Some of you started squirming just reading the title of this post. You are willing to do anything and everything we ask of you in the gym as long as we don't talk about your food. And that's okay. Maybe you just aren't ready yet or maybe it just isn't important enough. We don't judge. There is no requirement to eat our way or make a change to your lifestyle but we would be remiss in our obligation as coaches and promoters of healthy lifestyles if we didn't at least bring it up. So if you don't want to hear our take on this, stop reading now.
Many of you started CrossFit to get in shape and lose weight. You are stronger and feel better and maybe have even lost some weight. But you haven't hit the level of leanness you want, and for some, the weight stubbornly sticks around. If you want to be healthier, stronger, fitter, better...it starts in the kitchen. We love CrossFit because the intensity and movements get us fitter than we have ever been before. The community and variety of workouts keep us coming back for more. We get stronger. Our confidence grows. We like the changes in body composition. Unfortunately though, exercise can only get you part of the way to health. Without addressing what you are putting into your pie hole, you will almost certainly fall short in your health and fitness goals. There is no such thing as out-exercising poor nutrition habits. I wish it worked that way, but it just doesn't.
Obesity, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, depression, high blood pressure, auto-immune disorders, Alzheimers and so many others have links back to nutrition. Seriously people, nutrition is absolutely critical to your health and the vast majority of Americans are getting it really, really wrong. We have created a culture where it is acceptable to over-indulge in foods that are literally making us sick while the food and beverage industry cheers us on.
All that being said, food is a funny thing. While the primary purpose is to fuel our bodies, we consume it for so many more reasons than we even recognize or understand. If it were just about fuel, nutrition would be as simple as balancing an equation and we all know that it just isn't. Yet the idea of "giving up" our favorite things in the name of health for even a period of time throws many into a panic or even anger at the mere suggestion. I am not a dietician or a therapist, but I do recognize the impacts that our nutritional choices have on our physical, mental, and psychological well-being. It is a complicated and multi-faceted issue, but one that is well worth doing the hard work to understand and improve. I also recognize that there are widely ranging (perhaps even diametrically opposed) opinions on the correct nutritional approach. I am not going to jump into that debate here, but I think we can all agree that there is no place for sugar, highly processed foods, or excessive carbohydrates and alcohol in our diets. Most of us have room for improvement in these areas of common ground without getting too deep in the weeds of nutritional philosophy.
Where are you going with this Coach?
If you've read this far, I am guessing that this topic resonates with you. A few times each year, we participate in a 6 week (formerly 8 week) intensive focusing on nutrition, hydration, exercise, sleep, and stress management called the Whole Life Challenge. We take measurements and do an intake workout then repeat everything at the end to show you what a difference 6 weeks of clean living can make. It is not an all or nothing challenge and no one is asking you to go cold-turkey on all things that you love. I am only asking you to give attention to and create awareness around what you are eating along with managing the other factors in your life that have impacts on your health.
Let this great community support you in improving your nutrition in the same way we help each other with accountability in workouts. In the context of the Whole Life Challenge, there are three levels from which you can choose. They are not perfect and I do not agree 100% with all the foods that are included/excluded on specific levels. Again, these are details and not a good reason to opt out. We can customize them any way we want as long as we construct a plan and stick to it. Here are their descriptions:
Kick Start—A great place to start if you’re new to the health and fitness game and need to make the most important tweaks to get yourself started in the right direction. Cuts out what your mom might call “junk.” This level will definitely be a challenge that culminates in amazing results.
Lifestyle—A good choice if you are looking for a long-term lifestyle nutrition program. Maintaining it to a “T” post-Challenge might be difficult, but it represents something much more adaptable to a long-term program than the Performance Level.
Performance—The strictest level of the WLC. If you already have good eating habits that you just want to fine tune, have athletic or performance related goals, or have a pressing health issue or inflammatory condition that you’d like to address, choose this level.
How do I sign up?
I will be providing more information on the Whole Life Challenge over the next couple of weeks right here. You can find all the information about the challenge and the different levels at www.wholelifechallenge.com. When you are ready to register, make sure you register for the CrossFit Catacombs team. This is how we support each other through the challenge. It is a closed group made up only of athletes, friends, and family of Catacombs. Here is the link to register for our team. Early registration ends on September 12th so save yourself some cash and sign up now. Also, don't forget to sign up for the CrossFit Catacombs team when you register.
Dates and Dollars
- The Whole Life Challenge Starts September 29 and runs through November 9.
- Catacombs "Pre-Game Huddle" on Wednesday, September 19th at 6PM. Get your questions answered and choose your level prior to kickoff.
- Early registration ends September 12th. During early registration, the cost is $29 for returning players and $39 for new players. Register directly with WLC using the link above.
- Cost goes up to $49 for all on September 13th.
- We will have a kickoff event tentatively scheduled for September 29th. We will do an intake workout, record measurements, and answer any last minute questons.
- We will have a Final Event to repeat the intake workout, measurements, and of course, happy hour.
I will not twist anyone's arm to participate. What I will do is ask you to reflect on what you have to lose by participating. Think about where you could be in 6 weeks with focused effort on nutrition, stress management, and self care. Even small changes can make such a huge difference over time.