My Paleo/Zone Journey By Vince Miserandino SJP CrossFit Teacher/ Coach St. John’s Preparatory School www.sjp-crossfit.blogspot.com
Day 1- January 2, 2009 5’10’’ 171lbs approx 11% body fat
I will give a broad description of my 6 month nutritional and training journey toward my “A” Triathlon race, The Patriot Half Ironman (1.2mi swim-58mi bike-13.1mi run) on June 20, 2009. On race day I was 39 yrs old. I’m married to my wife Nicole and have a three year old daughter named Anna and an eleven month old son Vincenzo. Therefore training time was a huge factor in my decision to race at this distance. I am a Teacher/ Coach at St. John’s Preparatory School in Danvers, MA. I run SJP CrossFit and will be teaching Crossfit as a Physical Education elective starting in September. I am a level I Trainer. I also have taken Brian Mackenzie’s CrossFit Endurance Certification and Robb Wolf’s Nutrition Certification. After having a very successful sprint triathlon season last year implementing Paleo/Zone nutrition and the training Philosophy of Crossfit Endurance I wanted to give the Half Ironman distance a try using these same concepts.
I believe that I am an experienced age group triathlete with a very solid aerobic base. I’ve completed dozens of sprint triathlons since staring endurance sports in 1995. I’ve completed three Boston Marathons (PR- 3:16), 5 Half Ironman races, and finished the Great Floridian Ironman distance race in 1998 (12:35). Being 39 years old and having many more life responsibilities I needed to find away to balance my triathlon training with my obligations to my family and career.
My wife Nicole took a picture of me at the end of each month to show how my body has or hasn’t changed. I’ll give examples of my daily nutrition, Crossfit WOD’s, and triathlon workouts. I used a digital scale to measure my body weight and an Orman body fat analyzer to measure body fat. This particular method is called bioelectric impedance. The goal was to go under 5 hours at the Patriot Half Ironman. My Previous Half Ironman time was 5:13 at Timberman 70.3, August of 2007. I’ve been CrossFitting since September of 2007.
The focus for the month of January was to follow the Crossfit main site WOD. I used Crossfit as my strength training foundation. Triathlon training was second. My cycling and run workouts were 2 workouts a week with one being a tempo workout and one being made up of intervals. The intervals ranged from 20seconds to 40minutes. This philosophy came from the teachings of Crossfit Endurance. Typical triathletes can train each discipline up to 3-5 times each in a given week. I did not start swimming until April.
January 31, 2009 5’10” 165lbs approx 11%BF One Month
I did not weight and measure my food but I did use CrossFit Journal 21 to figure my blocks. I figured I was a total of 17 blocks for each day. Each full meal was 5 blocks of Pro and Carb. Snacks were 1-2. I tried to be accurate with my protein blocks but doubled or even tripled up on the fat blocks. Since I was eating Paleo I just made sure I was eating a lot of fruits and vegetables. I rarely ate any processed carbohydrates so I didn’t measure or weight them.
One Month Comparison January 2, 2009 January 31, 2009
Two Month Comparison January 2, 2009 End of February, 2009
I will admit that I usually drank 1-2 glasses of wine with dinner almost every night. I would substitute wine as my carbohydrate blocks. Some people choose to eat bread, I drink wine. During the months of January and February a typical Breakfast consisted of 4-6 eggs (hard boiled or scrambled) or 4-6 oz of Canadian bacon or turkey bacon for my protein blocks, 2 table spoons of cashew or almond butter for my fat blocks, and 4-6 large strawberries for my carbohydrate blocks. I would have two mugs of coffee with 1-2oz of whole milk and ½ teaspoon of organic sugar. The coffee added to both fat and carb blocks.
My mid morning snack was usually a Balance bar or 1 stick of string cheese with a handful of raw almonds & walnuts. Lunch: Medium to large mixed green salad (romaine, tomatoes, cucumbers, feta, olive oil and vinegar dressing) with 4-6 oz of protein: Turkey or roast beef cold cuts. Post workout: Whey protein shakes with 6-8oz whole milk. Dinner: 4-6 oz of beef or chicken- medium salad ( romaine and mixed greens, tomatoes, cucumber, feta cheese, avocado ) with olive oil and vinegar, some type of vegetable – sometimes a sweet potato or yam. 1-2 glasses of wine.
On March 15th I ran a 5k road race and had a time of 19:32 on a very hilly course. 19:32 on this course was a very good indicator that I’m getting faster with less total hours training per week but with more focused and much more intense training. My energy has been fantastic during all of my workouts. I train intense during all of my workouts for 2-3 weeks and go easy for a recovery week. I have not started swimming yet.
Three Month Comparison January, 2 2009 March 31, 1 2009
I’ve been following the Main Site WOD 3-4x/week. My previous 1RM dead lift was 250lbs. This month was 280lbs. Signs I’m getting stronger. Each week I do 2 bike and 2 run workouts for my triathlon training. I would follow the Crossfit Endurance site if possible. It seems that I’m getting leaner but my total body weight is up a few pounds and body fat is up 1-2%.
Since I’m training for a Half Ironman I’m doing the Ultra Distance (UD) workouts on the CrossFit Endurance site. My cycling workouts have been longer than suggested, no longer than a 30 mile time trial. My longest rides have been 40-50 miles. During those rides I would practice riding my race wattage. The intervals were around 210-220 watts for 15-20 minute intervals. Due to New England weather these rides have been on an indoor trainer using a cycleops power mete. My longest runs were 8 and 12 miles. My alcohol consumption has been better. I usually have 1-2 glasses of wine with dinner. Meals have been consistent with February’s notes.
I will describe in detail the entire day of the above photo. This picture was taken at the end of the day, 10:00pm. For breakfast I ate 5pc Turkey bacon, 2tbs almond butter, and 2 mugs of coffee, milk, and ½ tsp organic sugar in each mug. My morning snack was 6oz blueberry Greek yogurt. The run workout for the day was; 1/4 mile warm-up on track. 3x mile w/ 2min rest: mile 1-6:02-mile 2-6:08- mile 3-3:18 for the half mile. I saw that I was fading so I stopped at the half mile.
CrossFit WOD: 5 rounds of 5 reps of 185lb box squat- 95lb low back squat-95lb push press- 45lb dumbbell flat chest press- 5 pushups. Then: 4 rounds of: 10 GHD sit-ups (hands to ground) 20 GHD back extensions, 25lbs plate twists (20 reps). Post WOD Nutrition: Cytomax 4:1 recovery drink. 250 calories Lunch for the day was, Mixed green salad: romaine, baby spinach, tom, cucumber, feta, avocado, Trader Joe’s oil and vinegar dressing, 6-8oz low sodium deli turkey, large hand full of raw almonds and walnuts. Snack: two pc of turkey bacon, hand full of raw walnuts and almonds. Dinner for the night was a large salad (same as above), large grilled chicken breast, roasted eggplant and onions, Bottle of wine between 6:00pm-10:00pm. NO COMMENT PLEASE!!
Four month comparison Day one January End of April
During the month of April I’ve done four- 4 hours bike rides. Each ride has been about 70 miles. The goal with these longer rides is 1) to experiment with race day nutrition. I’ve switched to a product called Infinite nutrition. I’ve added caffeine and increased the sodium content to customize it for longer training and racing. Each bottle is approx 345calories. I add about 2 tbs of olive oil for my fat. I drink 1 bottle each hour. 2) Experiment with race day wattage. Half Ironman race wattage for we will be 210-220 (approx 20-23MPH). There is nothing LSD about this wattage. For me LSD in LONG STEADY DISTANCE, not Long Slow Distance. I’ve been consulting with professional triathlete Dean Phillips and co-owner of FITWERX , my brother Marty Miserandino, about training and racing with a power meter. To this point I am very confident in my preparation.
Post Workout/Snack4:1 Carb: Protein drink- 2 slices Canadian bacon- mixed nuts
I’ve also been working with a swim coach two days a week working on my swim technique. The majority of these training sessions are focused on swimming drills. Just after three weeks I’ve seen a huge improvement. For example; In February I swam a 250yd time trial in 4:08, week three of these sessions I swam 3:45. I’ll take 23 seconds any day. After my 4th four hour ride of the season (May 3rd) I ran 4 miles off the bike and felt great. This was my first brick of the season and feel that CrossFit and being coached and consulted is working for me. I am still following CrossFit Endurance’s (2-2-2). The only difference is that I am cycling longer than what they recommend. I guess that like doing a “Heavy Fran” instead of just a regular “Fran”.
Day before JCC Sprint Triathlon , May 17 2009. 250yd pool swim-10mile bike-3.5mile run. Breakfast: 4pc turkey bacon-6 large strawberries- 2tbs almond butter- 2 mugs of coffee each with 2-3oz whole milk and a tsp of organic sugar. Snack: balance bar Snack: Cytomax recovery drink Lunch: Large salad-tom, cucumbers, feta cheese, walnuts, almonds, 3 Trader Joes chicken fingers, olive oil/balsamic dressing. Dinner: Med size sirloin steak (grilled) large yam with butter and almond butter. I drank water all day. Breakfast day of race: 2pc turkey bacon-banana- 2 mugs of coffee-each with 2-3oz whole milk and tsp sugar. Race results: Second place overall finish.
Half Ironman Nutrition Pre Race: 2 yams with 2 tsp of butter, Banana, 2 pc of turkey bacon, 3 cups of coffee with milk and sugar 1 hour before start: 1 balance bar. 58 mile bike: 4- 20oz bottles with 340 calories in each, Carbohydrate/protein and 1-2oz of olive oil added for fat. Water on the 13 mile run at each mile. Post race: Endurox recovery drink 4:1 Carb:Protein. Yam with butter, 10oz pasta with two meatballs.
The goal of the last six months was to break 5 hours at the Patriot Half Ironman Triathlon. I ate Paleo/Zone as much as possible. I Crossfited 3-4 times a week either following the main site WOD or I would program my own workout. I swam, biked, and ran no more than two times each in 6 days. I took at least one complete day off some times two days. My average total training each week was 10 hours. I my longest run was 1:20 minutes, my longest ride was 4 hours and my longest swim was 1 hour. My finishing time was 4:52. I was 11th out of 40 men aged 35-39 and I placed 47th out if 318 racers. Swim:24:14 Bike:2:36:13 (193 average watts for 58 miles, 22mph average) Run: 1:49:55 8:30 average mile.
Bottom line. CrossFit works. My professional advice is to implement CrossFit, CrossFitEndurace, and Paleo/Zone nutrition in to your life and you will be successful at reaching any of your goals.