Looking at Emily Schromm, personal trainer and CrossFit coach at Unleashed Fitness and CrossFit Park Hill, you wouldn’t suspect that just a few years ago, although extremely fit, she wasn’t feeling up to par. Shromm is the winner of Women’s Health Magazine’s “The Next Fitness Star” competition, an honor that was announced on Good Morning America. Her prize is a feature article and launch of a fitness DVD.
About four years ago, Schromm began focusing on the science of nutrition and how it worked for her body. She had been eating what she describes as the typical diet of egg whites and oatmeal, very low carb and very low fat. While she feels people can lose weight that way, Schromm says “You’re always waiting for the next meal because you are going off of a carb metabolism, burning the carbs and then you hit that ‘hangry’ moment where you’re just like ‘give me food now!’” She came to the conclusion that her diet was all wrong for her.
Someone suggested the Paleo diet to Schromm, telling her it could cure the acne and stomach issues she had struggled with since childhood. She removed grains and other carbs and her acne cleared up and her stomach issues went away. She now calls herself a firm believer even though it was very difficult to eliminate things she had always been told were a necessary part of a healthy diet. “Once I saw the effects on my body, which also included having very clear thoughts, no more energy spikes and drops, I cannot express how I felt overall and emotionally,” she says. “I think when we’re cutting calories or we think we’re eating healthy and we’re not, we emotionally play into that and we feel the depression and self-doubt, especially women. I firmly believe that’s rooted in the food we eat.”
Schromm feels the diet term “Paleo” gets a bad rap. “It’s a quick word for me to say ‘very minimally processed, lots of veggies, good sources of protein and a high-fat diet.’” She adds that it also means different things to different people depending on their goals. “If you are a weight-loss client, it’s going to be low carb,” she says. “But if you’re active, it has to be moderate protein and moderate carbs.”
Schromm says, “It can be a scary world out there without bread. But when you’re dealing with restrictions, your body isn’t in a place where it’s happy. If you find the right foods for your body, it responds well whether it’s your gut, autoimmune disorders, skin conditions, cognitive function—those things all play into your style of eating.”
“I’m the healthiest I’ve ever been physically and mentally as well,” Schromm says. Her diet is about 55 percent fat from sources like avocados and avocado oil, grass-fed butter, bacon, nut butters, tahini, red meat, salmon, free-range chicken, coconut and coconut oil and milk. She chooses minimally processed and hormone-free food.
Schromm believes her food philosophy contributed to being selected for “The Next Fitness Star.” “They loved my approach to nutrition because it’s different,” she says. “When you take out man-made foods and stop thinking low fat, low calorie and start eating real food, you really are putting your body in a healthier position, not just for weight loss or immediate results but for long-term health.”
Schromm’s website is www.superherounleashed.com. The feature article on her and her fitness DVD will be available in the January 2015 issue of Women’s Health Magazine.