This post features a real-life Paleo expert who stays fit and healthy in the midst of a chaotic schedule. Learn more about how living Paleo can adapt to your lifestyle by following Max through a typical day in his life.
Max Shippee, our resident CrossFit expert and creator of PaleoFit, is also currently appearing on The Young and the Restless as Graham Bloodworth over on CBS. Even with his grueling daily schedule, he makes time for wellness, health, and eating clean and simple foods.
5:05am: Get up
Rising in concert with your circadian rhythm is a great way to start your day—especially if you have a family. It’s nice to start your day by yourself without all the other people of the house hollering “Daddy!” at you. I’m not saying that getting up at 5 in the morning is easy—not at all! But it does feel great to start the day before the world starts making demands on you.
I’ve also found that I usually wake up a little before my alarm, anywhere from five to twenty minutes before. I’ve found that if I get up when I naturally open my eyes in the early morning, I feel much more even with my energy throughout the day, and don’t experience that grogginess that can follow you around all morning.
5:15am: Cold shower
If you saw my other post about cold showers, then you know that starting your day with a little jolt of cold can have some really sweet effects for your body, not the least of which is fixing your bed-head.
Almost every morning, the first thing I do before I can think about it is to turn on the cold water of the shower and step in. The cold shower in the morning isn’t necessarily one that I use to get clean, it’s more of a rinse to wake myself up. Let me tell you: it works.
I don’t usually eat breakfast, or anything for that matter, until about noon. I dig the intermittent fasting thing, although it’s not for everyone.
5:30am: Hydrate and look out
Before I just get into my car and go, I stack my backpack and phone by the front door, then I go to my sink and get a big glass of water and down the whole thing immediately. I then fill another glass, and step towards our picture window. I stand there for a minute or two and make myself find a thing or two to be grateful for. It’s really easy, in this day and age, to just start your day full throttle, without any thought that it’s really amazing that we’re here at all. I try to get my mind right before heading out the door.
5:35am: Drive to gym
On my drive to the gym, to coach my 6am class, I alternate between being in silence or listening to a bit of a health-related podcast to share with the class I’m about to coach. While traditional morning radio shows are nice, I find that starting my day with the bombardment of advertising gets me way more worked up than I need to be. So, I’ll throw on that podcast to catch up on a thing or two. Sometimes I’ll also let my mind drift a bit, while trying to take note of the things I hope to accomplish during the day. Often, I’ll be reviewing lines for work later that day or the week.
6:00am: Coach class
The first class at my gym is at 6am. I’ve got a great crew of 6-10 people that show up on a regular basis. These are the first people I see everyday besides my family, and I love that it’s a group of people that quite literally puts their health first every day. I’ll guide this glass through a warm-up, technique work, workout, and stretch/cool down, all inside an hour. It’s wonderfully fun and brutal.
Working out in the morning helps you to pull from your stored glycogen, since you haven’t eaten yet, and may even cause a little uptick in your fat-burning. Often, I just work out first thing just so it gets done. The best part of a workout is having it done!
7:15am: Gym office work
After all the people have cleared out from the 6am class, I’ll take some time to work in my office. Whether we like it or not, for many of us, we rely on screens to get our work done. When I am spending time in front of a screen, at least at the gym, I do so while standing. There’s a litany of research around how sitting is going to be seen as “the new smoking” since the list of adverse health effect of long periods of sitting becomes longer and longer. I usually have a couple hours in the morning to get my “desk work” done, and that’s usually done from a standing position.
9:00am: Head home
Some days I coach another class at 9am, but others I have a different coach cover that class so I can be on set. My drive home takes a little longer due to morning traffic, but I’m feeling good since I’m headed home and already have my workout plus about two hours of work under my belt. I feel like I’m ahead of the game!
9:30am: Second shower
After getting home and connecting with my kids and wife for a bit (no breakfast though!), I’ll rinse off my morning workout with another cold shower, this time with soap. It feels great to get the sweat off and blunt any inflammation that I may have caused from the workout.
After my shower, I’ll typically use some Paleo-friendly products to help myself be presentable.
Deodorant: I use one that’s pretty much just essential oils from Tom’s of Maine.
Face: I’ll put just a bit of coconut oil on my face to make sure that my skin is hydrated and try to offset this aging thing…
Hair: I throw on a little organic Badger Pomade in the hair to keep me rocking the do! Living like a caveman doesn’t mean I have to look and smell like one!
On this day, I’m fortunate that I don’t have to be on set until noon, but I decide I’m going to head in early. I hate the idea of ever being late, and I can always get work done, (like this blog post) on my laptop in my dressing room. After my shower and getting dressed, I’ll kiss all the kids and the wife, and head out the door. Once again, I’ll throw on a podcast on the way up, or review my lines at the stop lights.
11:15am: Arrive CBS
Depending on the time of day, it usually takes me about forty five minutes to an hour and fifteen minutes to get from my house to CBS Television City in Los Angeles. I head through security, park, go to my dressing room, and set up camp. It’s great to be in a spot where there is stuff going on around me, but I have my own space. Some of my most productive work is done in the dressing room at CBS.
I actually don’t have to start prepping with the hair and makeup people until about noon, so I head to the commissary and grab my lunch. This will be my first meal of the day, and it’s Paleo! It’s a nice big salad. About 1.7 pounds of:
I top it with the balsamic dressing they have there at the commissary. Honestly, I’m not sure of the ingredients, but most commercial dressing uses canola oil and/or some kind of thickener, like guar gum or carrageenan. Both the canola oil and the thickeners aren’t Paleo in the strict sense. I luckily don’t have a sensitivity to these ingredients, so while it may not be Paleo, it doesn’t wreck my stomach. It’s always best, of course, to stick as close to Paleo as possible, but sometimes in the real world you have to make adjustments here and there!
12:15pm: Hair and Makeup
I finish up my lunch and head up to hair and makeup. As far as I know, there aren’t any super Paleo professional makeup and hair products, but if you’re not prepping for TV, there are definitely some cleaner skincare options out there for you.
After hair and makeup, I review my lines for a bit. Then I take 15 minutes to sit and meditate. I try to get a meditation in everyday because it really helps me to be centered throughout the day. I see meditation as “Paleo” since I see it as being similar to how our ancestors would spend periods of time simply lost in their own thoughts. Without screens, a to-do list, or even books, our ancestors had time to let their minds relax.
1:30pm: Shoot my scenes
They call me to set and I head to Stage 43 to get mic’ed up and touched up for my scenes. We set blocking, do a rehearsal, and shoot. The process gets repeated a few times over the next couple of hours for all the scenes we need to shoot for my part in the story line. Luckily, today I have a short day and I’ll only be on set for about six hours. Some days can be as long as fourteen! Of course, any day I get to be on set with The Young and The Restless as Graham Bloodworth is a great day!
3:30pm: Done shooting
I finish up my part of the shooting day, and head back to my dressing room to get out of my wardrobe. I pack up, and head upstairs to sign my paperwork for the day. I take the stairs up and back down in lieu of the elevator. It’s only a few flights, but a little opportunity for movement before I sit back in my car for my commute.
4:00pm: Commute home
I jump back in the car, and throw on a bit more of an entertaining podcast. For better or worse, I got released from set just in time to be headed into the beginning of evening traffic. It takes me about an hour and a half to get home. I drink plenty of water on the way home, but am feeling pretty hungry when I finally pull in the drive.
5:30pm: Arrive home, quick bite
I get home to get a quick bite of potato chips before heading back out to pick up one or more of my kids from extracurricular activities, camps, etc. I have a weakness for potato chips because they are salty goodness. And they’re not really too bad since they’re just potatoes, oil, and salt (all Paleo, depending on the type of oil!). Is it a perfect snack? Maybe not. But I figure it’s better than Oreos dipped in Coke. I also love a good snack of REALLY dark chocolate.
6:00pm: Pick up kid
I run out of the house after my snack and pick up kid #1 from art camp. It’s only a 10 minute drive there and back, and this is dad stuff that I’m happy to do.
When I’m finally done with transportation, I make some eggs and veggies. This is usually my standard first meal but since I was on set, I didn’t get to it yet. I have five eggs and about a pound of broccoli, cauliflower, or green beans. It’s the fastest way to get a good dose of protein, as well as a decent dose of fiber, and few carbs to keep my insulin in check. We also had some leftover kielbasa, so I throw a little of that in for some flavor. I’m not shy about adding some grass-fed Kerrygold butter either!
8:00pm: Start bedtime routine
After dinner is done and the clean up is over (seriously: how many dishes do we have, people!?), it’s time to start the bedtime routine. As any parent knows, something that should take four and half minutes somehow stretches into almost half an hour. Since I had a pretty good day, and am well fed, I help the kids along with teeth brushing mirror silliness. I’m not sure if it makes it go faster, but it sure keeps them from fighting.
8:30pm: Kids in bed for snuggle time
I know a lot of parents who work weird hours. Some nights I have to either be shooting or at the gym until later in the evening, too. Tonight, I get to be home, so I snuggle down with the kids for a story, and a little conversation before turning out the light, and letting them fall asleep on me. We’re one of those crazy co-sleeping houses where it’s a case of musical beds some nights! Once I feel that the two littler ones are asleep, I slide out and head upstairs to my lovely wife.
9:00pm: Watch Netflix with the wife
One of my wife’s favorite things to do is to chill at night in front of the television. She convinces me way too often to stay up too late watching “just one more episode.” I suppose in days gone by, people would sit and stare at the fire into the night, or up at the stars. For us, it’s the stars on screen.
We finally head to bed somewhere in the 10:30-11 range. My wife is a night owl, and if it was up to her, we’d be up until 3am every night. I have to coach early in the morning though, so I need at least six hours, and hopefully more. This night, I was up WAY past the sun going down, and not even close to the circadian rhythm. Sometimes things happen!
5 Ways to Make Paleo Habits Fit Your Life
Some of the changes that I’ve made to my day are things that are quite simple to implement. Here’s a few ideas for things for you to try.
1. Cold shower
We’ve only had hot water for about 150 years. The cold water won’t hurt you, and it may even have some sweet health benefits.
2. Hydrate in the morning
Start your day with a big glass of water. You’ve had nothing in your system for the past 6-9 hours, so it’s a great time to give your body the fluids it needs to help flush out all the residual effects from fasting overnight. As a side note, if you fill your belly with some H2O first thing, it’ll make it easier to push breakfast off a bit and have you do a smaller version of the intermittent fasting by pushing breakfast back a little for you.
3. Take a minute
So many of us rush into our day at full tilt. We don’t take a minute in the morning to marvel at the fact that any of this works at ALL. Taking a moment here and there throughout the day can help us stay connected not just to ourselves, but also to our family, friends, and the work that we need to get done.
The great thing about meditation is that you really don’t have to do anything. All that needs to happen is to sit for a second, and slow your day down. Even if it’s three minutes, you’ll be surprised what you can accomplish by simply being present for a few minutes a day.
5. Walk a few extra steps
For me, that involves taking the stairs when I’m on set. Believe it or not, when I head to the gym, I park in one of the furthest spots. This extra little 50 meters may not make a huge difference, but over the course of a year, I’m walking an extra 15 miles a year. Funny how just a little bit of something can add up to a lot!
So there you have it, a day in the life of someone who’s trying to juggle busyness and the Paleo lifestyle. I think I do a decent job, but I know that there are places that I could do a little better.
For this example day, my calories were a little low, and also needed more water. Even though I got spend time with the kids and wife, I feel like I set myself up for a tired day tomorrow. My food was relatively on point, with only a few things that were on edge, like the chips and the salad dressing.
I hope that this glimpse into the life of your PaleoPlan bloggers helps you to stay focused and keep moving forward with your own health. If we can do it, so can you!