Rich Mocarski 2nd Place Challenge Essay
Oh “The Challenge”! I don’t even know where to start. The experience was something of mixed reactions good, bad, and more shockingly confusing. You learn many different things along the way with “The Challenge” that you are capable of cooking and inventing things you never knew existed, you learn a lot about yourself in regards to sticking and seeing things out, and staying disciplined throughout the
Obstacles that came about were going out with friends, watching or going to sporting events and not being able to drink or indulge in some kind of non-paleo food. Seeing the entire thing through was easy for me as I am too stubborn to not see things through, and yes I would recommend it to some.
“The Challenge” was an interesting experience to say the least. The bad to get it out of the way was, the restriction to so many foods and types. I like to think I have clean eating habits but to further restrict them by removing foods that were part of either my protein or carb macros made it a bit difficult at first. Some of those foods that were restricted (Greek Yogurt/Cottage Cheese, RICE, Steel Cut Oats,
RICE, and did I mention RICE). The good part to this was learning to expand your knowledge in the kitchen. I can say confidently, if you made the same thing over and over on “The Challenge” well you missed out on something much larger and that is diversifying what you make on a day to day week to week basis.
Things I learned how to cook or invented etc were and not limited to (Monfongo, Yucca cakes, Plantains, Cauliflower Rice, coconut aminos, utilizing more fresh herbs and blending fruit zest etc to get a desired taste). The confusing part was trying to figure out Macro breakdown how to accomplish it without certain protein powders and some of the food restrictions. This was tough; to make sure you were getting the proper break down in protein fat and most importantly starchy carbs. I felt like getting enough starch in the diet was going to be the determining factor in seeing results that ensured fat loss
while keeping as much muscle as possible.
“The Challenge” found many ways to learn and reflect about one’s self. When signing up for the challenge I became intrigued at doing it because I invest a ton of time, money, etc into Crossfit and improving my health but I knew I wasn’t getting the most out of it due to diet, drinking, sleep, and balancing both strength, mobility, MetCon, and most importantly that little thing called LIFE. With that being said I used the challenge as a springboard to “poke the bear” and jump in head first into this challenge to see the end result. There were a few bumps in the road and detours were made during the struggle. Going to sporting events, company events, or just out with friends made it really tough at first.
Going to a game without having a beer and a dog is criminal to a large part of the population. Going out and only having a seltzer or water gets an odd look or a snood comment from some. Not having cake or eating a bagel on bagel day is seen as taboo in the office. Then when you explain what you are doing and what your goals are; a Crossfit Hater comes out of the wood work, and lambastes anything that you do and or is associated with the one word of Crossfit. You quickly learn that these are the people that bring you down and should be quickly ignored for their simple mind.
So once I signed up for the challenge I started thinking what did I want to achieve while on the challenge. Fat Loss check, maintain and improve body comp check, increase lean muscle mass check, become more flexible check. Now how to combine all of this was the tricky part. I immediately came up with an idea and started to write it out.
Strength work would be done following the strength program as best I can, once completed perform that day’s WOD, and finish off with foam rolling, stretching and hammering out any other nagging injuries. With this schedule I felt more at ease. Going for just an hour is ideal to change one body’s comp but does it do anything to make you stronger, and more flexible I found to be difficult to near impossible. As the weeks passed, I saw a big difference in both body composition, maintained my strength levels and became a bit more flexible (heck I can even squat clean and squat snatch now!)
Tome in order to best reflect on what one has done is to accurately detail what you did. The point system if you remained truthful to it all was a starting block, but to take it to the next level I documented every meal, every WOD, and notes on how I felt that day, and what things were said to me for improvement especially on relearning how to squat clean/snatch, or simple adjustments and tweaks to a skill movement (Hit my first muscle up while on the challenge). This started every morning with making sure I was drinking 25oz of water, and then documenting what I had for breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, periworkout and dinner.
I was also keeping track of my times during WODS, and my numbers when I lift. This was beneficial in adjusting on the fly as to why I was sluggish, felt fast, missed a lift, or hit a PR.
I called this the accountability journal, and I think it helped me remember the goal is not way down the road but right in front of you.
Like anything else in life for me, seeing the end result is always the most rewarding. It shows hard work and dedication are always paid out. “The Challenge” was hard work in many senses and dedication was a must at all times for thirty plus days. At the end of the day, this was a great feat to finish that left me happy, surprised, and yet still yearning for more and better results. This challenge is hopefully just the start of a journey to continue to improve in all aspects of life.
I would recommend this to someone who has the mindset to not just say five days passed and I notice nothing, and program hop to something else. This isn’t a fix or cleanse but this is a lifestyle. If one is willing to part ways with their old lifestyle and embark on a new one then I would recommend this to anyone and everyone.
Finally, I can say I am very happy with the how I feel, what I look like in the mirror, and what the scale and body fat% say to me. My next goal is to seek the advice of a professional to see what and how I should eat in order to take this to the next level. I feel having a better understanding of macro breakdown and supplementation can take the results that were achieved already to greater heights.
Again this is a lifestyle, a lifestyle that I am willing to continue on with.