James Wozniak, 24, of Cheektowaga is in 23rd place in the Northeast – out of about 40,000 people – in the current CrossFit Games, an international competition to find the top performers in the strength and conditioning program that includes intense workouts of up to 15 minutes that combine gymnastics, powerlifting, running and other exercise forms. Wozniak, a painter and former Marine Corps reservist, also is a trainer at CrossFit 716 in North Tonawanda. He’s in Canton, Mass., this weekend with 41 other competitors in the regional CrossFit Games. Contestants do scored exercises – for example, the most pull-ups in five minutes. He needs to finish in the top three to make it to the final competition in July in California.

You’ve been training for the competition for a year. How did you change your diet?

I’m on the Paleo diet. Eating like a caveman, essentially. It means no grains, no refined sugar, no alcohol, no dairy. Part of the grains is no bread, no pasta. There’s actually a lot you can eat. Any type of meat, nuts, seeds, vegetables, fruits.

Have you lost weight?

I lost body fat and gained muscle. I weigh 161 and when I started I weighed 159. I look a lot leaner and feel 100 times better. I’m less inflamed so I recover quicker from workouts, my mood is always good and my appetite stays consistent.

– Scott Scanlon