I have something important to share with you: CrossFit has slowly, but surely, changed my life in the past month. In five weeks, I have transformed myself from a 45-mile-a-week runner who supplements running with two days of interval weight training into a 3-day-a-week CrossFitter who does a couple of laps around Queen Anne Hill in addition to one long run every week. I have no idea where I will land on the body fat scale come Monday, when I am scheduled to re-test, but I do know this: I am visibly stronger than I was before starting classes at Urban CrossFit. I have more stamina on long runs and can complete a 3-miler in 20 minutes or so. I have lost the desire to go out after work, primarily because late nights interfere with CrossFit performance. I look forward to every single WOD – to the point where I invent my own WODs when I can’t make it to class.
I didn’t see any of this coming. Trying CrossFit was something that I did, as a nutritional coach, to integrate myself more completely with the demographic that I serve. I wanted to learn, first-hand, about how the Paleo diet impacts strength-trainging performance. I didn’t think I’d like it, I didn’t think it would change my attitude toward fitness and I certainly didn’t think I’d stick with it long-term. It has done all three of these things. Heading into my next nutrition challenge, which is a competition hosted by Urban CrossFit, I have a completely different attitude toward wellness than I did when I started working out CrossFit-style at the end of August.
Urban CrossFit’s Fall Nutrition Challenge kicks off on Monday. It is focused on a mostly-Paleo approach, allowing for full-fat, grass-fed dairy products in moderation. It endorses the use of Vitamin D (sadly that time is upon us in Seattle) and cautions against use of protein powders. In preparation for this challenge, I have been following a Whole 30 diet for the past couple of weeks (with the exception of football games, when I gave myself a hall pass). This challenge is being done with a group of people from the gym in competition-mode – there is a $50 buy-in, none of which goes to the gym. Everyone who completes the challenge earns $30 back and the rest of the buy-in is pooled together for the male/female winners at the end of the 8-week challenge period. How cool is that?
While I’m certainly no Paleo veteran at this point, I do consider myself a Challenge Master of sorts. In 2012 alone, I have completed an Advocare challenge 1.5 Whole 30 challenges, and two strict Paleo challenges. Between these, I have done my best to adhere to a diet free from grains, legumes and dairy while eating the least amount of sugar I can. Moving forward, I feel ready to excel at Urban CrossFit’s Fall Challenge. Sure, there are football game days I’ll have to endure without fries and booze and Thanksgiving will certainly be an interesting adventure, but let’s be honest here – I have felt better while eating Paleo and doing CrossFit this year than I have felt in my entire life. This is not an exaggeration. Every aspect of my life is better when I am living clean than when I am spending too much money on food and drinks and nights out that ultimately do nothing but interfere with my training plans. I appreciate nights out more. I spend more time outside. I have better skin. My stomach is bloat-free. These are all good things.
On Sunday night, I will sit down at El Gaucho after completing my first marathon and indulge in a rib steak, spinach, hashbrowns and chocolate cake. The next morning, I will wake up, walk Blaze and hit up CrossFit as a dedicated Paleo-junkie with her eyes on a cash prize that will undoubtedly be paired with some sweet new muscle definition. I. Am. Stoked.