Paleo Challenge

Ellen by Stephen Cooper

ES Front After Paleo Challenge.jpg

Hi Coop,

The Paleo challenge was great for me personally overall. It was difficult at times, but isn't life? I think there were two main cravings I had: salami and soy-marinated meats. I managed to stay away from salami but the meats I just had to have. Honestly it wasn't even as good as I remembered so it was kind of a pain because I felt like the cheat wasn't even worth it at times. Other than that, baked goods didn't bother me too much. I think sometimes my problem is not being able to just eat one bite of a cake. But if I don't even eat it to begin with - no problems there.  

One major challenge for me was how people responded to me not being able to try something they were eating, or what they wanted to eat. That was probably the most frustrating part. I hate cooking rice for my boyfriend and not even taking a bite. I also hated it when he would order my favorite pasta while I chomped on salad right next to it. I eventually figured out that if I just made yummy foods, he would eat it without knowing what it is.  Now he wants coconut flour pancakes every weekend. I also hated my coworker that would say "JUST EAT IT" when I told her I didn't want to try what she made. My friends were annoyed at how boring some of the restaurants I picked out and they just decided to not eat out with me at all.  But eventually with that frustration, it actually made me stick to the diet even more. Instead of eating out, I'd offer to make them dinner. Plus I felt and looked great..and I know I didn't get there by eating french fries all day.  I did lean on a few people that loved health and fitness as much as I do and they both really supported me through encouragement. I will try to keep up the diet with a couple of modifications and cheat day once a week after this challenge. As far as others are concerned, I think I will just blame it on allergies instead of explaining why I'm being healthy.

Diet and exercise was easy to track and I did really well overall. I managed to only miss 1 day of any exercise because I was sick. Since I have puppies, even on the non-gym days I would at least walk them for 45 minutes.  The hardest part was sleep. I did really for the first 4 weeks and was consistently 15-30 minutes late for work.  After that I started going back to 6-7 hours just to get to work on time and I could tell I wanted to work out less because I was still tired. The last week was the worst, hardly any sleep and I'm cranky and tired all the time.  Sleep is important and for someone like me that always have things going on in the evening or weekends, I need to make a solid effort to get to bed since I have to be up so early. 

Overall I lost about 6 pounds. Number-wise it isn't very much and I would be lying to say that it isn't frustrating...but I'm trying really hard to not focus on it because I look and feel great. I just know that someone with more weight to lose will probably smoke me in that area.  My goal was to have a 2 pack, and right now it is looking pretty good (with proper lighting).  I know what my problem areas are and will continue to work on it through continuing my own version of the challenge. I did not take measurements but I know for sure my clothes are fitting better.

This challenge was an amazing experience and I can't wait to incorporate it with the rest of my life. I believe in that this is what works for me.  I can eat healthy things, ingredients I can pronounce and I don't have to worry too much about calories counting and portion control. If I'm hungry I just snack away on natural foods.  I even picked up a couple books on Paleo.  Mainly to understand it more but also to have a better response when people ask, "why can't you have beans?"

Thank you for this wonderful experience...and I'll be up for it the next time around, too!

Ellen Sue

Lot's of Things for Monday by Stephen Cooper

First up, I just sent out our newsletter mentioning that our second Paleo Fat Loss Challenge will be starting January 3, 2011.

If you read this site, you've seen some of the incredible transformations that our challengers made during the first contest.  

This challenge will be 8 weeks long.  The challenge is open to anyone, and you do not have to be a client or boot camper with us to register.

I highly encourage you to get registered today.  Don't put this off thinking that you'll "get around to it later", because you won't.  I've seen way too many people act like this, and the results are often disappointing.

Come back later today, as I will be updating this post with more news and goodies.

Register Here for the Paleo Fat Loss Challenge

Two Tips for Boot Camp Success, and Tim Ferriss by Stephen Cooper

2 tips for today...

First Tip

My tip for getting and ready for your morning boot camp session.  It's going to get colder here in Pasadena so getting out of bed and to boot camp on time might be a little more challenging for some.

My tip is to have some strong green tea, coffee, or mate´before you leave the house.  For those of you here in the Pasadena area, I get my mate´from the Argentinian market at 1272 Villa St.  It comes "loose"in a bag like a bag of sugar.  If you buy it in this manner, you'll need to buy the special "bombilla" or metal straw.

You can also get it at Trader Joe's, in a "tea bag" option.  Look for the brand name Guayaki.  

Second Tip

I've been anticipating the release of Tim Ferriss' new book, The Four Hour Body...and one of the tips that makes sense, and which I think will help you is to take a picture of your meal.  Yep, snap a picture and then post it on our Facebook Page.  You can upload it, then just "tag" it with Boot Camp Pasadena.

I know that some of you may want to wait and do this with our upcoming Paleo Challenge, but I encourage you to get started now.

If you'd like receive information about our upcoming Paleo Challenge (Jan 3, 2011), and other news, join us here.

Lastly, we still have some spots for our Special Holiday Fat Burning Camp...Details Here


How Our Birthday Girl Lost 18 Pounds in Seven Weeks by Stephen Cooper

Happy Birthday to Nicole.

Nicole recently finished our 7 Week Paleo Challenge and lost 18 pounds, and 26 inches.  I am so proud of her :)

Here's what she had to say...

"Hi Stephen and Marie,

For too many years Ive struggled with my weight, and not until my husband happened upon did I find any success.  Ive done the lemonade cleanse, Nutrisystem, Herbalife, Jenny Craig, Atkins, and none of them worked.  But I know for sure youve got the winning formula: boot camp + Paleo diet.

For the first 5 weeks, I was tracking 100% on the diet and getting 8 hours of sleep, and only missed a couple of boot camp sessions.  The last two weeks I slipped up on a few days by eating a few bites of cheesecake, a ½ slice of pizza, some bread while dining out, ate a spicy chicken sandwich, and nibbled on my sons curly fries.  I didnt fall too far off the wagon during the entire 7 weeks, though, Im happy to say.  The best part was having my familys support in my getting to bed by 10:00.  Im usually running around doing last minute chores or catching up with paper work, but everyone pitched in to make sure I got to bed by 10:00.

One of the best parts of the diet for me was that I could satisfy my sweet tooth with fruit.  That was what really saved me.  I completely swore off desserts which has been a weakness.  I eliminated rice and pasta, which had been the primary portion of my familys dinners.  We replaced the white portion of our meals with deliciously cooked fresh vegetables and had a large salad at each meal.  Cutting back on eating out has saved us hundreds of dollars!  Another unintended benefit of the Paleo Challenge was my husband losing 20 pounds and my son losing 6 pounds.  But, the direct benefit of the challenge was my losing a total of 26 inches in my target areas and 18 pounds (so far).  Ive gone from a size 12 to a size 8, and I think I need to get smaller shoes, too. Ive attached before and after photos (scary!) and my target area chart.

Ive gotten compliments from family, friends, coworkers and boot campers - and it feels wonderful!  My son told me that he used to have trouble giving me a hug around my waist, but now its easy.  That really moved me to tears.  Im looking forward to continuing until I reach my healthy weight of 125-130 pounds – and then maintaining a healthy level of fitness.

Thanks so much for the Challenge!"

Woman Loses 15 Pounds in the Boot Camp Pasadena Paleo Challenge by Stephen Cooper

My weight at the beginning of the challenge was at 169 lbs, knowing I had gained 18 lbs within 5 months after stopping the lactation/nursing process of my infant son. The weight gain became one of the factors of my depression.  I was accruing anxiety and panic attacks with the medications for my depression.  Having physical and mental limitations with my body, affecting me, I was not able to continue the boot camp due to my carpel tunnel and tendonitis of the wrist and arms.  This challenge made it quite the experience to attempt weight loss.  I was on my own, since I was not able to have a mentor or trainer monitor my progress.   Measurements were not taken before the challenge as I felt it would discourage me.  I allowed the fitting of my clothes to guide me and instruct me if I was either gaining, losing  or remained the same.

In my attempt to begin this change of a new beginning through Paleo, it turned into a great and much bigger challenge for me.   My exercise was very limited, it consisted of plenty of power walking, jumping rope, jogging, and running. Attempting to track my disciplines in writing was not an easy process.  Keeping track became a memorization tactic.  I would not call this a diet because I was still eating real food just not the extras.  This challenge became a family affair.  My partner attends the boot-camp and also joined the Paleo challenge. This began to motivate me, not to turn back or give up, though I had my moments.  This included our three children; how we ate, and how active we remained, along with sharing the same intake of foods we had to encounter for the challenge. Meanwhile accumulating the energy needed to pull us through.  The urge to cheat was always a thought, for the sake of the kids and ours.  With the cheating came the circumstances: the extra push and training the following day, or simply eating in moderation.  Parking quite some distance to get to and from our vehicle when going somewhere. Our eating habits that we become too familiar with according to our upbringing seem so natural and worth the good eats. 

Allowing myself to sleep the recommended time gave me plenty of energy to exercise and have three actual meals.  Learning from the Paleo challenge showed me that real food is just simple. The first two weeks and the last two weeks became the hardest.  The food portions became smaller and my hips followed.  I began to use a belt to hold my pants up, when before my hips and thighs would have sufficed.  I did not have drastic results at the end let’s just say I do not have the extras hanging off my body.  Final weight is 154 lbs, 15 pounds lighter,.  I was able to walk up a steep hill last night with no trouble while trick’or treating with my 21 month old felt wonderful.  I am currently able to go a few weeks without my medications for pain and my depression as my life modification has kept me occupied.  I would not consider this a diet.  The Paleo Challenge provides one with energy from morning to night.  I am glad I did not give up at week 2 when all my determination was out the door.

P.S.  We are planning our next Paleo Challenge which will begin on Jan. 3, 2011.  To get news of this Challenge, please sign up here.

Lost 18 Pounds, and 4 Inches Off His Waist by Stephen Cooper

Testimony from our 3rd Place (Tie) Winner...

"Weight at the beginning of The Paleo Challenge was 228 lbs. Weight at the end of the challenge was 210 lbs.  Waist line in the beginning was 42in., and now is 38in.  Initially I was a bit skeptical about the challenge.  I had a hard time the first two weeks but started feeling better shortly after.  I noticed I had a lot more energy during the workouts and throughout the day.  Before the challenge my thinking was a bit foggy and after a couple of weeks I started to think a lot clearer.  I started to enjoy the diet more and more.  The better I ate the better I felt.  I also started sleeping better, which I think came from having a good diet.  The only problem was I started craving lots of sweets.  This is funny because I’ve never craved sweets before.  I would take care of these cravings by having fresh or dry fruit. I realized I don’t need bread, pasta, or tortillas (as a Mexican tortillas are part our every day diet).  I’ve decided that I am going to continue with this diet because it’s a necessary life change.   

Thank you for everything.   

I've been riding the bike to work and going uphill minus 18lbs. makes a huge difference!"


P.S.  We are planning our next Paleo Challenge which will begin on Jan. 3, 2011.  To get news of this Challenge, please sign up here.


And the Winner of the Paleo Challenge Is??? by Stephen Cooper

A quick round up of the Paleo Challenge.

18 people entered the contest.

12 finished and submitted pictures and an essay.

I will be posting the transformation stories, as the contestants allow.  Marie and I were truly inspired from the changes of the contestants and also how the Challenge affected the entire family, not just the competitor.

One of the main points that we came away with was that the Paleo Diet is a do able way of eating.  It is a lifestyle, not just a temporary diet.

I don't remember any of the contestants saying that they would revert back to their old ways of eating.

Just like I always say, being lean and healthy comes from consistent effort.  There are no shortcuts.

To all of you who competed and finished, I am sincerely proud of you.  Even if you didn't "win" one of the top 3 spots, you are a winner with me.  I totally respect your commitment and that you did what you set out to do.

So many "talk", but so few "do".  You did it, so a big congratulations to you.

Like I said above, in the upcoming days I hope to post the specific stories and transformations, but for now here are our winners...

3rd Place Tie goes to Sal and Patty (You'll each be receiving $100 off your next boot camp!)

2nd Place goes to Nicole (You'll receive your next boot camp Free.)

1st Place goes to Esmeralda (Esmeralda receives $450, plus her next boot camp Free)

As your coach/trainer/teacher it's difficult for me to describe how happy I am with your transformations.


Paleo Challenge Ends Today by Stephen Cooper

Paleo Challenge

For those of you who are in the Paleo Challenge, today is the last day.

Her'e what I'd like you to do:

Take your "after" picture.

Email both your "before" and "after" pictures to me.

In that email I'd like you to write me a little essay on how the challenge went for you.  Was it difficult?  Were there cravings?  How did you get through them?

Looking over your days was it pretty simple to track the three areas of importance?

1.  diet

2.  sleep

3.  exercise

What did you learn from tracking these?

Did you realize that you weren't paying enough attention to one area?  Like sleep?

Once you modified those areas, did you see a difference in your body?

If you took measurements, how many inches did you lose?

And your weight?  How many pounds did you lose?

The more you tell me how this challenge affected you, the better.  I am really curious to hear your responses.


Marie and I will be judging the pictures, comments, and your results.  I will keep you posted as to when we will announce the winner.

In having this challenge my hope is that you are feeling better, that you've lost fat, and you have learned some life long lessons.

My hope is that you've discovered that a little bit, done every day, can really add up.



Birthday wishes to Arcelia of the evening class, and to Renzo of the morning class.



This year will be winding up before you know it.

We only have 3 sessions this week.  A new camp begins November 8 and runs till the 19th.  Then we are off for Thanksgiving.

Our last session for 2010 is Nov 29th - December 17.

Please do me a favor if you haven't already and let me know if you'll be here and attending one or both of these camps, or if you'll be away.

Day 29 of the Paleo Challenge, and Hidden Sugar by Stephen Cooper

I went grocery shopping this weekend at Trader Joe's.

I bought what I thought were 3, pretty healthy looking items for my kids.


  • Multi-grain chips
  • Casava chips
  • Dried cranberries


Can you guess what they all had in common?

The packaging mentioned things like, low in calories, organic, baked not fried...sounds pretty healthy doesn't it?

But.... They all had sugar.  What the heck?

Sugar in chips?  Pretty deceiving if you ask me.

Lesson learned.  Watch your labels and don't assume.

Day 26 Paleo Challenge and Taking a 10 Minute Energizer Break From Work by Stephen Cooper

I've been trying to get better at handling my workload.  Lately I've been overwhelmed with emails, and sadly as some of you have noticed it's taken me longer to get back to you.

I apologise.

I'm trying to create better systems to handle this.

One thing that I am doing better, and I suggest you may want to try is this.

I normally work hard for 50 minutes, then take a 10 minute break.  I got this idea from one of my favorite books, "The Way We're Working Ins't Working" by Tony Schwartz.  I highly recommend it to everyone who needs to get more balance into their lives.

During my 10 min break, I do a few things to break up the work, and also "wake up" my body.

Here are my suggestions;

Do some crunches or hyperextensions on a stability ball.

Jump rope or jumping jacks for 100 repetitions.

Roll on a foam roller, or the Tiger Tail.

Try these and let me know how it goes for you.  Take the time, to be good to yourself.

Day 25 of the Paleo Challenge by Stephen Cooper

Don't hate me or him ladies...

I just got off the phone with one of the boot campers who is also doing the Paleo Challenge.

He's feeling way better, is thinking more clearly...and he lost 7 pounds in one week.  I know ladies don't hate him.

It's so cool for me to hear stories like his.

Remember we're talking about eating real, wholesome food.  And pays off big time.

* A remeinder for those of you who need Paleo recipes, I always recommend that you go to,  Sarah does an incredible job on her site!

Thinking about recipes, I have Robb Wolf's book, The Paleo Solution on my desk to read...and there are recipes there too.

Special Birthday Shout Out to our own Amy Kubal...our RD  Happy Birthday Amy :)

Day 24 of the Paleo Challenge, Next Boot Camp Sessions, Rain "Policy" by Stephen Cooper

Next Boot Camp Sessions begin on Monday October 11.  (This is for the Monday, Wednesday, Friday classes.)

Tues and Thursday classes begin on Tuesday October 12.

We are looking to add a Tues and Thur night class.  Please contact me if you would like to take this class. We will open it if we have enough people, but I need to hear from you.

Rainy Days

I honestly don't have much of a rain policy.  It rains so few days out of the year and the chance that it would actually hit in one of the hours that you are at camp is pretty slim.

Morning Sessions- We can always meet in the main hall at the school if it is morning sessions are never cancelled because of rain.

Evening Sessions-  These can be a little bit more tricky because we don't usually have access to the hall.  We will meet under the overhang near the class rooms if it is raining hard.  If it is misting you can expect that we will be training in the "elements".  This is CA after all, and the weather is not that bad.

Posting updates about rain-  I will post all updates or news about rain right here on the blog.  Think of this as "message central".  Come here first, rather than Facebook, etc..

P.S.  I train myself rain or shine...just like today I am training at home at 11:20, and I'll be outside rain or excuses.  I don't expect you to train in the rain/mist while I make excuses.  I expect the same from myself just as I do of you.

P.S.S.  If you'd like to be in one of the next boot camps, and haven't already contacted me, please do so soon.

Day 22 of the Paleo Challenge and next Boot Camps by Stephen Cooper

A few things today.

I continue to hear great results from the Challenge.  Lot's of comments with people losing 10 pounds in the first 3 weeks.

A few of you have contacted me and/or Amy too to discuss "tweaking" your diet.  If you aren't seeing the results you had hoped for, by all means get a hold of me.  We'll look deeper in to what's going on.

I'm here for you.

Speaking of "being here" for you, I have streamlined a few things that may make me more available and to help you better.

As the number of clients increased in the last camp I was a bit overwhelmed.  Many new people joined and my "regulars" stayed...this created the biggest classes to date.

I have been working hard on trying to organise some things better which should make your experience better.

I'm a life long learner and am always trying to get the most out of life, but in a balanced manner.


I have begun to take "attendance" electronically.  I will now be sending emails to those who miss their session. This method also allows me to run reports on how often you come to class, or have missed.  It will be telling for you and I.  I realize that people travel, etc., but please keep in mind that there are only 12 opportunities, or 8, depending on your session... for you to attend.  Clear out your schedules the best you can to make each session.  By the way, the classes are designed in such a manner that if you miss a day, you are missing a day of the "larger plan". 

Next Camps

We don't have many boot camp classes left in this year.  The next MWF camps begin on October 11 and run till November 5.

We then have two short sessions because of the holidays.

November 8 - November 19 has  only 6 class meetings and then...

November 29 - December 17 has 9 class meetings.

If you haven't already, please let me know if you will be in the next camp (Oct 11 - Nov 5).  If you know that you want to be in the other two camps too, by all means let me know...I may even give you a discount for registering for all 3 remaining camps. 

For those in the Tue and Thur classes you will have even fewer meetings.  (I can discuss those specific dates with you.)