Podcast Episode #40: SPECIAL EPISODE! Athlete Eecovery & Steve’s Club
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Special Guests: Steve of Steve’s Club and Steve’s Club athlete Danny
CrossFit competitor’s recovery regimen (hint: it’s not just about food), Steve’s Club, Paleo Kits, and
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Show Links: Steve’s Original
LIZ WOLFE:Hey everyone, I’m Liz Wolfe of CaveGirlEats.com. Welcome to episode 40 of the Balanced Bites podcast. My other half is off today. Diane is way under the weather. She’s finishing up her book. She’s working with about the last thread of her voice after a full weekend of workshops in North Carolina. So it’s just me and a few very special guests. A little after school special. And the thing is, with Diane not here, there is absolutely no one holding my leash, so you guys better get ready. This is going to be crazy.
Just a little reminder. The materials and content contained in this podcast are intended as general information only, and are not to be considered a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. We have completed our workshop schedule for the spring and summer of 2012. We will pick back up in the Fall. We already have a very full schedule on deck. We’ll be in Arizona, Florida. We’ll be on the East Coast. We may end up adding a few dates due to some very persuasive folks who are working on bringing us to their gyms. I’m excited about that. So stay tuned for that, and you know, if you want to bring us to your gym, put in a submission. If it doesn’t work out in the fall of 2012, we’ll be scheduling for 2013 fairly quickly, so just keep that in mind.
All right, so today’s special guest is Lee Knight, a CrossFit competitor, athlete, one of my dear friends. She’s going to talk to us a little bit about nutrition from the athlete’s perspective, recovery, and kind of all the things that Diane and I like to encourage folks to do beyond just what do you eat after you work out. So hey, Lee!
Lee Knight:Hi Liz, thank you for having me.
LIZ WOLFE:Lee is slightly bashful and I dragged her onto this podcast, and she’s probably one of my favorite people of all time, so we’re just going to get as much blood out of this stone as we possibly can. It’ll be fun. So…and then we’re going to talk to Steve Liberati, who is the founder of Steve’s Club/Steve’s Club National Program, a program that I’m very passionate about, and I talk about a lot in our workshops. We’ll get into that a little bit later. And there will be a discount code for delicious Paleo-friendly, whole foods based snacks at the end of this podcast, so stick around. It’ll be fun.
All right, so one of the first things I want to ask Lee, and one of the questions that we get a lot is about post-workout nutrition. Who needs it? What do they need to be doing? When they need to be taking it in? And something that Diane and I discuss a lot in our workshops is just the idea that there’s more to post-workout nutrition than just what you put in your piehole, although I do want to address that. My good friend Lee is a lot like me with food. I get made fun of a lot because I eat sardines at lunch, but the very woman that taught me to do that, that was Miss Lee Knight herself. I highly encourage you all to kind of take what she says to heart because Lee really does I think have everything put together in a way that’s most effective and if I could design my perfect athlete, it would definitely be Lee Knight. So Lee, talk to me a little bit about your diet, what you incorporate on a daily basis, not just post-workout, but definitely include that as well.
Lee Knight:All right, thanks, Liz. Flattery will get you everywhere, I guess. [laughs] First, a disclaimer, which I’m sure that you reinforce is that nobody is the same and so whatever I do is different than what will work for other people. But this is what I’ve found to work for me. So diet, I guess I’ll go through what I eat on a normal day, and then talk about recovery.
So for breakfast, I…well, let me preface this by saying, I don’t really use food as…I view food as something that’s functional and that helps me just live and train, and I don’t really need that much variety, so what I eat on a day to day basis is pretty much fixed every day, and I know that’s different for most people, so…so breakfast, I have 3 eggs and spinach, and then coffee with some heavy cream. Sometimes I’ll put in an avocado and two strips of bacon. [laughs] Bacon makes the world go ’round. And for lunch, then I’ll have sardines, as Liz said. I get a lot of funny looks, but I’ve turned a lot of people on to sardines. They’re great. I like the boneless, skinless kind from Trader Joe’s, in olive oil, and I used to dress it up a little bit. I used to put it on lettuce wraps and put olives and scallions and all that stuff on it, but now I just put it on a plate. I put our new PaleoKits PaleoChef dressing on it, the tomato balsamic, which I love, and if you haven’t tried it, try it. And then I’ll do an apple with some almond butter, and that’s that. I’ll usually hit a workout in the afternoon, and then after I train within a half hour window, I do whey protein. It doesn’t bug me at all, and I do unflavored. I just buy it in bulk and I’ll throw in some raisins, sometimes some sweet potatoes, and some coconut water, just for recovery. And I find that that works for me. I know there are a lot of varying thoughts on post-workout nutrition, but I like to get something in. I don’t…I find that I don’t really eat enough during the day, so post-workout nutrition helps at least tide over me until dinner. And for dinner, I’ll have meat, fish, usually, and some kind of vegetable, and for dessert, I’ll have half a cup or a cup of raspberries with heavy cream. That’s it.
LIZ WOLFE:Awesome. All right, you know, I should have, before we got started, I should have kind of asked Lee to give us a little of her athletic history, and as we said, very kind of smart thing for Lee to throw in there, everybody is different, and the needs of athletes vary, and this is not the prescription for every single athlete. This is just what Lee does. And I think it’s interesting to kind of know that Lee does look at food as fuel, and that’s actually a very kind of common thing amongst athletes because really the focus, unlike my life, where everything I think about it is when I get my next square of dark chocolate, Lee has a little bit more going on than I do. [laughs] So there are other things that Lee needs to focus on, and food as kind of fueling that. So really quickly, Lee, give me a little bit about your athletic background, something that I’ve made you talk to me about multiple times because I think it’s so fascinating. Give us a little bit of your athletic history and up and to your competition this year at CrossFit Regionals.
Lee Knight:Okay. I started doing gymnastics when I was 6. I did that for, I don’t know, until I was 18 or 19, and then I started playing rugby, and I did that for about ten years. Played at a pretty high level. I played on the US National team for awhile. And I retired from rugby and I found CrossFit, so I’ve been doing CrossFit since about 2008, 2009. I started down in DC at CrossFit Fairfax, and I competed…I qualified for the Games in 2009. I wasn’t able to compete because I broke my foot. Then I competed on the CrossFit Fairfax team in 2010, and then I moved up here to New Jersey, and I competed with CrossFit Tribe in 2011 on the affiliate team. This year I competed as an individual at the Northeast Regionals and I made it…I lived through to tell the tale, and I placed 21st. So pretty excited. Had a great time doing it.
LIZ WOLFE:That’s pretty amazing to watch Lee. She was definitely a fire breather. So here’s kind of what I’m most excited about talking to Lee. Lee is somebody that has recovery stuff down beyond just food. So I want to talk to Lee a little bit about that, about a couple of the other things that she does, that I wished that everybody would do, whether athlete or not. So talk to me a little bit about your recovery beyond food, Lee.
Lee Knight:So yeah, I think recovery is more than just what you eat after the workout. A broader approach to achieving balance in your every day life and figuring out what kind of rest and recovery you need, more than just workout in the physical realm. So I’m a big fan of making sure that I’m in the right mindset and have the appropriate stress levels to deal with all the training,, and also to deal with kind of everyday life. You know, PaleoKit headquarters can be a little stressful over here, and we try to balance both working out and working and the rest of our lives. So every morning I’m a little bit pokey, I meditate for five minutes a day.
LIZ WOLFE:We love hippies. All the listeners know we love hippies.
Lee Knight:[laughs] Okay, good. So I’ll, you know, nothing too rainbows and unicorns, but just a moment to center myself and it really-I find it really helps throughout the day just to start off in that vein. And then, you know, I do a lot more rest than most CrossFitters. I really value that and I think it’s really important. What I think a lot of CrossFitters don’t do is take care of their bodies, take care to give themselves ample rest. And I just listen and say, well, I really need another rest day. And yeah, I’m not-I try not to be lazy about it, but I certainly…If I’m not feeling up for a workout, I know that my body needs more rest, so I’m big on rest days. I’m big on mobility. I’m big on, you know, I’ll get into a pool, I’ll go for a jog, I’ll do other non-CrossFit-y stuff to balance out all the heavy lifting we do all day. So you know, I think it’s about stress in your life. I think it’s a lot about rest. And I sleep…I’m sure this is very [xxx]-I sleep 8 or 9 hours every night. I know…thankfully, I have the luxury to do that. But I think a lot about recovery is what you do overall, holistically, in your life.
LIZ WOLFE:Lee is also a fan of the Green Pasture Fermented Cod Liver Oil/Butter Oil blend. What’s your flavor, Lee? What’s your favorite?
Lee Knight:I love Cinnamon Tingle.
LIZ WOLFE:Cinnamon Tingle! Unfortunately, GreenPasture.org, I think, is sold out right now. We’ll put a link up to another place that you can get that, but that’s one of the things that I love getting athletes on. We talk about this in the workshops. Vitamin A, very important to building and maintenance of muscle. So Lee is definitely a fan of that. Another thing that’s really important to note, we’ve talked about this in the workshops as well. When you’re an athlete and you’re stimulating that kind of fight or flight mode in your body, that is not digestion-friendly. So the hard-charging athletes do sometimes need to get in that whey protein, that pre-broken down type of food that they can assemble when they’re still in that fight or flight mode.
But meditation is also really effective way to make sure your digestive fire is what it needs to be to digest as much as possible, so that’s another thing I love that Lee does-just a few minutes each day. Something that most folks can fit in. So I love that. Lee, anything else that you wanted to put out there?
Lee Knight:Not really, I mean, just I want to thank you for supporting Steve’s Club. It’s a big part of what I do, personally, to help to bring CrossFit to at-risk kids, so I just want to thank you guys for your support.
LIZ WOLFE:Lee is awesome. So she mentions Steve’s Club. Steve’s Club National Program, Lee is the program director of that amazing program, something that’s very dear to my heart and something that I represent through our workshops and as an ambassador and I’m excited to become, you know, more involved with the nutrition component, you know, as we move forward, and we’re going to talk a little bit about Steve’s Club and Steve’s Club National Program. I want everybody to know that, you know, Diane and I talk about PaleoKits all the time. PaleoKits by Steve’s Paleo Goods. She and I travel so frequently-it’s really helpful to us to have a nice, you know, Paleo friendly source of portable protein to travel with. But part of the reason we’re so passionate about the brand. It’s not just the quality, it’s the fact that every day I’m here at PaleoKits headquarters. I get to see the kids at Steve’s Club. They come in, they train, and they’re doing great things, so I want to introduce Steve Liberati right now. We’re all hanging out here at PaleoKits HQ. Steve is the founder of Steve’s Club and Steve’s Club National Program. Steve, how’s it going?
STEVE LIBERATI:It’s going great. Thanks for having me today.
LIZ WOLFE:Anytime, anytime. Thanks for being with us. So why don’t you first start out by just kind of introducing what you’re all about, what Steve’s Club is all about, and talk a little bit about where the first PaleoKit came from.
STEVE LIBERATI:Okay, so I originally started Steve’s Club about 6 years ago. I started in the inner-city of Camden, New Jersey, which is not very far from here. We’re located now in Pennsauken, which is a lot of kids walk up here to work out at Steve’s Club every day. But I started in a small community center in North Camden. I was working as an exterminator for my father’s company, and I just saw an opportunity. I saw a lot of kids, a lot of kids just kind of got wrapped up into the environment, and just a lot of negativity surrounded by them every day. Gangs, drugs, and violence. And me, just at the time being into fitness, into working out. I was doing CrossFit on my own. I thought it would be a perfect, perfect way to kind of get them off the street and to give them something that they could be part of, something positive. So I started Steve’s Club in a small community center. We started off with a small group of 3 or 4 kids, and it just quickly grew from there. The kids loved it. They just were telling their friends about it, and they just keep coming back for more. And 5 years later, looking back in that time, we’ve grown, moved around different spaces. Fortunately now the program is going strong, it’s thriving today. And you know, we’ve come a long way in that time. But it’s, you know, I guess I’m just proud I could point where we’re at now, where we have a good influx of kids, and to see that the whole concept is spreading to other cities all over the country. And now we have a Steve’s Club National Program. So it’s the same idea. You just bring in our model that we had found here in Camden, New Jersey, to bring it to other cities.
LIZ WOLFE:Steve’s Club National Program. And if you all can hear, you know, different kind of sounds in the background, we’re actually at the gym where the kids train, where we train. Lee and Steve more so than I. But we’re all kind of here housed in the same environment. Talk to me, Steve, a little bit about where the first PaleoKit started and how you kind of integrated the PaleoKit idea with Steve’s Club National Program. I think something a lot of folks don’t know is that Steve’s Club actually came first.
STEVE LIBERATI:Yes, so we, looking back, we-I started a nutrition challenge, and I can remember this like it was yesterday. I put the kids on a challenge. I said, we’re going to do some strength tests, some workout tests, some benchmarks in the gym, and we’re going to see how you progress. So we had about 12 kids who got really excited about it. After explaining to them the whole program and what was required, we recommended the Paleo diet to them. Told them all about it. After the first week, we were down to about like 6 kids. So for different reasons, mostly, you know, due to the cost and just the challenge of eating a lot different foods that they weren’t accustomed to eating, a lot of people dropped out. But we had 6 kids who were really serious about it. And they kept with it; they were seeing tremendous progress. The biggest challenge they faced was just eating during the day. You can go into school having no options during school. So my wife and I, we made some jerky at home. I love eating beef jerky, so it just came over an idea, just a healthy alternative to real food, something you can eat on the go. And I put the others with beef jerky, nuts and berries in a bag, and I made it for the 6 kids that stuck with it. And they loved it. They’re like, oh, this is so great, Steve. Can you make me more? So the sucker I am, I cooked it up in my kitchen. I couldn’t make enough for them. It became, you know, a lot of work, but I noticed that it was really helping them reach their goal. So then I put it out there on the counter, which, at the time, I was starting a CrossFit gym for adults called CrossFit Tribe, and members of CrossFit Tribe, they started, they tried it, they loved it. And it kind of just dawned on me, maybe, you know, maybe we’re on to something here. Maybe we can use this as a way to fund our club, kind of like a Girl Scout cookie model. And that’s kind of how it all started. It was basically a way to help offer nutrition to the kids, who eat during the school day, for something convenient, and now fortunately, we’re, you know, it’s grown, and it’s grown a lot since then, and now it funds our club, it funds not only Steve’s Club locally, but the National Program as well.
LIZ WOLFE:Awesome. So Steve’s Club, Steve’s Club National Program is a 501(c)(3). It’s a national non-profit, so sales from PaleoKits and Steve’s Original products support that mission and pretty much enable us to do, you know, everything that you all are able to do. Bringing the kids to train and bringing the kids to kind of see what CrossFit, what an athletic competition is all about. I think a lot of folks kind of understand the idea of sport being such a powerful motivator for people, anybody; kids and at-risk youth particularly can make change in their lives. There’s really nothing more powerful than sport, and I think the connection between sport and nutrition is what really kind of-I think the sport probably comes first for a lot of people. Wanting to work out, wanting to be involved with CrossFit, and then taking on the nutrition challenges is something that’s part and parcel to that lifestyle, so we may even be able to ask Danny a couple of questions. Danny is one of my favorite Steve’s Club athletes. He is a high school student in Camden. He’s a really awesome kid. We actually got to take him up to the CrossFit Northeast Regionals, him and a couple other of the athletes from Steve’s Club. He got to see, you know, what that competition is all about, what that community is all about, and he’s a good kid. So let me-let’s ask him a question here. Hey, Danny!
STEVE LIBERATI:So Danny got done with school early today, had a half a day, so he happened to come over here to hang out, spend some time before class starts at 4 o’clock. And so I happened to pull Danny aside, grill him with some questions, and ask what he thinks of Steve’s Club.
LIZ WOLFE:Danny! What is-what are your most recent accomplishments with CrossFit and Steve’s Club?
DANNY:Well, first of all, I just want to be fair and Steve changed my life around. I got off the streets. I’ve been positive in school now. I got more friends now, and I’ve been stronger than ever. I’m doing’-I play baseball. I’m only a freshman and they put me in varsity and they put me in the 3rd bat out. I stole 50 bases and I did Grace for my first time ever, 501.
LIZ WOLFE:501. Everybody Google CrossFit Grace and you’ll know what we’re talking about. It’s no joke.
STEVE LIBERATI:30 clean and jerks at 135 pounds.
LIZ WOLFE:That is amazing.
STEVE LIBERATI:Using proper form.
LIZ WOLFE:Using proper form. That’s definitely something that is emphasized at Steve’s Club. So Danny, you said you are, you’re a high school athlete, you’ve done really well in school and all that good stuff. Do you feel like Steve’s Club has like given you a foundation to do better in your other sports?
DANNY:Yeah, it is. It’s keeping me active. When I left CrossFit and I started playing baseball, my lift’s 235, and then when I came back in, my lifts are stronger and I got in 285.
LIZ WOLFE:Nice, so your back squat went up ten pounds in that period of time. That’s awesome.
STEVE LIBERATI:So Danny, when you’re not playing sports, or you’re out of season, and you didn’t have Steve’s Club to come workout to, what would you probably be doing? What are some of the things you’d be doing in your house or just in your neighborhood?
DANNY:I would have been in the streets, doing bad things. Probably would have most of my life, and had some drugs come up to me, and if it wasn’t for this, for Steve’s Club, I would have never made the right choice, and I would join a gang, and I would not care.
LIZ WOLFE:Something that Steve’s Club’s National Program is really positive about in influencing the kids that come in and out is just to kind of bring an alternative, something else to do, something else to work on, something to get good at. Danny, anything else?
DANNY:Well, this kid just came from Puerto Rico and so me, I’m kind of strong and fit, and he thought that I would make the wrong decision to join his gang, and yeah, he started off at $50 an hour, whatever you want. It could be a $100 an hour, you get for 8 hour.
STEVE LIBERATI:So $50 an hour to start off at.
STEVE LIBERATI:And all you had to do is watch out if he..
DANNY:Yeah, yeah, kind of a back up man.
STEVE LIBERATI:So did you decide obviously this is not something for you, how did you tell him? That it was not enough?
DANNY:Well, I told him I’m in sports, I’m an athlete. The killing is not for me.
DANNY:Or drugs. I’m an athlete. I respect myself. Respect others. if it wasn’t for CrossFit, Steve’s Club, I would have never chose the right choice. I got a family that needs me, and to inspire other people, other kids that come in from Camden to join.
LIZ WOLFE:Danny, that’s awesome. Thank you so much for stopping in and talking to us a little bit. I know you’ve probably got a lot to do, working out today. Do you know what workout you’re doing today?
DANNY:The power cleans and burpees.
LIZ WOLFE:Power cleans and lateral burpees. That sounds awful.
DANNY:Do as many reps as we can and air squats in a minute.
LIZ WOLFE:Nice. That’s the buyout. Well, that sounds terrible. I probably won’t do it, but you can maybe do a couple extra reps for me.
DANNY:It may be hard, but I can’t bend anyways, I’m trying to get ready for a competition.
LIZ WOLFE:I love that, that’s awesome. Do you want to compete one day in the CrossFit Games?
DANNY:Yeah, that’s my goal. I want to be a Navy SEAL, but at most, I want to be a trainer and have another Steve’s Club going on in Camden, some other part of Camden so that youth come in and change their lives like I did.
LIZ WOLFE:That’s awesome, Danny. Thank you so much for hanging out. Awesome to have you.
STEVE LIBERATI:Thanks man.
LIZ WOLFE:So this is kind of what Steve’s Club is all about and you can kind of see why I’m passionate about getting involved in any way I can, why Steve is passionate about it, why Lee’s passionate about it, and why now Diane is pretty passionate about representing that mission to everybody. And so the whole idea here is that PaleoKits supports that mission, but another thing I kind of wanted to talk about as well is this is relevant to folks who are just starting out on the whole Paleo thing. Snacking is a tough one. PaleoKits started out as kind of a viable option for these kids during the day. But we also bring these with us on our workshops to show people that first of all, no excuses. You can figure out how to eat this healthy if Steve’s kids can and if Steve can and if we can. Anybody can. So what PaleoKits are and what we talk about in our workshops is basically a super clean Paleo friendly, whole foods source of protein. For the most part, if you want to get protein on the road that doesn’t need to be refrigerated, you’re going to be looking at shakes and junky protein bars, and we don’t want anybody messing with that. Other snacks that we talked about all is coconut flakes, I don’t know, hard boiled eggs, all that type of stuff. But PaleoKits obviously so easy to take on the road, a ton of different options, and we are going to do a one day only, today only! 15%, does that say 15%? 15% discount on Steve’s Original products. So Steve, do you want to introduce that discount for us real quick?
STEVE LIBERATI:Sure. So it’s just a small discount. It’s a small thanks to Liz for her support. So this is something that we can kind of pass along, and you know, somebody who hasn’t tried our products, so hopefully they could try them out, see how they work, and you know, have them fit into their lifestyle and to have them help reach their goals. So the code would be-the discount code is LIZPODCAST.
LIZ WOLFE:LIZPODCAST. That’s awesome.
LIZ WOLFE:LIZPODCAST-L-I-Z-P-O-D-C-A-S-T. LIZPODCAST. So that’s 15% off any order from StevesOriginal.com. StevesOriginal.com. Head over there. Check out all the different products. There’s PaleoStix, there’s Grass-fed jerky, there’s SpinachStix, there’s the original PaleoKits, CoconutKits, Berky-that’s berries and jerky, all kinds of good stuff.
STEVE LIBERATI:And the discount is good for one day. So we typically don’t do discounts. Frankly, you know, a large portion of our proceeds go to Steve’s Club National Program, so it leaves little room. So we’re pretty excited to offer this discount and hopefully, you know, a lot of you folks could take advantage of it. Try out our stuff.
LIZ WOLFE:Yeah, definitely check that out. The products are of the greatest quality. I wouldn’t be involved with this group if they weren’t. The ingredient labels are actually linked in the website, so if you guys are curious about what’s actually in these guySteve Liberati:no soy, no wheat, nothing wonky. I’m looking at these PaleoStix here. The ingredients are beef, sea salt, spices, and that’s it. [laughs] So there you go. Great choice. A 15% discount today only. Today is, well, today will be, when this podcast goes live, Thursday, June 7th. So we’ll release this podcast a little bit early on Thursday, so you have a good portion of the day to take advantage of it.
If anybody has any questions about this stuff or about my work with Steve’s Club National Program or Steve’s Original, drop by my page, CaveGirlEats.com, link up to the Facebook page and drop me a line with any questions you might have. Danny is my favorite athlete and he was really excited to come by and kind of talk a little bit about the accomplishments that he has achieved against odds, really, and in no way are we trying to trivialize these kids’ experiences by talking about something that we don’t necessarily have a functional understanding of. We don’t know, we don’t live with these kids, and we don’t go through what they go through. But we do have the capacity and you all do too through your support of Steve’s Club. We all have the capacity to in some way get our hands in there and make a difference, and I think that’s really important. We are generally a community that has the power to reach a lot more people than we realize and this is one of the ways that can be done. So Steve’s Club National Program, if you’re interested in learning more about that or even starting your own Steve’s Club at your gym or if you’ve identified a need in your community, go to StevesClub.org. Learn a little bit more about the mission and kind of what it’s all about. StevesOriginal.com, that’s where you’ll find PaleoKits. Anything else, Steve?
STEVE LIBERATI:No, I just wanted to, I guess, wrap it up by saying thank you for having me. And thank you for all the great work you have done, especially the great work you’ve put out there, the information. There’s a lot of stuff there that has empowered me that I can pass along to my athletes and share the information with them. So I just want to take this time to thank you personally for all your great work.
LIZ WOLFE:Thanks Steve, that’s awesome. All right, folks, we’ll talk to you again next week. Have an awesome, awesome Thursday. Take advantage of that code.
Diane & Liz