The 2015 CrossFit STL 6-Week Paleo challenge has just come to an end and we now have a new list of savvy, dedicated individuals who have been indoctrinated into the paleo lifestyle. On January 12, thirty one members of CrossFit St. Louis committed to the challenge of the Whole30, a strict version of the paleo diet that allows for quality protein, vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds and healthy oils. During this thirty day period, all grains, dairy, legumes, sugar and alcohol were excluded in order to establish new habits and create a baseline of health. After the month of strict paleo, challengers had a two week “reintroduction” phase where they were allowed to add certain foods back in, one at a time, to see how they were affected. Many of the participants were brand new to paleo and used this challenge as a way to learn more about what paleo is and how eating and living like this might affect them. We also had a number of “seasoned professionals” who had done the challenge before and were looking for a jump start on healthy living for the new year.
We started our challenge off with a Paleo Seminar in which we went over the basics of the ancestral template and dove into the rational for eating paleo (improved hormonal signaling, decreased inflammation, improved gut function). Participants were weighed, measured and had before pictures taken. They were divided into three teams of 10 (with a latecomer assigned to team 4) and had to be accountable to themselves and each other by logging in Lifestyle Points each night. Points were earned by exercising, drinking water, getting 7-8 hours of sleep, taking supplements like Vitamin D3, fish oil and magnesium, and eating strict paleo. To discourage alcohol and diet soda consumption, which seems to be a sticking point for most, points were taken away. At the end of each week, lifestyle points were added up for individuals and teams. This feature was added this year to help participants keep focused and have to reflect daily on different behaviors they wanted to improve. New to this year also was the team aspect of the challenge which allowed for an extra layer of accountability, much like a team wod where you don’t want to let your team mates down so you work harder.
Goodbye Jim, Tito, Jose, Don and Blanton. See you in thirty days.
PaleROW classes were added to the schedule as a way for participants to check in with me and get an hour of supervised rowing to enhance their fitness goals. In these ten classes, we focused on bodyweight exercises sprinkled into rowing intervals for a fun, effective hour of extra fat burning.
On Wednesday nights, our Paleolithic Pot Heads met at The Hot Pot in Kirkwood for a paleo dinner. It was a nice time for us to share our victories, our frustrations and good recipes we had tried.
We also took a field trip to Maplewood so people could try out the delicious vinegars at Vom Fass, stock up on spices at Penzeys and get quality, grassfed beef and other proteins at Bolyard’s butcher shop.
Thirty Days of Learning
We buckled down for thirty days and tried our best to kick our demons to the curb and create new, healthy habits. To help guide people through the paleo process, especially the newbies, frequent emails and check ins were sent which included recipe links, informative blog posts and articles, and general info on what to expect each week. It was amazing to watch the teams support each other through emails and in PaleRow classes, and these connections were instrumental in helping people stay on track, especially during the strict part of the challenge.
Six weeks later, we remeasured and took after photos. Team and individual points were tallied and reflective essays were written. To wrap it all up, we celebrated with our Paleo Pot Luck Party at my house on Friday night.
Of the 30 participants, 22 came back for “after” measurements and pics, thereby fully completing the challenge. (75%) I am beyond proud of EVERYONE’s efforts in this challenge. We had people say that their joint health improved without sugar and gluten, that allergies and skin improved, that sleep was the best they had had in a while and that they felt stronger and more energetic. That is winning. Many participants were especially proud of the fact that they were able to give up alcohol for 30 days and then going forward, limit it to weekend consumption. People ditched their diet soda habits. New cooking skills were crafted. And in 6 weeks time, these participants learned something about themselves and the way certain foods affect them. They changed their relationship with food and created new habits. That is what this thing is all about.
Total lbs lost: 113.4
Average lbs lost: 5.14
Total inches lost: 70 1/8
Average inches lost: 3 1/8
Female Winner: Janice Lewis. Janice came into the challenge as a crossfit newbie and still in onramp. She had made great strides in her fitness journey before coming to CFSTL, but had hit a plateau and wanted to continue to get healthy and improve body comp. She had a pretty big diet coke habit and one of her main goals was to kick that habit. Six weeks later, she was 19.8 lbs lighter, losing 10.2% of her body weight. She also lost 5 6/8 inches. As a participant, she was extremely dedicated and her perseverance paid off. She was our top scorer in the Lifestyle points section, earning 102 points. While the weight loss was an added bonus, the fact that she was indeed able to quit drinking diet coke was her biggest accomplishment. She’s a regular in the morning classes and she just continues to get stronger.
Male Winner: Matthew Pyatt Matt started this challenge out with a goal to adopt healthier habits. He said his wife had been doing paleo for a while and he tried a little from time to time, but never put in full effort. After seeing the devastating effects of illness on family members, he knew he had to make some changes. I could tell right away that he was going to fight hard for these next 30 days. And fight he did. With the support of his wife Becky, who prepared paleo meals and joined him in the whole30 he worked hard to cut out the alcohol and eat strict paleo. He was thrown curveballs along the way and often faced stressful situations at work but he stayed true. He lost 10.8 lbs (5.0% body weight), and 2 1/8 inches). I would see him in the morning classes and watched how focused he would be in his workouts. (I’m not a stalker though). Driven is a word I’d would use to describe his efforts.
Most inches lost: Sonya Diehl 5 7/8
TEAM STATS: For the first time we introduced the concept of teams in order to make small groups out of our big group and layer in more accountability. Teams were encouraged to support one another through emails and were required to work together to rack up as many lifestyle points as they could which would improve their chances of individual success. In the lifestyle points department, it was very close. Due to the fact that we did lose a few members on the teams during the challenge, I threw out the lowest two scores (or those that had left the challenge) on each team and then relied on the top 8 scores of each team.
Team 1 – 688 points; Team 3 – 687; Team 2 – 591
Weight Loss: Team 3 – 54lbs, 28 3/8 inches; Team 1 – 27.6 lbs, 21 2/8 inches; Team 2 – 16.2 lbs, 18 5/8 inches
So team 3 was our big winner. They called their team “If We Lose, We Booze”. Lose they did…lbs and inches! Great job to ALL the teams for their effort.
Top scorers for Lifestyle Points:
1. Janice Lewis 102; Tie for 2nd: Lisa Harp and Sarah Burdett with 101
I wanted to get a picture of the whole group but was only able to get a few snapshots. Shocker that I got side tracked. 🙁 Thank you to all who came out to celebrate our efforts these past 6 weeks!
Finally a special shout out and THANK YOU to Jason Barbour of Metabolic Meals for sending over a fantastic sampling of his paleo treats. Our group enjoyed chocolate banana muffins, blueberry muffins, almond butter cookies, and the delicious chocolate crave bars. Deeee-lightful! I’ve toured their facility and they use only fresh, quality ingredients that any discerning paleoista would appreciate. If you ever need pre-cooked paleo meals delivered to your home, I would highly recommend their service.