretty athletic and have a love for adventure sports. We are not professional athletes and have never competed in a competition of this scale. We took training really seriously. We did our best to put ourselves in tough situations to see how we would handle them together. We decided before we even left that no matter what they put us through, nothing would be out of our comfort zone and that we would come home friends.
2-How did you hear about the Expedition Impossible show? Did it seem like a good idea or pure insanity to do it?
Eric: In San Diego I was working for a startup called Nika Water (www.nikawater.org) and bartending on the side. One of the girls I worked with, Kelly (whom I had a crush on), had been on Survivor Samoa. She told me about this new show, and thought we would be perfect. I really had absolutely no desire to be on reality television (this to me was insanity). However, we had been traveling/adventuring all around the world for the past 3 years (being gypsies), so it seemed like it was right up our alley. Soon after, I contacted two of my best buddies, Taylor Filasky & John Post. We sent in a casting video of us being “gypsies” (mainly running around, hellraising, surfing, drinking beer and just being idiots in general). They loved us and after finals in LA, we made it on the show.
Taylor: A friend of ours was on Survivor and told us about the show. She’d stayed friends with the casting director from Mark Burnett Productions and had heard through her. It sounded like the opportunity of a lifetime! From the traveling we’ve done, we thought we’d be great at it. At first we didn’t know where it would be, if it was going to be in one location or around the globe, but an Indiana Jones type Adventure race sounded like the coolest thing in the world!
John: I was volunteering in Cambodia when I got an email from Eric. All it said was “hey bro, there’s this new show called expedition impossible. I think we should do it.” As soon as I saw the name, I knew this was something we wanted to be a part of. We have traveled for years together, shared all kinds of experiences and are always looking for the next adventure.
3-You have all followed Paleo/Primal eating for a number of years, how has your training and food choices influenced your performance on the show? Do you feel like it’s collectively an advantage, and if so why?
Eric: I have been doing CrossFit since 2006. I started in the back room of a small climbing gym in Tallahassee, FL. The people at the gym thought we were crazy, so they gave us the room for free. The combination of individual competition and pushing personal limits transformed my life; I was instantly hooked. I didn’t start Paleo till about a year ago; it was tough at first (I’m a fat kid at heart and love cookie dough), but once I pushed through, I changed significantly. Now I’ve made my entire family read the book and continue to push it onto friends against their will.
Taylor: Along with CrossFit, Paleo eating was also something I adapted into my life months before the show. I noticed an immediate difference. I’d never been overweight. I was normal weight for my height 185lbs at 6’2″. Combining Paleo eating and Crossfit Within, I’d lost 10 lbs in 2 weeks. And by the time we left for Morocco I was down to 170lbs. I had more energy then I’d ever had before and felt as ready as I’d ever be to tackle Expedition Impossible. I definitely think it was an advantage for our team, even our secret weapon.
John: I can’t imagine competing on this expedition without our paleo/primal Crossfit lifestyles. I really feel like it put us at a huge advantage over other teams. We felt strong and ready for anything. That’s important when you never know what you’ll have to face. The expedition was constantly varied and full of surprises.
4-Are the other teams on the show curious about your training and eating considering your performance thus far? Let folks know how you have ranked thus far.
Eric: Yes! There have been 3 episodes thus far and we have won all of them. Everyone has been asking about our training/diet. It really is our secret weapon! You all can know the Paleo/CrossFit secret, but keep it on the hush! Also, a mustache is essential for peak performance (Robb, this should be in your next book).
Taylor: During travel and orientation before the show began filming, we were with the other teams, although were not allowed to talk to them, but we’d see what they ate and how they’d work out and vice versa.
5-Have your guys read the Paleo Solution and have you used it in any unique ways on the show? Like, breaching a door or using it to prop up a downed bridge?
Eric: We have all read The Paleo Solution (and yes, it would have made for a great fire starter in the expedition!). We had to think of unique ways to stay Paleo on the show. This included frying up a combination of canned sardines and peas, eating massive amounts of hardboiled eggs, various fruits and even begged the producers for nuts (eventually they caved and gave us almonds and walnuts). It wasn’t easy…especially when we watched the other teams huffing down mac n’ cheese! So far in the competition, it has payed off.
Taylor: I have not read The Paleo Solution. I’ve just been briefed by Eric and John on it. I thought it was about eating, there’s survival training in there too!? Cool!
John: We’ve all read The Paleo Solution and used it’s ancient wisdom to train for the expedition! If I had had it on the expedition I probably would have used it to beat our stubborn camels!
6-In addition to kicking ass on the Expedition Impossible show, you guys have some philanthropic work you participate in. Tell folks about that and how they can help.
Eric: The philanthropic work is really our passion; make sure you check it out at www.themoderngypsies.com. We have teamed up with Free the Children (a worldwide non-profit) in an effort to inspire the “compassionate adventurer” in all people. You can go to the “projects” section of our website and be part of what we are doing by voting on our next adventure. This includes clean water projects in Ecuador, healthcare in Kenya or alternative income in India. We want to start a unique movement, which inspires individuals to explore both themselves and the world around them. We will raise awareness, generate funds and work to not only expose, but address the many challenges faced by the impoverished world. We will do this all while staying paleo of course!
Taylor: Right now we’re working with www.freethechildren.org to help on one of their projects. We want our fans to decide which one. You can go to our website www.themoderngypsies.com and vote. It will be one of these 3.
A clean water project in Ecuador
B healthcare project in Kenya
C Alternative Income project in India
John: We’ve had this idea for a long time. We have traveled all over the world and wanted to give back to the communities that have had such a positive influence on our lives. In the spirit of adventure, supporters can go on our website, themoderngypsies.com and vote on where we will help next!
7-Remind folks where and when they can catch your show.
ALL: You can catch the mustache’s on Thursday nights on ABC at 9pm. Oh and, we have teamed up with Jedidiah Clothing whom are making awesome purple gypsy shirts, 100% of the profits are donated to our projects with Free the Children. Grab one, throw on some purple and show your support!
8-Is there anything else you’d like to share with the paleo/primal community?
Eric: The paleo/primal/CrossFit community has always been our main support group. It truly has been an amazing journey and you have been such a huge part of it. Although these communities have in the past been below the radar, I think it is important for all people to be able to have access quality nutrition and exercise. Everyone should have the opportunity to change their life for the better. I hope that we can be good ambassadors for these communities and help inspire people to not only make a change, but be the change. Thank you for your support and much love to you all!
Taylor: We feel honored to have gotten the support we have thus far in the Paleo/Crossfit community and we hope we make you all proud by our performance on Expedition Impossible. To stay up to date and to get more info on what we’re up to please visit our website and social media.
Podcast! We will have The Modern Gypsies on the podcast very soon. If you have questions for them, please leave them in the comments. Make sure to check out the show, join their Facebook and Twitter feeds and consider supporting their very worthy social endeavors.