I lost a little over 19 pounds and took 3 3/4 off of my waist line

I am more alert and energized than I was on my old diet

I do feel leaner and that my body composition is actively transforming

Eating good foods makes all the difference.

 I felt much more level throughout the day.

I noticed was not craving junk food nearly as often as I used to.

I both performed better and was less sore at the end of the benchmark workouts the second time around.

I pushed myself to try things I wouldn’t normally and it got me out of my comfort zone.

I can do a pull up unassisted now.  Never have I been able to do that.


Congratulations to everyone who participated in the Lurong Fall 2014 Paleo Challenge! This was our tenth Nutrition Challenge, and you can find past results here:

Below you will find some before and after photos and testimonials from those who completed all eight weeks of the Lurong Paleo Challenge this fall.  I am really proud of the hard work everyone put in.  You all approached it with an open mind and a willingness to make positive changes. Big congratulations go out to all of the competitors from our gym.

For the Lurong Paleo Challenge, we completed a series of benchmark workouts, as well as weekly performance workouts during the middle of the challenge.  This gave us all a chance to experience how changing nutrition might affect workout performance, and everyone showed improvement on the benchmark workouts.

I want to recognize David, who posted the highest point total for any of our CrossFit Charlottesville competitors! Congratulations, David!  Points were awarded based on the daily diet, performance in the benchmark and challenge WODs, overall improvement from the beginning of the challenge to the end, as well as some other factors.

Most importantly, I want to recognize all of the other athletes in our gym who finished the challenge and completed all of the benchmark and performance workouts.  Everyone did an awesome job!  And collectively, everyone made huge improvements across the board with body composition and workout performance.  Taking on an 8-week challenge like this is no small feat, so you should all feel proud of what you accomplished.

You can find the before and after pictures and testimonials below:

David

DAVID L

When I started the challenge, I expected to lose weight if I stayed faithful to the diet and did the prescribed WoDs, and I lost a little over 19 pounds and took 3 3/4 off of my waist line.  What I didn’t expect was that I would feel so good.  I am now 50 years of age, but after 2 months of eating paleo, I feel like I am in my mid 30s again.  My allergies are significantly better.  I am recovering better from hard workouts (very little joint pain and DOMS).  I also find that I am more alert and energized than I was on my old diet.  This truly has been a life changing experience, and I have no plans on going back to my old way of eating.

The transition to a Paleo diet wasn’t as difficult as I thought it would be.  I definitely went though a few days where my energy was down a bit, and substituting almond milk for cow milk took a while to get used to, but I discovered that I appreciated ‘cheats” more when I limited them to one meal a week and the improvements in energy and general well-being made up for anything that I was doing without.

DAVID L SIDE

Dominique

This was my first Lurong Living Challenge, but the second Paleo challenge that I participated in at Crossfit Charlottesville this year. I have been eating this way for the past 3 years, but I have increasingly become stricter with my diet since I began Crossfit ten months ago. I lost a tiny bit of weight over the past 2 months, but I do feel leaner and that my body composition is actively transforming.

The diet component that I found most challenging was giving up half and half in my morning coffee (I never thought I would do.)  I did feel like I leaned out more after doing so.  Luckily I found a great coconut based alternative, which I will stick with from now on.  One new thing I added to my diet during the challenge was bone broth in the morning, which I will also continue.

The part of the Challenge that I most enjoyed was the workouts. I really liked being able to see my progress in the three benchmark workouts.  I was happy that I did improve in each of these over the eight weeks. I liked being judged for the workouts to ensure that my form was proper.  I also really enjoyed being able to see where I ranked on each workout in my division. I found the online component motivating.

I began taking deer antler about a month ago, but it is not from Lurong. I am not sure if I am seeing performance benefits because I am taking a few other performance enhancing herbs as well. I do feel that my diet and life style help me to optimize in all areas of my life, including Crossfit. I plan to keep on keepin’ on!

Mike

MIKE W

How much weight did you lose?

  • 15 pounds.

How much have you leaned out?

  • 2″ on the waist and hips.

Do your clothes fit differently?

  • Absolutely! I could go down a pant size now. I will slowly transition into new clothes after losing another 5 pounds or so.

How do you feel throughout the day?

  • I’ve eaten non-paleo friendly foods since the conclusion of the challenge and do not enjoy the after effects. I will probably stay away from processed sugars and heavy carbs for the remainder of my days.

How has your performance in workouts changed?

  • WAY improved! The crossfit WODs became far more manageable as the weeks clicked off. I felt less anaerobic devastation.

Did you make improvements on the benchmark workouts during the challenge?

  • I did. In some cases, markedly so.

How have your energy levels changed?

  • The increased energy levels were transparent. I had to eat bad after the challenge concluded to realize the difference. Eating good foods makes all the difference.

What about mental benefits?

  • A bit more calm and at peace.

Anything else you would like to share?

  • Thank you for providing support of this challenge. My perspective is changed forever.

MIKE W SIDE

Karen

The Lurong Paleo Challenge was my second challenge. I loved the benchmark WODs added to show how clean eating can improve your performance.  It was also exciting to see the changes and improvements I had made on the benchmarks as the the challenge progressed. Although I have only lost 3 pounds on this challenge, I lost another inch off of my waist and hips and continue to lean out and get stronger. The added energy throughout the day from clean eating is/was a definite benefit. I am able to get through the workday without feeling sluggish or sleepy and therefore, thinking more clearly. I have set some new PR’s, in addition to a few toes to bar and I continue to improve. My next challenge is to maintain eating well most of the time, continue to make improvements and possibly compete in a masters level one day…

Cindy

CINDY MHow much weight did you lose?

  • 10 pounds.  Mostly through my waistline and hips.

How do you feel throughout the day?  

  • I felt much more level throughout the day.  I still had a mid-afternoon slump but it was much less drastic.

How has your performance in workouts changed?  Did you make improvements on the benchmark workouts during the challenge?

  • Unfortunately I couldn’t do any comparisons because I fractured my foot halfway through.

How have your energy levels changed? What about mental benefits?

  • My energy is more level throughout the day.  There were still times when I felt tired, but it was much less frequent than typical and more in cycle with typical body rhythms and sleep cycles.

Anything else you would like to share?

  • I started this in an attempt eliminate foods, that while I enjoy require me to take medication (which I hate).  After two weeks of the challenge I began to eliminate the medication and discovered that my body was doing just fine when all those foods were out of my system.

CINDY M SIDE

Danny

DANNY BHow much weight did you lose? How much have you leaned out? Do your clothes fit differently?

  • I lost 16.5 pounds. I also dropped at least one size on my belts.

How do you feel throughout the day?

  • I felt great throughout the day. I had enough energy to do everything I wanted to do despite eating a ton of salads.

How has your performance in workouts changed?  Did you make improvements on the benchmark workouts during the challenge?

  • I improved in 2 of the benchmark workouts and basically got the same score in the third. I certainly felt good in all the workouts during that period.

How have your energy levels changed? What about mental benefits?

  • The only mental benefits I noticed was not craving junk food nearly as often as I used to.

DANNY B SIDE

Will

WILL L EDITED

I lost about 3 pounds but I was trying to maintain my weight while shedding fat and adding muscle.  I was happy with my results, but they left me eager for more.  I leaned up in my legs while adding some size to my arms, which is what I was looking for.  My clothes do fit differently, but hopefully that continues to change as I put on more muscle.

I feel much better throughout the day with the changes in my day.  My diet has had a big impact on both my energy and my performances in the WODs.  There is something inherently satisfying about eating healthy and that combined with the actual physical benefits of getting rid of processed foods paid dividends.

I made improvements in all three of the benchmark WODs.  I think part of that was because I was working out consistently more often during the challenge but I think it was also due to my changes in diet as well.  I both performed better and was less sore at the end of the benchmark workouts the second time around.

My energy as a law student is generally pretty low so any additional benefit I can get is welcomed.  Eating paleo didn’t so much as give me more energy as it did not make me feel the post-lunch drowsiness that plagued me before the challenge.

WILL L SIDE EDITED

Pam

PAM

I decided to participate in the paleo nutrition challenge despite the fact that I have already been eating paleo for the last 2 and a half years.  I was intrigued by the workout aspect of the challenge and being able to track my progress through the specific judged workouts. Having someone else watching every rep really forced me to focus fully on my form. Now in the gym I have been using lighter weights so I can improve my form and not worry about increasing weight, especially with any squatting movements.  I was able to improve in all the benchmark workouts in either reps or time. But I was most excited with my improvement in kipping pull-ups. I couldn’t even do one until I started the challenge and now I can string a few together. I was also happy with how well I did in the snatch workout, being able to do so many at prescribed weight. I pushed myself to try things I wouldn’t normally and it got me out of my comfort zone.  So even though my body composition didn’t change, I am glad I did the challenge.

PAM SIDE

Patrick

PATRICK L

How much weight did you lose? How much have you leaned out? Do your clothes fit differently?

  • I lost 17 Pounds.  3 inches off my waist and hips.
  • I feel leaner and think I look better.
  • My wife agrees.
  • I had to buy new pants.  That is awesome!

How do you feel throughout the day?

  • Looking back on it.  I noticed that I do feel better after eating clean than eating junk.  I did notice not feeling as tired or “yucky” after meals.

How has your performance in workouts changed?  Did you make improvements on the benchmark workouts during the challenge?

  • I did improve on the bench marks.  Losing weight has made it easier to move and improved my endurance.  I have not noticed improved recovery time.
  • I can do a pull up unassisted now.  Never have I been able to do that.

How have your energy levels changed? What about mental benefits?

  • I am not sure I have noticed my energy level increasing.  I think it is more steady.  I have noticed at night I am more ready to go to bed and fall asleep faster.
  • I have not noticed any mental benefits (other than self image improving).

Anything else you would like to share?

  • This has been an excellent experience for me.  I am now in the habit of reading ingredient labels, I notice how “yucky” I fell when eating poor quality/bready food.  I am going to continue to try and eat Paleo and high quality foods going forward. 

PATRICK L SIDE

Awesome work, everyone! 

Want to try CrossFit? We host Free Intro Classes on Mondays and Wednesdays at 6:15 PM and Saturdays at 12 Noon.

Have you heard about our new location yet? We moved to 1309 Belleview Avenue, and the new gym is, simply put, badass!

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Our CrossFit room upstairs has wall-to-wall flooring, a killer red pull-up rig, and plenty of space for WOD’s.

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Our weightlifting area, home to Charlottesville Strength, is equipped with a platform, a landing strip, several squat racks, and more weights than even we know what to do with!

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We have 3 garage doors, all with a beautiful view of the hills.

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And our check-in / lounge area even has a couch and two bathrooms with showers and mirrors!

561864_10151322119021751_1785009804_nWhether you’ve been wanting to try CrossFit for a while or just heard about us last week, now is the time to check out a Free Intro Class and come get in the best shape of your life.

This time of the year provides a great opportunity to reflect on your training and set new goals. How much progress have you made recently? Have your WOD times gone down or pull-ups gone up? What about lifestyle and body recomposition goals: have you been sleeping 8 hours per night, or have those tight-fitting jeans been a bit looser around your waist?

Also consider some goals to improve on: have you been skipping the longer met-cons or heavier strength days, or perhaps you want to re-focus your nutrition habits between the holidays? In order to make the most out of your training, use the ‘S.M.A.R.T.’ criteria for goal-setting:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Realistic
  • Time-specific

Using these guidelines, you might take a goal such as, “improve at gymnastics” and re-phrase it as, “be able to perform 1 muscle-up on the rings* by June 1st.” Alternately, instead of aiming to simply, “lose weight,” you might want to, “lose 5 lbs of body fat while maintaing muscle mass by June 1st.” These goals, for the most part, are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-specific.

So try it out. Comment on here with your goals, or feel free to email scott@crossfitcharlottesville.com as well. Develop a plan for how you will get there, and let’s start shattering some PR’s and achieving some new goals.

written jointly Kyle & an Anonymous Awesome Writer

CrossFit levels the athletic playing field more than most mainstream sports: every gym-goer, regardless of gender or past athletic experience, has access to the same experience, the same weights, the same workouts. It’s how each gym-goer responds to that access that determines his or her outcome. But do women shy away from the bigger weights and the higher intensity more so than men? And if so, does that affect their potential to make greater gains and reach their full athletic potential? For some women, this is a big issue that prevents their ability to make continuous gains in the gym.

So why would women shy away from heavier weights or from pushing themselves to max intensity in workouts? It’s no secret that women in the United States are constantly bombarded with unhealthy ideas about beauty, and a lot of the time, those ideas are in direct conflict with good health. When eating disorders are practically a prerequisite for the modeling and entertainment industry, it doesn’t bode well for the body confidence of the general female population. The messages are bombarded: stomachs should be flat, boobs should be perky, and God forbid touching inner thighs! And never, and I mean, never, should a woman be able to open her own jar of pickles or take her own moving boxes down a flight of stairs. That’s what the menfolk are for!

Some women fear big shoulders. Some fear that leg muscles developed from heavy squats will cause us to go UP a size (now I’ll never fit into those Forever 21 leggings!). Some fear being hungrier, which means eating more and gaining weight. In short, we fear more because, as women, we think we should be less. Less big and less strong. Yet again, these ideas are in direct contrast with what we know about health. We KNOW that weight training improves bone density, weight management (you burn more calories at rest!), and cardiac health. Those three things alone (that could prevent osteoporosis, diabetes, and heart disease) should get you so jazzed about weights that you immediately pick up something heavy just for the hell of it. Seriously, pick up something heavy NOW. We also KNOW that women do not turn into Hulkish beasts because of heavy weights. Just see hot lady o-lifter #1 and hot lady o-lifter #2 if you need proof. Remember how much work went into making Forney “fat?” Well, it’s kind of the same for women. You’d have to work really hard and take drugs to look like this.

Strong is the new skinny, and pop culture be damned, because we will no longer be constrained with an impossible ideal. We should approach our fitness experience like any other gym-goer and not be afraid of more. Stepping up the intensity will give you results and can help you out of a training rut (stuck at the same shoulder press for the past eight months? I’ve been there!).

Weightlifting is a very new experience for so many women in our gym that I totally understand your hesitation and fear of doing it. No one in any important position is encouraging young female athletes to lift weights, but turn on ESPN or watch any dad with his son on the football team, and you will have evidence of  a totally different cultural upbringing. Weightlifting, CrossFit and strength training are essential parts of your program. They are equally important as your metcon and your marathon time.

Women are built to be athletes, just the same as any human, and that’s the fundamental starting point for empowering yourself and realizing your vision of why you came to CrossFit in the first place. Not everyone has the willpower to suffer through pain and eschew popular conceptions about fitness and beauty. It’s a tough culture out there, but we want to be here to make you comfortable and to see you make constant improvement in and out of the gym. And remember, it’s okay to drop a weight or to miss a PR. Just ask Kyle, he does it all the time.

So, for the women in our gym and at other real training centers, dig deep inside and know that you are capable of more. Don’t fear going up in weight, don’t fear the pain, don’t fear the skills you don’t know. And for the love of all things healthy, don’t fear your potential.

You need to know what works for you to get the most out of pre and post workout nutrition.

Post workout nutrition makes a huge difference on your ability to recover, get better, feel good and rest properly. Everyone is different, so use the following guidelines to plan your pre and post workout nutrition strategy. Please take notes on how you feel and how you perform as it relates to a nutrition strategy. Keeping a training journal is a good idea, but nothing in here is set in stone. You are a freaking awesome machine with components that vary immensely from the person next to you. You have to tinker with these things to know what is best for you. These guidelines are heavily based on OPT which I found to be the best overall approach to pre and post workout nutrition out there. I finished the article by asking a few trainers what they do for pre and post workout nutrition.

Please read this article as a primer.

Body Fat %

Big fat cells have a higher disposition for toxins, so people with a higher relative fat cell profile have a tough time detoxifying if you burn fat. You can’t just lose body fat by “exercising more.” Higher body fat also makes it hard for your body to use carbohydrates efficiently. Over stressing yourself in exercise causes adrenal glands to stress your system. You must transition to lower body fat over time and with proper paleo/primal nutrition habits. Body fat in mid section is worse than evenly distributed body fat all over your body. Bottom line: Higher body fat % will have low tolerance for carbs post workout, so eat LESS carbs post workout and go for a normal (paleo/primal) meal that stabilizes blood sugar. Lower body fat % (~10% male, ~14% female) can tolerate carbs and increased absorption and can eat a carb source post workout.

Gender

Men have more lean mass than women, so they can generally eat more carbs post workout. Women don’t necessarily respond as well as men. Lean men can use a starting carb range of 50 to 100 grams, lean women can use a starting range of 25 to 40 grams.

Training Age (How “Experienced” Are You?)

It’s the intensity relative to the time domain you are doing exercise. Sorry, doing long slow distance is not a change of intensity, it’s a homeostasis. The more training aged you are, the less capable you are of absorbing and using carbs post workout. If you trained for 5-6+ years, you have a higher disposition to tax your central nervous system (more intensity), so you get a high anabolic response. Be aware that adrenal overload of 5+ weekly training sessions and/or a stressful lifestyle, especially for women, will harm your ability to maintain lean body mass and will produce more fat.

Type of Training

Understand the difference between a Central Nervous System Stimulant and a Cellular Breakdown workout. The former looks like our strength training components, the latter looks like a standard CrossFit WOD. You should eat more protein for a CNS Stimulate workout and more carbs for a cellular breakdown workout. We often mix it up, so each day is a little different and plan your post nutrition strategy accordingly.

Sensitivities

Different types of food have different absorption levels. Listen to your body and see how you feel. Find what works. If you are exploding on the toilet or feeling sick to your stomach, then something is wrong.

Timing

Cellular breakdown: T-3 to 4 Hours: Fast prior to a workout to avoid digestion process in the gut. Don’t be afraid of being hungry, just TRY it. You have plenty of energy saved up for the workout.

CNS Stimulant: You can eat as close as you can to the workout, so long as it doesn’t mess up your insulin levels.

Real Work Trainer Pre/Post Workout Nutrition

Chris G

Pre-Workout Meal (if any) and why: Ideally I’ll work out on an empty stomach. On a heavy lifting day I might have some protein beforehand. If it’s a longer met-con day I might have a bite of fruit beforehand.

Post-Workout Meal (if any and multiple descriptions if you do more than 1) and why: I almost always try to get a good mix of protein and carbs right after working out. On a heavy lifting day I’ll emphasize protein in the meal (meats, eggs, fish), and if it’s a longer met-con day I’ll add more carbs (sweet potatoes, fruit). A go-to smoothie for me has been raw milk, protein powder, BCAA’s, and creatine.

Elizabeth B

Pre-Workout Meal: usually none. I don’t really want to puke. Unless it’s a pure strength day, then I eat nuts or nut butter and often even bring food with me to eat between lifts (sweet potato or protein shake or more nuts)… and lots of water. If it’s a hot day and the workout involves a lot of cardio I will sometimes drink coconut water beforehand to hydrate.

Post-Workout Meal: Either a sweet potato or a protein shake (whey protein, coconut milk, banana, frozen blueberries). I like the shake aspect because sometimes after a hard workout it is difficult to stomach actual food, and this way I can take advantage of my post workout 30 minute window to get protein and carbohydrates in my body. Oh, and lots of water.

Jon F

Note, these eating habits are geared toward maintaining my current bodyweight at around 162 lbs. If I was trying to gain weight, my carbohydrate intake would be even higher, as would my post-workout fat intake. For weight-gain eating habits, see the blog: benandforneygetfat.

Pre-Workout: sometimes I train fasted (i.e. 16-18 hours since last meal); most of the time, I eat 1-2 hours prior to training. The meal is Paleo+dairy: roughly 6-8 blocks protein (from eggs, whey, and/or dairy), 4 blocks carbohydrates (from fruit and lactose); 20-24 blocks fat (from olive oil, nut butter, and/or avocado). Supplement with one multivitamin and 2 grams of fish oil.

Post-Workout: I always do my best to eat within 30-60 minutes of completing a workout. The meal is typically Paleo+dairy, but I will allow a fast-food meal once every week or two. If I’m making my own post-training meal, it is in smoothie form: 6-8 blocks protein, 6-12 blocks carbs (from frozen fruit and honey), zero blocks fat. If I’m fast-fooding it, I get, either a Chris Long sub from Little Johns or I go to Wendy’s and get a Double Baconator and a small Frostie. Either way, the goal is to consume a very large meal, rich in protein and carbohydrates. Supplement with 2-4 grams of fish oil. Recently I’ve been experimenting with taking 9 grams of branched chain amino acids along with my post-workout meal.

Kyle R

Pre-Workout: I can’t train totally fasted. I think I have a higher tolerance for carbs than most people. I typically eat a fruit or a high glycemic carb source pre-workout.  I do like having a coffee about 30 minutes before any kind of workout.

Post-Workout: I eat within 5 minutes of finishing a workout. Typically, that’s 40 to 100 grams of carbs, 30 to 30 grams of protein, usually in a milk + protein mix or chocolate milk. I do cycle through a creatine phase every few months and I take it usually with my post workout meal.

Jason G

I don’t have a set pre-workout meal, although I’m happier on an empty stomach than a full one. Post-wod is almost always a protein shake (protein powder + milk) or some large amount of protein + carbs (like a big cheeseburger or something).