images-1 The CrossFit St. Louis 5th annual January Paleo Challenge is a week away and I’m excited about what 2015 will bring!

Our 6 week challenge will start with a strict version of paleo, using the Whole30 template so we can establish a good baseline of health and leave out any questionable food items that may confound our results.  While the Whole30 is restrictive, it is not meant for lifelong eating.  However, its black and white sensibility lends itself to a no-nonsense beginning to understanding your body, how different foods affect you and where you can go from here.  After our 30 days of hardcore paleo, we will have a two week “re-introduction” phase where we slowly add certain foods back in to see which ones we tolerate best.  This year, we will also add a team element to the challenge.  Depending on the numbers, I will split people into teams  who will work together to keep each other on track.  Think of it like a partner wod where you work harder so you don’t let your partner down.  This extra layer of accountability will make you think twice about reaching for that cookie when you want to throw the towel in.  In addition to body measurements, pictures and weigh ins, we will add in a before and after performance metric as well as a point system where you can earn extra “lifestyle” points for creating new, positive habits.

As an extra bonus, I will be adding in PaleRow rowing classes to the schedule that only paleo challengers can participate in.  These classes are free and come with your registration.  We will focus on a variety of intervals on and off the erg designed for fat burning and I will be there to answer questions, look at food logs and give insight into concerns you may be having during your challenge.  Again, it will be another source of support, community and accountability for members striving to stay on track.  Details on this class will come once the challenge starts.

Mark your calendars for these dates:  Sunday Jan 11, 2015      10:00am                CrossFit St Louis

Sunday, Jan. 11, 2015 – Seminar and measurements.  Seminar is free for all who are interested in learning about nutrition and why it is the most important aspect of good health.  After the seminar, I will be taking before pictures and measurements for those participating in the challenge.  Reserve your time on this google spreadsheet to get your measurements in. (If you have trouble accessing the spreadsheet, email or text me and I will help you get a measurement time or you can sign up the day of the seminar)  While you are waiting to get measured, you can do your performance “test” or wait until Monday and do it in class.

WOMEN:  Please wear sports bra and shorts for pictures

MEN:  Please wear shorts for picture.

The more flesh in the picture, the better one can see the after results.  These pics are not shared with anyone unless I specifically get your permission.

Also available on Sunday at an extra charge:  THE FAT TANK Bodyfat measurement.  Sign ups at the front desk.  *This is not required for participation but is an accurate measurement of body fat if you are interested.  $55 for first time measurements, $35 for retests.

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Monday, Jan 12 – Feb 10:  Whole30 30 day strict challenge

Wed, Feb 11 – Sunday Feb 22:  Reintroduction phase of challenge

Mon, Feb 23 – Wed, Feb 26:  After pictures and measurements by appointment

Friday, Feb 27th – Paleo Wrap Up Party


COST:  $50 per person    Contact Leeny at [email protected] for questions and to verify your participation.  Cash or checks payable to Leeny Hoffmann can be brought that day.

Suggested reading and resources:  It Starts With Food by Dallas and Mellisa Hartwig.  This book is a great primer on the paleo diet and explains the science in an easy to understand way, for the rationale behind the paleo diet and why we do what we do.  Once you start learning about which foods can cause hormonal signaling problems, gut dysfunction, and inflammatory responses, you will be better informed with your choices moving forward.  Knowledge is power!  I would highly suggest buying a good paleo cookbook like Nom Nom Paleo: Food For Humans.  This is my favorite cookbook and I use it all the time.  In addition to having a few books, there are a myriad of resources on the interwebs that you should take advantage of.  I will be sending out more links than you can shake a stick at during the challenge so get ready!


At the end of the challenge, we will choose a male winner, a female winner and a team winner. We will announce our winners at the Paleo Wrap Up Potluck on Friday, Feb 27th.   The winners will be based on a number of metrics:

Before and after pictures and measurements (based on percentage of pounds and inches lost and improvements in after pictures),  lifestyle points, participation online and in challenge events, and short essay.  Ultimately, this is a fun, educational challenge and everybody wins in my opinion.  But it is nice to put a prize out there to add a little more motivation. The performance metric is not added into the formula for choosing a winner, however I think it is a good measurement for everyone to have just to see if any performance improvements may have been made as a result of cleaner eating.

Teams will work together to earn lifestyle points and participation points as well as body changes as a group.  You can learn so much from others and I think having a team component will allow each of you to be teachers as well.

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My goal in offering this challenge is to teach you how to nourish your body based on your goals and activity level.  This is not a passive opportunity where you just wait to be told what to do.  I expect my participants to fully engage and embrace these 6 weeks as if they were taking a 6 week course in school.  There will be activities, homework, and cooking involved along with dynamic interaction with members of the group.  I work hard to address an individual’s goals and unique situation through emails and “check in” activities and will do my best to help you personalize your experience. However, I will not work harder than you’re willing to work.  The more you put into this challenge, the more you take with you.

This quote says it all, “Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day.  Teach a man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime.”  My plan is to teach you how to fish.  When you are done, my hope is that you will have a deeper appreciation for nutrition and satisfaction knowing that you completed something that was possibly life changing.  I look forward to working with each and every one of you and for the next 6 weeks, we will begin a new journey together.