30 Day Challenge Spring 2017

Shed your Winter bod just in time for Memorial Day! Workouts alone will not produce the results you’re looking for – change your diet and prioritize sleep and recovery to reduce body fat and gain muscle. If you’re not sure what to do or you lack the motivation to do it alone this Challenge is for you.

Every season we tweak the program to produce better results. This season we’re offering brand new options for bodyfat testing. These two methods are considered the “gold standard” of body composition analysis. Opt to get tested right here at CFS in the MetroFitness Wave – the mobile Human Performance Lab or take a roadtrip to Trumbull and use the BodPod – a gas displacement chamber.

In addition to bodyfat testing you’ll take Before & After photos, test and re-test a baseline workout and rack up points for healthy eating and habits.

In 30 days we’ll throw a party and announce 3 winners who take home a load of cash – the previous 3 seasons first place winner’s walked away with $1,000 each.


3/9 – 3/15 – Register for Early Bird Prices – MetroFitness Wave – $180, BodPod – $110, no test – $30*  *not only do you get cheaper prices but you also get early access to bodyfat testing slots

3/16 – 3/31 – Register for Standard Prices – MetroFitness Wave – $190, BodPod – $120, no test – $40

3/31 – Registration closes

4/6 – Bodyfat Testing for MetroFitness Wave all day at CFS – YOU MUST PRE-REGISTER FOR A TIME SLOT

4/9 & 4/11 – Bodyfat Testing for the BodPod at Sacred Heart University – YOU MUST PRE-REGISTER FOR A TIME SLOT

4/14 – Baseline WOD

4/15 – Kickoff Meeting at 1pm

4/17 – Challenge Begins

After you register you’ll receive an email with more details and bodyfat testing schedule. Time slots go fast so sign up now!




Meg Hildebrand 2016 Fall Challenge 1st Place Winner!

Challenge Essay – Meg Hildebrand

As a serial Challenger, I continue to sign myself up for these things in hopes of a shot at prize money worthy results! I’m pretty sure I’ve done AT least 3 of these, all with minimal results. However, I learn a little more about myself with each challenge and think this time around I did finally make some progress.


This Challenge I tried to pay more attention to portions and macros (which is a gigantic pain). I was not always on track and am still trying to figure out what works for me, but I’ve learned that mindless “Paleo” does NOT work. Just because it fits the paleo guidelines, doesn’t mean I need to eat it. Just because I’m not eating crackers and cheese, doesn’t mean I need seconds on paleo dinner. While medjool dates stuffed with almond butter are delicious AND within the guidelines – eating them like candy won’t help me reach any sugar reduction or fat loss goals. I’ve also learned that I have to make a conscious effort to eat a lot of vegetables, which I don’t love all the time.

Eating an adequate amount of vegetables seems to require more planning and prep work. Speaking of planning, my biggest fail happened in the first week when I failed to plan. We had a b-day party for my 4yr old and spent all morning setting up without eating anything. I managed to avoid the donuts, cake, pizza and other non-compliant snacks during the party- but once 2pm rolled around, guests had left, and I still hadn’t eaten anything all day – the leftover pizza didn’t stand a chance. I basically used myself as a garbage disposal to clean up. Gross.


Other challenges I’ve faced over the past 4 years as a CFS Challenger are similar each time, but seem easier to overcome each round. Wine and leftover kids meals are two difficult areas that stand out from the past. They really didn’t seem as much of an issue this time. Old habits die hard, but it’s possible! Overall, the more practice I have being mindful of what I eat, the easier it gets.

While I don’t have drastic physical results to use as persuasion, I would absolutely recommend this type of challenge to anyone. I love (and seem to need) the accountability factor of these Challenges. It definitely helps me stay on track vs telling myself I’m going to do it on my own for 30 days. It seems to be a slow learning curve for me, but I did find a “before” pic from one of the first Challenges I entered and am happy to see I’ve come a long way. A lot of trial and error for me (ex. birthday party binge), but I feel like I’m in a better place after each Challenge and I’m pretty sure this won’t be my last CFS Challenge 🙂


Lost 3.5lbs – gained .5lbs of muscle and frame mass decreased by 1lb (and my muscle to frame ratio is within 1lb, so I think that’s good?)
lost 1.5inches on waist and .5 inches in hips
I’ve also birthed two nearly 10lb babies and never thought I’d be able to get through the extra skin and stretch marks to find muscles – but I can see a couple now!

22 seconds faster on WOD test – which was a real struggle. Within the last week of the Challenge I PR’d Grace, which I didn’t think possible because I’ve not been lifting heavy during class. AND I Pr’d Fran by over 1 minute while just sticking to my usual ladies class a few times a week. I started Crossfit over 7yrs ago (in my 20s) and the fact that I’m still able to improve makes me feel less like a middle-aged mom and gives me hope that it doesn’t have to be all downhill from here! Thanks CFS!

Laura Spelling 2016 Fall Challenge 2nd Place Winner!

At the end of 30 days Laura had lost 11 pounds / 3.5% body fat / 3.5 inches on hips / 1.25 on waist!

Challenge Essay – Laura Spelling

Throughout the challenge I learned a lot about temptation and willpower which I never knew was in me. I also learned how to cook something other than pasta – Joe and the dogs were thrilled to wake up to the smell of fresh bacon. I tried so many new things and ventured into wholefoods on an almost daily basis because I found some new recipe I wanted to try that I didn’t have an ingredient for (download the wholefoods app, its life changing). I have never eaten or cooked butternut squash, zucchini noodles, coconut aminos, RX Bars, and making curry from scratch – I’m never ordering Indian again!


I learned to appreciate and look forward to going out to eat, focused on it for days, and imagined what it would be like to leave the house! I must admit, by the third week of not leaving the house, turning down invitations, and being downright bored, I was ready to get out! I only consumed one cheat meal and it was absolutely worth it. I methodically planned one drink with dinner, one drink after so I can be semi social– this is technically one meal. We did get out in other ways; we went hiking and walked the dogs more just to have a small resemblance of fun.

The most important takeaway from the past 30 days for me has been that preparation is key; if you prepare for the day then everything else falls into place. The first week was rough – I mean rough! But then when you get into a groove, go food shopping, plan what you need, stretch during lunch break (although I don’t think my manager was a fan), get to CFS by 6pm to ensure I’m home to cook dinner and lunch for the next day and get enough sleep, only to wake up and do this again. There was really no room for variation in my schedule, kind of felt like Groundhog Day…


Although I expected coworkers to judge me HARD, they were actually very supportive and as I brought in my lunches they’d ask for recipes and now even they’re more aware of what they’re putting into their bodies. I did have an awkward encounter when I was invited to the Executive Dining Room (which is filled with the most delicious and FREE lunch options) and had to get a pathetic little salad and ask for olive oil and vinegar in front of 8 members of senior management. Not the highlight of the challenge. I converted people over to this crazy meal plan and even cooked a challenge compliant meal for my friend before a 7pm MBA class. Even she was surprised by my cooking skills and how something that tasted this good was approved per the challenge.

Getting the 8 hours’ sleep was rather easy and quick amazing. I vividly remember my friend asking if I wanted to go to her apartment for a show that starts at 10pm- I had to say no…what a shame ☺

Overall, people were very supportive and complimented me on my willpower; however, I will be thoroughly enjoying the Halloween Treats Party at work (which I planned) with real sugar and flour, without shame. I lost weight, lost inches, and have more energy – what more can you ask for?


The last challenge was poorly timed for me. I got married and had a honeymoon. Needless to say I didn’t stick too strictly to the diet. This time around I wanted things to be different…


After having Hess calculate my numbers and my BMR I was pretty stunned. This go around I wanted to gain weight. I wanted to have a physique that would not only look good, but help make me a better athlete. Prior to the challenge/detox I had been eating ‘almost paleo’ or at least healthy so I felt I had a good foundation. When Hess and I did the math on how much I’d have to eat to gain weight I thought she was joking. 4140 Calories…..4140 CLEAN Calories. Thankfully Rachel and I (Well mostly Rachel) began the most insane Sunday meal prep regimen imaginable.

My daily food intake consisted(s) of 3.5 protein shakes, roughly 6-7 eggs, 4-5 chicken breasts, a cup to cup and a half of ground turkey, almost 2 cups of roasted potatoes, a cup of chopped carrots, a full bag of Jasmin rice, a cup of broccoli and other mixed veggies, a half cup of walnuts and I’m sure there are a few others I just can’t recall from memory. You get the idea though. I dialed in my eating so that my macros were almost exactly 33-33-33.


So what was the hardest part?? The first week of eating. It hurt. I wanted to vomit and the idea of ever snacking made me feel nauseous. I’m not even being dramatic. The crazy part though is almost immediately my lifts started to improve. Squats, cleans, jerks every one of them went up this past month. Once I started noticing progress I was able to keep my head down and start pushing through my eating. I knew for sure there was no way I’d lose body fat. I was ok with that. I wanted this to be an experiment on what it would take to get better in the gym.

Now a month later I look back and couldn’t be happier. Now I definitely got stronger and I shaved 30 sec from my workout time (or 6.2%). Even better was that I was able to change my physique rating from Standard to Standard Muscular. I added roughly 4 pounds of lean muscle to my frame and somehow I DID DROP my body fat % from 9.9% to 9.2%!!!! Somehow I managed to take .5” from my waist and shift it to my chest. The only downside being I raised by BMR from 2422 to 2475. I guess if I want to keep gaining I’ll need to add a few additional chicken breasts to my diet.


The experience has made me realize that no matter where you are in your fitness journey there is always room to improve. You never have to feel stuck at a plateau if you put your mind to it. Much like everyone else at the gym there was some strong motivation that made me start CrossFit. I had to find a new motivation and attach it with the same passion and I did. I can say 100% that my eating will remain the same now post detox. I may have the occasional beer or glass of bourbon but overall this diet/nutrition plan works super well for me.


The Detox Challenge has represented the greatest challenge and accomplishment of my fitness journey thus far as I approach my one year anniversary in the CrossFit community.


To be perfectly clear, until now I have fully subscribed to the “you can exercise your way out of a
bad diet” theory. To say that my diet had made any significant leaps from when I was ten years old was laughable. In fact, you could almost call it the Anti-Paleo diet. Frozen pizza, creamy pastas, processed foods and heavy dairy were my staples. Salad? HAHAHAHA…

But I decided that if there was ever a time to try this whole “healthy eating” thing, the Detox was my shot. Just as the competition factor of CrossFit got me hooked on the actual workouts, I figured perhaps a competition could motivate me to make sweeping changes to my diet. Above anything else, I hate to lose. Rather than ignoring my diet, I would be forced to hold myself accountable. Oh, and did I mention I hate losing?


So how did I do it? First and foremost getting organized to set myself up for success was key. I ordered a foam roller and a lacrosse ball off Amazon to allow me to do recovery at home before bed. I put a large drinking glass on my bathroom counter with a post-it note on the mirror saying “DON’T FORGET TO DRINK THIS”. I started an account with Kettlebell Kitchen to ensure I had plenty of on-the-go food options at both home and work.

I set an annoying number of alarms to remind me it was time to hit the sack if I wanted to get my full 8 hours of sleep. I probably spent more time at Fairway and Whole Foods reading labels and planning meals than a mom shopping for a family of ten. Just taking simple steps like these allowed me maximize my Detox Challenge experience.

In terms of my diet, I generally stuck to a consistent routine. For breakfast, I usually ate 3-4 eggs in the morning, often scrambled with some onions and peppers. Given my distaste for salad, lunches relied heavily on leftovers from the night before or Kettlebell Kitchen. I snacked on almond butter, nuts and fruit. Dinners were usually a basic protein (steak, chicken, pork, etc.) with some sort of veggies on the side, however, I did try a few off-the-beaten-path recipes such as a Primal Pizza Casserole and some paleo desserts to mix things up.


One of the most difficult parts of the challenge for me was overcoming the social aspect. Keeping
my discipline throughout a company ski trip (thank you RX bars), an anniversary date, friends’ birthdays, the Super Bowl and other events was challenging but always a great conversation starter!

Overall, the Detox experience taught me quite a few new things about my body. Despite my previous love for dairy, through the re-introduction phase I quickly learned that lactose is not something
I tolerate all that well. Meanwhile, eliminating a bulk of the processed sugars has markedly cleared up
my skin. Perhaps most importantly, I’ve learned that I’m capable of pushing myself to the extremes to
accomplish things I never would have thought possible.

I would highly recommend the Challenge to anyone looking to learn more about themselves and/or experiment with how making healthy lifestyle choices can accelerate fitness performance.

Looking back it’s very clear that I was holding myself back from reaching my full potential by making unhealthy choices outside of the gym. 30 days later and I cut my bodyfat by over 50%, lost 2
inches off my waist, and added over 2lbs of muscle! I’ve now lost over 20lbs since I first signed up for
On-Ramp last year. I guess I can finally admit the diet side of the equation is important after all!

Big shout out to Kristie, Andy and all the coaches for making this possible!

Menu Title