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…


I lost 8 pounds, 2 pant sizes. I leaned out by cutting out majority of grains especially bread and rice ( staples of Puerto Rican meals!) and candy. I also introduced many new vegetables and fruits into diet which I never ate before. I learned the importance of eating lean meats and fresh produce to help with my muscle recovery. I starting grazing a lot more, packing fruit for snacks instead of heading for junk food snacks. I have lowered my overall alcohol consumption as it hindered my performance.

Performance is getting exponentially better, I went from lifting only the bar to having no problem doubling and tripling my weight.


During this 8 week challenge I…:
-lost 6 pounds, lost 3% body fat, and gained 4 pounds of lean mass. I’ve noticed more definition (i.e., less fat and probably more muscle) in the upper arms, back, abdominal area, and hips/upper thighs.
-wake up earlier in the day without feeling groggy, recover faster from workouts (so much energy!), and have increased my total strength capacity (not to mention increasing range of motion on HSPUs and the ability to now do pull-ups!)
-went from a pretty solid pant size 10 to a loose 8 (my mother forbids me buying any new pants/skirts soon because she’s pretty sure I’ll be a pant size 6 soon. I tend to agree).
(-and have logged in many exciting and delicious hours in the kitchen creating Paleo masterpieces)

Recovery times are much shorter and I usually have energy to keep me into the evening hours. Sleeping more soundly as well. Most importantly I am much happier!


I lost over 9 lbs and gained a good bit of muscle in the process. I don’t know how many pant sizes I lost, but I do know that my pants don’t fit anymore. My stomach is flatter than it’s ever been; my entire midsection seems to have been re-sculpted in the past few weeks. I feel fine throughout the day if I eat as much as I used to, but ramping up how much I eat seems to give me a huuuuge boost of energy in workouts.


Over the 8-week nutritional challenge, I lost 12 pounds and 2.5 inches at my waist and hips, dropped 5-6% body fat*,lost 12-16 pounds fat mass* and gained 3 lbs lean mass*. (* based on Navy measurement)

After eating paleo for 8-weeks, I realized it isn’t too hard to do and noticed many of the ingredients of what i had eaten in the past just aren’t good for me. (ie. who knew sugar is added in most everything?) When I would have a cheat meal, most of it just wasn’t as satisfying anymore and made me feel sluggish. So this is something I’ll be sticking with.


I maintained my weight (as intended), but replaced pudge with lean muscle – I can even see a little six pack forming.
I notice a distinct difference in my energy level when eating strictly paleo – if I eat poorly, I feel sluggish. My performance in the gym definitely improved. My CrossFit total score went up 39 pounds!
My pants are actually a little tighter, but in a good, Jessica Alba kind of way. 🙂 I went from no butt to WOAH butt.
AND my skin cleared up FAST.


John 1 (lost 10 pounds)

John 2


For a background and details regarding this challenge and our nutrition recommendations read this post and this post.

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

  1. seriously, to the Nth degree, awesome job!

  2. “no butt to WOAH butt” !!! love it!!! Great job everyone!

    1. ya no butt to WOAH butt is a fantastic line. Great work everyone!

      1. Argh I wrote this, not Lydia.

  3. These are aMAzing! Great work, all!

  4. That’s a great set of results guys! We did one out here too, I’ll share the link when the results are all compiled.

  5. I lost around 6 pounds total. During this time I got significantly stronger in several areas, most notably in my legs and shoulders. I would guess I put on around 4 pounds of muscle.

    I am a big fan of eating paleo and am now a firm believer in the power of eating “good fat.” I think the next two months will be equally beneficial as I now have a better grasp on the crossfit elements and can thus push myself harder in WODs. Goodbye Globo-gym!

  6. Amazing results! This is an inspiration for healthy living. CrossFit has been truly life-changing for its members.

  7. Because eating Paleo makes us more aware of eating real food, here’s a nice guide to eating FRESH food:
    (and I highly suggest reading up on the Slow Food movement… supporting eating local, fresh, organic, real food).

  8. Joelle Boissenin April 16, 2010 — 8:47 am

    Everyone deserves to be congratulated on sticking with this nutritional challenge and getting fantastic results! I did the original 30 day challenge and know what a difference it can make. Keep up the great work. Viva la CrossFit!!!

  9. I lost around 6 lbs during the challenge and 5% body fat according to the Navy method. My energy level is high and easy to maintain throughout the day without any crashes. It is easy to tell when you eat items outside of the Primal fold by how you feel. My pant size has dropped to a 32″ waist. I have really enjoyed eating Primal. Getting a chance to cook on a regular basis has been fun and I get great ideas from watching the chef’s at my place of work.

    1. Dave, you forgot to mention – even your HAIR got smaller! 😀

  10. Good job everyone. Awesome results!

  11. Wow guys, these are great results. Congrats on sticking with it – all your hard work really paid off.

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