Top 10 Takeaways from Paleo f(x) 2015 - 13 May 2015

So we're going to mix things up in the coming weeks/months as far as Wednesday Musings go. We've only had a few and it's generally me (Quint) just rambling off some nonsense with a lot of curse words. In the interest of providing our clients and followers some varied perspectives, our very capable and eloquent array of trainers will contribute to this medium. First up, old Red Beard himself, Tim. Timbo recently attended the Paleo f(x) symposium in Austin, Texas. Without further ado, here is Tim's review of the event...

My Top 10 Takeaways from Paleo f(x) 2015


On the last weekend in April, I attended Paleo f(x) for the second time.  For those of you who don’t know, Paleo f(x) is the premier (really the only) paleo-centric conference in the world.  Their tag line is “Theory to Practice,” and this year was Pfx’s 4th year in existence.  It’s THE place where the best and the brightest in the Paleo world get together, and they are joined by a number of the best and brightest from the strength and conditioning world as well.

Each year, PFx has seen significant growth in the conference and this year was no exception.  Last year I attended the conference for the first time along with around 1000 other folks.  The conference was held in the Palmer Event Center in Austin, Texas, and it utilized four stages plus an expo, taking up about 1/3rd of the event center.  This year #PFX15 occupied the entire event center with five stages (including a massive keynote stage), a classroom, a massive expo floor, and almost 3000 people!  This year I volunteered and it was quite a different experience!  I did some time keeping for speakers (picture the green/yellow/red signs in Toastmasters... what, you’ve never done Toastmasters?!?), some emceeing of talks (introduce the speaker, and run the mic around for questions at the end), and I worked in the strength and conditioning pit doing Real Fit testing (

Got to chat up former world record holding powerlifter AJ Roberts. GingerPower!

  • In one 3-day weekend I was involved with or attended talks from a diverse group of speakers including:

  • I was involved with or attended panel discussions on the topics of:

    • Strength and Conditioning
    • Hypertrophy
    • The State of The Paleo Union
    • Willpower
    • Supplementing for Performance
    • Training vs. Athleticism
  • I ate and drank samples from a bunch of “paleo” companies

  • I attended a “paleo” happy hour event

    • Paleo happy hour! HAHA
  • And I had a bunch of “hallway” conversations with people like:

    • Jim Laird, Charles Mayfield, AJ Roberts, EvaT, and Robb Wolf.
  • Too much good stuff!!

On the down side, I saw more toe shoes in one weekend than I’d seen in my entire life!  AND, I saw so many man-made hooves I almost thought I was at the Kentucky Derby.  Ok, I get it… you are SO much better than EVERYONE because you don’t wear shoes… except that those gnarly ass feet you’re trotting around on say NERD louder than a C3PO costume!  Also, I threw up a little in my mouth just thinking about those feet again...

I never appreciated toe shoes, until this was the other option


Anyway, what follows are my 10 favorite takeaway concepts from #PFX15.  None of this is super detailed, but this is how I organize info.  I’m a person that thrives on concepts, not details, so I don’t take notes I just get ideas and concepts stuck in my head.  If you want to know more about any of this, please ask me!  I’d love to talk your ear off about any and all of this! 1. Keep an "alive" journal

This idea came from OPT aka OPEX aka James Fitzgerald, and can be used as a tool to determine where your real passions in life are.  At the end of every day, journal the times during the day you felt truly ALIVE, and see what this tells you about where your passions truly lie.

2. It's not your fault!

This was the title of my main man Robb Wolf’s talk this year.  The concept is this: optimal foraging strategy requires the animal to gain the most energy (nutrition) for the least amount of work (energy expended).  We are at our core still a foraging animal, yet in modern times energy dense food can easily be obtained everywhere with almost no work.  We are evolved to move less and eat more, which is why we're fat and broken.  It's also why eat less and move more doesn't work very well in the long run.  The discord between our environment and our evolution is at the core of so many health problems in our current time.

To me, this also means we can remove the potential guilt associated with relaxation and overeating.  Now, I’m not telling you to lay around and eat Dorritos Locos Tacos all damn day, but I am saying you shouldn’t feel guilty for a weekend spent on the couch in front of the TV or even a weekend of excessive eating.  I know that personally both of these things have been sources of guilt for me in the past.  In a world where everyone’s competing to do more and look better, it can be easy to feel guilty for wanting to put your feet up. But don’t!  After all, it’s what you’re evolved to do!

Being attracted to this food is in our genes, man!!

3. Are you an athlete or an exerciser???

This was at the heart of OPT’s talk this year.  Your fitness should serve your life, not the other way around (see point about being evolved to move less, and eat more), unless you’re a competitive athlete.  If you want to live long and prosper, you need to love your fitness and rest more.  Exercisers should make very different decisions than athletes about training (i.e. no snatch? no box jump? no kipping?).  If you're not reaching your goals, you need to have a very real conversation with yourself about what your goals really are and whether you are an athlete or an exerciser. 4. REST MORE!!

This concept was a hot topic at #PFX14, and again at #PFX15.  If you're an athlete, you need to rest more and take recovery as seriously as training.  If you're an exerciser, you need to simply rest more for optimal health (see MDME). 5. Health is WAY bigger than diet or exercise

This concept is one I cobbled together from a bunch of the talks/discussions this year.  Health is about finding balance in the many elements of our life (physical, mental, spiritual, and sexual elements).  BUT, it's important to remember that these are not individual silos, they are much more intertwined than we tend think (see point about systems). 6. "Stress is a delusion and if you're stressed you're delusional"

The tag line from maybe the most entertaining talk of the weekend.  Andrew Bernstein has been training executives at Fortune 500 companies to deal with stress better for some 15 years.  His whole point is that things and events aren’t stressful, our reaction to them is.  Check out his book The Myth of Stress or his website for real world ways to improve your ability to handle stress.

7. The body isn't a bunch of systems, it's A system

This concept came up multiple times in multiple contexts throughout the weekend.  From stress and sleep, to liver/C1, these "systems" are all so intertwined that it's hard to even call them individual systems.  When thinking about the body or our health, we need to think big picture and big system. 8. Decrease decision fatigue by reducing the number of decisions you have to make in a day

This is a great simple tactic for increasing willpower.  Simply decreasing the number of choices you have to make in a day means that you will have more willpower at the end of the day.  This is one of the reasons why preparing meals ahead of time can be so beneficial. Or why something as easy as staying off Facebook during the day can increase willpower late in the day.  If you have trouble making healthy choices at night, try reducing the number of decisions you make during the day. 9. Minimum Dose Maximum Effectiveness (MDME)

This is a concept I got from Eva T during her talk titled “Quantify yourself to qualify for workouts.  On her website she explains that MDME is: “A training theory based on programming only the amount of training and degree of intensity needed to reach or maintain a good body composition and  support you physically in the sports and passions in your life.” This is the perfect way to describe what fitness should be for most people.  This, too, gets back to the idea: are you an athlete or an exerciser? 10. Sustainability > Abs

Lastly is maybe my favorite takeaway from this year and you’ll see me wearing my t-shirt around the gym to prove it!  I think this concept just inherently makes so much sense and can take on multiple meanings.  For the individual, this means we should find what's sustainable for us.  Abs are cool, but not really sustainable for most normal people and endlessly chasing them can damage us for good.  For the larger community, we need to figure out how to value sustainability more than sexiness.  As a community, the paleo world needs to be considering how to raise sustainability to the forefront.  After all, our kids and grandkids won’t care that we had a six-pack if we ruined the planet in the process of developing that six-pack.

My hero Robb Wolf with Diana Rodgers ( sporting the Sustainabilty>Abs shirts


That’s it!!  My top 10 takeaways from #PFX15.  Hope some of these points resonate with you and I hope you pull me aside for more conversation about them.  After all, what is that old saying???  Small minds discuss people, average minds discuss events, great minds discuss ideas!

I returned from Austin this year feeling tired yet inspired.  My brain tumbling with lots of connections and concepts I may never have obtained without the weekend spent at such a nerd fest.  Whatever your passion is, I encourage you to attend a conference like this, because there’s so much power when like-minded people come together from across the world.  Yay for idea sharing!!