Nutrition Challenge Wrap-Up

I owe you a much overdue update on BCF’s Winter Nutrition Challenge.

As a refresher, BCF – my crossfit box – began a 6-week nutrition challenge on January 24. The challenge generally followed Mark Sisson’s Primal Blueprint.

Participants were divided into teams, awarded points for eating well, attending WODs, completing weekly challenges, sleeping for at least 7 hours, recording what we ate daily, and setting and achieving a physical goal at the gym. We lost points for cheating.

Summary of the Challenge

Coach Sarah kicked off the challenge a nutritional seminar where she explained the ground rules and provided some interesting background regarding the body’s response to carbohydrates, sugars, and processed foods. Our guiding principle came from Crossfit’s founder, Greg Glassman, and his definition of “World-Class Fitness in 100 Words”:

Eat meat and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch and no sugar. Keep intake to levels that will support exercise but not body fat.

Practice and train major lifts: Deadlift, clean, squat, presses, C&J, and snatch. Similarly, master the basics of gymnastics: pull-ups, dips, rope climb, push-ups, sit-ups, presses to handstand, pirouettes, flips, splits, and holds. Bike, run, swim, row, etc, hard and fast.

Five or six days per week mix these elements in as many combinations and patterns as creativity will allow. Routine is the enemy. Keep workouts short and intense.

Regularly learn and play new sports.

As a pre-challenge physical baseline, everyone completed the Crossfit benchmark WOD “Fight Gone Bad,” and we repeated the workout on the last day of the challenge.

Coach Sarah also encouraged everyone to set a physical goal for themselves to achieve during the 6 week challenge.

My Results & Observations

In short, this challenge was awesome. As evidenced through this blog, it inspired me to move towards a paleo lifestyle. The first week was a challenge – trying to find appropriate food, eat enough, fight the cravings, etc. But, I feel great now. I recently traveled out of town (and the challenge was over), so I definitely strayed from paleo. I felt awful and was happy to return to my kitchen and paleo-friendly foods.

In 6 weeks I lost somewhere between 15 and 20 pounds. I didn’t weigh myself at the beginning, so it’s an approximation.

My Fight Gone Bad original score was 188. I scaled the sumo deadlift highpulls (SDHPs) to 35 pounds; push presses to 45 pounds; and wallball shots to 10 pounds.

My Fight Gone Bad score at the end of the challenge was 174rx! Yes, fewer reps but SDHPs were at 55 pounds; push presses at 55 pounds; and wallball shots at 14 pounds! Awesome …

Although my team didn’t win, I was recognized for scoring over 300 points during the challenge (along with about a dozen or so other participants) and for having one of the best potluck meals; thank you Nom Nom Paleo for your Korean Short Rib recipe.

Week 1 (Partial) Additional Challenges

  • Attend Nutritional Challenge seminar
  • Watch “We You Got Fat” summary video

Week 2 Additional Challenges

  • Complete 50 push-ups outside of a workout on at least 5 different days during the week
  • Cook a “new-to-you” primal or paleo dish and send the recipe to Coach Sarah
  • Host, or attend and bring a dish to, a paleo potluck with your team
  • Watch at least the first 42 minutes (i.e., before it gets all “sciencey” of “Sugar: The Bitter Truth”

Week 3 Additional Challenges

Week 4 Additional Challenges

  • Complete 50 ABMAT situps outside of a workout everyday during the week
  • Complete 10 consecutive minutes of mobility work everyday during the week (e.g., foam rolling, lacrosse ball work, band releases, etc)

Week 5 Additional Challenges

  • Run 1 mile for time during the week
  • Practice your physical challenge on 6 days during the week

Week 6 Additional Challenges

  • Add to team spreadsheet: original Fight Gone Bad score , physical goal, and whether achieved
  • Complete 5 pull-ups outside the gym on anything other than a pull-up bar (point for each day completed)
  • Recruit new BCF members

Week 7 (Partial) Additional Challenges

  • Complete the Fight Gone Bad WOD on March 6
  • Send Coach Sarah an email with feedback on the Nutrition Challenge
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