Saturday, November 2, 2013

Final Tally, Whole Life Challenge Ends

If you've followed my recent posts, you know that I spent the last 8 weeks participating with my CrossFit box in the Whole Life Challenge. If you want to read all three parts, here they are:
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?



  1. I bow to your dedication not only to nutrition and CF WOD's but to your data!! If you ever question your progress, you have the proof. You are spectacular and I am so fortunate to know you and gain from all of your knowledge.


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