I joined CrossFit Stamford back in the Fall, right after the 2016 Fall Challenge. As I was reading the essays of the three winners and seeing the amazing results of others, I thought to myself, ‟I can’t wait to sign up for the next Challenge!”

By the time March came around, and the announcement was made that the Spring Challenge would begin in April, I was already excited to start. The initial meeting with Kristie and Dr. Kurt was very informative. Not only were the rules discussed in detail, but I also gained some nutritional information I was not aware of. After the meeting, I felt pretty good about the dietary aspect of the Challenge, though I knew I was going to have to eliminate some of the foods I was currently eating. The bigger challenge was going to be giving up my supplements.

For the last decade, I have been what they call a “supplement junkie.” I have tried nearly every new product on the market. Over the course of the last two years, I had been using a brand that I thought was pretty clean, but learned that I would not be able to take it during the Challenge because it contains SUCRALOSE. This became the “dirty word” ingredient in all the supplements I had to give up for 30 days, including my go-to pre-workout drink.

The first few days were pretty tough. I don’t drink coffee, so omitting my pre-workout drink that contains caffeine was the most difficult part of the Challenge. In the second week, I started eating a small meal before working out – which I have never done before – and it actually helped a great deal. I introduced a plant-based protein instead of whey, and eventually got to a Challenge-friendly, all-natural pre-workout routine (Thanks Woo!!).

My food consumption was on point for the first two weeks, with just one slip-up (eating a protein bar that was not Challenge-friendly). My workouts and energy were definitely increasing, and the trusty mirror showed me I was doing a great job. During the third week, we were allowed one “cheat” meal, and I decided to have two slices of pizza on a Friday night. Wow, was that a mistake! Within an hour, I was sick to my stomach. It was a real eye-opener and absolutely not worth the cheat. My advice to future Challenge participants – if you want a cheat, make it something satisfying but on the lighter side.

By the start of the fourth week I was on autopilot. It was clearly the easiest week of the Challenge for me. I felt like I had made changes that I will stick to even after the Challenge is over. My measurements were all lower, body fat dropped, my WOD and Front Squat increased, and most importantly, the guy in the mirror looked significantly better than he did 30 days earlier.

For me, this 30-day Challenge was more of a permanent lifestyle change than a month-long competition. I can’t say for sure if I will go back to my pre-workout drink or not, but I can say there are many changes I have made in the last 30 days that I will continue doing every day. Thank you so much again to all the coaches and to CF Stamford for your daily support!!!