This was my third challenge, but the first time I truly committed to full compliance. I focused on getting through the first week, knowing from experience that the sugar cravings would fade from there. It wasn’t easy given the two events with open bars that I faced during that time, but I took It one day at a time. I made it through and, surprisingly, by the end of the week, the sugar cravings had faded and I’d settled into a routine.

I attempted another event during week 2 and was forced with the decision to get my 8 hours of sleep and miss my 6am WOD, or keep my perfect score. Because this year’s workout points maxed out at 3 rather than 5x per week, I opted for the sleep to keep the points, but I didn’t feel good about it. At that point, I decided [or accepted] that I had no time for anything during the week other than work, sleep, gym, stretching and foodprep. And decided I’d just have to make the most of the [sober] weekends. And, I settled into a routine surprisingly easily. Midway through week day, I couldn’t stop yawning once 9:15pm hit.

A key to my success was setting my goals and installing a support system. On the diet front, I basically kept a bag of compliant snacks with me wherever I went – almonds, larabars, bananas, and sweet potato chips were my go-tos. I also found surprising support in places like my café at work. I brought them ghee and they cooked with it! Two eggs and either chicken breast, turkey or bacon every morning was done. I also started a water challenge with my coworkers and took Kristie’s advice about keeping a glass of water next to bed. I found that first glass greatly impacted my desire for water and intake throughout the day.

It was important to me to not lose muscle during the challenge, so I added a protein supplement and committed to working out 5x/week. I had the support of veteran Fernanda , commuting to the 6am WOD together ~3xweek. When I needed the extra motivation to get up before the sun, knowing I’d be letting her down was it. I also started the hatch squat program with former challenge winner Lauren Spatz. This meant a gym arrival of 5:30am twice per week (which is really 5:50 to Lauren). That wakeup call meant that I was in bed at 9pm most nights. And it was refreshing! Other resources that I came to depend on were a certified stretcher who I met with twice a week (who knew that was a thing?!), and I treated myself to a massage every three workouts, which helped with the recovery points.

I didn’t get the easy recipe points, largely because I kept meals very boring. I ate a ton of fish, steak and burgers, with variations on sweet potatoes, asparagus and green beans. And that was basically it doe lunch and dinner throughout the entire challenge. I ended the challenge feeling healthier, stronger and energized. My weight loss really faded after week 2, but I replaced that with new PRs. I PRed my clean and jerk and squat clean and am confident that I will PR my back squat when I retest.

Thanks to the combo of the challenge and hatch squat, I added 20 pounds to my 5-rep max front squat and did them at my 1-rep max! I was disappointed that I couldn’t pick up cals in the retest, but I was able to hit the same wall-ball and KTE number across all three sets – 4 more than my highest set pre-challenge. With the massive gains seen during these four weeks, how can I not commit to having my ideal body? I’m going to add a drink allowance, but planning to stick to the rest of the challenge protocol through the fourth of July. It was really miraculous.