I decided to take part in the CrossFit Challenge with two goals in mind: 1) of getting back on track with a basic paleo meal plan and 2) being able to participate in the daily WODs at the RX level. For the most part I have achieved both of these goals and am really happy to have participated in this fun CrossFit Community event.

What have you learned?
I have been eating 80/20 Paleo (with the exception of wine) since January of this year. Since that time, I have lost 18 Lbs. The Paleo lifestyle definitely is something that works well for me. I don’t feel deprived not having dairy, legumes or processed carbs. I have learned that the below apply to me:

I have a mild intolerance to dairy. Being half-Japanese, this really doesn’t come as much of a surprise. Dairy tends to cause inflammation for me and stomach discomfort.

I also have learned that my headaches/migraines seem to be directly related to my wine consumption. Shocking realization (joking). But good to know as I thought they were hormonal.

Cheat meals are a slippery slope and definitely reduce my will-power. On the days following my cheat meals, I definitely craved “non-paleo” foods and was lethargic.

I have a hard time with my workouts if I do not have some form of carbohydrates in the morning. I tend to try to add potatoes to my morning eggs on hard days.

Were there significant moments?
My most significant moment occurred at the ending WOD re-test. I didn’t hit my score for the Hang Power Clean and I was pissed! It made me think about why I had decided to take part in the challenge. Should I just give up then and there? Should I try and re-test to get a better score? Why wasn’t I able to lift the same amount? Over the weekend, I thought about these questions, the factors that go into a good workout (e.g. sleep, nutrition, etc.) and about the goals I had set for myself. I realized that just thinking about these factors was an achievement in and of itself.

Secondly, I was surprise when I had my body fat re-test and learned that I had loss 5.8 Lbs. of Fat Mass. I did not think that much change was occurring to my body, since I did not have the dramatic weight loss that is experienced when you first begin a Paleo diet. But this made me feel that the work I had put into the challenge (increasing my workouts to 4x a week and not drinking) had actually been worthwhile.

How have your habits changed?
My “paleo” meal plan pretty much went out the window over the summer with vacations and BBQs. I have been able to get back on track just in time to face the holiday season. Luckily eating this way is now pretty much a habit and not overly difficult.

I did however find it difficult to always get 8-hours of sleep. I realized is directly correlated to my energy levels and basic feeling of wellbeing the following day. I will certainly try harder to get 8+ hour of sleep each night going forward.

Additionally, I had never really given much thought to rolling-out at home or additional stretching. Before starting CrossFit, I mostly did Pilates. I think some of my flexibility has decreased, so I will definitely continue these additional minutes of manipulation at home.

Advice for new member signing up for next season’s challenge?
Just sign-up – regardless of if you think you have the will power or not. This is a great opportunity to make friends with other gym goers and coaches. Anytime you challenge yourself in a new way, and place yourself in an uncomfortable position with other people, bonds are made. This will only make your CrossFit experience that much more meaningful and enhance your commitment to bettering yourself. I, for one, am no longer intimidated to attend the noon class (instead of the ladies’ class). This feels like a battle won!