Member Spotlight: Kate L

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How long have you been doing CrossFit and what got you started?
I’ve been doing CrossFit for about a year and a half. A good friend that I played sports with growing up started doing CrossFit at home a few years prior and always told me she thought I would love it. I eventually decided to try it out- googled ‘crossfit in Charlottesville’- and came into the gym for an intro class. There were a lot of burpees, it was brutal- but in a uniquely rewarding way!
What is your favorite movement in CrossFit?
My favorite movement is box jumps. Followed closely by kettlebell swings, running, burpees, and rope climbs.
What activity do you enjoy doing most outside of the gym?
Anything with my dogs! I like being active/outdoors in general. Or eating Chipotle and binge watching Sons of Anarchy/30 for 30.
What is your favorite thing about CrossFit Charlottesville?
Probably the community aspect- the gym has given me the opportunity to meet and make friends with people I otherwise may never have encountered. I also love the workout atmosphere- for me it is the perfect balance of competitive and supportive. I played and/or coached team sports most of my life and really value both being pushed by people who are better than me and being able to encourage others as they continue to improve.
What advice would you give to someone considering CrossFit for the first time?
Keep coming back. CrossFit/working out consistently in general is hard, but the more persistent you are the more fun it becomes and the more improvement you see.  Our trainers are some of the most encouraging and knowledgeable people I know, so take advantage of all of the advice and support they have to offer. Also, keep working on the things you aren’t good at- it’s the only way you’ll get better (still working on taking my own advice there- I admittedly hate doing things I’m not good at).
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Member Spotlight: Jaclyn

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How long have you been doing CrossFit and what got you started?
I started last July, so I’m almost at a year! I’ve been friends with many of the coaches for several years, and have had other friends in CrossFit since the beginning of CrossFit Charlottesville (plus everyone comes out to the restaurant for Porkapolooza!) – and I finally broke down last year and joined, after talking myself out of it repeatedly. After years of wasted gym memberships and at-home workouts that I never kept up with, I finally found an environment where I got results, but also had FUN!
What is your favorite movement in CrossFit?
Deadlifts are for sure my favorite – but I feel that I’ve see the most improvement in burpees!
What activity do you enjoy doing most outside of the gym?
Hiking – I grew up in New England, so these mountains are like home!
What is your favorite thing about CrossFit Charlottesville?
The sense of family – everyone is so friendly and welcoming, even when it’s been a couple of weeks since I’ve been in! I think that’s gone a long way in making me feel comfortable working out there – and the coaches are patient, knowledgeable and helpful, too.
What advice would you give to someone considering CrossFit for the first time?
Nothing worth doing is easy – but the results are so worth it. There’s also nothing like finishing a workout and realizing you did something you’d never thought possible – I’m still in the phase where it seems like every time I touch a barbell I’m hitting a PR.
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Member Spotlight: Andrew

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How long have you been doing CrossFit and what got you started?
I was introduced to CrossFit years ago, but held back from joining because of **insert lame excuse here** despite some of my best friends harassing me to join. I started about a year and a half ago at CrossFit Charlottesville and only focused on Olympic lifting for about 6 months before I started doing the workouts.
What is your favorite movement in CrossFit?
Snatch
What activity do you enjoy doing most outside of the gym?
Hiking, fishing, anything outside, really.
What is your favorite thing about CrossFit Charlottesville?
I enjoy the camaraderie, of course, but I feel like my favorite thing about the place is how much I enjoy working on things that I have never been good at. I have always been quite comfortable saying I am not good at certain things and writing them off, but, as we all know, CrossFit has a way of making you realize what movements you are and are not proficient with. I think it’s fantastic that I have been able to really strengthen my strengths, but it surprised me how much I WANT to work on things I am not good at and to become a more well-rounded athlete. I attribute this to the people I have met since I have started, and the fun and competitive atmosphere that CF Charlottesville is able to provide.
What advice would you give to someone considering CrossFit for the first time?
Don’t give up, and get out of your own head. Don’t be scared to try things that look hard, and don’t be worried about what people think. Whether you are an ex-college athlete or a mother of 3 just trying to get a quick workout in – push hard and don’t sell yourself short. Try RX weight, don’t skimp on accessory work, and if it says ‘roll out’….ROLL OUT, trust me.
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Member Spotlight: Tate

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How long have you been doing CrossFit and what got you started?
4 years.  I was in need of a change from running.  When I joined, the gym was on Market and Meade.  It was small and really dirty.  It had grit. There were some holes in the drywall.  The bathroom was also the mop closet.  Somehow this really spoke to me.
What is your favorite movement in CrossFit?
Overhead squats, snatch, rolling out.
What activity do you enjoy doing most outside of the gym?
I like to work on various art and furniture projects.
What is your favorite thing about CrossFit Charlottesville?
The people.  The camaraderie.
What advice would you give to someone considering CrossFit for the first time?
Be sure you know where the exit, bath and garbage cans are in case you need to throw up.
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Member Spotlight: Emma

 

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How long have you been doing CrossFit and what got you started?

I was actually introduced to it by a high school trainer who watched videos on YouTube.  I used the main site workouts to train my cheerleading team in college and started at CrossFit Charlottesville in the summer of 2012. ​

What is your favorite movement in CrossFit?

Running… LOL JK. Probably cleans or pull-ups. Or double unders. Or box jump overs.

What activity do you enjoy doing most outside of the gym?

Rock climbing.

What is your favorite thing about CrossFit Charlottesville?

The people!

What advice would you give to someone considering CrossFit for the first time?

Whoa, how much room do I have… Don’t get frustrated or overwhelmed. CrossFit workouts are really good at pointing out your weaknesses, pay attention to them and build a solid foundation of strength by working on those weaknesses. Make sure you’re prioritizing good form and technique over speed. Don’t cheat – at the end of the day, no one will remember your score on the board but you’re cheating yourself out of improvements when you aren’t focused on good reps. Make sure you know your fitness goals walking in. Are you training to be competitive, treating CrossFit as your sport? Are you just trying to get a good workout and increase your endurance? Are you recovering from an injury and trying to increase mobility and strength? Setting the right mentality and goals will help you be successful and happy!

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Catching up with Mike

I had the chance to catch up with Mike after the nutrition challenge as well.  Huge thanks to Ariel and Mike for being willing to share their answers with everyone!

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

Prior to starting at CrossFit Charlottesville, my athletic background mainly dealt with Football. I played middle linebacker and defensive end through college. I also played baseball in high school and some soccer and basketball in my younger days! I’ve pretty much been doing some sort of sport ever since I can remember!

Why did you decide to join the gym?

I decided to join the gym because I had been curious about CrossFit for a long time. I finally worked up the guts to come by the gym and check it out and the rest is history! It’s an amazing place to workout! The people, the environment, the programming, everything! It’s awesome!

What gains do you consider most significant in the gym?

I have had gains in all areas honestly! I’ve gotten stronger, I’ve lost weight and gotten leaner, and I’ve developed a better engine and endurance. If I had to pick one area I’ve gained the most in since joining the gym it would probably be my engine and endurance.  I’m able to push through hard workouts a lot easier then when I started.

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

I can thank the gym for helping me with several things besides awesome workouts. Guidance with my nutrition and diet has probably been the biggest. The recent nutrition challenge taught me a ton about eating the right things and hitting my macros. It’s helped me feel better and more energetic overall throughout the whole day.

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

Honestly, the most surprising thing I’ve learned since joining the gym is the level of camaraderie. Everybody at CrossFit Charlottesville is approachable and friendly and willing to help. The sense of community there is unbelievable and it has just blown me way. 

What did you get out of the recent nutrition challenge?

Well, besides losing weight and leaning out, I learned a lot about nutrition. I learned about what is best for me to eat and how much of it I should be eating. I felt better overall and felt like I had more energy.

What are your fitness goals for the next year?

would definitely like to compete in both CrossFit and Weightlifting competitions at some point. Competing has always helped me to push myself more, so I think that would be a useful goal. I also want to get a lot better with body weight movements in general. That’s a weakness for me that I would like to improve upon. I’d also like to clean and jerk 400lbs and Snatch 300lbs!

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

I would tell them to just go for it! The gym is very inviting and the programming allows people of all skill levels to get good work in!

Catching Up With Ariel

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What was your athletic background prior to starting at CrossFit Charlottesville?
I played a lot of sports growing up (bball, vball, cross country, and softball). A year of college softball.
Why did you decide to join the gym?
I discovered CrossFit in college at Radford, so I decided after I started my job that I would get back into it. I missed the CrossFit environment. 
What gains do you consider most significant in the gym?
Knowledge of the movements that ultimately lead me to making physical gains that I had never been able to do. For example: pull ups. 
How has the gym helped you with things that are outside the gym?
It actually really helped me at work. As a nurse, we constantly have to pull patients up in bed or turning them side to side. We also work with some heavy equipment from time to time. It also really helped with moving – moving boxes was a lot easier.
What’s the most surprising thing you learned or achieved after joining our gym?
That I could actually complete a diet challenge and see actual results. The paleo challenge was my first challenge and though it was extremely challenging, I was able to get through it. I saw incredible results and felt amazing. On top of that, the support of the gym is something I didn’t expect. The people are so great, you can’t just find that anywhere.
What did you get out of the recent nutrition challenge?
A new mindset/lifestyle. I feel like I found what works and I felt great doing it. It really is a lifestyle, not some fad diet.
What are your fitness goals for the next year?
I want to be able to achieve the more difficult movements such as the muscle up. I also want to get a little more competitive. I do have a competitive side and I think getting into competitions will be fun. I will definitely be doing the open (which I should have done this past year).
What would you tell someone in your shoes who might be nervous about joining the gym?
Just do it. I live by Nike’s motto because it is so true. If you just do it, you might surprise yourself. If you do it and don’t like it, you can always try something else but I truly believe it’ll be worth the try.
Where are you moving and will we ever see you back in Charlottesville?
I am moving to Gilbert, Arizona. I will most certainly be back in Charlottesville and will be dropping in while I’m there.
Anything else you’d like to say?
CrossFit Charlottesville was life changing for me. I can’t thank you all enough for your time, knowledge, patience, and advice. It really made a big difference – not just physically for me, but mentally. I’ve been to a couple of gyms and the community at CF C-ville is truly one of a kind. I’m going to really miss you all.

See Ariel’s awesome Nutrition Challenge results and testimonial here!
I feel better during the day- mostly because I no longer have the extreme mid-morning and post-lunch sugar crashes/food comas that I used to
I now have no trouble sleeping at all
Thanks to the challenge I have kicked my sugar addiction to the curb and am no longer constantly craving sweets
Max amount lost 14 total pounds
I had more energy and felt like my endurance and ability to “push through” tough workouts got better as well
This was such an enlightening experience!
I felt amazing throughout the entire day
My friends and family also noticed that I had clearer skin and better skin

Congratulations to everyone who participated in the Spring 2015 Nutrition Challenge! This was our eleventh 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 Spring Nutrition Challenge (2015.  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.

Lauren and I chose 2 winners and 2 runners-up, but the finishers in this group made it extremely challenging to pick a winner.  There are a lot of factors that go in to choosing a winner, from before and after results based on measurements, to communication and upholding the guidelines during the challenge, to benefits that go beyond just physical looks and measurements.

Winners:

Mike and Ariel

Runners-Up:

Andrew and Elise

During this challenge, we tweaked some of the macros based on each person’s body type and activity level. We realize there isn’t a “one size fits all” approach and a lot of factors go into sustainable nutrition and developing good habits.  These finishers clearly demonstrate how this approach helped them reach their fitness and nutritional goals!

Congratulations again to all the finishers!!

-Scott and Lauren

KATE

I think I lost about 5 pounds- but losing weight was not my goal. I am overall much leaner than I was before the challenge. I wanted to lose fat and build muscle, and have done so. I have noticed significant changes in tone in my stomach, arms, and legs. My clothes fit better, and I am generally more comfortable in them.

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I am now proud of my entire body, whereas before the challenge I definitely felt that I had problem areas that I tried to conceal more. I feel better during the day- mostly because I no longer have the extreme mid-morning and post-lunch sugar crashes/food comas that I used to. My workout performance has improved pretty dramatically (depending on the movement- I don’t think my overhead squats will ever improve!).

During the first two weeks I lacked energy in a big way, but once my body adjusted to the food I noticed myself pushing harder and doing better in workouts- especially in a lot of the really long workouts we did this spring. There was a huge difference in my clean weight and overall WOD time between the benchmark workout week 1 and when we repeated it six weeks into the challenge.  I definitely have more energy more consistently than I did before- fewer highs and lows than I had before the challenge when I was eating pretty poorly. I am able to stay awake later (late is 11:00 pm max though) and be more productive in the evening that I was before. I sleep through the night much more consistently now.

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I would recommend this challenge to everyone- it was awesome! It was absolutely one of the hardest things I have ever done, but that makes the end even more rewarding. I never in a million years thought that I could make it through 8 weeks of strict paleo, but I am SO proud of myself for doing so. The challenge completely changed the way I look at food- I developed planning, cooking, and snacking habits that I know I will stick with despite the challenge being over.  And MANY thanks to Scott and Lauren for being so supportive of us and so responsive to my many email questions over the last 8 weeks- we definitely couldn’t have done it without you guys!

ARIEL

I believe I only lost anywhere from 3-5lbs. It fluctuates depending on the day but I’ve been consistently under 140 which I haven’t been in years. I do think I’ve leaned out a bit, I am starting to see and feel more definition especially in my arms and legs.  There is a difference in how well my clothes fit, I can tell the most difference with my summer clothes – they feel a lot looser and overall more comfortable.

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I feel 100% better. I don’t need caffeine to get me through the day.  I feel more happy and upbeat.  My workouts have only improved, I’ve hit more PRs in the last 8 weeks than I have in the last 8 months.  It’s been the biggest motivator.Energy wise – I didn’t feel like I was having any crashes.  I didn’t need to take afternoon naps or have caffeine to wake me up.  I was way more energetic than I had been before.  I actually was seeing a sleep specialist for severe insomnia prior to the challenge where I was only sleeping 1-2 hours a night (not exaggerating), I now have no trouble sleeping at all.  I’ve been sleeping 7-9hrs a night while working night shift.  It’s been incredible!  I can think a lot clearer and its made me overall more happy.

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I never realized how addicting sugar is and how hard it is to quit. It was the biggest struggle for me. I am really glad I did the challenge though, because after it ended and I went to have that first “cheat” meal – I realized that I didn’t really like those kinds of foods anymore.  That feeling of being so full that I felt stuffed was awful and I decided to stick to paleo with a few exceptions.  I actually enjoy counting my macros.:)  It was a challenge, but totally worth it.

JULIA

This was my first Nutrition Challenge and I was very satisfied with my results.  I lost nine pounds and 2.5” from my waist/hips.  I can see changes all over my body, specially in my midsection. I feel leaner and all my clothes fit better and looser.

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The first two weeks were very challenging for me because bread, cheese, wine and sugary treats were staples in my diet. I had major withdrawals symptoms, but once my body adapted to the changes I saw a big increase in my energy levels. This was also evident in my workouts. I’ve been able to see improvements in my performance. I feel stronger and more confident.

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At first, I felt very energetic to the point of having trouble sleeping at night. Things level off after a couple of weeks, and my energy levels are more stable throughout the day. I no longer feel like I need a nap or sweets to fight the post lunch slump. I am more focused at work and overall have more mental clarity.

This was a great experience for me. I learned the importance of good nutrition (I realized that I was not eating as healthy as I thought) and how to properly fuel my body. Thanks to the challenge I have kicked my sugar addiction to the curb and am no longer constantly craving sweets. Furthermore,  I plan to continue applying some of the things I’ve learned and to be mindful of what I put in my body.

 

ELISE

When I started the challenge I weighed in at 141 and by the final weigh in I was 131, losing 10 pounds overall. I definitely noticed that I am leaner and have more muscle definition, that is a testament to the workout programming I have been doing along with Lauren altering my macros each week. My smaller sized clothes now fit perfectly there is definitely a difference in the way I look and feel in my outfits.

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The programming I have been doing started at the same time the nutrition challenge begun which is much heavier volume. It was tough at first but Lauren helped me to program when I should eat my carbs and proteins to maximize my results. The workouts have gotten easier, I wouldn’t call them easy workouts but my body is able to handle the volume now. 

I also have a ton of energy lately and feel so good! I never knew how bad I actually felt relative to the amount of energy I now have. I also tried to get a minimum of 6 1/2 hours of sleep each night which probably has helped.
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I think this challenge was perfect for me, I seem to notice a big difference in my body whenever I eat paleo. This time around needing to weigh and log what I am eating for macros gives me much better insight into nutrition and how what and how much you are eating can really effect you.  I will now forever think twice before eating bagels and donuts at the office… it’s just not worth it. I think that’s the main benefit of this challenge is that 8 weeks is long enough to develop a habit and this was not just a diet for me but a shift in my overall lifestyle of eating. Well worth the $20 for Lauren’s expertise and Scott’s guidance and experience.
Thanks Crossfit Cville!!!

LEX

I think I lost a few pounds and I definitely leaned out a bit. Some pants felt looser and some shorts that I hadn’t been able to wear in like 2 years fit great!

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I’ve been eating Primal/Paleo-ish for a while, so I didn’t feel all that different for the most part. I didn’t see a huge change in my workouts, but I’d say my recovery post-workout was a little bit better. The one thing I noticed was markedly improved was my, ahem, digestive health. I had a Frappuccino the other evening, and it definitely gave me a stomachache the following morning.

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Energy and sleep were about the same. Mentally, I felt better equipped to tackle this challenge compared to previous personal challenges I’ve done because I was taking a cooking class at the same time. Being able to make more of my meals made me feel much more in control.
My main goal for this challenge was to cut back on my sugar consumption. I truly believe I have a genuine (albeit mild) sugar addiction, so going cold turkey and getting that back under control felt great. I’ll always struggle to make good food choices when it comes to sugar, but it was good to remind myself that there is a whole world of healthy (and delicious) snacks out there that won’t make me feel like crap the next day. Congrats to everyone who made it through!

EMMA

I lost four pounds and have noticed a significant change in how my clothes fit. I have gone down about one pant size.

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Initially, I was pretty fatigued throughout the day as I got used to the new diet restrictions and figured out how to meet my macros while meeting my calorie goals. My workouts struggled a bit in the beginning but as I figured out how to increase calories while still hitting macros I got back to my previous stamina. 

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My sleeping patterns stayed pretty solid, sleeping about 7-9 hours a night. I initially felt pretty tired throughout the day but as I got used to the different diet, my energy bounced back.  Overall I was very happy with how much I leaned out and how I felt throughout the challenge. Normally my stomach gets upset very easily but with the paleo diet, I was able to control that much better.

ANDREW

Max amount lost 14 total pounds – weigh in at completion of challenge, -12lb loss. I feel that I have leaned out a lot. My shoulders and chest especially.  Clothes are definitely a bit more loose especially some of my work pants I had purchased in the fall during our “bulking phase”:)

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In the beginning, I was a little sluggish in the and lacking energy. After a week or two I was able to acclimate to the diet a little bit and became more comfortable eating the right foods and in the correct amounts. I was definitely able to see, during my workouts, if I didn’t eat enough or the right types of foods, or didn’t time the food intake correctly. When I timed my intake correctly and ate the right amount I felt very strong and was able to get through my workouts faster and with better results. I felt that I needed less time to recover as well – which is a huge plus. I had more energy throughout the day and was able to accomplish more in my work environment. 

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Mentally I felt stronger and was able to focus much easier on things than I normally would be able to. This was a great experience. I loved being able to push myself and get out of my comfort zone. I learned a lot and value the experience – I look forward to maintaining the commitment level I kept throughout the challenge with the exception of one thing… pizza… and beer.

 

MIKE

I lost right around 10 lbs during the challenge, and I feel like a leaned out a lot! I feel like I was able to keep lean muscle and lose a good amount of fat, so I was really happy with that!

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My clothes also fit a lot better near the end of the challenge, pants fit a whole lot better!Once I really got used to the diet and started hitting my macros more consistently, I felt amazing throughout the entire day. I felt like I ate more than I usually did before but I continued to lose weight and lean out. I had more energy and felt like my endurance and ability to “push through” tough workouts got better as well.  All around improvements in all areas! Its amazing to think about how much these things changed for the good!

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I actually realize it more now that the challenge is over. I am still continuing to eat mainly paleo but I have indulged every now and then since the challenge and I can really tell the difference in how crappy food makes you feel. However, icy cold Bud Light has been nice… I actually think that has helped me improve in every area!

VICTORIA

I didn’t catch my starting/ending measurements, but I noticed a significant decrease in my waist/hip area based on how my clothes fit. Even after the first week, I could tell a difference in how “bloated” I felt. I also noticed more overall definition.

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I felt significantly better, more “even”, as long as I ate on a somewhat consistent schedule. There were a few days on which I waited too long to eat, or ate too little, and I could tell a difference in terms of my hunger and energy. Overall, I didn’t hit my typical 3pm “slump”, and it felt easier to accomplish more throughout the day.

I definitely noticed an improvement in endurance. I didn’t really track my strength progress, but body weight exercises became significantly easier — I finally managed a few pull-ups! I also noticed that I seemed to recover much more quickly after particularly challenging workouts.

This actually surprised me–I noticed that I felt less stressed overall and more capable of dealing with issues as they arose.  I felt like I slept much more soundly at night, after getting through the first week or so of the challenge.

This was such an enlightening experience! Though I was already eating pretty well beforehand, the challenge was really helpful with learning how to balance macros and really rely solely on “real” food. I also appreciate that the challenge forced me to cook more and get creative with some new recipes. I feel like I have a better relationship with food and a better understanding of what my body needs to function well. I noticed a lot of the changes above during the challenge, but it wasn’t until I started adding a lot of “cheat” foods back in that I’ve really noticed a difference. As soon as I began eating sweets, I could almost immediately tell a difference in terms of bloating, energy levels, cravings, and sleep quality. I won’t say I’ll never have another donut, but I will certainly be more mindful of what I eat in the future!

DOMINIQUE

I chose to do the nutrition challenge yet again (my third time) because it is an opportunity to fine time my food and experiment with my performance. The recommendations for protein and carbs were higher
this time. I actually tried hard to stick to the plan. The most challenging part for me was getting enough carbs. During the challenge I learned something about how I eat; I have a habit of filling up on fat because I am slightly carb phobic. Once I began eating more carbs, I leaned out and grew more muscle quickly. I also felt good and performed well. I lost one pound on the challenge (no big whoop.) However, I lost 5% body fat, increased my muscle mass by 4 pounds, and increased my basal metabolic rate by 150 calories (big whoop). I am very happy with that. I will probably do the nutrition challenge again. I have benefited tremendously by becoming more conscious of my food intake and I enjoy the self quantification aspects. Thank you to Lauren and Scott for their support.

STEFFI

I lost 2.5 pounds in fat, lost an inch on my waist, and gained half an inch  in muscle around my hips/glutes. I also noticed that my legs and arms got toned.Though it was difficult adjusting to the paleo diet the first week because felt more light-headed.
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But by the second week, I  have more energy and felt better about my health as the weeks went on. My energy levels increased, and I no longer had a sugar ‘crash’ after meals as I previously did. I noticed that I was sleeping about 7 hours a night consistently and felt happier that I was consciously CHOOSING to eat clean foods. For me, it was difficult to do the paleo challenge because of certain stomach and dietary restrictions I have.
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However, I found a way to listen to my body and limit certain kinds of foods that would cause irritation.  Because of the challenge, I also learned about portion control, and tracking protein intake, which I didn’t know how to do before.  My friends and family also noticed that I had clearer skin and better skin.

MATT

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OTHER FINISHERS WE WANT TO RECOGNIZE:

Camille
Brett

 

 

“You can’t outwork a bad diet”

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! 

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:

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.

Anna

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BEFORE

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
Again, a great learning experience and one that will continue to impact my lifestyle.

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AFTER

Check out Anna’s Spins from Arqspin!

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Christina

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BEFORE

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.

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AFTER

Check out Christina’s Spins from Arqspin!

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Shirley

  1. How much weight did you lose? How much have you leaned out?  6-7lb loss, I’ve toned/leaned out more.
  2. 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.
  3. How many dress and / or pant sizes have you lost? Clothes are looser but pant size hasn’t changed.
  4. How have your energy levels changed? What about mental benefits? My energy level is great, more endurance.

Bruce

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BEFORE

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

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AFTER

Check out Bruce’s Spins from Arqspin!

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Dominique

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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.

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AFTER

Check out Dominique’s Spins from Arqspin!

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Karen

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.

Meredith

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Debbie

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AFTER

Check out Debbie’s Spins from Arqspin!

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