Peter Delannoy - Membership Spotlight - Boomer-100


My decision to try CrossFit happened before I realized that I actually was going to try the program. Things came to a head on a spring morning in Arizona when I walked into a cold gymnasium to participate in a wellness examination offered by my employer through our health insurance company. The gym felt like an ice box and I shivered while I waited in line to be poked and prodded.


I noticed that the nurses were drawing blood at the first station and my pulse quickened. The anticipation of the needle made my blood thump in my ears and I was light headed by the time they finished with me. When I finally sat down at the blood pressure station I was a candidate for a 911 evacuation. As the attendant pumped up the cuff and released the pressure her eyebrows arched up and she lectured me about leaving high blood pressure untreated. I left the gym in a state of depression about my fitness and immediately scheduled a physical examination with my doctor.


I was angry. Work life had slowly manifested itself as a massive time vacuum and pushed back on my ability to stay in shape. Slowly I had succumbed to 10-12 hour days of teaching which had metaphorically kept me on the couch. After a decade of this lifestyle my weight, blood pressure, and heart rate had steadily increased with my age. And then perhaps a week after my experience in the gym I came down with a case of gout in my foot. The pain was so intense I thought I’d broken my big toe. When the doctor met me in the examination room and gave me the news about the gout I was slack-jawed. I felt like I was standing on a precipice of chronic disease and the last thing I wanted to do was to start on a regime of pills…for my toe…for my blood pressure…for whatever was next…


We’ve all seen the pill boxes with Monday through Sunday stenciled on the lid. Next comes the oxygen bottle and a little cart to pull it after you in the super market. Then comes the triple by-pass and a bar stool where you drown your sorrows and tell stories about how things used to be. It was time for a change in my life. But what exactly? In the last decade I had hiked on the weekends, swung kettle bells, and bought a gym membership yet none of that business had made a change in my fitness.


In my younger years I was active. I started rock climbing when I was eleven years old and practiced the sport at a high level until I was in my late forties. For nearly two decades I climbed at the cutting edge and authored close to four hundred first ascents in the western USA but mainly at the Wild Iris, Wyoming, Spearfish Canyon, South Dakota, and the Black Hills Needles of South Dakota. In my forties I worked as a full time guide for Exum Mountain Guides and routinely guided clients up the Grand Teton near Jackson Hole, Wyoming. I even guided the Grand Teton in a single day from the Lupine Meadows parking lot—a seven thousand foot elevation gain and loss and a twenty-two mile round trip.


Things were different in my fifties. I was teaching chemistry in a charter school and settled into a massive teaching schedule. Urban living took a toll on me even though I tried to stay active when I could. I took up SCUBA diving in 2008 and traveled outside the USA for reef diving and in 2010 I became a cave diver. I literally went from the couch into the water and managed the intense training that I needed for the cave diving on my breaks. Cave diving is an extreme version of SCUBA and involves a high degree of athleticism to navigate into submerged caves where any catastrophic event is certain death. Cave diving is considered by many to represent the highest art form of technical diving.


In 2014 I trained with one of the top cave divers in the world, Patrick Widmann, and was barely able to complete the training that involved techniques to navigate small confined spaces where sometimes the diver must remove gear in order to squeeze through submerged passages. I know that Patrick was frustrated with me because of the rest days I needed to complete the program.


All these issues weighed heavily on me as I limped out of the doctors office with a severe case of gout. There was no way I was ready to accept the recommendations of the doctors which was to reduce my activity and to medicate. When I arrived home I started investigating exercise programs on the internet. Over and over again I found myself watching CrossFit videos. I was intrigued by the appearance of diversity and intensity in the workouts and so I searched for gyms near my house and that’s how I found my way to Octane CrossFit.


I remember the day when I visited Octane CrossFit and met one of the owners, Regan Doele. I was anxious and tried not to limp since the gout hadn’t yet cleared from my foot. I spoke with him about my background. My career as a climber, the fact that my shoulders were a train wreck, and that I cave dived in some of the most extreme caves in the world. He assured me that CrossFit was something anyone could do and that I could scale in the workouts. “It’s a matter of progression,” he said.  Moreover, he claimed that if I was willing to make the commitment to the program then my numbers would improve—in this he was emphatic.


To be clear I am going to turn sixty years old in three months and have been with CrossFit now for almost two years. During the first six months I rarely finished a WOD and even now I scale often. But here’s the deal: my numbers have indeed changed for the better. My cholesterol is down along with the other related values, my heart rate is in the mid-fifties from the low seventies, and my blood pressure measured in the mid-130’s (down from the high 140’s) in a doctors office a few months ago for the first time in over a decade.


After my first year in CrossFit I returned to the Yucatan, Mexico, for two months of cave diving with remarkable results. My stamina was greatly improved and my gas consumption was better than ever. I could dive five days straight and sherpa my tanks (106 pounds) over a kilometer through the tropical forest. But by far the best aspect of my health was the fact that I could keep up with my mentors who are in their thirties and diving the most extreme caves in the world.


CrossFit has made a major difference in my life and as I age into my sixties I have yet to go on any medications. The WODS are extreme but if you want to be healthy you need the intensity and the diversity that CrossFit has to offer as well as the benefits of belonging to a community of like-minded people. People that come together and share in the art of the movement and athleticism that the WODS require. CrossFit is hard and you will experience pain but fitness is a choice and nothing is free. If we ever meet on a bar stool I’ll be telling you stories about my latest adventure in the caves not pontificating about the latest technology in walker design. Like I said, fitness is a choice and I choose CrossFit.


Check out more Blogs from Peter here!

The Skinny on Insulin

Reversing Type 2 Diabetes


Recently we made a bold statement that was picked up by CrossFit and thrown out in the world of social media to be loved and criticized.  We wanted to explain why we made this statement and give you some information on how nutrition and exercise play a role in eliminating T2.

When you eat your body responds by creating a hormone called insulin.  Insulin is produced in the pancreas and its job is to deliver glucose (sugar inside your bloodstream) to the cells inside your body that use it for energy.  When your glucose levels rise, so do your insulin levels.  When you become “resistant” to insulin your body does not absorb glucose from the bloodstream.  This results in the need for higher levels of insulin to help glucose enter the cells.  If your body is unable to produce enough levels of insulin to keep your glucose levels within the normal range, you have developed diabetes.

Let’s look at how your diet impacts your glucose levels.

Everything you eat is either a protein, carbohydrate or a fat.  Each of these macronutrients has a different effect on your blood glucose levels which directly effects how much insulin is produced by the pancreas.

T2 Pic.png


The chart shows that carbohydrates convert mainly to sugars within the blood compared to proteins and fats, with fats responding better than the other two macronutrients.  It can then be recognized that your body will have to produce less insulin after eating proteins and fats to regulate blood glucose levels in comparison to carbohydrates.

Removing refined carbohydrates* from your diet will lower your blood glucose levels and your pancreas will have to produce less insulin to regulate these levels.  Not only will this help regulate your diabetes, but it will also help you lose weight.  Insulin is also known as the “fat storage” hormone.  As your glucose levels rise so do your insulin levels.  Insulin makes you hungry and stores the excess food that you eat as fat.  Less insulin produced means less hunger which then leads to less overeating.

Physical activity also plays a role in T2.  Exercise makes your insulin more effective and your cells then can use the glucose more effectively. Adding an exercise program to the cessation of consuming refined carbohydrates will eliminate the chances of acquiring T2 as well as the symptoms of T2.  This could be classified as a “cure” to T2. 

At Octane CrossFit, we encourage individuals to eat real food, not too much, and mostly plant based.  This eliminates the consumption of refined carbohydrates.  This protocol eliminates the risk of developing T2 manifested by poor nutrition and a sedentary lifestyle.  It can also be said that it will eliminate the symptoms of T2 from those effected with the disease, thus being a “cure”.



*Refined Carbohydrate:  Refined carbohydrates are forms of sugars and starchy foods that don’t exist in nature.  Examples can include whole wheats, candy, soda, pasta, crackers and chips, etc… 

Rowing: What you didn't know.


The rowing machine (Concept 2) is a staple piece of equipment we utilize within CrossFit.  Often, the Concept 2 rower settings can be misunderstood or even unknown.  Here is a brief overview and some exercises to try on rowing intensity, stroke rate, and damper settings.

Damper Setting

Did you know that the best rowers in the world row with a damper setting of 3-5?  Having the damper set at 10 does NOT create more resistance or intensity while rowing.  The damper setting controls the amount of air that is allowed into the flywheel, the higher the damper setting means more air.  With more air in the flywheel it takes more power to make the wheel spin fast.  The increased amount of air in the flywheel will also decelerate the wheel quickly on the recover phase of rowing, thus requiring more work to accelerate the wheel again.

Rowing at a lower damper setting challenges you to apply power to accelerate the flywheel, much like rowing in a sleek and fast, rowing shell.  Rowing at a high damper setting like 10 is much like rowing in a big and slow and heavy boat- still a good workout, but more about power than cardiovascular fitness.

Try this:

Row 100m at different damper settings of 1,3,5,7 and 9.  Keep your stroke rate at 24spm.  What feels different?  Which damper setting gave you the best time?

Intensity and Stroke Rate

The more strokes per minute doesn’t correlate to a better workout!  It’s more about how hard you are pulling.  Moving up and down the slide quickly without generating power is called “spinning your wheels”.  Power is created when the flywheel spins faster, which generates a better workout.  A good stroke rate (strokes per minute) for most workouts will be in the range of 24-30 spm.

Try This:

Start by rowing at a higher stroke rate (30-28 SPM) and note your pace per 500m.  Every minute decrease your SPM by 2 beats (30, 28, 26, etc.) and try to keep the same pace per 500m.  It will be challenging to maintain the same power output at lower stroke rates, but if you can maintain this efficiency your overall pace should improve.

Now you can take your knowledge and get into the gym to test out different rower settings and ways to create more power efficiently.  Once you have felt the changes from how you were previously rowing, it is encouraged to go re-test some of the staple distances such as 1k, 2k, and even 5k.  Hopefully you will see and feel significant improvements!