Nate Creamer is a Connecticut-based photographer who recently did a photo shoot with two amazing CrossFitters, Dwayne and Christina. Below are his photos and interview with Christina (Dwayne’s interview and photos can be found here. And please go check out Nate’s amazing photography at his website, www.natecreamer.com.
Tell me a little bit about yourself and how you got started into the Paleo & CrossFit scene.
It all started when I was looking for a change in my exercise routine. A friend of mine told me about CrossFit and asked if I wanted to join him in a workout; our schedules didn’t coordinate but I gave it a try anyway. I was immediately hooked and haven’t looked back since. As I got more and more into CrossFit, I began learning about the Paleo lifestyle and different diets CrossFit athletes tend to adopt. CrossFit Danbury participated in a Paleo Challenge one summer and although I didn’t “sign up,” I began following it little by little.
How much of your diet would you say is based off of the Paleo lifestyle? Will you ever go 100% Paleo?
I’d say the much of my diet is Paleo. I try to stay away from the grains, carbs, and legumes, however dairy is my weakness! I love cheese. I stick pretty closely to the diet throughout the week and tend to be a bit more lenient on the weekends. Especially in the summer it is difficult with so many different things going on, barbeques, gathering… there is always so much great food around! When it comes to competition season and other big CrossFit events, I buckle down and get very strict with my diet; staying Paleo as much as possible to prepare for the competitions ahead.
What is the best thing about living a Paleo lifestyle? What is the hardest part?
The best thing about living a Paleo lifestyle is the way I feel, it’s awesome! I feel more energized, strong and healthy. I feel ready for whatever workout comes my way and am much more alert and energized throughout the day. The hardest part for me is resisting dairy. As I said before, it’s my favorite, I love cheese. Cheese is usually a typical part of my daily diet. Over the past couple of years, I’ve realized what works for me is allowing some flexibility; which is why when I’m not preparing for a competition, I allow myself some leeway. On the weekends I’ll have some cheese, or maybe some frozen yogurt- it keeps me on track.
Can you take us through a typical day of training & eating?
Because I have a full time job, I usually wake up in the morning have a cup of coffee and make some breakfast. Breakfast usually consists of 3 eggs, bacon/sausage, sweet potatoes, peppers or onions. I then head off to work, bringing some fruit and nuts with me to snack on, and lots of water! Towards the end of my workday I usually have an apple with cinnamon and almond butter to get some extra energy for training. At the gym my training usually consists of skill work, strength training and a WOD, or “workout of the day.” When I get home I have a pretty big dinner. I’ll have chicken, ground turkey or beef with lots of vegetables. Since I have a sweet tooth, I’ll have some fruit as a dessert.
You’re a CrossFitter and a very fit one at that… how often are you in the gym that keeps you in such great shape?
I am at the gym about 5 days a week, on average for about two hours. If my schedule allows, I try to stick to a 3 days on, 1 day off, 2 days on, 1 day off routine. Rest is so important!!
CrossFit and Paleo are continuing to increase in popularity. What advice would you give others that would like to start on a path to Paleo and Crossfit?
Stick with it!!! Both Paleo and Crossfit will be a challenge, and will be uncomfortable; but what change isn’t?? I promise you, you will not regret it. It has changed my life in so many ways it’s crazy. The community of people you meet, the family and friends you make are all working and striving towards the same goals- to be healthy! You will never be without a support system and will always have someone to turn to with questions and encouragement. It’s an incredible lifestyle change and soo worth it!
Since you started this journey, what are some of the major changes you have seen in way you look and feel?
My energy level has increased tremendously. I feel strong, both physically and mentally. I’ve gained confidence and determination. I have become more toned and can actually see muscles and definition! I have learned that looking fit and strong is okay, and that I don’t have to be skinny to feel good. The best part of it all is that almost every single day I surprise myself and accomplish things I never thought possible.
[Tweet ""I don't have to be skinny to feel good." ~ CrossFitter Christina]
What is something people would be surprised to hear about you?
In the past, I have been a bit timid to try new things or to go outside of what I considered the “norm.” I have always wanted to be more open and willing to take some risks in life to gain more experiences. What started off as a change in my fitness routine has ended up being a total change of lifestyle. Adopting this lifestyle has helped me become comfortable with the uncomfortable and has given me the confidence I needed to allow myself to go outside of the norm and try new things.