Posts Categorized: Testimonials

Donna Kilpatrick

I switched to a Paleo diet on February 15th, 2013.  This is how it all started:

Donna before

Donna before beginning CrossFit and Paleo

On February 12th, 2013 I had a doctor’s appointment in Worcester with Dr. Peter Davidow.  I was expecting this to be just a normal visit, but my blood pressure was off the charts (200 / 100) and my weight was at an all-time high of 281 lbs.  After my appointment, I sat down with Dr. Davidow and he laid it on the line in a way that no doctor had ever done with me.  He told me that my blood pressure was so high that I would very likely have a stroke and that my weight was causing a lot of hormonal issues and that I was pre-diabetic.  I remember sitting in Dr. Davidow’s office and hearing him ask (obviously annoyed) “what do you want me to do for you?” I knew Dr. Davidow was right- he could not do anything for me.  I had to change my life.

The very next day Iwent to see my General Practitioner who put me on two different types of blood pressure medicines and gave me a bunch of suggestions regarding eating a low fat diet and exercise.  Because I am a farmer who raises grass-fed livestock, I was already well aware of the research showing the benefits of a diet high in animal fats and low in carbohydrates. I did some research into the Paleo diet and decided that, for me, it made the most sense.  My General Practitioner advised against Paleo but on Feb. 15th I started anyway.

The results were immediate.  Not only did I drop 38 lb. within two months, but I had more energy, I was sleeping better, and I was not hungry all the time.  I stopped eating all processed foods, kicked a fierce Diet Coke habit and learned to cook and plan meals.  My diet now matched what I was preaching at work regarding the ability for grass-fed animals to heal humans and the environment.  My conscious felt right.

When I started Paleo, I also starting watching videos about CrossFit.  I was so intrigued but also mortified to the core.  I remember sitting in our kitchen one night watching a CrossFit series called “Killing the Fat Man”.  I watched every single episode back to back and decided that I needed to join – just jump into the deep end do it.  I started On Ramp on May 6th, 2013.  It took me two months to build up the courage to join and the first night of On Ramp I threw up before class – I was that scared.  But I kept coming back.

Joining Worcester CrossFit has been the best decision I’ve ever made.  Every preconceived notion and fear that I had about the CF community was wrong.  To my surprise, I was totally encouraged and embraced and no one made fun of me because I ccouldn’tdo any of the movements.  People were insanely friendly and supportive.  It was not a testosterone contest.  I’ve become really good friends with so many people at the gym- especially folks in the 5:30 AM c
rew.  I am inspired by my WODmates (is that a word?) who I see come in and kick ass day after day.  There are people in my class who have totally transformed their lives, improved their health and they inspire the heck out of me (Ariel and Cari to name a few).  There are seasoned CrossFitters who give suggestions and encouragement (Dan).  And the trainers and owners- wow. Simply amazing, salt of the earth people.  My life has been transformed.  I would have never stuck with eating a Paleo diet or with exercising if I had not joined CrossFit.  The community makes it.  For me- it’s my church.

Donna after her amazing transformation

Donna, after her amazing transformation. – 68lbs down

I’ve done several Paleo Challenges since joining CFW.  Although I’ve been sticking with a Paleo diet for well over a year now, the Challenges always encourage me and get me back on track during those times when I am consuming too many nuts, fruit, dairy, sugar or when I feel frustrated with how slowly things seem to be going now.  Since I started eating Paleo on Feb. 15, 2013, I’ve lost 86 lbs.  Through CrossFit, I’ve built a ton of muscle and am able to do things that I found impossible when this journey began (rope climbs and box jumps).  The process is SLOW going at this point and Istill have a significant amount of weight to lose.  I so badly want to hit 100 lb. lost- that was my original goal, although I am now more focused on general health than a number.  My doctor took me off my blood pressure meds and I feel so happy and thankful for that.  Nevertheless- that 100 lb. goal is still out there and it is close.  I want to celebrate that accomplishment (when it happens…not if it happens) with a special WOD.  The 100lb. WOD.

I feel lucky that I found the CrossFit Worcester community.  I feel insanely fortunate for Paul and his depth of knowledge and support.  I am looking forward to the future and continued good health.







The CrossFit Worcester Paleo Challenge was something I wanted to do to continue working on what I had started in August. I had lost 25 pounds, I figured it was a good opportunity to solidify a great lifestyle change which we all know is not an easy task, and focus on maintaining my weight (if I had lost much more there would be nothing to me).  Also, it was a bonus to hear Paul’s nutrition lecture a second time (first time during on ramp). Because of you Paul, I have found a new interest/hobby – nutrition. I am more interested than ever and can’t get enough of the new studies and science behind everything.

Since the start of the challenge, I have begun to notice food sensitivities than I ever knew I had. Of course to find these, that means I was having a cheat meal, but I would feel like complete crap after doing it. This has further proven to me that a permanent change was needed. Now, it’s not even a decision when it’s time to eat, and I never feel like I’m missing out. Thank you all for your support and posts throughout the challenge, especially you, Paul – you have helped change my life for the better, and for that I am forever grateful.




“I first sought out the advice of Paul Cyr in 2013 after a series of troubling doctors appointments. Hypothyroidism, adrenal fatigue, joint pain & general fatigue WERE an everyday obstacle. Paul recommended that I try a Paleo lifestyle & a sugar detox. Changing my sugar habits and food lifestyle were terribly difficult, but I was able to succeed. The first thing I’ve noticed is that it no longer hurts to get out of bed. My joints have seemed to “calm” and I can get on with my day PAINLESS. The next best thing is my energy level. I used to count down the minutes from waking up until I got to go to sleep again. I was exhausted all day, every day. With a paleo lifestyle, I have steady energy all day. I work full time and have kids, being able to keep up with everything is as awesome as having Christmas every day.
My shift to paleo would not have been successful without the guidance of Paul Cyr. Aside from his extensive knowledge and recommendations, Paul has an infinite amount of patience as well as a genuine desire to help his fellow humans be the best humans they can be. He makes himself readily available for questions, discussions & the occasional complaint at how difficult this can be. He guides you through with a careful balance of seriousness and compassion. During my paleo “challenge” I discovered just how much food impacts my body. It is incredible to see what foods can do to your health. I will be maintaining a paleo lifestyle as long as possible. “


I had my second child in 2011. By 2013, I had lost 4lbs of baby weight (Note: baby weighed over 6 lbs). In a culture obsessed with watching the scale rather than eating healthy and getting stronger, I joined the obsession and started counting calories, eating less and going to the gym at work. The weight did not move. I was hungry and exhausted most of the time.

Last year my friend Sean Fleming shared his Paleo lifestyle – the primal way of eating. Being a vegetarian, my first reaction was to immediately dismiss it as an impossible regimen to follow. Around the same time I read ‘Spartan Up’. The book talked about clean eating and primal workout – translation: Paleo and Crossfit.

My Paleo and Crossfit journey started at Crossfit Worcester in August 2014. The original goal was limited to perform better at OCRs.  Little did I know how much more I had to gain. Here are the benefits that I have seen in a short span of 3 months:

1. I learned about the ‘science’ of clean eating along with the art. The science is important because it makes choosing the clean foods very      easy. (eg. Why choose coconut oil over canola oil).
2. I lost 13 lbs or 9.5% of body weight while gaining muscle; did not know it was possible!
3. I eat more food than I have in the past. Clean eating has changed my relationship with food; there is no guilt associated with eating.
4. I am a faster and stronger runner; went from 11.x min/mile to 9.x min/mile.
5. My family eats cleaner than it did before and makes better food choices.I would like to thank my friend Sean for introducing me to Paleo and Paul. I would also like to thank 5:30am CFW trainers who have taught me so much. Lastly, I would like to say that the only reason I have made it this far is because of Paul Cyr, my ‘Paleo Guru’. Over the past few weeks and months he spent countless hours researching, writing and sharing with me nutritional information about Paleo Vegetarian diet.

 Piya picThis is just the beginning. There is so much more to look forward to and I am glad I have the support of my amazing CFW trainers and fellow 5:30 am classmates!


My wake up call came when I decided to hike Mt. Monadnock in early October 2013 for a church fundraiser.  I couldn’t even make it half way up the mountain.  I was exhausted, in pain, out of breath, and embarrassed.  Right there and then, I made the decision that I needed to lose weight. I decided to go on a calorie-counting diet, and when I lost enough weight I would join a gym. Calorie counting did not work, instead I felt hungry all the time. I decided to abandon the diet.

In late October, I went to Chicago for work-related training where I have family. I met up with my cousin Luis. In conversation, Luis mentioned Crossfit to me and told me to check it out. I said, “I will” but I didn’t right away until my doctor’s appointment was around the corner.

On December 2nd, I went to a doctor’s appointment where I received expected and unexpected news. I was overweight (no surprise there), diagnosed pre-diabetic, cholesterol was slightly high, and high blood pressure was an issue.  In other words, my body was a mess.  I was discouraged, but not defeated.  I was determined to change my life.  After my appointment, I walked into CrossFit Worcester and signed up.


Arial before starting the CFW on-ramp

During the CFW On-Ramp class, I learned about the Paleo diet. I researched the diet and asked many questions.  I received material on a Paleo-eating plan from Luis.  I started paleo right away and the weight started melting off.  The rest is history.

In 11 months, I went from an enormous 230lbs down to 162lbs. I’ve gone from a waist size of 42 to a 32.  My glucose level went from 135 mg/dl to under 100 mg/dl. No longer pre-diabetic.  In previous check-ups, my blood pressure was 139/90 or more (perhaps it’s because the doctor made nervous).  At my last check-up, it was a normal 122/81. For the first time, I was able to donate blood and my blood pressure was no longer a concern.  Another issue was my cholesterol.  Before Paleo, LDL cholesterol was slightly high (133 mg/dl) and HDL cholesterol was low (69 mg/dl). My total cholesterol was 202 mg/dl which was borderline high. Now it’s 185 mg/dl (LDL-84 mg/dl & HDL- 101mg/dl) under 200 mg/dl, but I will continue to work on my cholesterol. I need to get my LDL lower. LOL!

The best thing about Paleo is I did not have to keep track of my calories; I started to lose weight effortlessly, and developed a better relationship with food.  I no longer consider Paleo a diet, but a way of living. Paleo and exercise have given me a new lease on life. I am healthy, leaner, stronger, and have more energy.  I feel LIMITLESS.


Arial After

11 Months and 68 pounds later

To finish up, I need to thank a few people. I want to thank Paul for having a nutritional program built into CFW On-Ramp class. I want to thank Luis for introducing me to Crossfit.  I want to thank CFW trainers especially Zack, who has trained me from the on-ramp class to the present.  I want to thank CFW 5:30AM class for being motivational, inspirational, and an enthusiastic bunch.  I enjoy doing the WODs with them.  I want to thank CFW Paleo challengers for their paleo recipes and continued support. You are the best motivators, and I have learned so much from all of you. Thanks again.  I can’t wait to read/hear your amazing stories.  Most of all, I want to thank God for giving me the strength I needed. Philippians 4:13 says, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” Thank you God.




So, I am a 39 working mom with a husband and 9 year old son.
My sister talked me into taking a Paleo Challenge with CrossFit Worcester. At first I thought oh boy how am I going to be able to do this challenge. I was pretty faithful with my workouts and let’s face it… Food and I have a love hate relationship.

So I went to the workshop and had my mind blown!!! I was more confused and nervous than I was before.
So I started my sugar detox and I felt awful the first few days… Headaches, low energy, tired… You name it I had the symptoms. After about a week I felt better… more energy, headaches gone… skin and hair looking much better. My eyes more bright and beautiful.. Not the usual sunken in look that I was used to.

I completed the sugar detox with and oh yeah here we go attitude. Sunday’s became my cooking day… I would cook mostly all day so I could grab and go during the week. Veggies were packaged on Sunday’s as well.
I learned that in order to take care of the people that depended on me I needed to take care of myself first. As a mom and wife that is a hard thing to do… putting myself first….
My workouts are more regular that’s my “me time”.

I don’t really miss the “bad” food… Although a mocha latte would be fantastic right about now 🙂
But my body has responded so well to this change, and I love my new energy level. I love keeping up with my son and nieces. I also have to say the compliments that I have been getting really help to boost the confidence 🙂

My Thyroid was very high before I started this program as was my cholesterol. I have to say my Thyroid is now normal as is my cholesterol. I have lost 11 pounds and I love being able to grab anything in my closet and it fits and I feel comfortable in it!!!!

This really was a life changing challenge. I am so glad my sister asked me to do this challenge.

I really wouldn’t change anything that Paul did for us. I love the support page on Facebook and I love how Paul was always there to help…
The entire experience was amazing and I am very happy that I was able to be part of it.




What the hell was that?

That my friend was the sound of another false belief being blown away and shattered. The programming runs deep. Step on the scale and measure your fitness level. Not! I was reluctant to participate in the Challenge. Why would I need to do it? My Paleo commit date was 12/21/12 and I was making pretty good progress. Since I became a crossfit/paleo enthusiast my weight had gone from 182 to 158 pounds and I was showing improvement in the basic lifts and in my WODS. I was happy with the way I looked, felt and performed. I even did that Olympic Distance Triathlon in July with minimal outside training. Yet in the back of my mind Paul’s off handed comment last August that I was looking “a little runner scrawny” was annoying me. C’mon, 158 on the scale baby “I’m in shape again”. I don’t need no stinking challenge. I decided to participate in the Challenge purely out of a sense of community. I wanted to deepen my connection with other members of Crossfit Worcester. I wanted to join in and be part of. My mind boldly proclaimed “I had nothing to learn, it would be easy and I was simple paying $40 to be part of”. How wrong I was. I did the initial body fat testing and was totally surprised to be at 15% body fat. I completed the fitness bench marks and was satisfied with my level of fitness. At that point I decided “pull ups” would be my personal bench mark for the challenge as it was a very weak area, a “goat”. I had just gone from the Blue Band to the Green Band for aided pull ups. At the initial testing of the challenge I did 16 Green Band pull ups and 3 unaided pull ups. Not overly impressive but considering I couldn’t do a single pull up prior to Crossfit, I was pleased with my overall progress in 10 months. As the challenge got underway the first surprise awakening was “fish oil was the same number of points as fitness activity”. Coming from an endurance mentality of more is better; this was a “take notice” moment. The next was sleep and rest days. I was pretty good at getting my 8 hours, but now I was actually scheduling my sleep, going to bed an hour earlier, making sure I got those sleep points and again, these sleep points far outweighed the activity points. But the real shocker was discovering my real weakness: taking activity rest days. To this point I was stringing together 12 to 15 days of active fitness days. In the challenge I would be penalized for this. Now I had to schedule “active rest days”. I was learning about letting my body recover. I still struggling with this, but am open. While my eating habits remained consistent (Paleo efficient meals) these other areas of living Paleo were becoming prominent in my lifestyle. I realized what I thought was Paleo was expanding to a fuller Paleo way of life.

After two months of the challenge where am I now?

I got on the scale expecting to be 152-155 pounds. I felt great, I looked great and I was performing at new levels. Clearly I had lost some more weight. Booooommmm: 165 pounds is what the scale announced. How could this be? The mind screamed, “You fat bastard”, “you must have cheated somehow”, “loser”, “shit I’m out of shape”. Before the challenge I was actually fluctuating between 158 to 162, now I was fluctuating 162 to 165. My mind struggled with this weight gain. I could gaining weight be related to improving overall fitness and well-being. But the fitness facts told a different story. While the scale said 165 (fat), my pull up benchmark became the light, the truth, the witness to my Paleo Challenge success for me (fitness). About half way thru the challenge I banged out 30 Green Band pull ups and 12 unaided pull ups. Not the prettiest pull ups, but pull ups. Something was happening. I was actually getting stronger. Would I dare say,” growing muscles”? Was my overall 7 pound weight gain not flab, but muscle, not fat, but fitness? Is this what Paul meant by “runner scrawny”? Man did he annoy me with that comment. I know I didn’t have the fastest times at the box, but they are mine and they are a far cry from where I was at on September 1st at the beginning of the challenge and from last november 1, 2012 when I began onramp. Today (11/2/13) I completed 22 pull-ups (kipping no band). Joe’s Cash Out: Step on the scale and measure your fitness level. Not!

Living Paleo is more than just eating Paleo. At 165 pounds I feel 155 pounds. I’m stronger. I’m improving. I feel great and dare say “look great naked”. I feel I have made more progress in the last two months, then in the previous ten months. I am not discounting the foundation I laid in those initial ten months, but the Paleo Challenge was a great way to end my first full year at Crossfit Worcester and I am eager to begin year number two of the rest of my life with an ever increasing focus not on the scale, but rather on how I look, feel and perform.

Thanks Paul, Joe


Although nutrition is the main factor for a healthy body, I contribute the Crossfit to my success during the challenge and overall health since I started back in July. Paul, you and the rest of the staff have been helpful, insightful and encouraging. I never thought I would enjoy working out again. I target going to Crossfit 4 days a week and on the off days, I long for the next day to work out again. I absolutely love Crossfit. Since joining for the on-ramp program in July (4 months total), I dropped weight from 267 lbs to 231 lbs. I don’t know what my original body fat % was, but I would guess around 33% or higher. See other performance gains since below.

In closing, I want to personally thank you for coordinating the challenge, teaching me more about Paleo, answering all of my questions, rehabbing my bad knee and showing me that 40 year olds can do Crossfit and be good at it. I will continue to practice the Paleo lifestyle, working out as often as the joints (and family) will allow. With the third child two months away, I can’t promise the 8 hours of sleep, but it will remain a goal for optimal health.


Last year in July of 2012 – I joined Crossfit Worcester. It was extremely challenging for me because I was so out of shape – but I dove right in and took it on. Two months later I decided to participate in the Paleo challenge. I was very dedicated and felt a soar in my energy level along with seeing some weight loss results – I lost between 12 and 17 pounds in that challenge. (more…)

Jim Hogan

Hi, my name is Jim Hogan.  I used to just workout at a globo gym.  I just wanted to bloat up my muscles, and it was working–until they popped.  My muscles burst all over the floor and they kicked me out of there.  Ever since then, I’ve realized that strength is more important than size, which is why I only go to CrossFit and nothing else.