True Blood

Friday, July 20, 2012

SUP-WOD tomorrow!

Jog 400 meters
10 Wall Extensions
Hip Mobility on Box, 60 seconds each
10 Wall Extensions

8 rounds of:
2 Deadlifts with bands (approx. 65% of your 1 RM on the bar)
5 Strict DB press, as heavy as possible
Rest 60 seconds

4 rounds for total working time of:
Run 400 meters
20 pull ups
Rest 1:1 between rounds

Notes:  Rest 1:1 means that you rest as long as the previous round took to complete.  If round one takes 2 minutes, then you will rest 2 minutes before starting round 2.

Cool Down:
30 GHD Situps
30 Back Extensions
3 position Wall Extensions, 30 seconds each
Foam Roll Calves, 1 minute each


I recently went in for my yearly physical, and I have honestly never been so excited to go to the doctor’s office.  Why?  Because I work damn hard on my health and fitness, and I was ready to confirm and validate all that hard work.  The “look, feel, and perform” aspect of a 30 day Paleo challenge is very real and proof that small adjustments to your lifestyle through diet, exercise, stress, and sleep can result in dramatic improvements to your health and fitness.  I can arguably say that I currently look, feel, and perform better than I ever have in my entire life, so the time was ripe to get some blood tests and see how I was really doing “under the hood”.  I wanted some objective data to assess my current progress and possibly make adjustments for the future.  Test, Asses, Adjust, Retest.

At the same time, I was also a little nervous to see my doctor.  I realize that how I train and eat is very unorthodox in our society.  I also recognize that my proactive and preventative approach to wellness is very unorthodox, and even frowned upon, under the current reactive model of the health care and pharmaceutical industries.  I tried calling my insurance company to see which tests were covered under my plan, only to be told to call my doctor’s office to request the codes for each test, because they could not list all the tests over the phone.  I emailed my doctor’s office with a list of five tests I wanted to establish a comprehensive baseline: Standard Blood Panel (electrolyte, vitamin, mineral, cholesterol, etc) / Chem 6 lab (cortisol, insulin, vitamin D, iron, etc) / Male V (estradiol, pregnenolone, testosterone, IGF-1, etc) / Inflammatory Markers (C-Reactive Protein, Omega3vsOmega6 ratio) / Blood Sugar.  I received a phone call from the receptionist notifying me that the doctor couldn’t order tests that she did not understand.  Ethically and financially, she was responsible for explaining to the patient any lab results that are ordered.   With my spirits broken, I scheduled my appointment and settled with the routine physical and blood panel. 

Even so, I arrived at the doctor’s office as giddy as my four year old niece on Christmas Eve.  I was excited even for the preliminary data, Height 5’8.5” (I thought I was 5’9” 🙁 ) and Weight 145lb, and was busy quizzing the nurses about my Blood Pressure 128/70 and Body Temperature 97.8°.  Is that good for blood pressure?  What is considered amazing blood pressure?  What do people normally get?  I thought body temperature was supposed to be 98.6°?  Am I low?  How hot to people normally run?  I heard about the connection between body temperature and metabolism, do you know anything about that?

Then I saw my doctor who I have been seeing for the last three years, and she wanted to know about my sudden interest into my blood markers.  I described the evolution in my diet and exercise routine over the last two years, and expressed my desire for some hard evidence that this stuff really worked.  She was impressed, and told me how in the last two years she had also made a shift in her own practice towards wellness and anti-aging, especially in older women, and how she believed that naturopaths were in fact the best clinical doctors in America today.  We then went into a twenty minute discussion of lifestyle and nutrition, went into evolution and the paleo man, briefly discussed grounding and electric currents in the earth and human body, talked about the role of hormones, compared list of supplements we are currently taking, debated high intensity exercise versus low intensity exercise, lamented over the current reactive approach of the health care industry, and finally ending with sleep, stress, and the importance of mental health as part of a holistic approach to wellness.  It was the most direct and engaging one-on-one discussion I have ever had with any primary care physician.  She was as giddy as I was, and excited for my labs.  It was an awesome checkup.

This is after 6 months of pretty solid diet and exercise.  Here is a quick recap of both for context.  For exercise, I aim for 5x Crossfit workouts and 3x Endurance workouts per week, but that is on the high end.  On the low end I will do at the very least 3x Crossfit workouts and 1x Endurance workout.  For diet, I aim to eat 120g of protein per day.  I usually meet this requirement with 1.5lb of grass fed ground beef.  Other than ground beef, weekly I eat 1lb of wild caught salmon, 1 whole roasted chicken from the supermarket , and 1 dozen eggs, as well as 1 chicken sausage from trader joe’s with my breakfast every morning, and occasionally SFH whey protein powder post workout or if I’m running late in the morning.  For fats, weekly I eat 2 pounds of mixed raw fancy nuts, 7oz of 85% dark chocolate, 8 avocados, and 1-2 young coconuts.  I cook everything in either Irish butter or coconut oil, use olive oil for dressings, and consume all the fat from my ground beef.  For carbs, weekly I eat 6 grapefruits, 2lb of sweet potatoes, 2lb of baby carrots, 1 onion, 5oz of mushrooms, and 40oz (4 bags from trader joe’s) of greens, mainly kale.  I also eat 1 apple, and ½ cup of blueberries and ½ cup of spinach in a smoothie for breakfast and dinner almost every day.  For supplements, daily I take 3g of fish oil, 1 probiotic capsule, 1 scoop of Amazing Grass green powder, and 3,000 IU of Vitamin D3 if I’m not going outside that day.  I also have recently added 1 packet of seaweed per week for iodine supplementation.  I cheat with 1 bottle of wine per week, a couple beers and tequila shots when I go out to a bar, Lara bars or Cliff bars if I am starving at work, cheese as a topping on salads, and probably one dessert every other week.  I love fruit so I always sub it when I eat out and definitely splurge more than is listed above on things like cherries, strawberries, oranges, watermelon, kiwis, etc.  My stress level has been high lately, but not unmanageable, and I’ve been getting less than 8 hours of sleep, but I’m working on both.  I drink 2L of water a day, and 1 cup of green tea every other day.

Here are my results, with the normal ranges in parenthesis:

Cholesterol: 128 mg/dL (100-199)
Triglycerides: 40 mg/dL (0-149)
HDL Cholesterol: 53 mg/dL (>39)
VLDL Cholesterol: 8 mg/dL (5-40)
LDL Cholesterol: 67 mg/dL (0-99)
(Your fasting triglycerides should be under 100 mg/dL, and your HDL cholesterol should be more than 50 mg/dL.  This means your trygliceride-to-HDL cholesterol ratio should be less than 2.0…The ratio of triglycerides to HDL cholesterol is indicative of your insulin levels.  The higher the ratio, the higher your insulin.” –Dr Barry Sears , Mastering the Zone, pg 277)
Total Testosterone: 709 ng/dL (348-1197)
Free Testosterone: 14.1 pg/mL (9.3-26.5)
Vitamin D: 44.7 ng/mL (30-100) (<– the one I am happiest about!)
Glucose: 91 mg/dL (65-99)
Sodium: 140 mmol/L (134-144)
Potassium: 3.9 mmol/L (3.5-5.2)
Chloride: 100 mmol/L (97-108)
Calcium: 9.1 mg/dL (8.7-10.2)
Total Protein: 7.1 g/dL (6-8.5)
Vitamin B12: 454 pg/mL (211-946)

(Disclaimer: The normal ranges were taken from the LabCorp results and are, in my opinion, subjective.  I feel that people like Robb Wolf and Dr Barry Spears have higher standards for their definition of wellness and list alternative normal ranges in their respective books.)

What’s next?  For the most part, everything looks good.  I plan on adding fermented foods, bone broth, and organ meats to my diet for added nutrition.  I’m stoked about my Vitamin D levels and am going to leave that supplementation the way it is.  I still want to do an Adrenal Stress test for my cortisol levels, and find out my Inflammation Markers to gauge how well my anti-inflammatory practices (kale, fish oil, icing, Epsom salt baths, grounding) are at dealing with my inflammatory practices (eating out, cheating with grains, exercise, stress, lack of sleep).  I am going to test body fat percentage as well, just out of curiosity.  As a final thought, my doctor agreed that the clinical method of “look, perform, and feel” was extremely useful, and in her opinion, more important than the blood work, that can’t always give all the answers.  But just like Crossfit, I am trying to collect as much data as possible to set a baseline for comparison in the future.  I can’t wait to retest everything next year and check my progress. 

How do your blood results compare before and after Crossfit?  Does anyone have any crazy success stories they would like to share?

You might also like