Archive for March, 2009

Plymouth Daylight Hours

Plymouth Daylight Hours

 Sleep is your friend.

And it’s a friend I’m willing to bet you don’t see enough of.

Lights Out: Sleep, Sugar and Survival is one of the most influential books in my nutritional and lifestyle philosophy.  The gist is that we are designed to live in sync with nature and her seasonal shifts. 

Seasonal Sync

Think about it.  In nature the season would dictate what food was available (see the Seasonal Food Calendar blog entry).  The season would also dictate how much daylight there was, how much sleep we got and hence our activity levels. 

Summer would mean lots of light for finding a mate (so that the child would be born in spring and hence miss the winter hardship) and lots of carbs for putting on fat ready for winter.  Winter would spell a lack of carbs and less daylight.  Less daylight and colder temperatures would mean less carbs, more sleep and leaning out ready for spring/summer again.

Where We’re Going Wrong

What happens today is that Carbs are available all year round in devasatingly refined forms, light bulbs mean that WE control daylight and our sleep patterns completely out of kilter with the season.

This is not good. 

As far as our bodies are concerned it’s permanent summer!!  Long days of light mean we crave Carbs – is it any wonder?! Our bodies are trying to fatten us up for winter!

If you look at the chart above, the blue line is the changing number of hours of daylight throughout the year.

There’s a pretty dramatic shift from 8 hours mid-Winter to 16+ hours mid-Summer.

The Solution (More Than Just Sky+)

The upshot of this is that from mid-September to mid-April, you should be getting ATLEAST 9-10 hours sleep per night and eating a low-carb diet.  As summer rolls around, stay up late and increase carbs.

9-10 hours sounds like a lot, but in reality it’s going to be at 10pm and getting up at 7am – not that unreasonable. 

If you’re worried about missing stuff on TV, get SKY+.  If you’re just channel surfing, then go to bed – or read a book (late night reading will make you sleepy, trust me)

Oh yeah, and that should be in a PITCH BLACK room with any blinking, flashing clocks or lights covered.  This will ensure your body releases the right hormones to optimise recovery and health.

Sooner or later, we’ll discuss a little more how to optimise sleep itself, but for now, go black out your windows and get some shut-eye.

🙂 ChrisCFW



Eating Paleo is a great place to start, but getting further into things you might want to start looking into what foods you should be eating at what time of year.

Seasonal eating is a great thing to try and get you head around and is something that our Paleolithic ancestors would have to have done without a choice.

There are several key benefits to seasonal eating, the main ones being:

  • Variety – its easy to fall into the same patterns of eating and get bored.  This forces you to learn to cook new things.
  • Natural rotation diet – eating the same thing day-in, day-out can lead to food intolerances.  Eating seasonally ensures you mix things up to avoid this.
  • Macronutrient ratios naturally syncronised – we’re designed to put on fat for winter and lean out for spring/summer.  Seasonal eating means that your insulin levels and body composition is always within safe limits as the dense carbs that cause insulin issues are only available for a few short months.
  • Fresher foods – if its in-season, your local farmers can supply it so you can get super-fresh produce (check out your local farmer’s market).

Here’s a great calendar of seasonal foods for you to use as a reference point.  This was originally from 

Take a look at the patterns of when fruits are around, when green leafy veg are dominant and when root vegetables come into play – fascinating stuff.

Now, I’m not saying that you can only eat the stuff on the list below, because there are obviously some omissions.  As a guide however to the kinds of stuff you should be basing your diet on, its a good start.

It’s also  a good guide to what you can expect to find at your local farmers market each season.



& vegetables
& meat


cauliflower, celeriac, forced rhubarb (forced to do what?), leeks,
parsnips, turnip, shallots, squash
lobster, scallops


cauliflower, celeriac, chard, chicory, forced rhubarb, kohlrabi, leeks,
parsnips, spinach, swede, turnip
halibut, guinea fowl, lobster


cabbage, cauliflower, leeks, mint, mooli, parsley, broccoli, radishes,
rhubarb, sorrel
(fresh ones!), lobster


cabbage, cauliflower, morel mushrooms, wild garlic, radishes, rhubarb,
carrots, kale, watercress, spinach, rosemary flowers
lamb, cockles


cabbage, cauliflower, gooseberries, parsley, mint, broad beans, rhubarb,
new carrots, samphire, asparagus
bass, lemon sole, sardines, duck, sea trout


cherries, elderflowers, lettuce, strawberries, peppers, asparagus,
redcurrants, peas, rhubarb, gooseberries, tayberries, tomatoes, courgettes,
broad beans
lamb, crab, salmon, grey mullet


gooseberries, strawberries, spinach, tomatoes, watercress, loganberries,
sage, cauliflower, aubergine, fennel, asparagus, cabbage, celery,
cherries, lettuce, mangetout, nectarines, new potatoes, oyster mushrooms,
peas, peaches, radish, raspberries, rhubarb, tomatoes, French beans
pilchards, clams, pike, pigeon


gooseberries, lettuce, loganberries, raspberries, strawberries, cauliflower,
aubergines, nectarines, peaches, peppers, courgettes, rhubarb, sweetcorn,
greengages, basil, peas, pears, apples, French beans, tomatoes
hare, skate, john dory (that’s a fish)


aubergines, blackberries, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, cucumber,
damsons, elderberries, figs, French beans, grapes, kale, lettuce,
melons mushrooms, nectarines, onions, peppers, parsnips, peas, peaches,
pears, potatoes, pumpkin, raspberries, rhubarb, spinach, sweetcorn,
venison, oysters, sea bass, grouse, mussels, partridge, wood pigeon,
brown trout


aubergines, beetroot, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, courgettes, grapes,
lettuce, marrow, mushrooms, parsnips, potatoes, squash, tomatoes, 
fowl, partridge, mussels, grouse, oysters


pumpkin, swede, cauliflower, potatoes, parsnips, pears, leeks, quinces,
chestnuts, cranberries, beetroot


cabbage, red cabbage, cauliflower, celeriac, pumpkin, beetroot, turnips,
parsnips, sprouts, pears, swede
duck, goose, sea bass, turkey

Random Training Clip

Posted: March 11, 2009 in Uncategorized

Here’s some recent training clips.

Beyond the Whiteboard

Posted: March 6, 2009 in In The Gym, Our Services
Beyond the Whiteboard Screenshot

Beyond the Whiteboard Screenshot

We’re now registered on Beyond the Whiteboard.

This is a really cool site where you can log your CrossFit workout results.

We’re set up as a gym on the site which means that if you’re a member, you can record your results for our workouts and then compare yourself against the rest of the gym or the CrossFit nation as a whole for each WOD.

I’ve been playing about with it and I’m really impressed – you get graphs and comparison charts and everything is really flexible for scaling etc.

If you’re coming to CrossFit Westcountry – please sign up.  It’s completely free for the Beta release and I’m planning on keeping it that way for my members once the full release is out.