We had a total of 11 participants complete the Paleo Challenge (Final Pics and Complete Food Log), and they did not make the selection process easy with the significant results that they achieved. The judging was done based on before/after pictures, food log adherence, and finally, performance improvements were used as a tie breaker.
And the winners are…
Male Winner: Chris Tafaro
Male Runner Up: Chris Sullivan
Honorable Mention: John McCarthey
Chris T. saw dramatic body definition changes, nearly 100% adherence to Paleo even eliminating beer, and improved his Fran time to under 7 minutes. Chris S. improved his baseline WOD by nearly 6 minutes with good adherence to Paleo. Finally, John took over 2 minutes off of his Elizabeth time, not to mention running the NYC Marathon in 3:27.
Female Winner: Linda Tate
Female Runner Up: Clara Rojas
Honorable Mention: Devinn Tafaro
Linda while tracking her results on her blog, achieved remarkable body composition changes while strictly adhering to the food protocol. Clara also witness dramatic body composition changes. Finally, Devinn improved her Fran time by nearly 4 minutes!
Each Winner receives a cash prize of $500. Runner’s Up will receive a Paleo Prize Pack.
While this is a competition, there is something be said for the ability to adhere to these diet principles and incorporate a healthy change in your life. In that sense, you have all achieved something remarkable and deserve recognition for a great positive step forward!
Want to step up to the plate and change your mind, body and soul? Next challenge, January 9th
Name: Doug Delaney (a.k.a. “old guy”)
Crossfitting Since: January 2011
Attends Class: 5+ times/week including Barbell Club and Personal Training
Favorite Quote: “Do or do not. There is no try.”
HOW DID YOU HEAR ABOUT CROSSFIT?
I heard about CrossFit from a fellow endurance athlete. I wanted to start training using the CF Endurance model or a version of it. In December 2010 I made it over to CrossFit Hoboken and met Bennett M. Smith who was busy shoveling snow away from the front door. I don’t remember the workout anymore but it involved medicine balls, box jumps and thrusters. Even though I had plenty of stamina to make it through the workout I was barely lifting the medicine ball at the end. The next day my arms were fried. The session educated me on my massive strength deficits. After trading emails with Bennett I took the Fundamentals class at the end of January.
WHAT WERE YOUR GOALS WHEN YOU STARTED CROSSFIT?
In the beginning my goals weren’t very well formed. I was asked this question the first day of Fundamentals and the only thing I could think of was I needed to get stronger. I wanted to get stronger to become a better long distance runner and to potentially transition to longer races such as 50 milers and 50Ks. I also wanted to run in less pain. Though my goals were fuzzy there was plenty to work on and it would be an ongoing exploration. I had a marathon in California in June. I wasn’t sure if I will continue with marathons or devote myself to longer and weirder races like the Canadian Death Race. I’m planning on the Antarctic Marathon at some point in the future. I want to learn to better perform the olympic lifts, and complete WODs a lot better. Though it wasn’t a goal, my wife Teresa, took Fundamentals and has joined CFH. Now my workout stories actually make sense to her.
HOW HAS CROSSFIT DIFFERED FROM YOUR FORMER TRAINING?
The biggest changes were in strength training and running protocol. I’ve always belonged to a gym but never could get into a strength routine that lasted. The CFH workouts were entirely new to me. Also, I changed my running protocol immediately. I’m trying to learn good lifting technique but it’s a challenge. I was running between 35-55 miles per week prior to CrossFit, depending on my training cycle. Bennett finally convinced me to reduce my mileage and I decreased it considerably. Instead of 8 hours a week running it is now 1-2 hours at the most. I only run 3 times/week eliminating any run over 13 miles. I follow an approximate CrossFit Endurance model with numerous 2 workout days. It takes planning. I enjoy the challenge of the daily WODs along with my private strength sessions. I average about 5-6 of those workouts a week plus running. A major benefit is spending less time pounding the pavement on long slow runs. My legs feel a lot better. I’m still recovering from 4 marathons and 4 half marathons in 24 months but I physically feel much better than I used to feel.
WHAT TYPE OF RESULTS HAVE YOU SEEN WITH CROSSFIT?
Weight loss was not a big issue since I weigh 145 pounds. I probably dropped about 5 pounds after going paleo but I might need to gain weight. My body composition has changed significantly. Without having measured it I know my BMI is considerably less. I am much stronger than several months ago. I’m doing straight and kipping pull-ups and ring dips which 6 months ago weren’t part of my arsenal. My 1 RM lifts have all increased by a minimum of 10%-20%. My training intervals are getting faster from 800s up to 10K. In addition I ran a half marathon last April in major winds and improved my PR while winning my age division. The next day I had no significant soreness or negative after effects. It’s hard to get faster when you are 100 years old so I have to give credit to CrossFit.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR EXPERIENCE AT CROSSFIT HOBOKEN?
My experience has been exceptional. Last November I was getting very concerned about my training. I ran the Berlin Marathon and even though the race went well I didn’t feel I was recovered from it. I was experiencing a general muscle soreness that never disappeared. Coming to CrossFit was literally like walking into a new world. Every member of the staff is great and there are members who have come and helped me when they see me struggling with a particular lift. The Barbell Club has also been a great addition to the programming. The Burpee line rocks. I love the sound of crashing barbells.
WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO ACCOMPLISH IN THE NEXT YEAR IN YOUR OWN FITNESS?
I have to make some decisions on what my running goals are for the next year. I’m not sure if I will stick with marathons, focus on longer distances, shorter distances or focus more on cycling. At the moment I have no long races on my schedule. I usually run a 10K and 15K in December. I will run a half marathon in late Winter or early Spring and I hope to PR using CrossFit training protocols. I’m also considering running a marathon on every continent to become a member of the 7 Continent Club so I have to get busy. My goals are to keep going at full speed. I need to get better at everything at CFH. My biggest deficit is strength and technique so I will be looking to continue to improve my 1RM and wod times and Rx more wods along the way. It is impossible to run out of things to work on at CrossFit. I want to see how much I can do and how well I can do it. I’m pretty driven. One thing I need to master this year is overhead squats, the bane of my existence.
WHEN DID YOU START EATING PALEO?
I started eating a Paleo diet last January. It was a bit of a transition since I had been following a traditional endurance diet that was about 3 to 1 carbs to protein. I had read Ferris’s book the “4-Hour Body” and was intrigued to start eating a more Paleo diet and that was encouraged when I took Fundamentals. It was a hard transition since I was so accustomed to carb loading and many of my favorite foods tended to be pasta, ramen, mac & cheese. Also, massive fruit and yogurt smoothies were part of a typical breakfast.
WHAT DOES A TYPICAL DAY OF FOOD LOOK LIKE YOUR YOU?
I’m big on eggs in some form in the morning. If not eggs I will eat something leftover from dinner. I like protein in the morning usually combined with blackberries, blueberries or some other fruit. When I arrive at an early morning workout I’m usually carrying a cup of coffee, but its black with no sugar. Midday I almost always have a large salad and either chicken or fish depending on where I am that day. I snack on almonds and fruit though I try to not overdo it. Dinner is usually the same, protein with vegetables. I like to make enough for the next day. We try to shop at Whole Foods or Farmers Markets at least once a week. If I have a problem it may be that I don’t take in enough calories sometimes. Working out twice a day can deplete me. If I don’t have food around that I want I probably won’t eat. So eating more calories is a goal.
HOW DID PALEO ACCELERATE YOUR WEIGHT LOSS?
Weight loss was not an issue. I think I may have dropped about 4-5 pounds. I don’t know how much lighter I can get. I know my body composition has changed but I still look like a weakling when standing next to most people at CFH.
HAVE YOU FOUND IT HARD TO ADHERE TO PALEO DIET?
I found it hard at first but after doing the Paleo Challenge it got easier. My favorite long run recovery food was ramen and I have not found a good replacement. However, I feel very good on a Paleo diet, I have energy, I sleep well, and currently I have no interest in going back to my former diet. I will be interested in seeing my test results next time I go to doctor.
OTHER THAN PALEO WHAT OTHER DIET TOOLS HAVE YOU USED?
I have never been big on dieting. If I need to lose a few pounds I usually just cut down on certain foods and stop snacking. I have experimented with fasting but I have not incorporated it into a routine. I don’t use specific plans or logs. Prior to going Paleo I just made sure I ate more carbs than proteins.
WHAT IS THE HARDEST PART OF GOING PALEO?
It hasn’t been very difficult but there are times in the morning when people in the office are downing bagels that I have to walk away. For me it is just the planning and thinking ahead. In the past I never had to plan too much about what I ate. Whatever was available would be fine. I can turn most meals Paleo without too much trouble but I need to create a bit more variety.
DO YOU PLAN TO CONTINUE WITH THIS WAY OF EATING PERMANENTLY?
Yes. And I bore everyone I know by urging them to stop eating grains and wheat.
Name: Mike Carr (a.k.a. MC)
Crossfitting Since: June 2008
Attends Class: usually late evenings and Saturdays
How did you hear about Crossfit?
I heard about CrossFit from some skier buddies and my cousin who found it thru his MMA gym.
What were your goals when you started?
My goals were to ski faster and more efficiently with less injuries (I get pretty beat up skiing the way I do) and to be able to lift heavy/O-Lift without getting yelled at. You hear that NYSC?
How did your new regiment differ from previous training?
CrossFit is way more intense than what I’d been doing since college. I had continued lifting heavy (particularly squatting) and O-Lifting, but CrossFit re-introduced me to an intensity that I hadn’t encountered since.
How was your fitness level when you got started?
When I first started CrossFit, I weighed in around 225. Not sure of the bodyfat % but I’m guessing it wasn’t pretty. I was lifting pretty heavy, but that was about it. Metcon killed me every time.
Then came the Paleo Challenge:
Starting weight: 217.9 lbs
Starting bodyfat: 18.2%
Fran time: 7:34
Final weight: 202.8 lbs
Final bodyfat: 13.0%
Fran time: 6:45
In addition to the drop in Fran time, I’ve PR’d almost all my lifts and dropped 4 minutes off my 5K.
How do you like the community and support of the challenge?
Pure awesomeness. Love the gym. Love the people.
What are some of your goals for the next year?
Wow, I dunno. Getting a muscle-up and getting as close as possible to a 1K CrossFit Total would be great! Other than that, just skiing with more power – there’s always room for that
What is the difference between semi-compliance versus full compliance in your diet?
I started eating about 80% paleo a year or so ago, and saw some minor gains. Going 100% was the game-changer for me. I can’t stress the world of difference that last 20% makes. Absolutely astounding.
What does a typical day of eating look like for you?
I’ll have 3 or 4 paleo muffins (basically scrambled eggs with some type of meat and pepper in it), a banana, and coffee. Lunch is some kind of meat-based salad. Dinner will be some form of meat, be it grass-fed beef, chicken, pork, or some sort of fish, with sautéed spinach or asparagus and avocado. I’m also hooked on sweet potatoes with coconut oil and cinnamon on top. Snacks are usually some sort of fruit, jerky, and raw coconut from the bodega by CVS. Dinner out is usually the pork chop with mashed sweet potato and Brussels sprouts w/pancetta from Brass Rail. It’s a great dinner, and as paleo as you can get in town without just ordering a pile of sashimi.
How hard is to resist former foods that were part of your diet?
Once you really get going it’s actually harder to cheat! After the second week of the challenge I’d crave specific things, like avocado or a grapefruit – like my body knew exactly what it needed. The cravings for crap food stopped altogether. I got to the point where a sandwich wasn’t appetizing. It was pretty crazy.
What helped you win the challenge?
Planning meals was absolutely key. Failing to plan is planning to fail. The food logs definitely helped with that. I’ve never fasted on purpose but there are days where I’m just not hungry so I just go with it.
That’s great Mike, but what really led to victory?
It was starting up the meal planning – the shopping and cooking ahead of time. It took a while to realize that I needed to have everything planned and set because there aren’t a whole lot of options for you if you haven’t. Oh, and giving up wine and cheese was rough, but not as bad as I thought. I’d allow a cheat here and there just to keep sane.
Do you plan on continuing to eat this way?
Absolutely. Meg and I are actually starting an in-house paleo challenge of sorts tomorrow!
1. WHEN DID YOU START EATING PALEO?
Day 1 of the Paleo Challenge: 6/21/11
2. WHAT DOES A TYPICAL DAY OF FOOD LOOK LIKE FOR YOU?
Breakfast: Eggs with spinach, tomato, and sometimes bacon
Lunch: Usually leftovers from dinner or a big salad with salmon or chicken with a ton of vegetables
Dinner: Meat with vegetables, and maybe some sweet potatoes
**I’ll also throw in fruit and a handful of almonds or walnuts at some point throughout the day as well.**
3. HOW DID PALEO ACCELERATE YOUR WEIGHT LOSS?
When I started CrossFit, I definitely saw results right away in terms of increasing my endurance and strength. But it wasn’t until I changed my diet and started Paleo that I saw significant changes in my body composition. Truth is, my family jumped on the Paleo bandwagon way before me last winter. So they are a great example of Paleo being really successful for weight loss, even without a program like CrossFit. Between four of us, we’ve lost nearly 100 pounds in 7-8 months.
4. HAVE YOU FOUND IT HARD TO ADHERE TO THE PALEO DIET?
Honestly, not really! Not after the first few weeks at least. It was surprising how my tastes started to change and I eventually just stopped craving bread, cheese, and other foods that I used to love. As a (former) “nacho connoisseur,” I never thought I would see the day when brussel sprouts became one of my favorite foods. Trust me – sprinkle them with olive oil, salt, and pepper and roast them in the oven on 400 for 40 minutes and you will love them too.
Sticking with Paleo, though, does take some commitment and some extra time to plan out my meals and cook them. But finding good recipes to try at home and eating out are not nearly as hard as I thought they would be! While some waiters might consider me slightly — or very — annoying at a restaurant when I ask to substitute certain foods or for a salad instead of fries, I have never been in a situation where I can’t find something on the menu that I can eat.
5. OTHER THAN PALEO WHAT OTHER DIET TOOLS HAVE YOU USED (E.G. FASTING, MEAL PLANS, FOOD LOGS, ETC.)?
Keeping a food log and planning out my meals for the week were, and still are, very key for me. But if you have the right food in your fridge though, the planning and cooking is easier. On really busy weeks, I’m a huge fan of FreshDirect — you can’t beat groceries delivered right to your door the very next day!
6. WHAT WAS THE HARDEST PART ABOUT GOING PALEO?
The hardest part was just having the discipline to stick with it in the beginning. But I’m incredibly competitive, so doing this as part of a group challenge definitely kept me motivated in the first few weeks. Knowing that there was some serious money on the line and that I would have to write down everything I ate made me think twice about ordering that late-night pizza or diving into the bread basket before dinner.
7. DO YOU PLAN TO CONTINUE WITH THIS WAY OF EATING PERMANENTLY?
Definitely! I found something that works and it’s now relatively easy for me to follow. I feel too good to give it up.
The real benefit of participating in the CFH45 Paleo Challenge is in the improved health and wellness you all achieved from incorporating the Paleo Solution into your lives. With that said, there were many compelling body composition changes witnessed at the end of the challenge. The criteria for determining the male and female winner was before and after pictures, food journal and performance. Before and After pictures were judge based on relative change. Food journals were assessed by percentage adherence. Performance was judge based on improvement (e.g. % increased like number of rounds or % decreased time). One other note on performance, many of you were able to complete full range of motion on exercises and improved in that way, which was taken into consideration when assessing performance. So with all those items considered, it was a very tight race…
Based on the aforementioned criteria, the winners are…
Female: Kara Lennon
Male: Mike Carr
Female Finalists: Kara Lennon, Megan Troxel, Amy Glynn
Male Finalists: Mike Carr, Enzo Gonzales, Doug Delaney
Kara and Mike will receive $500 Cash Prize as well as 1-month membership at CFH
All 15 People who finished the challenge will be receiving $25 back…
CONGRATULATIONS TO EVERYONE! Next Challenge starts in mid-September!!