Happy New Year!

After celebrating our one year anniversary, welcoming several new clients and class members, plus a new and improved class format, we’d say that 2012 has been a successful year for OPTI!  We are looking forward to the year ahead and hope you are too – make 2013 your strongest year yet!

Since we are committed to making you the healthiest and strongest versions of yourselves, we would like to share with you some updates taking place at OPTI.  Enjoy!


First and foremost, Joe and I would like to announce that we are now StrongFirst (SFG level 1 and 2) Russian Kettlebell, Barbell and Bodyweight Training Certified Specialists.  As you know, we pride ourselves on carrying the most reputable certifications and maintaining the highest education standards the industry has to offer.  Until this point, Dragon Door’s Russian Kettlebell Certification (RKC) program had been the highest standard of certification in strength training and russian Kettlebell training within the industry.  However, just a few short months ago, RKC founder and Chief Instructor, Pavel Tsatsouline, parted ways with Dragon Door and the RKC to start a new organization called StrongFirst.  Pavel’s mission is to lead the way onward to educating the population to the highest strength and movement efficiency standards within the industry.  Pavel mentored Joe over the last four years, who then mentored myself, so it seemed only fitting and obvious for us to follow and work with Pavel and Strongfirst in this new pursuit.

To learn more about StrongFirst, check out these articles:

New Class Times

As a result of your feedback, we have decided to open some new class times plus a new day!  Please be sure to adjust your schedule so you may have time to complete the new movement prep routine 20-30 minutes prior to each class!

The new class times are as follows:

  • Monday & Wednesday at 6 & 7pm
  • Friday at 4:30pm


As many of you now know, Joe and I have recently completed the Whole30 challenge. After the 30 days, we feel energetic, aware of foods that negatively effect our body, experienced improvements in our bodies function and lost significant fat in the process.

What is Whole30?

During The Whole30 Program, you will cut foods from you diet that may cause systemic inflammation, gut distress, hormone imbalance and unhealthy dietary habits. The 30-day program allows time for your body to reset and heal.  The next 30 days could possibly change your life.

From the Whole9 website:

“Whole9’s original program designed to change your life in 30 days. Think of it as a short-term nutritional reset, designed to help you restore a healthy metabolism, heal your digestive tract, calm systemic inflammation and put an end to unhealthy cravings, habits, and relationships with food. Since 2009, thousands of people have used our program as a jump-start to changing the way they eat for the rest of their lives.”

For more details, go to The Whole30 Program.

What Can I Eat/Drink During The Whole30?

Eat real food – meat, seafood, eggs, tons of vegetables, some fruit, and plenty of good fats from fruits, oils, nuts and seeds.  Eat foods with very few ingredients, all pronounceable ingredients, or better yet, no ingredients listed at all because they’re totally natural and unprocessed.

Everything you can eat and drink is provided on this shopping list.  I highly recommend printing out a few; one for your fridge, one for your wallet and a couple extras to hand out to friends!  I cannot tell you how many times I have copied the shopping list or sent the link to a friend. Keep it handy 🙂

From the Whole9 website, here is a quick review of  what not to eat!

Omitting all of these foods and beverages will help you regain your healthy metabolism, reduce systemic inflammation, and help you discover how these foods are truly impacting your health, fitness and quality of life.

  • Do not consume added sugar of any kind, real or artificial.  No maple syrup, honey, agave nectar, Splenda, Equal, Nutrasweet, xylitol, stevia, etc.  Read your labels, because companies sneak sugar into products in ways you might not recognize.
  • Do not consume alcohol, in any form, not even for cooking.  (And it should go without saying, but no tobacco products of any sort, either.)
  • Do not eat grains.  This includes (but is not limited to) wheat, rye, barley, oats, corn, rice, millet, bulgur, sorghum, amaranth, buckwheat, sprouted grains and all of those gluten-free pseudo-grains like quinoa.  Yes, we said corn… for the purposes of this program, corn is a grain!  This also includes all the ways we add wheat, corn and rice into our foods in the form of bran, germ, starch and so on.  Again, read your labels.
  • Do not eat legumes.  This includes beans of all kinds (black, red, pinto, navy, white, kidney, lima, fava, etc.), peas, chickpeas, lentils, and peanuts.  No peanut butter, either.  This also includes all forms of soy – soy sauce, miso, tofu, tempeh, edamame, and all the ways we sneak soy into foods (like lecithin).
  • Do not eat dairy.  This includes cow, goat or sheep’s milk products such as cream, cheese (hard or soft), kefir, yogurt (even Greek), and sour cream… with the exception of clarified butter or ghee. (See below for details.)
  • Do not consume carrageenan, MSG or sulfites.  If these ingredients appear in any form on the label of your processed food or beverage, it’s out for the Whole30.
  • Do not eat white potatoes.  This is somewhat arbitrary, but if we are trying to change your habits and improve the hormonal impact of your food choices, it’s best to leave white, red, purple, Yukon gold and fingerling potatoes off your plate.

Whole30 & Paleo

Although most Whole30 “approved” foods are Paleo, it is important that you do not  “Paleo-fy” your foods.  This means making something with Whole30 approved ingredients that resembles a junk food you enjoy.  That means no “Paleo pizza,” almond flour pancakes or flourless muffins.  Remember, The Whole30 is not merely a program to help you lose weight.  Many programs offer this.  What makes Whole30 different is that it breaks your food addictions and unhealthy habits.  By making foods that replicate junk food you are missing the point of the Whole30 entirely.

A Final Rule

You are not allowed to step on the scale or take any body measurements for the duration of the program.  Like I said, this is about so much more than just weight loss, and to focus on your body composition means you’ll miss out on the other benefits Whole30 has to offer.  That means no weighing yourself, analyzing body fat or taking  measurements during your Whole30.  We do recommend taking before and after pictures, body fat and circumference measurements and weight.  Personally, I did not lose any weight, but I got significantly stronger.  For this reason, pictures and body fat measurements were most helpful.

Ready to Start?

Are you ready to make changes in 2013?  Then join OPTI as we begin our Whole30 journey on Monday, January 7th.  This will give you plenty of time look over the shopping list and plan out meals for your first week.  We have a Facebook group set-up to provide support during the 30 days.  If you have trouble joining the group, friend me (Christine Nicole Norris) and I will add you.  I will also be posting weekly updates on the blog with recipes, helpful links and general info health & fitness info!  Please go to the home page of our member blog and type in your email address (top right) to ensure you will not miss any information.  The first official post will occur next weekend!

If you do not have Facebook or if you would prefer not to subscribe to our blog, please send me an e-mail at cnorris7880@gmail.com and I will be sure to send any information your way!

In addition, I found it very helpful to sign up for the the daily e-mails provided by Whole9Life.com.  Although you can successfully complete the program without signing up, extra support is always nice.  The emails are jam-packed with recipes, tips and other great information to keep you on track.  The cost is about $15 but it is well worth it! Sign up here!

Links to Get You Started!

Whole30 Program Quick Links

Christine Approved Food Links!

  • Elana’s Pantry  – Recipes to get you started – be careful, as some have milk
  • Civilized Caveman – Paleo recipes to get you started!
  • Everyday Paleo – Food so good it’s now a cookbook!
  • Nom Nom Paleo – Great site packed full of recipes. Plus, if you have an iPad, Nom Nom Paleo offers a $10 app that is Whole30 approved! Here you will find step-by-step pictures to go along with the recipes!
  • Paleo Comfort Foods  – Lots of delicious recipes
  • Primal Kitchen – Plenty of recipes to get you started! Some have milk/sugar so be sure  to substitute when needed!

Other Links

  • OPTI’s Nutrtionist, Cara Zaller
  • Mark’s Daily Apple – Mark Sisson’s site is wealth of information and has the research to back it up! Questions about cholesterol, sugar or just food in general? Type in a keyword in the search box and find plenty of posts about the topic.
  • Robb Wolf – Robb Wolf wrote The Paleo Solution and his site is also a great source of information
  • Steve’s Original – buy all natural, wheat and soy-free beef jerky here!
  • US Wellness Meats – get grassfed meats shipped right to your door!

Have a Safe & Happy New Year!


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