Phenomenal Experiences At Paleo f(x)
Imagine walking into a sea of people. Men, women, kids, from all over the world. 100s of people. And everyone you turn to has similar interests to you. In fact, they teach you something that is so helpful, you are thankful to have met them. No one thinks you are weird when you take your shoes off outside, or eschew sitting in a chair while relaxing. Some of these people are scientists, researchers and academics, while others are fitness professionals, athletes and famous bloggers. Many of them are just plain normal people interested in making themselves better.
Paleo f(x) is an amazing event. It’s filled with people on the same page as me. Every time I turned to the person next to me and engaged them in conversation, we both walked away with something new and special. And, this is a conference that’s inexpensive enough to be affordable as far as conferences go, only $367 for the whole 4 day event.
The conference is large enough to explore over many days and always find something new from the many vendors showcasing and sampling their products to the fitness contest and meeting new friends. And of course, there are wonderful talks going on all the time that you can attend and pick up some amazing knowledge.
Chris and Thaddeus from Eris Fit and Heather from GetFitGoFigure , all Paleo f(x) newbies, joined forces to explore this heralded conference.
We put together a video of short clips of some of our experiences at the conference here.
Before getting on any flight over 2 hours, we here at ERIS FIT like to mitigate the effect of any ionizing radiation, increased UV light exposure (at high altitudes coming in through the windows), and increased exposure to recycled and stale air. Check out Jack Kruse’s article on how to hack jet flying.
Here’s our travel stack these days:
- Bulletproof Glutathione – the body’s master antioxidant and responsible for helping us upgrade our immune systems to fight off infection and any damage from increased exposure to UV and ionizing radiation of plane travel.
- Chlorella – a natural sea vegetable that helps with detoxification.
- Baby Aspirin – helps thin the blood and better ensure no blood clotting on longer flights.
- Astaxanthin – an anitoxidant key to protecting the body against UV light damage, can also be used when out in the sun for long periods of time to mitigate DNA damage done to the body by the sun.
- CoQ10 – An inmportant nutrient for the heart and also a way to combat radiation encountered during flight.
- Water – lots and lots of water. We get aisle seats so we can get up often to use the tiny bathroom in the back of the plane.
Black Market Ride Shares
Arriving into Austin and finding out that there is no Uber and no LYft left us wondering what to do. Taxis can be expensive and we were told were so slow we would be better off renting bikes. Luckily we found a better way.
After getting our of our black market ride share, we hefted our luggage and ran through the locked gates of the new apartment complex, hugged our friend Chris hello, and threw our bags into the apartment. Our Uber that had just picked us up at the airport was waiting in the parking lot for us to return to the car.
Ok. It wasn’t an Uber. Uber doesn’t technically operate in Austin anymore after local laws changed and both Lyft and Uber pulled out. It was a driver we found on the black market Facebook site Arcade City Austin.
Bags dropped, we sprinted back out the door past potted flowers, past the swimming pool, around food trucks and over the sidewalk. The driver was still waiting. So glad she didn’t take off. Probably because I hadn’t paid her yet. Without Uber there is no app that automatically sends payment, so cash only. And this was our first time taking a black market anything. We weren’t sure how reliable the drivers would be.
Turns out the Facebook group worked very well and we used it flawlessly the entire 4 days we were in Austin.
Onnit and the Benefits of Alternating Temperature Therapy
After flying for more than 2 hours it was time to decompress in my favorite way. If I can’t find my way to the beach for some barefoot walking, I like to get in a workout and, my latest discovery, head to the local Turkish or Japanese bath house for some hot and cold therapy to stave off the effects of flying.
Onnit fit the bill just fine for this purpose as they have an infrared sauna and a Cryo Chamber. Besides, I had been interested in checking out the Onnit DeFranco Gym for a while.
The front door, in a nondescript industrial area devoid of any charm, was hard to find.
As we walked into the lobby we were treated to lounging fitness models draped over the leather furniture chatting and reading magazines and having smoothies. Women and men. I don’t mean they were attractive and in good shape, I mean they were make upped, haired done, put together in outfits modelesque.
Hmmm. I didn’t realize Onnit was that type of gym. Wondering if this was normal and feeling totally under-dressed, we headed into the gym proper.
As we walked onto the gym floor it became apparent that a promotional video of some sort was being produced. And yes, those attractive people in the lobby were in fact actual fitness models taking over the gym for the movie.
Without access to the main gym floor we weren’t able to fully utilize the gym. No tire flipping and sled pulling, which I really have always wanted to do, dammit.
We made the most of it.
We headed into the group fitness area and marveled at the maces, monkey faced kettle bells and other implements of workout madness that we couldn’t identify.
Onnit is really great about producing and then sharing training on how to use alternative workout implements that don’t grace the shelves of everyday gyms. These tools are really amazing and can totally transform your workout into a moving flow that’s way more interesting than hitting the circuit training equipment. Check out the Onnit store here if you are interested.
45 minutes later and dripping sweat (it was hot in there), we called it a day.
We met up with another fellow Bulletproof coach in training and hit the infrared sauna followed by cryotherapy.
-125C or 250 degrees below zero F. This was our first time doing cryo. Liquid nitrogen flows through a hose into the cryo unit and white clouds billow up from the bottom of the chamber to spill out the top.
It was like a mad scientists test chamber. All stainless steel, and it even automatically opened. I stepped onto the platform and as the gasses swirled about my feet and began crawling up to my neck, the platform raised up and my head was now above the chamber walls. I was in my underwear and since we had worked out and hit the sauna, my undies were a bit damp. They froze solid.
The intense cold was not bad. In fact a freezing cold shower or bath is way more intimidating. Just as my body cooled down to the point I was beginning to shiver, the session was over. 3 minutes was up.
It was time for a smoothie. Onnit is famous for their creative smoothies and use of their signature Hemp Force protein, Nootropic Stacks and great flavors. We tried out the King Kong and even though the peanut butter wasn’t Paleo (shhhhhh), it was a great way to end our session.
Time for a Swim
Our coaching buddy drove us back to the apartment where we enjoyed a short swim in the pool that was literally less than 10 steps out our back door. The above picture was taken from our sliding glass door in the living room.
15 minutes of walking brought us to the Palmer Convention Center to acquire our conferences passes. The official conference started the next morning. Our passes were handed to us by friendly looking ladies in blue shirts followed by a HUGE bag of Shwag. This was possibly the largest shwag bag I have ever seen. After skirting around a few deep paleo men squatting on the floor, we headed out.
We met a few more fellow coaches for dinner and headed off to bed.
Paleo f(x) 3 Day Summary
6am rolled around and we rolled out of bed. T-shirt and shorts on, three of us headed down the road to the conference in the hot and muggy morning. The floor opened at 8am and we wanted to grab a huge mug of Bulletproof Coffee before the talks got started at 10am.
One of the key times to be at the conference is early on the first day. Speakers, presenters and vendors were all stopping by the Bulletproof booth for coffee and conversation. It was the perfect time to meet some of the wonderful speakers and vendors and almost none of the attendees had arrived for the day.
After filling up our travel mugs with Bulletproof Coffee (tip, bring your mug for them to fill up and skip the dixie cup sample), we had a session on the Bulletproof Vibe.
After vibing we headed down the isles to visit some vendors. The vendors were plentiful. Stacks of nootropics, jerky, cold brew coffee, casava flour cookies and Superfoods Guiltless Flour donuts were presented for passerbys. It was a paleo paradise. If you could stay away from the sugar, and there was plenty of added sugar to many of the foods, there was savory salmon and sardines from Vital Choice, raw camels milk (yup), and oodles of brain driving supplements from Natural Stacks, Onnit and Bulletproof.
There was a major flaw in the works though. Other than the bubbling fountains of collagen protein infused with greens powder, there were NO vegetables. I’m sorry, but Paleo isn’t a bunch of people eating giant chunks of meat and scarfing down smart drugs. Paleo is about eating tons (6-11 servings) of vegetables with appropriate amounts of protein, healthy fats and some fruit. Paleo f(x) was sorely lacking in vegetables. Where are the vendors showcasing things you can do with vegetables?
Enter Wholefoods. We made three trips to Wholefoods for lunchtime Big Ass Salads.
Paleo f(x) did offer pre-made, pre-ordered food to conference goers. Conference goers could pre-pay for breakfast and lunch that was prepared by Picnik. Picnik made up Paleo foods and delivered them right to the conference. Some people loved these and some hated them. What’s new. We didn’t order them, but we noticed the lines were loooong to pick up the boxes of food and the veggies were sparse to non existent.
Some people attend Paleo f(x) for the talks. Some talks and presentations are really amazing, but many are the same information that the famous authors and public figures write about in their blogs, books and other media channels. If you closely follow a few of these folks, there isn’t a ton of new information. However, every once in a while a really good or inspiring talk happens.
The talks at Paleo f(x) happen simultaneously. The Bulletproof Onramp Stage, Mastermind Stage, Keynote Main Stage all had talks each hour of the day. In addition, the convention center floor, where the vendors were set up, had fitness, mobility and movement classes going on, both indoor and outdoor.
The most memorable talks were Dr. Perlmutter discussing the microbiome and its importance in overall health. His contention is that we need to support and feed our gut microbiome (the bugs living in our intestines) because they are numerous and keep us healthy. He suggests eating prebiotic type food that contains things to feed our good bugs. These are things like coffee, tea, green plantains, vegetables and even lentils and beans once in a while.
Mark Sisson, Chris Masterjohn and Mark Dahmma all had people raving about their talks.
For me, the real key was in talking with the other attendees, vendors and speakers and skipping many of the speaking sessions.
The one session I did go to was Ben Greenfield’s. His talk was amazing, he was funny, and he packed the room more than any other speaker.
The male and female Paleo f(x) realFit winners and my competition during the conference.
Early in on day 1 we wandered by the center of the conference center vendor floor. It was covered with row machines, pull up bars, deadlifting bar set ups and other equipment.
realFIT had a fitness competition going on. All attendees could enter for free and find out their FITscore. Fitscore was calculated based on a series of exercise you could do all at once or spread out throughout the three day conference. The exercises were supposed to measure your overall fitness compared to others, not grouped by age, just raw comparison.
For me, that means as a 40 year old man, I would be compared against all the crossfitting 20 years olds at the conference.
In between the sessions and vendor conversations I challenged myself to the RealFit FitScore challenge. Here’s what it looked like:
Pull Ups – As many reps as possible in 2 minutes (no cheating, I mean kipping)
Deadlifts – As many reps as possible in 2 minutes using a bar stacked with weights equal to your body weight. For me that was 155 pounds.
Shuttle Run – for time run back and forth between two sets of cones.
40 Yard Dash – for time run 40 yards as fast as you can.
Vertical Leap – measured distance of how high you can jump straight up.
Medicine Ball Throw – measured distance of how far you can throw a medicine ball.
Concept 2 Row Machine – 500 yard row for time followed by a second 500 yard row for time
ARX Bench Press – total output measured by ARX machine of bench pressing.
ARX Leg Press – Total Output as measured by ARX machine. This is hard. It’s like doing a leg press at the gym, but the ARX adapts the weight to give you the maximum force you can push both on the push and the eccentric return of the leg press. If you can push 1000 pounds at the top of the lift, but only push 600 at the bottom push of the lift, ARX will continuously adjust the weight you push to adapt to that. So it changes the force multiple times a second to give you the maximum weight at every step up and down. This is incredibly challenging, and just 2-5 reps of 1 set of leg presses will have you unable to get up and walk afterward.
It was fun!
Over the three days I took on Alex Fergus, a 28 year old bodybuilder, athlete and health coach from New Zealand. He and I competed against each other to be the top dog in the fitness competition of all Paleo f(x). Needless to say, he won, but it was a fun competition. Alex and I tied for the Paleo f(x) deadlift record. 72 deadlifts of our own bodyweight in 2 minutes. I was lifting 155 while he was lifting 205. So that was a big effort.
All in all I tied for 10th place with Ben Greenfield and one other person with a combined score of 80, whatever that means.
Walking down the numerous isles of the showroom floor is like walking through a processed paleo paradise. There are some pretty decent processed foods that I’ll eat, and some I won’t, and Paleo had them all. From the US Wellness Meats Liverwurst, which contained heart, liver, kidneys – all the organs that we don’t like to eat but should because they are very healthy for us, and was so good that I purchased 6 packages afterward, to the chocolate chip cookies made from casava flour, that I wouldn’t eat often due to the higher carb and sugar content.
Samples were laid out at all the vendors tables. Fountains of green water containing hydrolyzed collagen peptides and powdered vegetables to pizza, EPIC bars, nootropic stacks from Natural Stacks, Onnit, and Bulletproof and even a table where an NTP (Nutritional Therapy Practitioner) would palpate special points on your body to determine if you had nutritional deficiencies and recommend supplements for you.
While you could spend the whole conference talking with and sampling from the vendors, a few stuck out to me as most memorable.
Neufit – run an electrical signal through your body to overcome injuries and re-pattern neuro connections. This thing hurt like hell. It was like shocking my muscles with a ton of electricity and then trying to do a squat when my muscle was seized up from the current. Supposedly very effective.
PureWOD Beef protein – rather than whey protein or pea protein in a powder, this is pure beef protein. Drank ice cold in some water it tasted like over sweetened chocolate. Not bad. A good alternative to whey.
CBD oil (Pot is Paleo)
CBD oil is great for relaxing, getting to sleep and oh so much more. These guys were peddling CBD oil sprays, toothpaste and more. And it’s totally legal. This is not the thc portion of the plant, but the non-psychoactive portion that is really great for reducing inflammation and much more. Check out their website for more info on what you can use this for.
Pili Nuts – these nuts were amazing. I had never heard of these. Once you try them, you will want some! They are buttery, creamy and delicious.
Bulletproof – this was a constantly packed booth. Whether people were lined up for the coffee, to try out the vibe, hit the oxygen bar, sit in the butter car or grab some samples of Bulletproof charcoal, PQQ and Brain Octane Oil, you couldn’t go wrong.
We met some amazing people, attended a conference that encouraged movement and getting outside (vs stuck in a fluorescent lit hotel conference room in a chair), and tried out tons of amazing products. If you have the time and inclination, it’s well worth your time to check out Paleo f(x).