I have never eaten so well in my life. I lost a 8.5 lbs. My waist went from a 34″ to a 32″. My energy level improved as did both my strength and overall fitness…

My son has had horrible sinusitis for years. Allergy medicines, nasal sprays, nothing has helped. A couple of weeks into the paleo plan, and he was congestion free for the first time in probably 4 or 5 years. It actually makes me mad that no doctors recommended dietary adjustments for him…

I have felt so deeply encouraged by the paleo challenge and the entire Crossfit family.  It is now a lifestyle and not a diet for me…

That’s almost 30lbs in about 11 weeks…

4.5% decrease in body fat…

I have rheumatoid arthritis.  Well managed but usually I wake with stiff joints and discomfort.  Since day 5, I have had no symptoms!

I would guess this amounted to about two inches off the waistline.  Now that the challenge is over I haven’t changed back to the old way of eating nor do I plan to…

The main thing that I noticed was that my energy level was through the roof and I felt fantastic.

We’ve had a total of five nutrition challenges thus far, and I can honestly say this one is the best thus far.  For past results check these links:

For this challenge our participants ate a strictly defined, but very maintainable, set of foods: naturally raised meats, vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, little starch, no sugar and no bread or pasta. We refer to this as paleo or primal nutrition and is our basic nutrition recommendation for all people.

It’s so easy for people to fill their bodies with excessive amounts of carbs, gluten and other pro-inflammatory choices that are prevalent in Western society.  This challenge represents the beginning for some and the middle of a journey for many.  We seek the best for our members and as you can see from their testimonials, this is something they worked into their lives and saw meaningful improvements in all areas. It’s a choice for a healthy life and we hope you see that too. We chose Courteney, Katie and Al as the winners for their diligence and visible results, although this was by far the hardest decision we’ve had to make in any nutrition challenge.

Everyone did so awesome, in fact that most of the people in this challenge would have won prior challenges. Anyway, here are the pictures!

Al

The Nutrition Challenge was so good for me. Prior to it, I thought I was eating well but basically had no idea of what I was really putting into my body. I knew very little about nutrition. I had just finished Rob Wolf’s “The Paleo Solution” and when the Challenge was announced, I was ready. The challenge turned out great. It was hard initially but as I got used to conscious meal planning it got easier and easier and I stuck with it in spite of doing a lot of traveling.I have never eaten so well in my life. I lost a 8.5 lbs. My waist went from a 34″ to a 32″. My energy level improved as did both my strength and overall fitness. As far a “leaning out” is concerned, check out the photo. I feel great, I hope I can eat this way for the rest of my life, and I would recommend this challenge for anyone who hasn’t tried it yet.

Courteney

The first week was really, really hard (seriously, really…). I was already eating pretty well– maybe 65 percent paleo–, but this was taking it to a new level, and ditching my nightly glass or two of wine and all added sugar, processed carbs and dairy hurt. A lot. Also, I felt pretty weak and tired, and I had constant cravings for sugar, cheese and bread. I never cheated though, and the biggest help was that I was doing it with a friend. We just ate dinner together every night and moaned about how miserable it was.

Week two, things started getting much easier– it helped that I felt so much leaner already. Tripling the fat definitely curbed hunger, and my energy level improved hugely. I also noticed weird things– like my hands were less wrinkly and old ladyish (I am 40, after all). I think I’d been really dehydrated before without realizing it! Since I was feeling better, I started working out harder, and over the next two weeks, it was crazy. Even when I was much younger and working out all the time, I’d never been able to do pull-ups. It seemed like out of nowhere, I could suddenly do multiple sets of three. Running, which I’ve always hated, also seemed so much easier. Really exciting!

I pretty much chugged along until the end of week three, when a long weekend away derailed me somewhat, but I came back and got back on track. For the last month, eating right was no problem, but I did slip some on the wine consumption (there was somewhat more than one cheat per week….) Even so, at the end of the challenge, I’d lost six pounds and more significantly, three inches off my waist and an inch and a half off my hips.

Also, I started my kids on paleo, and got some crazy results. My son has had horrible sinusitis for years. Allergy medicines, nasal sprays, nothing has helped. A couple of weeks into the paleo plan, and he was congestion free for the first time in probably 4 or 5 years. It actually makes me mad that no doctors recommended dietary adjustments for him…

To sum up, I definitely have a lot more energy, and doing the challenge made me realize some other things: most of the time, when I’m craving carbs, it’s because I’m exhausted. Trying to go to bed at a reasonable hour helps with that, and those times that I didn’t have that option, I’d go for half a banana and some almond butter. Much better than a bowl of cereal or cold pizza, my former choices… I’ve also noticed that after I eat a meal, I never feel weighed down or stuffed, but I don’t get hungry for hours. I’ve been doing it long enough now that it’s not hard to make good choices. Before the challenge, my microwave was doing double duty– I used it for just about everything. Now, I’m cooking real meals, and my grill is my new best friend. It doesn’t take nearly as long as I feared. (It does require much better planning, though.)

The one downside: my grocery bill is probably double what it used to be. I’m still trying to figure out tricks to bringing it down. Still, I figure that feeling better, being healthier and having healthy kids is a good investment, so I’m sticking with it, and I’d recommend it to anyone.

Dennis

How much weight you lost/how you leaned out?  I have lost a total of 15 pounds of body fat and replaced most of it with lean muscle mass.

How you feel throughout the day/workout performance?  I have had so much more energy throughout the day and have been sleeping better than before.  My workout performance was great but I hit a busy season in life where I was very dedicated to the paleo eating but could not make it to the gym as often as I would have liked (due to a heavy travel schedule).

How many dress/pant sizes you lost?  I lost about 2 or 3 pants sizes in my waist and all of my clothes have been fitting better overall.

How your energy levels have changed/maintained: I have continued to do Paleo and my energy levels continue to stay very strong.  I hope to continue with paleo for the long term/life.

Anything else you want to share?  I have felt so deeply encouraged by the paleo challenge and the entire Crossfit family.  It is now a lifestyle and not a diet for me.  Thank you Crossfit Charlottesville for helping me to realize my goals.  I still have a long way to go and I hope to continue to challenge myself in the future.

D

I lost 22lbs during the 8 weeks of the challenge. Since then I have lost another 7 lbs. that’s almost 30lbs in about 11 weeks. The first week or two was tough. My energy dropped and I felt tired. Then I felt much More energetic. I was sleeping a lot better at night and wasn’t tired during my ten hour work day. The biggest improvement I have seen is in my blood work. My cholesterol ratio was up to 6.4 and halfway through the challenge it was tested and is now 4.0.

I haven’t had any real opportunity to exercise, let alone do Crossfit because of my schedule so the results are from the diet alone. I did very strict paleo (at least for the first month, then had to go back on caffeine) but only did the zone for the first week. It was too hard with my schedule and other obligations to track like you are supposed to. I was able to eyeball it which is a more realistic method for a lot a of people I think.

I can’t wait to combine paleo with Crossfit here in the next few weeks and see the results.

I wouldn’t have lost any weight without my family though. They saw how important it was and jumped on board. I had to cut out some of m favorite things like chocolate, icecream, cookies. Oh and chocolate. But my family came up with great recipes and now it’s all second nature. It’s definitely a lifestyle not a diet, but a lifestyle that really works well for me.

Oh, I also went from wearing size 36 to fitting comfortably in a 33. I had to buy new jeans. My shirts all seem way to large. The extra larges I was wearing seem huge. Now the large is a perfect fit.

Thanks for everything Kyle and the rest of the Crossfit Charlottesville folks.

Emily

How much weight you lost/how you leaned out?  4 lbs lost, an inch off my waist and an inch off my hips. 4.5% decrease in body fat. I ate a fairly low carb healthy diet before the challenge so I didn’t expect to see huge changes. However, I was encouraged and excited to see the changes in my waist and abs and pushed through the rest of the challenge.

How you feel throughout the day/workout performance? Being an endurance “athlete” as someone who cycles 4-5 days a week I took a real hit energy wise the first couple weeks with the zones. I’d do a two hour bike ride after work and if I had stayed within my zones I’d only have eat about 1000 calories throughout the day. I was hungry and cranky which really wasn’t working for me. On lifting days the zones were much more doable. Kyle helped me modify my blocks but I abandoned the zones after the first 3 weeks and felt much better. A sweet potato after dinner and extra fruit/veggies at lunch made a lot more sense for my body’s needs on the bike. I did stay pretty strict on the paleo and spread my “cheats” out across the weekend with alcohol mostly. Four drinks a week max.

How your energy levels have changed/maintained? I slept much more soundly which was a nice change for myself who is usually a very light sleeper and early riser. The biggest thing I noticed was how awful I felt after drinking a beer. I was surprised gluten really upset my system. One good IPA would leave me feeling awful after a few hours and the following day. I soon switched my alcohol clears to Cider beer, wine or liquor.

Anything else you want to share? I plan to stick to a very relaxed paleoesque diet. I’ve added beans back, a little bit of plain Greek yogurt and occasionally some cheese. The grains I’ll cut out for the most part. I’ve read up on peanut butter and will stop buying it and opt for almond butter instead. From the zone dieting I realize a ton of fruit is a lot of carbs and sugar that may not be necessary. Day to day it’s nice not to be tempted by the crackers and such at work. I think cutting out those little extra carb snacks throughout the day is what made the biggest difference and is a very sustainable change.

Hillary

Katie

During the first week I lost a total of 7 lbs.  The hunger was the hardest part.  With the decreased fat, my energy dropped an hour after each meal/snack.   But after the first week and 2x the fat, it felt amazing!  I had tons of energy and never a “dip” in the day where I felt I needed coffee or a snack.

The pounds kept coming off and after two weeks I had lost 12 pounds.  I had energy all day and felt amazing with what my body was doing.  To be able to look in the mirror and feel sexy, not just a mom has changed the way I look at my body.

The way I view food is also a huge change. I have always eaten “healthy”.   Having never documented the macronutrients placed into my body, I was in for a shock. What changed was my appreciation of fuel.  Fuel my body needs on a daily basis.  I have never felt better!  I have rheumatoid arthritis.  Well managed but usually I wake with stiff joints and discomfort.  Since day 5, I have had no symptoms!  

Since the challenge I have lost a total of 14 pounds, had pain free days, continued to work out and feel great!  To me this was not just a challenge but a change on lifestyle.  I am still doing it and have absolutely no intention of stopping!

K-Dawg

I started the challenge at 170 lbs and finished and currently weigh in at 158 lbs. I lost the first six pounds during the first week of the challenge and another three pounds the second week.  After that the final three pounds came off over the remaining six weeks.  Knowing from previous experience that I am pretty sensitive to carbs in general and breads and grains specifically, I completely banned starchy foods.  Therefore, my diet consisted of plenty of animal protein and fat as well as fruits and vegetables.  The hardest part of this was cutting out the junk food.  I love potato chips and soda and it took about two weeks to get rid of the cravings, especially on the drive home.  Lastly, I altered the dietary plan from a 40-30-30 ratio of carbs, protein, and fat to 40-40-20 ratio of protein, fat, and carbs and strictly followed this plan.  I think i might have had a couple of french fries and a chip or two the entire two months but thats it.  No “cheat days.”  This really accelerated the leaning process and I still felt great eating five small meals per day.  My energy levels throughout the day were always high but I felt as if I was more susceptible to dehydration.  If I didn’t drink enough high quality H20 I seemed to start dragging both mentally and physically.  This was more pronounced eating during this new dietary regimen than when I was eating like crap.  At any rate, I now drink about a gallon of water per day and feel great.  I steadily improved on my workouts and felt energized thanks to the better diet.

As far as inches and measurements go, I never broke out the tape measure but my suits for work loosened up significantly in the trousers while the jackets continued to fit properly.  Obviously, this was the desired result as I maintained lean muscle mass in the upper body and lost the fat in my gut and ass in my lower body.  Just for fun and games I tried on my army uniform from 12 years ago and it still fits.  Not too shabby.  I would guess this amounted to about two inches off the waistline.  Now that the challenge is over I haven’t changed back to the old way of eating nor do I plan to.  I do “cheat” about once a week usually on date night or some kind of special occasion but nothing too gluttonous.  This nutrition challenge was a blast to participate in.  Thanks for putting it together!

You can add that I felt like I healed pretty quickly from my hamstring injury.  I know that studies have shown that a good diet can improve the body’s ability to heal itself.  This is a good example….that and I’m tough as nails.

Tate

I’m about 6 lbs lighter than when I started, though I suspect that I lost a little more and gained some back in muscle. I dropped a notch or two in belt size and overall clothing fits a bit looser. I was pretty surprised by how quickly the weight seemed to come off despite eating 2-3 blocks more than what I had initially calculated for my BMI. The main thing that I noticed was that my energy level was through the roof and I felt fantastic. This was especially noticeable on the job, as I work in construction; it has made work all the more enjoyable. Also, you’ll never have a post meal crash on this diet.

For those who want to lose some weight, kick some nasty habits, and want a real challenge I highly recommend giving it a go.

I lost 19 pounds, waist size went from 34 in. to 31 in… I found that it helped get rid of most of my sugar cravings. Giving up bread, pasta, and other carbs was not as difficult as I expected… My clothes are looser and I FEEL better overall

Like our first Nutrition Challengesecond nutrition challenge,  and our third nutrition challenge, we implemented a nutrition challenge for our members this fall. They had eat a strictly defined, but very maintainable, set of foods: naturally raised meats, vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, little starch, no sugar and no bread or pasta. We refer to this as paleo or primal nutrition and is our basic nutrition recommendation for all people.

It’s so easy for people to fill their bodies with excessive amounts of carbs, gluten and other pro-inflammatory choices that are prevalent in Western society.  This challenge represents the beginning for some and the middle of a journey for many.  We seek the best for our members and as you can see from their testimonials, this is something they worked into their lives and saw meaningful improvements in all areas. It’s a choice for a healthy life and we hope you see that too.

Brett

I lost 19 lbs total. I went from 201 to 182. My waist size went from 34 in. to 31 in. I didn’t notice any significant loss of muscle mass. Energy levels were a little low at first but after two weeks I felt pretty good again. After becoming accustomed to the diet, I actually felt like I had more energy than before the contest. I definitely had fewer peaks and valleys during the day. My WOD performance improved significantly, particularly in bodyweight exercises like pullups, handstand pushups, and box jumps. They were much easier at the end of the 8 weeks than at the beginning. I’ve stuck with the basic parameters of the diet since the end of the contest, but have slightly increased my portion sizes and reintroduced more carbs like potatoes and fruit. I’ve put some weight back on, but I feel even better and my strength has increased. During the latter half of the contest I allowed myself one cheat day a week where I eat whatever I want and as much as I want. I have continued this practice. Ironically, I find that I don’t end up wanting much more than a cookie or a cheeseburger and a beer. I haven’t felt compelled to gorge myself or make myself sick. Feeling good just feels better than eating comfort food.

Kate

I didn’t notice a huge difference in my energy levels or performance at the gym, but there were a few weeks in there where medical school got in the way of getting to the gym so it was hard to measure progress. I didn’t really lose much weight- maybe 4-5 lbs- but that wasn’t really my goal. My clothes are looser and I FEEL better overall, which was more important. I’ve continued to follow a relaxed paleo diet, and definitely notice that I don’t feel great when I stray too far from the diet. I definitely plan to stick with it!

Rachel

Before starting the challenge I had already moved towards eating paleo, but the challenged helped me kick a few bad habits. I cut out my daily diet coke habit and nixed all artificially sweetened drinks- a big thing for me! I found that it helped get rid of most of my sugar cravings. Giving up bread, pasta, and other carbs was not as difficult as I expected (though I had cut a lot of that out of my diet already). I was much more proactive about cooking meals for the week and incorporating more vegetables into meals. Cutting down on fruit (I eat a lot of that) and adhering to the diet in social situations were the most difficult things-after the first 3 weeks I was much more lax when eating out or at friends’ homes, which may have diminished my results.

Finally Friday! Deadlift+Toes to Rings

WOD

12-10-8-6-4-2

Deadlift
Lateral jumps over your DL bar**
Toes to Rings

Rx’d (M-275 W-165)
Scaled 1 (M-255 W-145)
Scaled 2 (M-225 W-135)

**Lateral jumps-facing toward your plates you must jump over and back  with your feet together to = 1 rep

3rd Nutrition Challenge: Paleo Eating Before and After Pictures

I lost 18 pounds, along with several inches all over, including four inches from my waist…I dropped 27 lbs and leaned out a lot. All my clothes are way too loose for me now…My energy levels are great, my latest blood work showed fantastic results, and my husband and son love the meals I’m fixing every night…I have lost approximately 19lbs (215 to 196lbs), about 4 inches on my waist (38″ to 34″), and 6% body fat (19% to 13% body fat)…I found that boost to my workouts that I had been looking for and noticed that I seemed to have an extra reserve of energy during longer workouts

Like our first Nutrition Challenge and our second nutrition challenge,  we implemented a nutrition challenge for our members this spring. They had eat a strictly defined, but very maintainable, set of foods: naturally raised meats, vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, little starch, no sugar and no bread or pasta. We refer to this as paleo or primal nutrition and is our basic nutrition recommendation for all people.

It’s so easy for people to fill their bodies with excessive amounts of carbs, gluten and other pro-inflammatory choices that are prevalent in Western society.  This challenge represents the beginning for some and the middle of a journey for many.  We seek the best for our members and as you can see from their testimonials, this is not some bs diet. It’s a choice for a healthy life and we hope you see that too.

We selected Bri and Nick as the winners for this challenge, but everyone came out a winner. I’m so proud of all of you!

Bri

Over the last eight weeks, I lost 18 pounds, along with several inches all over, including four inches from my waist. The crazy part – my wedding rings no longer fit and I have to get them resized! I lost 2 pant sizes since starting the challenge, and 5 pant sizes since beginning CrossFit a year ago. Throughout the challenge, I had several PRs both in the gym and outside the gym. My lifts are getting stronger and I can feel myself getting faster along with more confidence. During the challenge, I ran a half marathon, a 10k and a 5k; I dropped over ten minutes from my half marathon time, and 20 minutes from my 10k time. I have so much more energy and have never felt better in my life! Paleo truly works for me and this is a change I have made for the rest of my life. I love finding new paleo recipes and am no longer a ‘picky’ eater and making myself try new foods every week. I thought that the challenge would be harder than it was for me, especially cutting out sugar but now looking back, I can’t believe I ate so badly before. I entered the challenge to become healthier and improve my performance in the gym, which has definitely shown results. I am so thankful for everything!

Nick

This Nutrition Challenge was AWESOME!!!!

I was a little nervous at the start, having tried some different nutrition styles/diets in the past, but have always fallen off the wagon pretty quickly.  Paleo’s focus on quality and quantity, combined with strict supervision in the beginning, helped me to dial in my diet for what was right for me.  As such, I am confident I will be able to continue eating this way from now on because I don’t feel like I’m giving up a ton of food I love, and if I do cheat, I’ve seen how quickly I can get results by getting back on track.  Perhaps more importantly, I felt better eating this way than I have in a long time.  More energy, more consistent and sustained energy, helped get me through the day and through our workouts (especially after a little tweaking in my fat/protein/carb mix and timing).  I also just feel healthier and cleaner – fewer stomach aches, no heartburn and I feel more in tune to my body.  Ok. On to the data points.
Weight Loss: I dropped 27 lbs and leaned out a lot. All my clothes are way too loose for me now.  In addition to losing this weight, I made a lot of gains in the gym, being able to do more pull-ups than ever and returning to my college rugby playing days strength on bench press, cleans and squats.
How I feel: Awesome consistent energy throughout the day – I found I was unconciously drinking way less coffee to get through the day, down from 3-4 cups to 0-1.  popping some almonds and a piece of fruit an hour before doing the WOD helped a lot in terms of powering through our workouts.
Pants Sizes: I lost two pant sizes, at least one jacket size and lost an inch in my neck.  This is awesome – except none of my clothes fit anymore.  My shorts literally fall to my ankles when I walk!

Sam

I’m not sure how many actual pounds I lost since I don’t have a scale, but nearly all of my pants are too big for me now, and not just by a little, by at least a full size or two. I have to buy some new smaller clothes, which is a nice problem to have! I can definitely see a difference in my body composition, especially in my stomach and my arms.

The first week of strict Zone dieting was tough for me from an energy perspective, but once I got through that I was fine. Now that the Challenge is over, I’m still eating a fairly strict Paleo diet and plan to keep doing so. My energy levels are great, my latest blood work showed fantastic results, and my husband and son love the meals I’m fixing every night. Thanks for offering the Challenge and for guiding us through it!

Alex

I started easing into paleo back in December, and up until the start of the nutrition challenge I lost 5lbs, 2 inches on my waist, and 2% body fat.  After starting the nutrition challenge and going to strict paleo, I lost another 14lbs, 2 more inches on my waist, and another 4% body fat.  In total, during the last 4 months I have lost approximately 19lbs (215 to 196lbs), about 4 inches on my waist (38″ to 34″), and 6% body fat (19% to 13% body fat).

I leaned out by cutting out all grains, sugar, and dairy products.  I started eating more vegetables like bell peppers every day, and learned to snack on things like cashews and almonds whenever I was hungry.  I also learned how much protein I needed to eat every day, and to take the time to cook a decent meal from natural foods.  My energy level and endurance have gone way up in the process, and I am much better about listening to how my body feels based on what I eat.

I may have lost a few pounds of lean mass, which is most likely contributed to an injury that caused me to stop lifting weights for the past 2 months.  However, during that span, I sucked it up and kept coming in to crossfit.  The trainers helped me scale the workouts to my ability so I was still getting a good aerobic workout that would challenge me, help build endurance and keep me in shape.

I am confident this will translate into a great beach volleyball season, especially when I have to dig in late in the day after playing 8hrs in 100deg temperatures (normally a point when I hit a wall and crash due to lack of energy and endurance).

Jen

I finally committed to the nutrition challenge after over a year of participation in Crossfit. I realized that I didn’t have any more excuses and was looking for something to rock me out of the rut that I’d fallen in to with my workouts. Plus, Kyle told me that I would never be able to do it…great reverse psychology.

I didn’t begin the challenge committed to numbers, so I’m not sure how much my weight or measurements changed. I did lean out considerably in the first few weeks, which hasn’t happened in a very long time. I attribute a lot of this to total abstinence from alcohol and Diet Dr Pepper…also hasn’t happened in a very long time. I was visibly smaller, and my clothes were much looser. Once the challenge became a bit less strict, and as my workouts progressed, I think I gained back some of that weight as muscle. I found that boost to my workouts that I had been looking for and noticed that I seemed to have an extra reserve of energy during longer workouts. I  woke up with a ton of energy in the morning, and slept hard at night. I did have an early evening drop in energy, but I may have needed to consume a bit more after workouts. Plus some cheat days may have thrown things for a loop.
It’s tough to tease out the specific effects of the Paleo nutrition versus the overall increased commitment to healthy diet and consistent exercise. Regardless, the challenge was a very positive experience for me. I have a much better awareness of what I put in my body and the reasons that I may crave something (tough day of counseling kids = desire for alcohol or carbs). I am super sad that the challenge may have ruined my love for cereal and diet soda, but it did force me to cook more (much needed), introduced me to new kinds of veggies and healthy fats, and broke some bad habits. I look forward to incorporating some of my new habits into an approach to nutrition that can become more of a lifestyle.

Fashaya

Elizabeth

I did not lose weight, but that was not my goal (I’ve been eating Paleo for over a year now). I did, however, gain more lean mass and finally drop to under 20% body fat, which was my goal. I sleep very well and my recovery times after hard workouts are quick — I have a lot of energy throughout the day. I PR’d on many of my lifts, including a 40# overall PR on my CFT. Gymnastics movements keep getting easier, and I hope to have a muscle-up any day now… As for ‘cheat meals’ or ‘cheat days’… well I no longer desire them — I would much rather have a plate of sweet potato fries than an ice-cream sandwich when I wish to indulge. Ah yes and I developed a new fondness for chopped liver and discovered beef bacon (YUM).

2nd Nutrition Challenge: 8 Weeks of Paleo + Primal Eating and CrossFit Training with Result Pictures

I lost 17 pounds. I also went down one full pant size…I have lost 8 pounds and have definitely toned up; I went down two pant sizes…I found myself with a big increase in energy, both mentally and physically…I stopped having those feelings of guilt over eating terribly, because I wasn’t…And I Feel STRONG!! This is really the best feeling ever!!!

Similar to our popular Spring 2010 Nutrition Challenge, we implemented a nutrition challenge for our members this fall. They had eat a strictly defined, but very maintainable, set of foods: naturally raised meats, vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, little starch, no sugar and no bread or pasta. We refer to this as paleo or primal nutrition and is our basic nutrition recommendation for all people.

It’s so easy for people to fill their bodies with excessive amounts of carbs, gluten and other pro-inflammatory choices that are prevalent in Western society.  This challenge represents the beginning for some and the middle of a journey for many.  We seek the best for our members and as you can see from their testimonials, this is not some bs diet. It’s a choice for a healthy life and we hope you see that too.

We are so happy you all made it through this challenge.  We chose Kyle, Lydia and Hillary O as the winners, although everyone truly made great accomplishments in this challenge.  I’m so proud of all of you!

Pictures after the break…

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Client Testimonial: Lydia

I think the best thing about the gym is the people I’ve met and the friendships I’ve made. Nothing seems too bad when you have 15 other people to commiserate with afterward. The camaraderie is priceless… the gym attracts really fun, passionate people and I feel lucky to know so many of them.

Since Lydia was one of the winners of the nutrition challenge and has made some impressive gains over the last 18 months, I asked her to answer a few questions for me about the gym. The following answers are unedited.  Thanks, Lydia!

What was your athletic background prior to starting at CrossFit Charlottesville?

Growing up, I played soccer casually, never anything more serious than pick-up games or intramural teams after high school. I was the fastest runner in my grade when I was about 8! I was on a summer swim team for a few years as a teenager. I did some kick-boxing in college, which I enjoyed, but after graduating I didn’t really have a good fitness routine. Typically, I would get geared up to “get in shape”, go to the gym a few times a week for a few months, and then get side-tracked and quit for six months or so. I tried a lot of things to make myself work out, including training for and running the Charlottesville ten-miler, but nothing stuck.

Can you talk about some of the issues you had before you joined the gym?

Before joining, I was just recovering from some pretty bad back problems, which had kept me mostly sedentary for several months. I was really out of shape and frustrated. I couldn’t get interested in the elliptical/weight machines routine I’d designed for myself. I didn’t have any goals or know what I wanted to get out of working out, so it’s not too surprising that I wasn’t having any success staying motivated.

Why did you decide to join the gym?

I knew right away that I liked the idea of CrossFit. Jason had heard of it first, and I don’t think he thought it was something I’d ever be interested in, considering how much I usually complained about working out. However, I love a challenge! I also like doing things a little bit off the beaten trail. I’d looked at the main site a few times, but really had no idea how to get started on my own. When I heard CrossFit Charlottesville was opening, I was definitely excited and showed up the first day. After a three minute WOD left me struggling to buckle my seatbelt on the way home, I was sold. After that, Jason and I just had to discuss the price and whether we thought we’d really stick with it. He liked it as much as I did, so it wasn’t a hard decision in the end.

What gains do you consider most significant in the gym?

All of my strength gains. I’ve been in and out of cardiovascular shape all of my life, but I’ve always been pretty weak. Watching my lifts increase over time is really gratifying, and I remember I was shocked at how much I improved at the beginning.

How has the gym helped you with things that are outside the gym?

Stuff like carrying groceries has gotten a lot easier, but mainly I think I’ve gotten a much-needed energy increase that helps me in all areas of my life.

What’s the most surprising thing you learned or achieved after joining our gym?

I continually surprise myself at the gym. Honestly, I never thought I would be deeply invested in things like how many double-unders I can do in a row. The biggest surprise was getting my first pull-up. I’d never been able to do one in my life, not even as a kid. The fact that I could do pull-ups five or so months after joining kind of symbolized that I was really accomplishing something here.

You won the performance challenge last year. How do you maintain a  strong commitment to the gym and continue to make gains?

I think I’ll always feel that I have a lot of room for improvement. I want to continue getting stronger and faster. I can probably count on one hand the number of times in the last year that I didn’t go to the gym because I just didn’t feel like it. Having friends in the gym helps keep me accountable, but I don’t actually have any motivation problems. I am the opposite of bored.

What did you get out of the recent nutrition challenge?

Abs, a much better relationship with vegetables, and freedom from the sugar roller coaster. I’m currently trying to figure out how to stay on track without the framework of a challenge. I tend to be all-or-nothing about everything that I do, but I don’t want to quit eating this way forever the first time I have a bad week. I have noticed performance gains at the gym, so hopefully that helps keep me focused.

What are your fitness goals for the next year?

I want to get a ring dip, I’ve been trying to do that for a while now. I need to figure out kipping pull-ups so I can join the ripped hands club. Those are more short term goals; increasing my deadlift significantly is my main long term one.

What would you tell someone in your shoes who might be nervous about joining the gym?

Don’t be afraid of being the weakest, slowest person at the gym. First of all, you probably won’t be, and even if you are, everyone is incredibly supportive and only wants you to improve. (Also, your odds of winning a performance challenge increase!) Your only real competition is yourself. The workouts are hard, but you can do them and they’re fun. It won’t take long before you improve to the point that you can keep up with everyone else.

Anything else you’d like to say?

Fitness and all those other great things aside, I think the best thing about the gym is the people I’ve met and the friendships I’ve made. Nothing seems too bad when you have 15 other people to commiserate with afterward. The camaraderie is priceless. Also, absolutely everyone is inspiring in some way and well worth getting to know. I think the gym attracts really fun, passionate people and I feel lucky to know so many of them.

CrossFit Charlottesville Client Testimonial: JJ

In terms of injuries, last year I trained for 2 marathons by running, and only running. I always felt like I was injured. Since I started CrossFit, I have had NO running-related injuries whatsoever. I can’t say this enough…my cardio has gone up from less running, and my knees don’t hurt. Thank you CrossFit.

It’s becoming a standard to ask people what they got out of our gym when they move out of town.  JJ joined us a little over three months ago and trained about three or four times a week with us. He’s made some pretty impressive improvements to his benchmark Army workouts and earned a spot to get into the competitive Airborne school.  He did this without training for these events and we’re proud that JJ is a walking testament to our fitness community.  We’re sad he’s leaving, but we asked him a few questions about his experience.  His responses are below:

What was your athletic background prior to starting at CrossFit Charlottesville?

I played Football and Baseball in high school. In college I didn’t play any sports, but I was part of the Army ROTC Ranger Challenge Team. Ranger Challenge, for lack of a better analogy, is the varsity sport of ROTC. We trained to participate in events against other ROTC programs like ruck marches, obstacle course, etc.

What sort of training were you doing before starting CrossFit Charlottesville training?

For about the last three years all I’d been doing was running. In December 2009 I discovered CrossFit.

Can you tell me about your PT tests you do in the military and how you performed before and after you started training with us?

The Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT) measures a soldiers physical fitness by seeing how many pushups the soldier can do in 2 minutes, how many situps the soldier can do in 2 minutes, and how quickly the soldier can run 2 miles. When I started Crossfit Charlottesville, I could do 59 pushups, 80 situps, and run 2 miles in 13:13. I recently took the test again. I did 69 pushups, 81 situps, and ran 2 miles in 12:31. Also, I competed for and earned a slot at Airborne school. To earn a slot, I competed against 17 of my classmates for 10 slots. I came in 8th place overall. Our ranking was determined by how quickly we could run 5 miles, how many max pullups and chinups we could do, and our final APFT score (as mentioned above). Most notably, based in large part because of the ridiculous effects Crossfit has on one’s cardiovascular system (in my opinion), my 5 mile run time went from 34:49 to 33:37 in just over a month. This was good enough to be the fourth best time.

Why did you decide to join CrossFit Charlottesville? What goals did you have for yourself?

I fell in love with CrossFit and wanted to continue working out in a positive environment surrounded by motivated people. Even though I could have done some of the workouts at a local gym, NOTHING replaces the motivation from working out under the watchful eye of an attentive staff who pushes you to your max.

How has your fitness and health changed after training at CrossFit Charlottesville. How have do you feel when you think about energy levels, nutrition, injuries and recovery times?

Immediately after a workout I feel alive. It puts me in a great mood for the rest of the day and makes it easier for me to stay focused on my homework despite a long day in Army law classes. Also, I sleep better whenever I do CrossFit. Most importantly, I’m more motivated to eat healthy before and after a workout because I know how proper fuel speeds up recovery. I don’t like the idea of wasting a great workout by going to Five Guys and ordering 3 burgers.

In terms of injuries, last year I trained for 2 marathons by running, and only running. I always felt like I was injured. Since I started CrossFit, I have had NO running-related injuries whatsoever. I can’t say this enough…my cardio has gone up from less running, and my knees don’t hurt. Thank you CrossFit.

What’s the most surprising thing you learned after joining our gym?

After spending a few months in Boston at Cross Fit Fenway, I didn’t know what to expect in Charlottesville. What I’ve found is that Cross Fit gyms attract the same awesome people no matter where you go. All of the trainers at Cross Fit Charlottesville ALWAYS made me feel welcome. Even though I was only going to be here for less than three months, I always felt like this was my home. Everyone was very supportive and willing to offer advice on form, paleo, strength training books, etc.

What are your fitness goals when you leave Charlottesville?

Compete in a Triathlon
Compete in Sectionals
Run a Marathon in under 4 hours
Run 5 miles in under 32 minutes
Get a Muscle-up
Complete Fran in under 5 minutes
Do Murph at Rx (with my new weight vest!)
Eat Paleo 100% of the time
Row 2000m in under 7 minutes
Just to name a few…

Anything else you’d like to say?

My Fran time before I showed up at Charlottesville was 8:55 rx. I did it a few weeks ago and it dropped to 7:35 rx [6:47 RX on his last day!]. I’ve very proud of these times because on December 14, 2009 I did Fran for the first time. On this occasion I used purple and green bands and a 45lb bar for a time of over 14 minutes.

Changing Member Lives: 8 Weeks of Paleo/Primal Eating and Strength Training with Result Pictures

I lost 8 pounds, 2 pant sizes…lost 6 pounds, lost 3% body fat, and gained 4 pounds of lean mass…lost over 9 lbs and gained a good bit of muscle in the process… lost 12 pounds and 2.5 inches at my waist and hips, dropped 5-6% body fat, etc.

We put together a challenge for our members: improve your life by eating right and doing CrossFit Charlottesville programming.  We also wanted to dispel the popular myths that lead us to believe that fat intake directly equates to body weight, that Zone/Paleo/Primal nutrition are fads and that weight-lifting causes “body-builder arms.”  Here is what we did during the 8 week challenge:

  • Lifted heavy weights 4 to 5 times per week and did short intense workouts most days. Yes, even our ladies lifted heavy weights frequently.  No two pound dumbbells, here. We’re talking big, barbell lifts like backsquats, deadlifts and shoulder presses.
  • Gave strict, zone-based guidelines for food intake during the first several weeks (following paleo/primal nutrition recommendations).
  • Let everyone eat on their own and optionally report quantities to us after that.

We didn’t yell at people for cheating, we didn’t encourage caloric restriction or people starving themselves. We wanted this experience to be educational for people; to give people a real-world, sustainable lifestyle; to demonstrate that they could eat healthy without feeling hungry and make dramatic performance and body improvements in a short period of time.

The results speak for themselves. These picture are not photoshopped and the member accounts are real.  Each one of these members changed their lives for the better and learned a lot about living healthy. We are really, super proud of their accomplishments. Everyone got stronger and more fit, but also looked a lot better in the process.

Results and pictures after the break…

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Member Testimonial: Dolly

Workout #1, my Crossfit On-Ramp comrades and I muscled our way through a tough workout.  Today, eleven workouts later, we repeated that same workout from day one, and we crushed it.

Workout #1 & #12:

  • Row 200 m
  • 3 rounds of 15-12-9 repetitions of air squats, push-ups, and ring rows
  • Row 200 m

My time during the first workout was 7:12.  Today, I shaved off almost 2 minutes with a 5:21.  Yeah!  Also, in four weeks, I’ve lost one size and most of my winter pudge.

By the way, one night after a workout, three of us did tire lifts and flips–that is one heavy tire, let me tell ya!

If you think Crossfit sounds too intense for new moms, think again.  Two of us in on-ramp were breastfeeding moms…one mom just had a baby three months ago!

Read the full account at Dolly’s Traveling with Baby blog.  Dolly is licensed chiropractor practicing in central Virginia.  By day, she is the President and Director of a health care practice–working with patients of all ages to optimize health and wellness.  Picture is from her website.