I feel lean and mean, systems running like a well oiled machine
I started sleeping much better and didn’t always need that second (or more) cups of coffee in the afternoons, even when I woke up before 5 AM for work
I’m not easily winded when going on the 400m and 800m run
Due to the weight loss my performance has changed greatly
I don’t get nearly as tired during workouts and feel like I have more energy
Overall I had great energy, slept soundly and was happy-go-lucky
I was able to gain perspective on the saying “you are what you eat”
The positive benefits have encouraged me to push myself more and try new things
Congratulations to everyone who participated in the Spring 2014 Nutrition Challenge! This was our ninth Nutrition Challenge, and you can find past results here:
- Nutrition Challenge #1
- Nutrition Challenge #2
- Nutrition Challenge #3
- Nutrition Challenge #4
- Nutrition Challenge #5
- Nutrition Challenge #6
- Nutrition Challenge #7
- Nutrition Challenge #8
Below you will find before and after photos and testimonials from those who completed all eight weeks of our Nutrition Challenge this spring. 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. It was very rewarding for me to witness this, and I enjoyed working with you all. Most importantly, big congratulations go out to Anna and Karen for winning the Spring Nutrition Challenge! They both not only did a solid job of sticking to the guidelines of the challenge, but achieved measurable body composition changes. Everyone who completed the challenge deserves recognition, and you can find their testimonials below. Again, congrats to everyone who participated, and we hope that everything you learned during the challenge will enrich your life going forward.
For this Nutrition Challenge we teamed up with Arqspin to produce some awesome before and after pictures! Nathan and Chandler were a huge help, and I appreciate the work they put in to make these great interactive pictures. You can see before and after spins by clicking on the picture itself or the links at the end of each participant’s testimonial.
I rate my overall experience with paleo strong to quite strong. I lost 15 pounds during the challenge, and let’s be honest, ten of those likely dropped due to the absence of IPAs in my diet. I feel lean and mean, systems running like a well oiled machine. I probably lost a dress size. The greatest impact was my recovery time. Throughout the challenge, I continued my usual workout schedule and played in a couple tennis leagues. I was able to do so without fatigue while seeing improvements in performance. Outside of fitness, Mondays are no longer the bane of existence, and I feel more alert around the usual two o’clock lull. Will I continue strict paleo? No. I like beer, ice cream and pizza too much. I will eat those a little less, though. Further, I plan to incorporate the following:
- An awareness of the content of your food. As a general rule, chemicals do not enhance food. In order to maximize your output, though, you must also input balanced amounts of protein, fat and carbs at the right time. For instance, I found the switch from a carb-loaded to protein-centric breakfast extremely valuable.
- The accessibility of Paleo. You are just one Google search and a bag of coconut flour (though slightly expensive) away from replacing any of your favorite gluten treats. Except pizza – although even my paleo pizza was surprisingly tasty. As far as time commitment, you can commit as much or as little time as you would like. Very little of what I made took over twenty minutes to prep and most meals had leftovers, which was huge.
- Consistency. In the illustrious words of Ice Cube, “It ain’t a track meet, it’s a marathon.” The biggest struggle was adjusting my attitude that claimed, “Eat well and sometimes minimally during the week so you can glutinously gorge yourself on the weekend.” Discarding that attitude, I focused on making meals that interested me regularly and finding ways to satisfy cravings so I could easily say no to treats when offered.
Check out Anna’s Spins from Arqspin!
The biggest thing that I noticed was an improvement in my energy levels during the day and during my workouts (after an initial slump). Once that slump was over, I started sleeping much better and didn’t always need that second (or more) cups of coffee in the afternoons, even when I woke up before 5 AM for work. More than that, I had fairly consistent energy levels throughout the day. I was surprised by these improvements because I ate “primal” beforehand, but never really thought too much about ratios and timing of nutrients. Beyond that, I noticed pretty considerable gains in strength and muscle size. My squat and deadlift all improved, and I only use the red band for pull-ups now and can do more skilled movements than before (TTB!). I’ve always struggled with building muscle. My digestive issues got even better and my skin and nails got better, too. As for clothing sizes, I didn’t necessarily drop in size but my tops were definitely fitting looser. My pants fit looser in the waist and tighter in my legs etc., but I’m okay with that! Finally I became a lot better at listening to cues from my body – everything from when to rest or when I could do a bit more to my tendency to eat when I’m bored/tired/stressed instead of when I’m actually hungry. I think my relationship with food has improved considerably.
Check out Christina’s Spins from Arqspin!
- How much weight did you lose? How much have you leaned out? 6-7lb loss, I’ve toned/leaned out more.
- How do you feel throughout the day? How has your performance in workouts changed? I’m not groggy in the afternoon and I don’t snack throughout the day. My performance in workouts reflect this as well. I’m not easily winded when going on the 400m and 800m run.
- How many dress and / or pant sizes have you lost? Clothes are looser but pant size hasn’t changed.
- How have your energy levels changed? What about mental benefits? My energy level is great, more endurance.
- How much weight did you lose? How much have you leaned out?
I lost approximately 14 lbs. I don’t know exactly how much leaner I am but I certainly feel like my muscle mass has increased and my fat levels have dropped.
- How do you feel throughout the day? How has your performance in workouts changed?
Interestingly my energy level has been great. I still don’t get enough sleep, but that’s my life. One thing I did was completely cut out diet soft drinks, I was very addicted. I wanted to go cold turkey from them and did so. I was afraid I would have headaches from the withdrawals from caffeine but I never once noticed it. So far I am 9 weeks without a diet soda. Due to the weight loss my performance has changed greatly. I don’t get nearly as tired during workouts and feel like I have more energy. I believe it is a combination of a much stricter diet in combination with the weight loss and more muscle being built.
- How many dress and / or pant sizes have you lost?
I haven’t lost any sizes but my current closes fit much better. In fact, my wife says my XL shirts don’t look so tight anymore.
- How have your energy levels changed? What about mental benefits?
As I was saying earlier, my energy levels are great. I do find I need more rest but that is again because of my crazy schedule. As for mental benefits, I am much more positive about myself. I feel better mentally because I am doing something to help myself which makes me think of myself in a better way.
- Anything else you would like to share?
Just a big thanks to Scott for his encouragement and for the support along the way. Also, his knowledge was helpful as well as his willingness to take the time each week to help us push through.
Check out Bruce’s Spins from Arqspin!
The nutrition challenge was an excellent experience for me. I have been doing versions of the ancestral diet for the past six years; first Weston Price and now Paleo for the past 2.5 years. Documenting and measuring my food for the first month of the challenge gave me a lot of insight about how I was eating. I found that I was filling up on good fats, but not eating nearly enough protein or carbohydrates. The biggest positive change for me was giving up all refined sugar. I quit my daily dark chocolate habit about one month before the challenge and have remained sugar free ever since.
I was initially concerned about the “Zone” portion control and potential hunger, but I actually found that I needed a greater variety and volume of food than I had been eating. After week three I cut my intake to about 1300 calories a day in hopes of shedding weight more quickly. I only remember feeling hungry during a few morning workouts. Overall I had great energy, slept soundly and was happy-go-lucky.
I lost four pounds, 1.5” off of my hips, and about 1.5 dress sizes during the nutrition challenge. I was initially disappointed that I did not lose more weight, but I see now that I have leaned out a lot and gained quite a bit of muscle. I am happy that I am able to squeeze into some of my pre-pregnancy clothes for the first time in a very long time.
During the last two weeks of the challenge I began to see performance improvements in myself. This encouraged me to focus less on the vanity aspect. I find the guidelines of the challenge sustainable and I continue to follow them (with the addition of a few glasses of wine here and there.) Now that I have been doing this for 11 weeks I actually feel like I have hit the tipping point and I am beginning to see the real changes that I was anticipating.
Check out Dominique’s Spins from Arqspin!
I joined Charlottesville Crossfit in November of 2013. The range of fitness and physical challenges captivated me. This is something that I enjoy and it is never boring! After losing 15 lbs and hitting a plateau, the nutrition challenge was presented. I had heard of Paleo and thought it would be too difficult to maintain with children and not to mention costly. This was not a diet for me but a lifestyle change for my family that needed to take place. Once Scott assigned my specific weekly nutritional goals, I began cooking. Cooking and preparing my meals ahead and pre packing for the week helped with my busy schedule. I found that the first week, I was always hungry. I found myself eating all the time; however, a quick healthy snack or meal on hand was a big help to keep me on track. Once I was able to get through the first week and get into a manageable routine, I found that I had more energy and felt more focused. “Goodbye to the midday slump.” I think I realized the benefits of clean eating on my cheat days or when I would started to add some foods back into my diet. I quickly realized these were the foods that were making me feel bad: bloating, sleepiness, mental- fog and so on, it was all coming back. I was able to gain perspective on the saying “you are what you eat”. We choose what we put in our mouth and I will definitely continue the clean eating lifestyle and lead a healthier quality of life. During the nutrition challenge, I lost 8.7 lbs, 2.5 inches off of my waist, and 3.5 inches off of my hips. I am able to run further distances without stopping and my box jumps have also improved. The positive benefits have encouraged me to push myself more and try new things.