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2016 Look, Feel, and Perform Better Challenge 

Pre-Challenge Submission Form
LFPB Forum (ask questions, share tips!)
TRACKER
Additional Resources

Challenge Overview  

It’s that time of year again... New Year's Resolution time. While we believe it’s best to make choices in accordance with your goals and values all of (or at least most of) the time, we recognize that many of us use markers like the beginning of the year to kick-start positive changes. This year’s Challenge will follow a similar model to last year. There are two levels that you can choose to participate from. 

  1. With Level 1, you’ll focus primarily on food quality and eating from a large spectrum of whole foods (lean proteins, veggies and fruits, whole grains, and legumes). This is a perfect place to start if you’re new to healthy eating or are having to re-learn what that means for you.
  2. With Level 2, you’ll be tracking macronutrients and focusing on eating particular quantities of them, adjusting along the way as necessary.  

This year is a longer Challenge than we’ve done in a while—12 weeks instead of just 6. The reason behind this is that while extreme actions can bring rapid results, we’ve seen this often result in a “crash” where the individual rebels against the limiting factors of extreme dietary challenge. We’d rather you have more inclusive food options and change a few manageable things over a longer period than change many things for six weeks only to get lost in a haze of bagels, beer, and chocolate cake once the Challenge ends. 

Who? The entire CrossFit South Brooklyn Community. 

What? A 12-week challenge meant as a collective kick-start toward 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. There will be twice monthly (non-mandatory, but helpful) LFPB Challenge Meet-Ups at the gym in addition to the online forums that you can look to for daily support. The key to success is not sweeping immediate change but rather consistent practice each day.

When? The dates of the Challenge are from Saturday 1/2/16 through Saturday 3/26/16. We’ll also be hosting a Community Potluck Dinner on 1/23/16 where you can meet and greet with fellow SBKers and sample some delicious ways they keep on track with their food choices. 

What will I need? For Level 1, only a desire to begin to make better food choices. For Level 2, you’ll need a food scale and a set of measuring cups and measuring spoons since you’ll be measuring out servings of lean protein, clean carbs, veggies, and fats. Whichever level you choose you should plan to do a bit of food shopping and prep beginning the first week to make good food choices easy. 

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 women’s category is two months of FREE unlimited training at CFSBK, a $530+ value! There are also 2nd and 3rd place prizes for the men’s and women’s categories. Last year there was more than $2000 total value in cash prizes and gifts including a free month of dinners from Kettlebell Kitchen, gift cards to Lululemon, grass-fed steaks from Herondale, and lots of other great 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, you’re in? Great!

How To Participate:

Complete the following steps by January 5th in order to participate and be eligible for prizes:

  • Sign your name on the big list in the community area of the gym.
  • Buy-in of $30 cash, given to Front Desk staff.
  • Answer a few brief questions and submit your “before” photos here. These entries are private will not be published or seen by anyone other than us without your consent.
  • Perform the Test WOD and record your results.
  • Track points earned daily on the spreadsheet based on how well you’re complying with the guidelines and submit 4 and 8 week check-in submissions.
  • Complete your Post Challenge submission by 3/28/16 at the end of the Challenge.
  • Optional: Attend the bi-monthly LFPB Q&A Info Sessions at CFSBK. Each one will have a brief topical lecture and a Q&A. (1/7, 1/21, 2/4, 2/18, 3/3, and 3/18). 

Challenge Guidelines

Level 1 Eater: “I’m not really sure 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 and good sleep and recovery habits. Eating for health is first and most important step on the road to fitness! 

  • Goal: To improve food quality, balance training and recovery, and make choices that support your goals
    • Eat meals that are made up of whole foods like: lean animal protein, vegetables, whole grains or fruit, and small servings of nuts and seeds. A well rounded meal would 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 refined sugar. This includes fruit juice, honey, fructose, coconut sugar, agave, maple syrup, etc…
    • Avoid baked goods. These always contain refined sugar, unhealthy fats, and over processed grain products.
    • A good rule of thumb is to shop the perimeter of the grocery store and eat foods that look the same on your plate as they started out in nature.
    • Drink ½ oz of water, herbal tea, or another non-calorie beverage per lb of bodyweight or about 64 oz. each day. 
  • Consider altogether eliminating the following throughout the challenge. Allow small amounts only as needed to maintain sanity.
    • Dairy - cream in coffee, fermented unsweetened dairy like Greek yogurt, cheese, etc... One serving a day isn’t going to break you, just don’t rely on cheese as a main protein source, consider it a condiment. Many people are sensitive to dairy and most of it will help with gaining weight so consider this depending on your goals.
    • Coffee/tea/etc... 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.
    • Alcohol - Alcohol is empty calories, has absolutely zero health benefit, and can impair sleep. *If your goals include losing bodyfat then minimize booze or cut it out completely. It’s empty calories, and the only reason to drink alcohol is to get a buzz. If you do choose to include it, limit yourself to 2 drinks a day. Spirits (no sugary mixers!) and dry wines are the best choices.
  • Your Food Points are earned as follows:
    • 3 Points = Full Clean All Day - Ate clean all day! Had lean protein + veggies, fruits + whole grains + healthy fats with each meal. Avoided processed foods and refined sugars.
    • 1 Point = 1 meal Off List - Had a candy bar/pastry/cocktail with a meal, sweets, 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 3g per day.
    • Sleep - 7 solid hours on a regular schedule. 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, meditation, or yoga.
    • Hydration - Drink ½ oz of water per lb of bodyweight or about 64 oz. 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 but am not where I want to be in terms of body composition and/or performance. 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 foods in the right quantities, adding portion control to a healthy diet. Through measuring your intake you’ll then be able to use quantitative data to adjust what and how much to eat, just like you use data in your training at CFSBK.

  • Goal: To eat optimally sized meals with good macronutrient balance, added to an already solid base of food quality.  By weighing and measuring 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 and “healthy” foods and succumb to cravings if 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.
    • Calculate your daily caloric requirements*, then calculate your macro prescription based off of that number (*details below).
    • Eat a relatively balanced measure of macronutrients (Protein, Carbohydrate, and Fat) in each meal. Most meals should be made up from lean animal protein, complex carbs, veggies, and some fat. It’s best not to use dairy as a main protein source unless you’re a vegetarian.
    • Weigh and measure your macros and track your them on MyFitnessPal (or similar app).
  • You can include in modest amounts:
    • Coffee/tea/etc... 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.
    • Alcohol. Alcohol is empty calories, has absolutely zero health benefit, and can 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 choose to include it, limit yourself to 2 drinks a day. Spirits (no sugary mixers!) and dry wines are the best choices. Either way if you choose to drink then enter them into MyFitnessPal and hold yourself accountable.
    • Drink ½ oz of water, herbal tea, or another non-calorie beverage per lb of bodyweight or about 64 oz. each day.
  • Your Food Points are earned as follows:
    • 3 Points - Ate to within 10% of my macro goals! (Goals were 150g PRO, 300 CHO, and 75 FAT and you came to within 10% of those numbers: 135-165 PRO, 270-330 CHO, and 67.5-82.5 FAT)
    • 1 Points - made all macros +/- 11-15%
    • -3 Points - missed any macro more than 15%
  • 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 3g per day.
    • Sleep - 7 solid hours on a regular schedule. 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, meditation, or yoga.
    • Hydration - Drink ½ oz of water or noncaloric beverage per lb of bodyweight or about 64 oz.
    • WOD - at CFSBK (duh) or elsewhere. 

Why should I care about my macros?
Counting and regulating your macronutrient intake will in turn control your caloric intake and optimize your training while maintaining lean muscle mass. The most important factor to consider when trying to lose or gain weight is your caloric intake. Controlling the amounts of macros in your diet falls next in importance. Thus, macronutrient intake has an effect on both your total caloric consumption and the breakdown of those calories. 

Two great things about counting macros instead of calories or blocks.
If you ate all of your TDEE in only fat (think 2 cups of coconut oil) or only carbs (10 cups of table sugar?) you can imagine that you would not be fueling your body to look, feel, or perform as you would like it to. Counting macros keeps you on track with fueling an athletic body. Furthermore, it’s a bit more liberating than counting Zone Blocks. If you decide to have a carb heavy meal after your workout then its no problem at all. Simply have fewer carbs during the rest of the day so you can meet your total daily numbers! The most important thing is to meet your macro goals within a few grams with consistency. 

*Calculate your macronutrient prescription as follows.

  • Determine your Resting Energy Expenditure (REE, your caloric requirement if you did absolutely nothing all day)
  • Use the Mifflin-St. Jeor Formula
    • For males: 10 x weight (kg) + 6.25 x height (cm) – 5 x age (y) + 5 = REE
    • For females: 10 x weight (kg) + 6.25 x height (cm) – 5 x age (y) – 161 = REE
  • Multiply your REE by one of the following numbers to get your Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE) i.e., how many calories you need each day to maintain your current bodyweight
    • Sedentary (almost no daily physical activity) - REE x 1.2
    • Lightly Active (2-3x/week CF plus yoga/walks/etc) - REE x 1.375
    • Moderately Active (5x/week CF plus other purposeful activity) - REE x 1.55
    • Very Active - REE x 1.725

This will give you your base calories required to remain your current bodyweight at your current activity level. Write this number down and use it after figuring out your macro requirements.

PROTEIN - .8 grams x Body Weight

FAT - .3 grams x Body Weight

CARBOHYDRATE - Remaining calories to meet TDEE

This is your macronutrient prescription to start out. The recommendation is to follow this prescription for 2 weeks and then adjust based on your goals.

Hate Math? You can also use this online calculator that will give you a base of macros. 

*These are starting numbers. Be strict for 2 weeks. Truly strict! After 2 weeks if you’re not progressing toward your goal then adjust the macros accordingly as suggested below. 

If your goal is to LOSE WEIGHT

            Subtract 50-70 grams/day CHO and 20-25 grams FAT

If your goal is to GAIN WEIGHT

            Add 20-25 grams/day PRO + 20-25 grams/day CHO + 15-20 grams/day FAT

Winners will be selected based on the following criteria: 

  1. Positive body comp changes visible through Before and After photos
  2. Total points tracked (on the LFPB Tracker) and 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 not in line with your goals, 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 even just a little bit early can ease some of the 'detox' symptoms that may appear in the first 10 days or so.

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