Tomorrow starts day one of 32 days of a diet and fitness challenge designed by a gym pal, Beth. A little history – Beth has designed these challenges before and really takes pride in creating a well thought out, yet attainable (read: no SCALE!), challenge for the participants. This is the first year that I have participated in one of her challenges and while I’m slightly intimidated (because I am an overachiever) I am really looking forward to the task. As of press there are 18 male and female participants that have been invited to take on the challenge. Who will survive? Who will win? Who will thrive? The “winnings” are all to be donated to a charity of the winner’s/winners’ choosing at the end of the challenge.
Here’s a little breakdown of the rules:
- Diet Points – No grains allowed, no alcohol, 1 tablespoon of pure maple syrup, agave nectar, coconut nectar, and/or raw honey allowed, stevia allowed, 1 serving of legumes or potatoes, 1 serving of raw dairy, egg or whey protein powders in moderation.
- Lifestyle Points – High intensity exercise or low impact (active rest) a day, no extra points for two-a-days, hydrate well, rest enough, pick a bad habit to kick and a mindful habit to enhance my life.
- Facebook – Beth created a private, secret group for us to share our experiences in this journey. Points are awarded for logging in and posting daily. (I can’t wait to see what comedians come out of the woodworks on this rule! The quote at the top of the leader board thus far is “There is no such thing as soy milk. It’s soy juice. Milk comes from a tit. Soys do not have titties.”
- Four Perfect Days – If we string together four 10 point days (a perfect score per day) we grab another five bonus points.
- Weekly Bonuses – Week 1: create a three course meal, Week 2: adventure exercise, Week 3: PR, Week 4: Memorial Day fitness – nab up to 90 points
Perfect score = 450 total points. And I’m not going to lie, I really want to get a perfect score, however I have to be realistic – I am NOT going to get all of the weekly bonuses, and I will likely cheat (accidentally or intentionally) on the whole dairy thing (I LOVE MILK AND ICE CREAM!). My realistic goal is to shoot for 400+ points.
Why am I doing this? I’ve done two other Paleo challenges before and have learned a great deal about myself, food, exercise, and have met some great people along those journeys that I may not have otherwise. I don’t need to do another challenge to achieve my fitness and lifestyle goals, however I enjoy the challenge and it was quite an honor to be invited to join this one. Also, as a coach and a yoga teacher, I want to experience things that I would ask my athletes and students to try out. During those other paleo challenges I realized that cutting dairy out was not great for me, I got too small. So, after those challenges I added raw dairy back in and do occasionally imbibe in some delicious ice cream. I did even have a six pack showing that I loved to show off, but I look back and think “Damn, I needed to eat a sandwich!” and I wasn’t any happier or more fulfilled looking a specific way. Sure, bodyweight stuff became super easy, but I was absolutely no stronger than when I started the challenge. That may be great for some people, but I WANT to be strong and lift heavy ass shit. I may not be the fastest at Cindy, but now that I am bigger I can RX Isabelle, table some heavy stones, walk with a heavish yolk, and have a pretty decent squat. My priorities are to be stronger than fast, and healthier than not.
And here’s the real reason – it comes at a perfect time during a training cycle. Lisa and I are currently clients of Kalle Beck. He is writing our programming and has done so for the past five weeks (this week starts week 6). My body has physically changed more in terms of strength and composition in these past five weeks more so than it has in my almost 5 years of CrossFit. While my arms look jacked (that’s what the wife tells me) and I feel really strong, I have literally busted out of my clothing. Shirts that I bought a month before Kalle’s programming are like fat guy in a little coat and I absolutely, no lie, ripped a whole in my jeans while demonstrating how I moved a refrigerator. This may sound awesome to some, but that little voice in my head said “I’m getting too big, do I look fat?”. And, while the numbers rise on the scale and my clothes continue to get smaller, I need to see if it’s my diet, or I just need to shut that little voice’s pie hole. I have issues with my body, I have issues with food, and when those issues rear their ugly fucking heads I can loose motivation, get depressed, get obsessive, and all of those other nasty things that come along with my issues. I might be able to literally rationalize why I’m gaining weight and eating more, but that little voice does not know how to shut the fuck up sometimes. Interestingly enough it also tends to be worse around that time of the month….stay tuned, because that issue WILL rear its head during this challenge as well. Great.
Part of the challenge requires us to take on new habits to gain points, these are the points I am looking forward to the most. I already eat fairly clean 90% of the time, I don’t drink alcohol, I exercise fairly regularly, I suck at posting on FaceBook (I think it’s pointless), I could get perfect days, and well, I’m not a masochist so I am NOT doing all of the “fitness events” for bonuses – but I AM up for creating advantageous things that I enjoy doing and making those things a habit. What am I going to do you ask? Well, since you want to know, and I want to put it in writing…drum roll please…I am going to start a new blog (ready to launch as of this post), blog about this diet and fitness challenge every day, make the time to mobilize, walk the dogs more, and add in an endurance workout or crossfit style metcon 2-3 days a week to my weekly sessions designed by Kalle. I want to be that mindful athlete that I know I am on the inside and these little habits are all little stepping stones to the bigger picture. Beth’s challenge came at the right time for me to feel the swift kick in the ass I needed to GET SHIT DONE. What’s the addiction/obsessiveness/bad habit I’m getting rid of? I WILL NOT GET ON THE SCALE (unless required to by my doctor or for a competition, both of which are not scheduled during this challenge). Stay tuned, this could get interesting.