“You can’t weigh, measure or proportion your way out of sh*tty food.” -Robb Wolf
Dallas and I spent last Sunday with our friend Robb Wolf… and about a hundred nutrition-minded exercise enthusiasts, gym owners, and athletic coaches. We were all there for the inaugural Paleolithic Solutions Seminar, and to hear Robb’s fresh spin on the old CrossFit Nutrition “Certification”. We were hoping for plenty of new, relevant, practical material – everything from cortisol to cancer, insulin to infertility, medium chain triglycerides to metabolic derangement. We were praying that the two hours previously required for CrossFitters’ Zone block calculations didn’t make the cut. Yawn. And we were poised with pen to paper, ready to record the always popular pithy Robb quotes throughout the day. (Artificial sweeteners really DO rooster-block fat loss, people.)
In every way imaginable, we were not disappointed.
“The USDA’s food pyramid doesn’t even meet its own specifications of health.” – Robb Wolf
The first thing we noticed, pretty early on, was the crafty way Robb started drawing the connections between the foods you eat, and their effects on inflammation and insulin. There’s a reason those two words are the first thing we write on the whiteboard during our nutrition workshops – because every health, wellness and fitness concern comes down to those two things, in that order. Inflammation. Insulin. Managing those two factors are the key to everything, and the foods you eat play an enormous role. Throughout the day, Robb continued to introduce new material, and then carefully showed how his points tied back to those two key concepts. We could see light bulbs flickering over the audience, glowing brighter and brighter as people started to “get” the bigger picture. Participants even began to draw their own connections, asking smart questions about auto-immune conditions and hormonal interactions. While at times, Robb’s material was pretty science-y, the models he drew were clear, and made the seminar material much more cohesive.
“If part of your immune response is always allocated to repairing gut irritation, you are essentially sick all the time.” -Robb Wolf
On that note, the omission of the Zone material left room for more important, real-life, applicable material pertaining to a whole host of auto-immune conditions, diseases and wellness issues. Once again, the food you eat contributes to your health in ways you may not even suspect, and Robb spent plenty of time explaining exactly those mechanisms. He also related plenty of actual experiences his clients have had, “reversing” conditions previously thought untreatable and improving overall health and wellness to an astounding degree. Audience members also had the opportunity to ask questions of particular interest to them – everything from treating seasonal depression to improving the function of a child with autism – and hear Robb’s take on how nutrition plays into those conditions. Robb’s accommodation for this level of personal interaction provided such value to participants, and only served to reinforce the power of good nutrition.
“Too much cortisol leaves you tired but wired.” – Robb Wolf
Finally, one new topic of particular interest to us related to cortisol and stress management. When researching our “Cortisol Management for CrossFitters” piece, we quickly realized that there weren’t a ton of simple summaries available. There were good books, science-y journal articles and research papers, sure, but nothing at the level of some of the insulin-related summaries floating around these days. We’ve been hoping someone smarter than us would put it all together in a manner that was easy to understand and implement. Robb must have read our minds, because he devoted a good chunk of time to cortisol mechanisms, the effects of cortisol imbalance and practical management protocols. This subject is a piece of the health and wellness puzzle that has been overlooked by the CrossFit community for far too long (how many affiliates are still programming too many 45 minute chippers or burpee challenges?) and Robb has promised a more comprehensive survey of cortisol management via his seminars, upcoming book and podcast materials. We like.
Finally, on a totally selfish note that we can write about here because it’s our own damn web site, we were able to meet so many fantastic Whole9 readers in Chico. Apologies up front if I’ve misspelled any names, but we got to hang with Kevin from Ireland, Julie, Shawn and the girls from CF Portland (hello, Flat Mike!), Rachel and Rochelle from CF Alaska, Katie and Laci from Diablo, Jordan from CFLA, Rebecca and Daniel from East Bay, and Sally, who posted here about seeing us there. Meeting the people who read our stuff makes us happy, so thanks for introducing yourselves!
Fired up about Robb’s new material? The next Paleolithic Solutions Seminar is booked for March 6 at CrossFit One World, but Robb’s had over 600 requests for bookings in the last two months. Stay tuned to www.robbwolf.com for upcoming seminar dates and locations. Were you at the Chico seminar? Got some feedback for Robb, or want to chime in on your experience? Drop a comment here and share your thoughts.
We’d also like to send a big thank you to Robb and Nicki for the hospitality. Always nice to hang with you guys, never enough time. (And thanks for recommending Andy Deas to sit in on one of our workshops. We’d be lucky to have his expert feedback, as long as he doesn’t heckle us like he did with Kelly Starrett.)
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