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PRYL Food Challenge Results


PRYL Food Challenge Results

Women’s Only free Beginner Class today, Monday January 12th at 10:30am.
Women’s Only January On-Ramp Course begins Monday, January 19th
21, 15, 9
thrusters (95/65)

Gretchen is the overall winner of the food challenge!

PRYL Food Challenge Results

In November, a group of Roots athletes embarked on a Paleo journey. The prescription was to eat strict paleo for 6 weeks with no cheats, slips, oopses or excuses. The participants were required to have before and after body composition testing and blood work done and log everything they ate for the week leading up to the challenge and the 6 weeks on the challenge.


  • 19 participants stayed 100% compliant over the entire 6 weeks (with an allowance for Thanksgiving day)
  • On average, participants were compliant nearly 5 of the 6 weeks


40 participants submitted before and after results

  • 245lbs of total fat lost
  • Mean body fat change of -5.98lbs with a standard deviation of ±3.8lbs
  • Average body fat percentage decreased from 21.6% to 19.1%


For the challenge blood work, we tested fasting glucose, inflammatory markers and blood lipid profile pre-challenge and at the end of week 6.  The majority of participants saw:

  • Improvement in inflammatory markers
  • Decrease in triglycerides
  • LDL unchanged or increased

Kirk and Molly are continuing to crunch the numbers and looking at food log data to determine possible relationships between increased LDL and intake values.  Keep an eye out for a future post on their findings.


There was a weekly winner drawn from the pool of compliant athletes and a final winner was selected based on overall compliance and body composition changes over the course of the challenge.

The overall winner is, Gretchen Rech.  Gretchen won one month of Roots membership, a $25 Whole Foods Gift Card, and a copy of The 21 Day Sugar Detox Cookbook. Congratulations!


What does all of this mean?  Kirk, our resident statistics guru, went through each food log and entered the foods into an online nutrition tracker to observe caloric and macronutrient intake. We used these numbers to look for trends between pre challenge and challenge intake.  16 participants were selected at random for comparison and their intake week and week 5 food logs were compared.  Here’s what we found.

  • On average carbohydrate consumption in week 5 was 48% lower
  • On average weekly calorie consumption in week 5 was 1959 calories fewer
  • Decreases in body fat and body weight were statistically significant
  • Reduction in both calorie and carbohydrates were related loss in body fat and overall body weight

While the paleo diet is not by definition a low calorie or low carbohydrate diet, by switching to real foods and cutting out the processed crap, it’s much harder to overeat.  Therefore, it was no surprise to see both calories and carbohydrate reduced by sticking to a strict paleo diet, but it is not for us to say that following any diet of reduced carbs and calories would produce the same results.

Did you participate in the challenge?  What did you learn?  Have you been able to continue applying what you learned post challenge? Post to comments.

4 Responses

  1. woodardj

    Two hours ago:
    AST: So are you coming to class with me at 5:30am?
    JW: Uggghhhh that’s so early and it’s probably going to be something horrible like Fran, to boot.
    Just now:
    JW: Remember how I said the workout would probably be horrible?
    AST: Yeah? [Pulls up site] OH MY GOD.

  2. Katie

    Thank you for the recent food challenge! This is my third go at the challenge and this was by far the best experience I have had.
    I think doing the blood work before and after really help cement how effective this style of eating is (for me). My numbers (as I discovered post challenge) were really good to begin with (a surprise since I was eating low quality foods out of convenience), got even better post challenge (which is awesome).
    What I learned: I really felt like total crap the way I was eating but didn’t know it until after the 6 week stint of clean eating (no mcdonalds breakfasts, NO DAILY CHOCOLATE MILK). If I ate something with sugar added (unknowingly) I could feel the effects of it within 20 minutes of ingesting it. I felt like I was struck by a wrecking ball.
    Have I been able to apply what I learned post challenge? YES, I think the third time (and I hoping it sticks) is the charm. My body composition is still changing for the better. My energy is through the roof! I am so happy I don’t want to go back to what I was doing. My biggest lesson is to prepare food ahead of the week to ensure success. I have to be adventurous and buy different fruits and veggies so I don’t get tired of eating the same thing. I have discovered that there are a ton of amazing whole foods out there that I am really excited to eat.
    I am big fan of the once a week, two hour cheat plan, then climb back on the clean eating wagon.
    Thank you Nicole, Eric, Molly and coaches for continuing to provide us with opportunities to adopt a better lifestyle.

  3. kaare

    congradulations Gretchen. Although I was not one of the absolute compliant participants I was very pleased with my numbers. I was considering moving to a no grain diet and this helped push me further in that direction. Thank you Trevor, Nicole and Molly for all your work.
    The Best