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How Do You Know It’s Paleo?

by Fred Hahn on January 18, 2012

A client sent this to me the other day. He doesn’t remember where he found it so I can’t give proper credit. Anyway, it’s a total hoot.

paleo

I've been involved in exercise ever since I became a member of The Charles Atlas Club when I was 10 years old. In 1998, I founded and established Serious Strength on the Upper West Side of NYC. My clients include kids, seniors (and everyone in between), top CEOs, celebrities, bestselling authors, journalists and TV personalities.
my book. my Gym.

in Nutrition,Philosophy · 30 comments

{ 2 trackbacks }

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{ 28 comments… read them below or add one }

Margaret in AZ January 18, 2012 at 1:47 PM

Fred,
The triage sheet for paleo is hilarious. It really points out the complexity of understanding diets and for that matter, HIT. I had a friend point out to me that she was suspicious of exercise books that claim to be the end all be all of fitness because most made that claim. She said this after I showed and she did a slowburn workout. For the average consumer she’s got a great point. There’s a lot to overcome and I think you and others are a big part of that. Thanks so much for your informative posts.

Beau January 18, 2012 at 2:15 PM

Awesome flowchart, but as a Semi-Paleo Cajun, one Paleo food is quickly discovered to be left out of the chart. Run it with an oyster, haha!

Damien Gray January 18, 2012 at 3:07 PM

You can find attribution (and an expanded version) here:

http://colebradburn.com/2012/01/09/the-paleo-diet-flowchart/

Guy Giard January 18, 2012 at 9:27 PM

Love it!!

Anne January 19, 2012 at 3:49 AM

Love it Fred ! I’m going to print it and stick it up in my kitchen. Been Paleo for nearly six years now and Slow Burn for five !

Anne January 19, 2012 at 4:17 AM

Margaret in AZ – the easiest flowchart question for Paleo is “Can I eat this raw ?” if the answer’s yes it’s Paleo, if the answer’s no it’s not Paleo.

That’s not to say you would want to eat the food raw but just that it is possible to do so. To test the theory – All meats and fish can be eaten raw. All nuts can be eaten raw – but peanuts being beans cannot be eaten raw. Beans are inedible raw and poisonous in that state. Veggies can be eaten raw, but potatoes are inedible and actually poisonous raw. Oh – there are some poisonous plants and mushrooms so be careful and learn them – somewhere I read that one reason small children are so fussy about foods is that it’s protective instinct of mother nature so that they just don’t go and put any and everything in their mouths and get poisoned. Eggs are fine raw. All fruits are fine raw. All grains are inedible raw and poisonous raw. Oils are a tricky one because foods don’t exist in that state naturally so not sure on that one – but I always cook with either coconut oil or animal fat.

Fred Hahn January 19, 2012 at 9:50 AM

You can’t eat peanuts raw? And while it’s true that most paleo foods can be eaten raw, some cannot because you can’t derive the nutrients due to the inability to breakdown cellulose – like broccoli and other plants that have a lot of cellulose to break down in order to get the nutrients out.

Interesting about the children…

Cole Bradburn January 19, 2012 at 10:50 AM

Thanks for posting Fred, and thanks for linking Damien. Glad it has sparked some conversation.

Anne January 19, 2012 at 3:51 PM

Maybe you can eat peanuts raw then !

Broccoli is fine raw, needs lots of chewing, true, but I hadn’t heard that you can’t derive the nutrients ? In fact, just keyed in google eating raw broccoli and it came back with lots of hits saying how healthy it is to eat it raw !

Margaret in AZ January 19, 2012 at 9:23 PM

Anne,
I didn’t know that about paleo, the raw thing. It is interesting about the children, but in my experience some toddlers are game to put anything and everything in their mouths.

Anne January 20, 2012 at 4:12 AM

…except what you want them to eat !

Margaret in AZ January 20, 2012 at 5:00 PM

…for sure!

Alfie February 9, 2012 at 12:12 PM

So how does SlowBurn exercise fit in the Paleo paradigm?
Shouldn’t we be doing lots of sprinting (after prey or from predators), climbing (for locomotion or to score fruit), throwing (primitive weapons, hunting), and carrying and dragging heavy things (carcasses of big kills) ?
I would guess a gym with a Paleo outlook would feature lots of obstacles and odd heavy objects to work with, and specific machines would be tools to fill in gaps or address some discovered weaknesses.

Fred Hahn February 9, 2012 at 12:23 PM

“So how does SlowBurn exercise fit in the Paleo paradigm? Shouldn’t we be doing lots of sprinting (after prey or from predators), climbing (for locomotion or to score fruit), throwing (primitive weapons, hunting), and carrying and dragging heavy things (carcasses of big kills) ?”

No you strength train so you can do all those things better if you needed to do them.

“I would guess a gym with a Paleo outlook would feature lots of obstacles and odd heavy objects to work with, and specific machines would be tools to fill in gaps or address some discovered weaknesses.”

A gym with the things you mention would get you skilled at doing those particular things. So if you are into doing those particular things, sure.

You are misunderstanding the difference between strength and skill.

Alfie February 9, 2012 at 2:53 PM

Fred, are you saying if I got good at hauling objects of ever increasing weight I wouldn’t be getting stronger? Bow much skill development is involved in going from carrying say, 100lb sandbag to a 200lb one over say, a year or two? Won’t most of the increase – beyond the first few weeks where we’d expect quick increase in ability to do a novel exercise- be strength adaptations? How steep is the learning curve for a simple lift and carry exercise?
I think one can get stronger by lifting and carrying progressively heavier objects, personally.
I am not sure why the Paleo paradigm is applied in your system for diet and not for activity.

Fred Hahn February 9, 2012 at 2:59 PM

“Fred, are you saying if I got good at hauling objects of ever increasing weight I wouldn’t be getting stronger?”

No.

“How much skill development is involved in going from carrying say, 100lb sandbag to a 200lb one over say, a year or two?”

I have no idea. But carrying sandbags will get you good at carrying sandbags, not logs or rocks. However, if the sandbag carrying adds some muscle, you’ll do better at log carrying than you would without the added muscle.

“Won’t most of the increase – beyond the first few weeks where we’d expect quick increase in ability to do a novel exercise- be strength adaptations?”

Some.

“How steep is the learning curve for a simple lift and carry exercise?”

Depends on the person. You are calling it “simple.” Depends on what you are doing exactly – how you are carrying it. On your head? With one arm? Across your shoulders? How?

You appear to be not understanding the simple difference between skill practice and developing lean mass for some reason.

“I think one can get stronger by lifting and carrying progressively heavier objects, personally.”

Who said you couldn’t?

“I am not sure why the Paleo paradigm is applied in your system for diet and not for activity.”

Because carrying logs, rocks and sandbags in order to build muscle is inefficient and more dangerous than need be. Is that so hard to understand?

Alfie February 9, 2012 at 3:26 PM

“Because carrying logs, rocks and sandbags in order to build muscle is inefficient and more dangerous than need be. Is that so hard to understand?”

I think I get it. It’s kind of like healthy body building what you do. You train to build muscles and maybe strength, but don’t see the value in at least partially taking from the actions that made the Paleo people so legendarily strong.

When I historical accounts about Native Americans dragging 1000lb buffalo out of hunting pit traps, I think they developed that impressive power doing similar things throughout their lives. If you went back in time and asked them do some measurable exercises on your machines I bet they’d impress pretty quickly.

So taking the Paleo paradigm as a worth lens to view human function, I think some inclusion of those rough full body challenges would follow.
Some work focused just at building muscle makes sense too. But some work at demonstrating strength is necessary, b/c if you can demonstrate it, you don’t really have it.

Alfie February 9, 2012 at 3:35 PM

Edit – last line -”b/c if you can’t demonstrate it, you don’t really have it.”

Fred Hahn February 9, 2012 at 6:02 PM

“I think I get it. It’s kind of like healthy body building what you do. You train to build muscles and maybe strength,…”

We do both as they go hand in hand. You can’t be more muscular and not stronger.

“…but don’t see the value in at least partially taking from the actions that made the Paleo people so legendarily strong.”

Were they? Maybe they were strong because they ate well and got a lot of sunshine, didn’t breathe in smog or take drugs.

“When I historical accounts about Native Americans dragging 1000lb buffalo out of hunting pit traps,”

A single Native American? Nonsense.

“I think they developed that impressive power doing similar things throughout their lives. If you went back in time and asked them do some measurable exercises on your machines I bet they’d impress pretty quickly.”

Perhaps. But like I said, there are many factors that would contribute to this greater than normal strength.

“So taking the Paleo paradigm as a worth lens to view human function, I think some inclusion of those rough full body challenges would follow.”

Yes IF you needed to do these things in your life.

“Some work focused just at building muscle makes sense too. But some work at demonstrating strength is necessary, b/c if you can demonstrate it, you don’t really have it.We train people to build strength AND muscle. They go hand in hand. ”

So do we. But we don’t put people’s orthopedic health at risk doing so.

Alfie February 10, 2012 at 12:44 PM

The risk argument seems so overblown. Aren’t you a trainer? Can’t you devise a method of progressively helping someone get some function on the oddities of life? You seem to be admitting failure here.
Who doesn’t pick up something during their lives – even in a urban setting?
Picking up children or grandchildren for older adults. Making the grocery carrying easy. Being able to move a chair. Squatting themselves up and down off the toilet.

Fred Hahn February 10, 2012 at 1:22 PM

“The risk argument seems so overblown. Aren’t you a trainer? Can’t you devise a method of progressively helping someone get some function on the oddities of life? You seem to be admitting failure here.”

Alfie – you are either being purposefully evasive or your incurably dense. Let me try this on you again. Stronger muscles allow you do to ANYTHING you want to do in life better. I make people stronger. What is it about this that you either can’t or won’t understand?

“Who doesn’t pick up something during their lives – even in a urban setting?
Picking up children or grandchildren for older adults. Making the grocery carrying easy. Being able to move a chair. Squatting themselves up and down off the toilet.”

Everyone. And making yourself stronger via weight lifting allows you to do these things and anything else physical better.

FE: Take a senior who can’t get off of the toilet without someone helping them off. Put them on a strength training routine doing leg press, leg extension, leg curl, hip extension, hip abduction, hip adduction, calf raise, and after a few weeks they will no longer need any help.

Got it?

Alfie February 13, 2012 at 10:56 AM

Or you could take them through assisted squats, get-ups, light carries and the like as appropriate, so they were building strength and teaching their body to work together in the same way.

Fred Hahn February 13, 2012 at 11:02 AM

“Or you could take them through assisted squats, get-ups, light carries and the like as appropriate, so they were building strength and teaching their body to work together in the same way.”

Unnecessary. They already know how to do these things – they’ve been doing them all their lives. They are just weak and need strength. You are STILL not understanding the difference between skill practice and gaining strength/muscle.

If I tapped a frail and weak senior with a magic wand of strength and instantly made all his muscles 100% stronger than he currently is, do you think he wouldn’t be able to do everything that he usually does in life better, like walking up stairs, getting out of a chair, carry groceries, etc.?

Alfie February 13, 2012 at 2:09 PM

If they hadn’t been doing those moves for a while, they would still be sloppy at those moves. So they haven’t been doing them ALL their lives in the example you propose.
And your magic wand hits all muscles. Your machines don’t, nor do they teach them how to work together. Working together – this is perhaps the skill of the moves involved. Why not teach the skill under load, or with assistance as necessary as part of it all? Make the muscle focused loading just part of a broader program. You might find the weak-link muscles and movement issues change over the training life.

Fred Hahn February 13, 2012 at 3:07 PM

“If they hadn’t been doing those moves for a while, they would still be sloppy at those moves. So they haven’t been doing them ALL their lives in the example you propose.”

Sloppy? Standing out of a chair? Walking up a flight of steps? What are you talking about?

“And your magic wand hits all muscles. Your machines don’t, nor do they teach them how to work together. ”

Wrong and wrong.

“Working together – this is perhaps the skill of the moves involved. ”

They already have the skill. it’s the strength they don’t have. Alfie, I do this for people every single day and have for 20 years.

“Why not teach the skill under load, or with assistance as necessary as part of it all?”

Because it’s dangerous and unnecessary. It was once called “Work hardening.”

“Make the muscle focused loading just part of a broader program. You might find the weak-link muscles and movement issues change over the training life.”

Alfie, you’re just making stuff up for whatever reason. Not sure what you are trying to say.

Kurt March 20, 2012 at 11:05 PM

Alfie just likes to argue. What tests has he performed or witnessed to back his assumptions? I know this, I’ve been training using Slow Burn for several weeks, trying to get to muscle failure in under 100 seconds (or at least getting a hell of a good burn in that time). I work out at home using body weight and rubber cables from Lifeline using the exercises in the book as a guide. I’ve noticed that the impact printers I have to lift at work seem to be getting lighter. Those results seem like practical, functional overall strength to me.

Fred Hahn March 21, 2012 at 7:30 AM

Right Kurt. I just brought a huge freezer out of my basement the other day. Given my knee I must be careful, but I am able to lift/move large heavy beams out of my barn, wheelbarrow large quantities of wood and stone for distances, pull decent sized locust tree saplings out of the ground with my arms, etc., etc.

Muscle is muscle. The lifts Juan does have to be practiced to get good at them.

the bottom line is both Juan and my body compositions are virtually identical. Only muscle can move things. How much more muscular can Sumo be than I if we weight the same and have about the same body fat? Not much. So where is his strength coming from if not from muscle?

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