- Portrait of a Nutrition Nerd: Preparing for the Whole Life Challenge
- Halfway Point: Whole Life Challenge + Eat to Perform Principles
- Final Tally, Whole Life Challenge Ends
Today we had our final workout to measure performance gains during the Whole Life Challenge - the final day of comparing our "before/after" stats as improved over 8 weeks. Here are mine:
- My score for the WLC-recommended 11 minute performance baseline workout increased by 10.9%, a respectable gain in speed and reps.
- According to the measurements of our nutrition coach, I lost 4" off my waist and 1" off my hips.
- My score for compliance with WLC guidelines was also high, averaging somewhere around 10.6/11 points available daily. (Points were added up based on nutrition, working out, mobility, supplementation, and other lifestyle factors like sleep and hydration.)
Based on these three variables, I was declared the overall winner of our box's event! I was stunned to see how much sleeker and more athletic my fellow participants were looking today after their 8 weeks of hard work.
According to the WLC workout, my performance improved nicely. The rest of the story behind my weight loss progress comes when paying a closer attention to how I organized my food intake (while still eating foods permitted by my chosen level of difficulty - intermediate - in the WLC).
I ate according to Eat to Perform principles. I ate according to caloric needs for my build, my lean body mass, and my activity levels. On more active days, I ate more calories. In anticipation of hard workouts first thing in the morning, I front loaded lots of whole food carbs. What does this look like in practice, for me, a 176 lb. female whose lean body mass varies between about 125 and 139 lb?
|Definitely not starving.|
Watch the carb grams over time!
(Numbers are estimated only for
my own ballparking, and not definitive.)
- I tried to keep my protein around 130 g/day or higher on average.
- Higher activity days (say, CrossFit WOD and hot yoga on one day) saw carb intakes over 200+ g/day. Read Halfway Point: Whole Life Challenge + Eat to Perform Principles for details on the types and quantities of carbs I was cycling in, in general.
- Low activity days saw much lower carb intake, with fats stepping in as the preferred fuel over carbs.
- My calorie intake generally ranged from 1800 - 3000 calories per day, depending on activity levels.
I went from 185 lb. to 176.2 lb. (8.8 lb. loss) in 8 weeks, a modest average weight loss pace of 1.1 lb./week. How do I perceive that this was a productive (i.e., not lean mass decline) weight loss? I have several indicators. The first is my performance gains. Here are the performance gains I experienced in the last 8 weeks of doing the Whole Life Challenge with Eat to Perform principles:
- As mentioned above, my score for the WLC-recommended 11 minute performance baseline workout increased by 10.9%, a respectable gain in speed and reps.
- I reached a deadlift 1 rep max personal record of 280 lb., a 25 lb. gain over my last deadlift PR of 255.
- I reached a deadlift 3 rep "tap and go" max personal record of 245 lb.
- I achieved my first toes to bar EVER during the challenge, and within days begun to learn stringing them together.
- A 112# atlas stone lift - which I have only done one other time once, a year ago, before a back injury that had me on temporary CrossFit hiatus. Along with the deadlift PR, this signifies to me a return to my original strength (only now leaner!).
- Did "Diane" (a benchmark CrossFit workout) with 185 lb. deadlifts - the prescribed weight for women.
- Got my first freestanding headstand in yoga, and a few half second crow poses.
- Maintained a 3 minute, 15 second plank in hot yoga during our instructor's "plank challenge". Her challenge included permission to shift back and forth from forearms to palms, so it wasn't a static plank, but it represents to me a huge increase in core strength overall.
The second indicator that I have of a decent (fat-loss-dominated) weight loss is I have gotten smaller as a side effect of concentrating on performance.
- I've lost inches all over my body.
- I received nearly daily comments from different fellow CrossFitters - especially toward the end of the challenge - about me looking leaner.
- For the first time in seven and a half years, toward the end of the challenge, I found myself able to wear pants that I have not worn since when I became pregnant with my oldest daughter in 2006. Some moms get into their prepregnancy jeans inside of a few weeks postpartum. I joke that my 7.5 years postpartum jeans timeline is "above average".
Interestingly, the same pants I wore prekids at 159 lb., I can fit into at 176 lb. That speaks volumes to me about the difference between muscle and fat that I carried then and now. I am definitely in the best shape of my life - way better at 30 than in my teens or 20s. CrossFit and paleo-style eating have now taken me from near 220 lb. (and over 40% body fat) to mid-20s percentage body fat at 176 lb. I can't think of any other way I would have managed to achieve that kind of lifestyle/physique overhaul other than by eating clean, lifting heavy, calisthenics, and interval training!
I can say that I am a wholehearted convert to the calorie/carb cycling model set forth by Eat to Perform. It agrees with my physiology and activity levels, and I fully intend to continue using the same model in the future.
My next task is having my body fat assessed by our nutrition challenge coordinator, to see if I met my goal of reducing my body fat percentage to 24%. I can't wait to find out!
Are you doing any nutrition challenges or tinkering this fall? What strategies have produced the best results for you?