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Performance and Body Composition Gains Through Refining the Inputs: Cara's Challenge Recap


Performance and Body Composition Gains Through Refining the Inputs: Cara's Challenge Recap

Complete as many rounds as possible in 15 minutes of:
15-foot rope climbs, 2 ascents
20 wall-ball shots, 20-lb. ball
Run 200 meters

Post rounds completed to comments.

Sure, we used this pic a week ago but COME ON - after a 2 month challenge this Mom, lawyer, and wife looks AMAZING and has the gym performance to back it up!

Sure, we used this pic a week ago but COME ON – after a 2 month challenge this Mom, lawyer, and wife looks AMAZING and has the gym performance to back it up!

Performance and Body Composition Gains Through Refining the Inputs: Cara’s Challenge Recap

1. Why did you sign-up for the challenge?  I had two main goals in signing up for the challenge:  (1) to lose body fat and lean out, mainly to feel better and so my clothes would fit better, but also to help with body weight movements; and (2) to reacquire some of the discipline and self control that I used to have with regards to food (both quality and quantity, as I opted to include a zone component to my challenge).

2. What were your intake dunk tank numbers?  Ending numbers?  Did you track any other health markers like cholesterol or blood pressure?  Did those numbers change?  
Beginning dunk tank numbers: 143.2 lbs, 117.5 lean lbs, 25.7 fat lbs, 18% body fat
Ending dunk tank numbers: 138.4 lbs, 116.8 lean lbs, 21.6 fat lbs, 15.6% body fat

3. What was your typical day of food like before the challenge?  My typical day of food before the challenge wasn’t all that different than while on the challenge, at least during the week.  Meals were made up of pretty much the same foods – eggs, nuts or nut butter, and fruit for breakfast; salad/roasted vegetables/fruit, rotisserie chicken/deli turkey/meat, and avocado for lunch and snack; and meat, vegetables, and avocado for dinner.  However, before the challenge, I also used to eat a 1 block snack before early a.m. workouts and generally ate too many nuts/nut butter and too much fruit.  I also snacked too much in the late afternoon and got into a few bad habits — eating chocolate (like every day!), drinking beer (after skiing on the weekends), eating sweet potato fries on the weekends, etc.

4. What was the biggest change you had to make to your food during the challenge?
  The biggest changes that I made were (1) cutting out my 1 block snack before early a.m. WODs to consolidate meals to 4 3-block meals per day (at 8amnoon4pm and 8pm), and (2) resisting additional snacking in the afternoons when I felt tired/low on energy and patience.  On Nicole’s advice, I cut the early a.m. snack to shorten the window during which my digestive tract is working (producing insulin) to 12 hours.  It was rough for a couple weeks – felt super low energy during WODs, but surprisingly, my performance didn’t suffer at all, and I did get used to it.  Now it’s much easier because I don’t have to make an extra meal and can use the extra time to foam roll before class (or sleep in 5 minutes!).

5. What did you see as the biggest obstacle to succeeding in the challenge?  How did you overcome it or learn to alleviate it during the challenge?  I think my biggest obstacle was trying to stay sane and not get crazy obsessed with food/eating (when is my next meal?  what am I going to eat?  what if I’m still hungry?) and fluctuations in my weight (I weighed myself every day).  I’m not sure that I did very well in overcoming this during the challenge – pretty sure that I was a little crazy the whole time!  I was a little too obsessed with the numbers on the scale and would get a little upset if it went up from day to day, but then it was also motivating to eat perfectly the next day.

6. What was your darkest moment in the challenge?  The last two weeks of the challenge were hard for me – I was sick of being super strict with zone (even with drinking opportunities and win meals) while not seeing super drastic results on the scale.  I felt like even though I had DOs/WMs to use, I didn’t want to use them because I wanted my weight to go down.  Also, during the last two weeks, my body started to feel really beat up (low back issues, left elbow tendonitis, etc.), which affected my performance during WODs and was very frustrating.  Other dark moments – dealing with guilt when I wasn’t eating perfectly according to zone.

7. Brightest moment in the challenge?  Two come to mind – one during the challenge, and one a couple days after it ended – and shockingly, both were performance-related (and neither were related to low numbers on the scale!).  1) I got dead hang pull-ups for the first time *ever* in my life (and I’ve wanted them since I was a kid, doing the “flexed arm hang” in the presidential fitness test) – what an awesome feeling!  Strict pull-ups literally have been my #1 goal since I started at Roots in May 2010. 2) I went for a run around my neighborhood a few days after the challenge ended – on my birthday, after having a few drinks and cheat meal (sushi) the night before, and not getting enough sleep.  I hadn’t run on my own in a while and would have thought it wouldn’t have gone well.  However, I felt great – ran up all the hills, felt strong/fast/good.  When that run ended, I was so happy and felt so good that oddly, it liberated me from my scale.  I never felt that happy just seeing numbers on a scale and it *finally* sunk in that it’s more important for me to go by how I feel, how my body is performing and how my clothes fit than what the scale says.

8. Did you cook for yourself only?  Family?  Friends?  How did they receive your new food requirements?  I cooked breakfast, lunch and snack for myself.  My husband cooks most dinners (and to be honest, I usually eat meat leftover from dinner for lunch/snack or otherwise buy rotisserie chicken/deli meat).  So, to rephrase, I cook eggs for breakfast and roast vegetables for lunch/snack; otherwise, I eat raw foods.  We didn’t cook for others much, and we didn’t go out much during the challenge.  My husband is used to my strict “food requirements” and was ok with it for the most part.  I think my giving up alcohol was the hardest part for him.

9. Did you notice a change in performance during the challenge?  Yes – I PR’d a bunch of lifts/workouts, got my first deadhang pull-ups, etc.  I would say my performance definitely improved, even though I often didn’t feel that great while working out (often felt tired and low energy, and had some nagging issues/tweaks).

10.  Did you notice any other lifestyle/health changes during the challenge?  Changes in sleep, energy, focus, aches/pains, happiness, leanness?  My leanness definitely improved during the challenge.  The other changes are a mixed bag — I actually didn’t sleep very well (often didn’t get enough sleep and had really strange dreams), often felt low energy, acquired some aches/pains, and was overall a little crazy/obsessed with food and results/weight.  That being said, it definitely made me aware that I tend to eat as an emotional reaction to stress/anxiety and when I don’t get enough sleep.  Ultimately, I also realized that eating according to zone/paleo is a long-term approach, not just for a 2-month challenge.  My results, while not as drastic as I would’ve hoped, were pretty good for 2 months, and should only get better as I stick with it long-term.  My semi-liberation from the scale was also a huge plus!



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