Congratulations James for finishing in 1st Place! Some impressive stats: 249 points, 2.9% reduction in body fat, waist decreased by 3 inches!  Improvement of 2 minutes on the WOD and excellent advice and A+ transformation pics!

1. What advice would you give next season’s Challengers?
Take all aspects of the challenge equally seriously. Although the wods are graded with 5 points I would suggest that all aspects of the challenge (nutrition, exercise, recovery/mobility and sleep ) are equally important. Putting time and effort into each of the challenge components I have found worthwhile and revelatory. It’s not just about exercise and nutrition!

2. What habits did you develop that will last beyond the 30 Days?
I began to take sleep seriously as an element of health. I had been turned on to a Joe Rogan podcast with Matthew Walker, a sleep scientist, who highlighted the multiple ways in which 7-8 hours of sleep are essential for bodily and mental health and outlined the long term damage that lack of sleep causes. I often have the experience of waking up tired even though I’ve been in bed for 8 hours. For the challenge I purchased a sleep tracker that delivered the unwelcome news that my sleep was often interrupted and shallow.

In response I began to develop a night time ritual that involved shutting down screen time an hour before going to sleep and sticking to a regular sleep schedule. My sleep improved, though it remains an issue. Also, when I had two consecutive poor nights of sleep I chose not to exercise the following day to give my body a better chance to recover. All of these things I intend to continue.

3. What was one obstacle you had to overcome during the course of The Challenge? How did you do it?
I lost quite a lot of weight in the first seven to ten days and initially I felt quite weak at the gym. My body was beginning to learn to draw energy from fat cells rather than my bloodstream and it took a while to adapt. By the end of the challenge I felt fine and my wod retest was much better than I could have hoped for.

Persevering through the initial feeling of weakness required mental discipline, but since the challenge was only for 30 days I figured it worth the effort. As I said after the initial adaptation phase I felt much stronger.