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2015 Look, Feel, and Perform Better Challenge 

Challenge Overview 

It’s that time of year again... New Year's Resolution time. While we think that it’s best to act in accordance with your goals and values all (or at least most) of the time, we also recognize that many of us use markers like the beginning of the year to kick start positive changes. Some of you have done this in years past, some of you are new to it so here’s the overview.

Who? The entire CrossFit South Brooklyn community
What? A six-week challenge meant as a collective kick start into healthier nutrition and recovery habits.
Where? Right where you are. You’re encouraged to organize “rest day dinners” either in your homes or out at restaurants with fellow participants and there’ll be LFPB Challenge forums that you can look to for daily support. The key is consistent practice every day.
When? We’ll have a kick off meeting and Q&A on Sunday, December 28, at 4pm that outlines the challenge which will run from Saturday, January 3, 2015 through Friday, February 13, 2015. We’ll wrap up with a potluck and awards ceremony on Saturday, February 21nd.
Why? To look, feel, and perform better! And, for some sweet prizes!

Wait, did you say prizes? Yes. The grand prize for both the men’s and a women’s category is two months of FREE unlimited training at CFSBK, a $450+ value! There are also 2nd and 3rd place prizes for the men’s and women’s categories. Last year there was more than $1000 total value in cash prizes and gifts including a free month of dinners from Kettlebell Kitchen, gift cards to Lululemon, Beircraft, grass-fed steaks from Herondale, and other cool stuff too. This year looks to have more of the same awesomeness. Additionally, Kettlebell Kitchen is extending a 15% discount throughout the challenge to all CFSBK members who are participating! 

Alright, I’m in! Great!

Challenge Guidelines and How To Participate: 

Once you complete the following steps we’ll check them off as such. Please complete all steps by January 5th in order to be eligible for prizes: 

  • Sign your name on the list in the community area of the gym.
  • Buy-in of $30. This must be cash and can be given to Front Desk staff. 
  • Answer a few brief questions and submit your “before” photo according to the guidelines on our new Look, Feel, Perform Better website (link coming soon!). These are private will not be published or seen by anyone but the judges without your consent.
  • Track points earned daily on the spreadsheet (link coming soon!).
  • Perform the Test WOD and record results.

This year’s challenge will follow last year's model and may be a bit different for each of you depending on where you’re currently at with food and recovery. The idea behind this is that while extreme actions can bring extreme and rapid results, we’ve also seen them often result in a “crash” where an individual rebels against the limiting behaviors of a challenge. We’d rather you change a few manageable things for the long term than many things for six weeks and then get lost in a haze of bagels, beer, and chocolate cake. Choose which statement below best describes you and then follow those guidelines for the entire challenge. 

Level 1 Eater

I’m sort of a mess, I have no real idea what to eat or what recovery even means. This is the first time I’m going to follow any real guidance on what to eat."

You’ll work to develop a baseline of quality food choices, good sleep, and recovery.

Goal: To improve food quality, balance training and recovery, and start to make choices that support your goals.

  • Eat meals that are made up of lean protein and vegetables or some fruit and enough healthy fatto feel full. Each meal should include something from each category. *If you’re a vegetarian then your best protein sources will be yogurt, eggs, lentils, or fish if you eat it.
  • Avoid grains and gluten products. This means bread, pasta, tortillas (sniff), beer (sniff, sniff), pastries, cookies, etc... Check labels for wheat/gluten containing items. Better yet don’t eat packaged foods.
  • Avoid refined sugars. This means fruit juice, honey, fructose, coconut sugar, agave, etc...
  • Drink ½ oz of water, herbal tea, or another non-calorie beverage per lb of bodyweight. No, not diet Coke, sorry.

Consider altogether eliminating the following throughout the challenge. Allow small amounts only if you need it to maintain sanity.

  • SOME dairy. Cream in coffee and full-fat, fermented, unsweetened dairy like Greek yogurt. Many people are sensitive to dairy and most of it will help with gaining weight so consider this depending on your goals.
  • SOME alcohol in the form of wine or liquor. Beer contains gluten, except for a few. The refining process of liquors leaves the gluten out, plus tequila is kinda paleo? Alcohol can also impair sleep. *If your goals include losing bodyfat then minimize booze or cut it out completely. It’s empty calories, and the truth is the only reason to drink alcohol is to get a buzz. If you do include it limit yourself to fewer than 7 alcoholic beverages in a week.
  • SOME coffee. Yeah, I don’t want to know what you act like without your morning cup either but consider cutting down and having it early in the day only, especially if you’re sensitive to it and/or sleep and hormonal recovery are large parts of your challenge.

Your Food Points are earned as follows: 

  • 3 Points = Full Clean All Day: Ate clean all day! Had lean protein + veggies/fruits + healthy fats with each meal, avoided grains and gluten products, avoided refined sugars.
  • 1 Point = 1 Item Off List: Had croutons on my salad, my eggs in a wrap, a candy bar snack, etc.
  • 0 Points = 1 Full Meal Off Plan: Sandwich on bread with soda, pizza and beer, bagel with cream cheese, etc.
  • -3 Points = More than 1 Off Plan Meal: as described above.

Your bonus points are as follows, 1 Point each for:

  • Fish Oil: Took 3 grams of EPA/DHA in fish oil tabs. *If you are eating all grass-fed/pastured/wild caught animal products this may not be necessary so give yourself the point if you eat this way. If you eat nuts, any veg oils, or any conventionally raised animal products however then stick to a minimum of 2-4g per day.
  • Sleep: 7 solid hours on a regular schedule. Even laying down and waking up at consistent times can be huge.
  • Active recovery: 15 minutes with a foam roller or a lacrosse ball or some other tools working on myo-fascial release and mobility, or... practicing meditation or yoga.
  • Hydration: Drank ½ oz of water per lb of bodyweight. Herbal tea is OK too. Not diet Coke, sorry.
  • WOD: at CFSBK (duh) or elsewhere.

Level 2 Eater

I know what I should eat, I understand what macronutrients are, and I generally choose quality foods. I’ve done the Paleo Challenge before with some initial success but then struggle and seem to fall off the rails. I often sleep like crap, feel beat up, and eat too many cheat meals.” 

You’ll work on a plan to eat the right food in the right quantities, adding the important aspect of portion control to a healthy diet. 

Goal: To eat optimally sized meals with good macronutrient balance, added to an already solid base of food quality. By taking stock of weighed and measured portions, you’ll develop an internal food scale that you can keep with you for a lifetime. As you’ve maybe discovered it’s in fact easy to overeat paleo foods and to succumb to cravings if the overall diet and lifestyle isn’t balanced. Unbalanced food intake can lead to poor sleep, which can lead to carb cravings and/or over-reliance on caffeine, which can result in poor sleep... you see where this cycle goes. Particularly problematic can be “paleo” desserts, snacks, and treats. 

  • Eat Zone balanced meals that are made up of lean protein, carbohydrates like vegetables or some fruit or starchy vegetables and healthy fat. Each meal should include each category. *If you’re a vegetarian then your best protein sources will be yogurt, eggs, lentils, and beans, or fish if you eat it.
  • Figure out your Zone block prescription.
  • Weigh and measure your meals throughout the challenge and eat 3-5 meals that are Zone balanced and add up to the right amount of blocks each day. You won’t (and shouldn’t) always need to do this but it can be extremely helpful to develop an awareness of what a balanced meal looks like, and how much or little food you need to feel satisfied and recovered. Remember, you’re developing your internal scale.
  • *We’ll be providing a few different Zone prescription guidelines based on your goals and your body type.
  • Prepare or purchase meals ahead of time so you don’t find yourself guessing. If you wind up eating on the fly then use your best eyeball judgement to stick to Zone quantities. Be realistic.
  • Minimize grains if you decide to include them. They may or may not be verboten for you but notice how they stack up quantity-wise next to a serving of roasted vegetables or a spinach salad. If you do include them be aware of how your body responds.
  • Avoid refined sugars. Again, notice how they stack up next to fruits and other sweet carb sources.
  • Same goes for booze. It pays to minimize it. No more than 7 alcoholic beverages a week.
  • Drink ½ oz of water, herbal tea, or another non-calorie beverage per lb of bodyweight. No, not diet Coke, sorry.

Your Food Points are earned as follows:

  • 3 Points - Full Clean All Day - Ate Zone balanced meals all day!
  • 1 Point - 1 Item Off List - Ate one slightly off balance meal.
  • 0 Points - 1 Full Meal Off Plan - Ate one way off balance meal.
  • -3 Points - More than 1 Off Plan Meal - Ditched the Zone today for more than one meal.  

Your bonus points are as follows, 1 Point each for:

  • Fish Oil: Took 3 grams of EPA/DHA in fish oil tabs. *If you are eating all grass-fed/pastured/wild caught animal products this may not be necessary so give yourself the point if you eat this way. If you eat nuts, any veg oils, or any conventionally raised animal products however then stick to a minimum of 2-4g per day.
  • Sleep: 7 solid hours on a regular schedule. Even laying down and waking up at consistent times can be huge.
  • Active recovery: 15 minutes with a foam roller or a lacrosse ball or some other tools working on myo-fascial release and mobility, or...practicing meditation or yoga.
  • Hydration - Drank ½ oz of water per lb of bodyweight. Herbal tea is OK too. Not diet Coke, sorry.
  • WOD: Trained at CFSBK (duh) or elsewhere.

Winners Will Be Selected Based on Three Criteria:

  1. Positive body comp changes visible through Before and After photos
  2. Total points earned through adherence to your habits in the LFPB Challenge
  3. Improvement on the Test WOD

We’re looking forward to huge, community-wide success once again with this year’s challenge. We recommend beginning ASAP to prepare by ridding your pantry of things that are off the list, making sure your kitchen is ready to prepare and store food, maybe looking into nearby restaurants and take out spots that can be a part of your challenge. Don’t go off the “deep end” by overindulging in the time leading up to the challenge. In years past some people have had a real tough time with the first few days to 2 weeks of these things. Starting to clean up early can ease some of the 'detox' symptoms that may appear. Consider maybe eliminating gluten this week, adding fish oil next week, or something similar depending on where in the guidelines you’re at currently. 

Here are a few more things to chew on while you cook up a plan...

Paleo FAQ: From Paleo Demi-god, Robb Wolf. Particularly check out the Paleo Overview, the Quick Start Guide, and the Shopping List.

Own your Paleo: your own way.

CrossFit Journal #21: The write up that introduced the CF community to Dr. Sears and the Zone.

ZoneDiet.com: Some info to peruse, but also a bunch of stuff for sale.

Zone Diet Explained - from CrossFit Impulse

A meathead talks rest and recovery: John Welbourne of CrossFit Football. If he does yoga, you can too, or at least mindfully stretch and spend time on a foam roller, right?

Cortisol Management: From the Whole 9 folks. Poor Sleep = Elevated cortisol = Belly Fat + Poor Sleep, it’s a vicious cycle.

Meditation also lowers cortisol, and you don’t have to be a Buddhist for it to work. Did you read the bit about how they induced elevated cortisol?

Everyday Paleo One of the MANY Paleo cooking blogs

Nom Nom Paleo: Another good recipe blog