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What makes you ORIGINAL? series: Nate Harris, ORIGINAL Athlete

The ORIGINAL Nutritionals team is excited to launch our “what makes you ORIGINAL” series. This series is aimed at celebrating individuality, innovation, health, fitness, movement, and joy in our local and global community. Keep an eye out for profiles of athletes, scientists, doctors, and community members in the future. Our first blog is courtesy of Nate Harris, our most recent ORIGINAL athlete writing about how “#JiuJitsuSavedMyLife” 

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#JiuJitsuSavedMyLife.

It’s a hashtag I put on all Jiu Jitsu related social media posts. Some may see it as just a catchy tagline, but for me it is an authentic declaration of gratitude. Now, I’m not saying I was literally on the verge of death, or that when I magically ended up in my first Jiu Jitsu class I was set forever on a path towards prosperity and happiness, but… well, no, I am saying that.  My reality was not far off.

Before Jiu Jitsu, my diet was comprised of whatever was fastest, easiest, and tastiest with zero regard to the effects that anything I ate had to my body. I also drank heavily and smoked cigarettes. I was decidedly slovenly, not salubrious.

So it comes as no surprise, given my sloth, that it was vanity that prompted me to join the gym in the first place.  I was tired of being the fat guy so I started working out and quit smoking just to look good and maybe get some girls. When one of the fighters at the gym encouraged me to try a Jiu Jitsu class, I thought, “Ya know, learning a martial art might be pretty cool.”

It was maybe my 2nd or 3rd class when I had the realization that, yep, this was going to be something I would be doing for the rest of my life. My coach, Tait, once told someone, “I think Nate had come to 3 classes when he started to walk just a little bit differently through the world.” He was right.  I’d begun to discover a confidence and purpose that I had not had before.

I’d say it was after my 2nd tournament that the switch was made from being a Jiu Jitsu hobbyist (albeit a very passionate one) to a legitimate competitive athlete.  In this tournament I not only achieved my first win, but I won four matches.  Getting a taste of what it felt like to win prompted me to have a different reason WHY I trained, which led to a change in HOW I trained. Everything had to be methodical, especially diet. For those unaware, when you compete in a Jiu Jitsu tournament, you are placed in a weight division and, of course, everyone wants to have the size advantage so everyone cuts as much as they can to get into as low of a weight class as possible and still be able to perform. (The irony being that you end up having to lose a bunch of weight just to compete against people your own size.) I got EXTREMELY fortunate in having Tait Fletcher as a coach who taught us how to cut weight safely and intelligently. Eating a bunch of junk and trying to sweat out 20lbs in the last couple of days is most definitely going to affect your performance in a drastic way. Our bodies are machines and we must take care to make sure they operate at the most optimal levels.

My first step towards eating to perform was going on a strict paleo diet for 30 days. When I started, my thoughts were along the lines of, “Ok, it’s gonna be really hard but I’m gonna be able to work harder, recover faster, and be more shredded. Sweet!” And ya know? All that happened. What else happened, though, which I didn’t expect, was that my mood was better, my energy was higher, and the anxiety attacks that used to be a daily occurrence were now completely gone. It may seem obvious now, but recognizing in such a visceral way that the stuff I put in my body affected me physically AND mentally/emotionally was a crazy concept.

Over the years I’ve continued to learn, experiment, and evolve in how I eat and train. I don’t say “I eat paleo” because I’m far from perfect in my diet (I’m definitely guilty of having a weakness for corn chips), but “primal” is the blueprint for how I eat and live. My life is now free from foods that are overly processed, refined, or just straight up fake. There hasn’t been room for alcohol for 3 years. Every day starts with a shot of fish oil. Every cup of coffee is blended with MCT oil.

I started eating right to be a better athlete, and I am now profoundly grateful that my training has led me down the path of becoming a better person – I’m healthier, I’m more disciplined, and I’m always surrounded by a supportive community. Thanks to Jiu Jitsu, I found health and, with it, a better life. At the age of 21, I was told that due to my family history I’d probably have my first heart attack in my 30’s without a change in my habits.  It was a daunting prognosis and I didn’t look forward to a life battling a slew of ailments.  Now, I look forward every day to grappling with life. I look forward to growing older because I know I’m never going to stop learning and improving my health, fitness, and athleticism.

So I can say, with all sincerity, that #JiuJitsuSavedMyLife.

 

– Nate Harris

IG: @nastynateharris

 

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What’d you think? Let us know. @onutritionals

 

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A Telling Question

A while back I posed an interesting question on social media to spur some thinking. The question asked:

“Is there a difference between a sedentary life and choosing to train/ eat with intent for a year only to quit to return to a sedentary life?”

I’m less concerned with the “right answer” and more concerned with what kind of thoughts the question would evoke. Numerous men and women chimed in with their respective opinions. Some held a hard line that “something is better than nothing,” while others started to express concern that over the course of an entire lifetime, three hundred and sixty-five days is virtually nothing.

Returning back to the moment, I think most men and women would agree that committing to training hard and eating clean for a full year seems like a hell of a journey. It seems like a journey that is nothing to be scoffed at. Yet, the question I asked earlier seems to disarm this year long “commitment.” In the end, if we can’t get on board to a lifestyle of performance-minded training and nutrition practices, our flash-in-the-pan efforts (bootcamps, diets, juice fasts, short sided training interests, etc) don’t hold any merit.

My call to action here is a mind shift away from the often faulty quest for the perfect training program or the perfect supplement, and get on board with a lifestyle that’s in it for the long haul. If you can’t repeat your daily efforts almost indefinitely, considerable changes aren’t possible anyway.

#PinkyUp

Logan Gelbrich

@functionalcoach

Potent Variance

Any average gym bro can tell you about “muscle confusion” and “mixing it up.” In addition, there’s no shortage of folks plateauing in the fitness training. The most troubling thought for me as a coach is that there are motivated, actionable individuals out there that are spinning their wheels with bad information.

If the strongest athletes in the world (at Westside Barbell) have taught us anything, isn’t it variance? If the fittest men and fittest women on Earth (CrossFit Games Champions) have taught us anything, isn’t it variance?

Variance in training serves a multitude of purposes, but I’ll distill it down to two key ones. First and foremost, variance builds a broad base. Even for specific athletes, like powerlifters, variance allows them to build strength in different positions, which, even in their very basic three movement sport, has deviations in bar path and its own elements of adversity. Being strong in a multitude of ranges not only helps these athletes “win” in areas of deviation, it keeps them safe in them.

Second, variance in training keeps the athlete marching forward in training. If a cyclist, for example, trained only by way of riding his/her bike, there’s a point where time in the saddle is detrimental to output than, say, any of training. If “more is better,” the most optimal way to gain more volume and more intensity can be accommodated with variance. The same cyclist, for example, could still train strength, speed, and even cardio off the bike to push forward where fatigue may limit performance with an approach that says “more bike!”

Variance, by definition, comes in many different shapes and approaches. I selfishly like variance in training, too, because it allows for ultimate creativity. Change the equipment, the load, the time working, the range of motion, and any one of a hundred other variables to continue advancing your performance, athletes.

 

Logan Gelbrich

@functionalcoach

NORCAL: Learn Strongman This Weekend!

If you’re in the greater Bay Area this weekend, consider an educational opportunity to take the CrossFit Strongman seminar with co-founder, Logan Gelbrich. The one day course is this Saturday February 28th from 9AM to 4:30PM at Diablo CrossFit.

During this one day seminar, you’ll get exposed to the strongman implements including the tire, farmers handles, yoke, atlas stones, and keg. The seminar will include discussion about implementing strongman movements into a general physical preparedness (GPP) program and athletes of all abilities are welcome.

Interested? Enroll here: https://www.regonline.com/builder/site/Default.aspx?EventID=1637846

 

Logan Gelbrich

@functionalcoach

Team ORIGINAL: James Sides

Inspiring people do amazing things. Incredibly inspiring people do amazing things when there’s no reason they should be able to accomplish such things. James Sides is incredibly inspiring.

Jimmy is a spent twelve years in the Marine Corps serving multiple tours in both Iraq and Afghanistan. In July of 2012, Jimmy was injured by an improvised explosive device, which resulted in the lost of his right arm from the elbow down and vision in his left eye. Screen Shot 2015-02-21 at 4.46.22 PM

Jimmy is now an athlete on the US Para Snowboard Team. He’s currently ranked 9th in the world. Training and nutrition give him a chance to do the improbable a little better each day. Jimmy utilizes a hybrid of traditional strength and conditioning and CrossFit to perform better on the mountain.

As a young athlete, we couldn’t be more excited for Jimmy’s future and can’t wait to see it all unfold. Please welcome, Jimmy Sides, to Team ORIGINAL.

 

Logan Gelbrich

@functionalcoach

One Signal that is the Perfect Dietary Guide, or It Will Kill You

I once summed up satiety as well I could have dreamed with something that sounded like, “When you’re eating real food, satiety is your best friend. When you’re eating poorly, satiety is your greatest enemy.” You see, the signals our body gives are important.

We aren’t supposed to live in a perpetual diet-mode that leaves us indefinitely hungry. Eat until you are full. That relationship of signaling can almost always tell you everything you need to know about portions and when and what to eat. If (and this is a big “if”) you’re eating quality food.

Processed foods aren’t apart of the signaling structure that can regulate one of the most basic elements of survival… nutrition. If you’re eating Frosted Flakes in the morning, you may run out of pantry supplies before you really capture satiety.

Don’t believe me? Have you ever seen the caloric equivalent of a Dominos pizza in lamb and seasonal vegetables? You’d need to be a competitive eater to put away dangerous amounts of anything real, which means satiety comes first (like it should) and you can go on your merry way fueled like a champion with a satisfied appetite.

Pinky up!

 

Logan Gelbrich

@functionalcoach

Fire Your Trainer, Hire a Personal Chef

I once was paid a visit from an amazing trainer from France. He’d flown out west to see what the buzz was about with DEUCE Gym. This guy was an ex-rugby star, local celebrity, and no bull shit trainer.

Part of his struggle back home was a cultural one. He told me that people in the area have a mindset that having a trainer is shameful quality. Even the one’s that do get a personal trainer often want to keep such information secret.

In Southern California this couldn’t be a more foreign concept, but he’s dilemma sparked some thinking that has changed my opinion on the priority of a personal trainer a bit.

When this Frenchman explained to me that having a personal trainer was looked upon like an elitist thing to have, no different than a chauffeur, a butler, or a personal chef, I thought, “BINGO!”

I’ve never understood personal training, considering the options of quality group training experiences available. The cost for a quality coach’s time is incredibly limiting, but people do it. Since every fitness professional would tell you that nutrition precedes training and “you can’t out train a bad diet,” I figured I’d propose a drastic idea.

If you can justify paying a personal trainer $100+/hour, consider firing your trainer. Hire a cook to prepare quality meals for weekly food prep and a couple of amazing in-house meals per week. You wouldn’t spend any more money than you would on a trainer, you’d arguable make better health gains, and, if you live in Southern California, it will surely do more for your street cred.

 

Logan Gelbrich

@funcitonalcoach

Food Labeling & the ‘Omega 3’ Call Out

You know the guy at the dinner party that can’t wait to claim he’s friends with some celebrity? That desire to associate is natural, especially when it comes to things that are perceived as great. The ‘Omega 3’ claim on food labeling is a valuable one and brands, like the guy at the party, can’t wait to claim association even if the connection turns out to be something more like “Well, I once stood in an elevator with Justin Timberlake’s bodyguard.”

Food labeling is actually a scary place sometimes. Statistically, profits increase on packaged goods that have a call out of measurable protein, for example. So, whether you’re holding a granola bar or a muffin, brands will call out protein on the label and sales will increase like clock work, even if the protein inside is of a poor source or have an incomplete amino acid profile.

But, sales are sales, right?

The same is true with Omega 3. Brands can’t wait to call out Omega 3, because of it’s ubiquitous perceived value. No one perceives Omega 3 as anything but a benefit, which we’d argue is true, too. However, we know that not all Omega 3 fatty acids are the same.

The next time you see a product that claims Omega 3, whether it’s a protein bar, a carton of eggs, or a supplement, make sure it has measurable levels of EPA and DHA. Many products claiming Omega 3 only contain ALA, which are Omega 3 fatty acids, but aren’t converted well into EPA and DHA in the body. In our minds, if it isn’t EPA and DHA it isn’t really Omega 3 worth seeking out.

 

Logan Gelbrich

@functionalcoach

“Basic” is Critical

In the world of strength and conditioning, there’s often this resistance to very basic, even simple, principles. “There’s no way 3×5 strength training is it,” they’ll say. “That’s too simple,” they’ll say.

Basic isn’t shiny. It’s not the most marketable or the most sexy. But, then again maybe great outcomes don’t always need complex inputs.

We toss around this tag line of sorts that I find describes ORIGINAL Nutritionals quite well. It says:

Pure. Basic. Essential.

Now, that simple group of terms doesn’t really speak to flying Pegasus’s and fireworks, but I do believe it’s quite powerful. Great nutrition in many ways is basic. Quality food isn’t rocket science. Of course, convincing the masses that basic exercises like the deadlift, back squat, and press are critical to understanding strength is much easier said than done. In the same way, quality lipids and clean nutrition isn’t complex, but it is critical.

 

Logan Gelbrich

@functionalcoach

 

Contagion: Positive Progress

In middle school science class you learn about potential energy. It’s that wheel at the top of a hill that is a ball of potential energy. With just the slightest nudge it can become a rocket of speed hurling down the mountain with the ability to affect its environment and have a crashing effect.

Human beings, I find, are attracted to movement and direction. People that are up to great things and constantly in positive motion attract others like moths to a flame. We like when coaches are also athletes pursuing their own goals. We like when entrepreneurs branch out and push the envelop. It’s a contagion to positive progress.

inspire movement

I was fortunate enough to share breakfast with an inspiring young coach this morning and I think as much as our own work inspirers each other and those around us, we need each other to continue.

Find someone moving forward around you for fuel. Carry your own torch forward, too, so you can bring others with you.

 

Logan Gelbrich

@functionalcoach