Lean & Mean in 2014 – 5 Simple Measures to Track Fitness This Year


Happy New Year!

If I could, I’d come and slap all of you in the face right now.

Wait… What? Why? Because I know you’ll do two things this year:

  1. You’ll be tempted to do things that you don’t want to do.
  2. You’ll talk yourself into doing them.

Sleeping in instead of working out, eating fast food, and frowning at broccoli are just a few of them. I want to encourage you today, more than ever before, to “Keep It Paleo!” in the coming year. If you’re like me, you’re an adult and a fat kid at the same time. Focus on being an adult, make adult decisions, and snuff out the fat kid by using the following five measures of fitness in 2014…

1. How many times will your heart beat this year? – This will correlate to how many times you work out. The more heartbeats you achieve, the healthier you will likely be. The average heart beats just over 42 million times per year. If you elevate your heart rate from 65BPM to 165BPM for 30 minutes each day, you’ll add a million beats… Shoot for a lower resting heart rate, but a high number of total beats for the year. High intensity traning is a great way to accomplish this and CrossFit is my recommendation.

2. How many dishes will you wash this year? – This directly relates to how much you cook at home. As I’ve written about before, I traveled to the south of France for the summer of my 16th year and the family I lived with would only go out to eat once per year! They chose quality over quanitity. The average american eats out 4.5 times per week, or 234 times per year. I recommend stocking your Paleo Bank Account and saving your money for quality, planned dinners at your favorite restaurant when you do go out. I’d rather eat 1 pound of king crab and some steamed asparagus 4 times per year than 30 meals at Habit Burger… Don’t be a Nazi about it, just be aware of what you are doing and make changes in the right direction. I’m shooting for less than 50 times this year…

3. How many gallons of water will you drink? –  The body is made of somewhere between 50% and 75% of water. This percentage decreases with age and obesity and there may even be a link between dehydration and diabetes. Increased blood glucose levels lead to greater dehydration. If you follow The Zone, you know that it is our goal to manage blood sugar levels and Barry Sears is a huge proponent of starting your day and each meal with water. Dehydration leads to thirst, headache, dry mouth, dry eyes, dizziness, tiredness, and dark yellow urine (none of which scream “prepared to take on the day” to me). I won’t give a prescription of how much water to drink, but I will recommend using the color of your urine as a guide (dark yelow = dehydrated, crystal clear = overhydrated, light tinge of yellow = just about right). Start each day with 2 cups of water and each meal with one cup. Shoot for one cup for every 2 hours you’re awake. Seem’s reasonable, right? If you do this and sleep 8 hours per day, you’ll hit 182.25 gallons this year, which is three times the average. Statistically, Americans drink 60 gallons of water and 40 gallons of soda each year, which transitions nicely to my next metric…

4. What is your Sugar/Broccoli ratio for the year? – On average, Americans eat 150 pounds of sugar annually, but only 4 pounds of broccoli each year. Now, I don’t own a broccoli farm, but who’s going to argue that this ratio is out of balance? I use sugar and brocolli to make a point and I hope you are picking up what I’m laying down. I want to encourage you to eat less processed food and more fresh vegetables. I’ll do my best to track my ratio and will also help by providing tasty ways of eating broccoli. A good ratio to shoot for is 25/50, just over 2 pounds of sugar per month and just under 1 pound of broccoli per week. That seems reasonable, right?

5. How many pounds will you lift over your head this year? – One of my first CrossFit workouts outside of my neighbor’s garage, was to lift 10,000lbs overhead for time. It took place at Front Range CrossFit and I’ll never forget what a great workout it was. The best way to lift something from ground to overhead is by employing the techniques of olympic weightlifting. The benefits of olympic weightlifting are many, they include: lower resting heart rate, lower systolic blood pressure, greater muscle mass, lower body fat, greater bone density, stronger joints and connective tissue, greater athletic ability, etc… Weightlifting is universally scalable, so you don’t have to be a meathead to achieve a good number here. Whether you can do 50 pounds 200 times or 200 pounds 50 times, start light with good form and don’t be afraid to add weight. You can do this with a barbell, a kettle bell, a can of beans, etc… Calculate your reps and multiply them by the weight. I’m shooting for and average of 2750 pounds per day, or just over 1,000,000 pounds for the year. Who’s with me?

Boom!I could get into PUFA ratios, proper macro-nutrient balance, the glycemic index, the importance of fish oil, and the precursors of metabolic derangement, but I’ll save those topics for future articles. For now, let us use the above metrics. I’ll track mine all throughout the year and post them each month in the Paleo Nick newsletter like this:

Heart Beats: _________ of 43,000,000

Meals Away From Home: _____ of 50

Gallons Of Water: ____ of 182.25

Sugar/Broccoli Ratio: _____ lbs / _____ lbs (1lb/2lb target ratio)

Pounds Overhead: __________ lbs / 1,000,000lbs

So, there you have it.Well, almost all of it. I like the number five, so I am keeping the list to five. But, if I could give you two more, they’d be these:

1. How many times do you slap yourself in the face to snap out of making a bad decision?

2. How many times do you laugh and/or dance this year? (Read yesterday’s post for more on this)

I want to be your guide through all of this. I have been a CrossFit coach for over 5 years. I’ve heard hundreds of stories from all kinds of people. I’ve helped people lose weight, gain weight, get their first muscle up, learn to squat, walk on their hands, learn double unders, learn The Zone Diet, transform their bodies, gain confidence in life, etc… I’ve also worked in a professional kitchen for the past 18 years and I can teach you how to cook! It’s all about setting yourself up for success, making positive changes, and being honest with the man/woman you see in the mirror.

I am dedicating myself 100% to PaleoNick.com this year. Over the next few weeks, I’ll be publishing content that will help you understand who I am, where I am coming from, and why you’d want to follow me. These “back to the basics” posts will help you do just that. We’ll keep things simple, keep things fun, and “Keep Things Paleo!”

“The best is yet to come” my friends. There is work to be done, so let’s get after it!

Your Pal,

Paleo Nick

PS “Keep It Paleo!”

(Getting a head start on my broccoli and weight overhead. I just ate 1 pound of broccoli (pictured) and I’m about to do 70 thrusters at 135…)


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