Congratulations to Alex for finishing in 2nd Place! She is a CrossFit vet who has always performed well in previous challenges. Some impressive stats this time around: 257 points (the highest total this season), 3.2% loss in body fat and all while having surgery and finishing grad school!

1. What advice would you give next season’s Challengers?

My advice to next season’s challengers is to not be afraid to commit to the challenge, even if it “isn’t a good month” for you. I’ve made that excuse a few times but decided to do my second challenge this spring despite the fact that I would be going through grad school final exams, graduation (with a ton of family visiting for a long weekend), and oral surgery during the 30 days. To be honest I forgot about the surgery and didn’t realize how long I’d need to be on a liquid diet and how long I’d have to avoid exercise after the procedure. But despite all of these obstacles, I was able to stick to the Paleo diet (most days), get enough sleep, drink enough water, and do recovery every night. I wasn’t able to work out as much as I’d hoped, unfortunately it was probably never more than 3x per week.

I was worried that I wouldn’t see results because I wasn’t able to truly give it 100%. But surprise, surprise- the results are in- down 5lbs of fat mass despite not being able to work out daily! I’m actually glad that I did the challenge at a busy time in my life because it showed me that I can still treat my body well and get great results without stopping my life entirely to focus on a 30-day challenge. So, to future challengers and those considering the challenge- I’d say to just jump in and do your very best, but still live your life! It’ll surprise you what a few changes can do for you.

2. What habits did you develop that will last beyond the 30 Days?

During my first challenge I didn’t commit to regular recovery, so this time around it was very important to me to make a strong effort with the recovery aspect of the challenge. I used my recovery time to do stretching, foam rolling, and utilize the lacrosse ball on sore muscles to relax every evening/night. I hope to continue to do recovery on a nightly basis as much as possible after this challenge because it truly helped me relax before bed, allowing me to fall asleep much more quickly than before this challenge. I also hope to continue with drinking 12oz+ in the morning before eating breakfast or drinking coffee because not only has it become a habit, my body seems to crave more water overall, causing me to drink much more water throughout the day!

I hope to continue to be more aware of the foods I choose to eat, looking closely at labels to see if there are added sugars, soy, etc., and making more food from scratch. There have been quite a few favorite recipes Blair and I modified for the challenge and I don’t think we’ll go back to our old ways! Although I don’t think I can give up dairy indefinitely, but I am willing to try to limit it. I am also going to avoid gluten as much as possible; luckily there are many gluten substitutes that I enjoy just as much!

3. What was one obstacle you had to overcome during the course of The Challenge? How did you do it?

There were many obstacles I had to overcome during this challenge, including having both my family and my in-laws visit us for a long weekend to celebrate my graduation from grad school. Our two sisters stayed with us, and both sets of parents stayed at a hotel. We only have a 1 bedroom apartment, so cooking for all 8 of us and eating together in our apartment just wasn’t going to work.

Although we ended up eating out a decent amount while my family was visiting, I was always able to find challenge-friendly menu items. Luckily, we have a decent number of restaurants around here that have great options. I did use my cheat meal on my graduation day – and the pasta was so worth it! I also took the time to do my recovery and workouts despite feeling the need to host every minute of every day- some family members even joined me! I was very worried about this weekend at the beginning of the challenge but I’m lucky to have a very supportive and flexible family!