AND THE WINNERS (OF THE JAN/FEB 2013 BCCC) ARE……

All of you, participants.

(Ducks and covers).

I’m kidding. There are actual winners and runners-up, as promised. And they’re revealed below, at long last. But before we get to them, I really do want to give you all a huge shout-out. Every time we do the BCCC we are taken by surprise by your willingness to try that which is new and scary, or gamely face what is known but certainly challenging once again. You trade hours in front of the TV for hours in the kitchen, turning down Friday night margaritas and Tuesday afternoon cupcakes in favor of tupperware containers full of ground meat and sweet potatoes. You find yourself bewildered in the checkout line at Whole Foods, wondering who kidnapped you and swapped you for the stranger with a (much) lighter wallet and a cart full of broccoli and kombucha. You braved bone broth and liver, grassfed meat and roasted Brussels sprouts. (Don’t tell me that eating your wings with Frank’s Red Hot and butter on Superbowl Sunday was a sacrifice though, because I’ll know you’re lying.)

Somewhere along the way though, things started to shift. Suddenly, you didn’t really want that afternoon cupcake, and you felt pretty awake without the 3rd cup of coffee. You ate breakfast and enjoyed the food you ate and felt satisfied til lunch (or maybe even later!) Suddenly, you were craving kale chips, you freak of nature! Maybe your pants started to feel a little loose, or you noticed that you were sleeping more deeply. You stopped getting acid reflux after you ate lunch. And the workouts! Chin over the bar for the first time, sans band? Boom. Felt the magic of the bar floating upwards during a heavy snatch attempt? Feeling your body move more quickly, more surely, more precisely through each metcon, then waking up the next morning feeling ready to take on the world instead of dragging through your day?

Welcome, folks, to the world of Health. Where your body composition is just one reflection of your ability to complete certain tasks, where you’re celebrated for being stronger than the day before, where you cook and eat and sleep and train to feel amazing, PR on the regular, and live a long and happy life.

When I look at your before and after pictures and measurements, I see that each and every one of you made progress this month. Some people look more than a little bit different than they did in January. LOTS of you crushed PRs. But the most important thing that I’ve heard from so many of you is simply:

“I love this. I feel better than I ever have in my entire life.”

 

Without further ado, we present the male and female WINNERS of the BCCC. These two will split the prize money ($650 each!) Here’s a little more about their respective journeys:

JACK K.

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Jack rolled up to the Q&A at the end of our January Nutrition Seminar with a boatload of questions and concerns. He admitted that, as a pharmacist, he was a numbers/science dude, and as a former wrestler, he was no stranger to intensity, but it also meant that he often set himself up for inconsistency (hello, dehydrating to make weight?) He was determined to jump into the challenge with both feet and spend a month seeing what would happen if he focused on eating, performance and recovery. A few notable things he learned – that non-hungover Sunday mornings are kind of a beautiful thing, that any “diet” that involves meat and potatoes is pretty easy to stick to, that the effing scale is a liar, and that the body can do some amazing things when it’s well fueled. He reached the end of the BCCC 14 pounds lighter with a visible and dramatic change in his body composition (almost 3 inches down in his waist!) Even cooler? He got his bloodwork done before and after the BCCC and emerged with a 40% reduction in C-reactive protein (a measure of overall inflammation in your body), a 25% reduction in triglyceride levels, and a 13% INCREASE in testosterone levels – a Very Good Thing. 

Can you say a few words about your goals for the BCCC?
My goals were simple. I’m really good at controlling a lot of factors in my life both socially and professionally, but never had a healthy grip on food. I wanted 28 days of clean eating, consistent training, and no drinking. I looked forward to the weight loss but was even more excited for the boost in energy.

Part of this challenge was to help work on myself. For so long I was worried about the external world and left the internal side unattended to. I was always capable, just not willing. This challenge, and my performance during, is giving me the confidence back that I left unchecked for a longgg time. I’m valuing myself more and learning day by day that I’m doing something that not everyone chooses to do.

What did you like best about the BCCC?
The thing I liked best was just how great I felt. Once I got past the gluten withdrawal I felt 100% all the time. No bad, tired days. And this translated at CFCC: 7 PRs and a muscle up as well as killing some of the girls workouts.
What was the hardest part about the BCCC?
The hardest part was planning and the death mode I found myself in the first week. I wanted to kill everyone I saw and just bathe in gluten and sugar. Not to mention the dream I had about the FDA busting me for infusing donuts into peoples medication. Once I got over that hump it was cake…hah.
What was your favorite meal over the course of the month?
My favorite meal had to have been homemade scallops and sweet potato hash. Neither dish requires anything outrageous and is made with a few simple ingredients. It’s amazing the combinations you find.
Also- amazing wings. Boil them for 7 minutes to draw the fat out. Coat with a 1:1 mix of grass fed butter and franks red. Bake. Then ask yourself why you didn’t start paleo years ago.
What advice would you have for anyone that’s new to the BCCC?
There was nothing more critical for me than planning. You need to set up a time for everything; groceries, prep, cooking, etc. If you don’t plan you’ll fall for convenience which isn’t the best option.
What habit/change in behavior are you planning to continue now that it’s over?
I’m loving shopping at RTM and the local markets. Ill definitely continue to look for more natural, locally sourced foods.

KAT M:

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 It can be said, without a doubt, that Kat jumped into life at CFCC with guns blazing. The BCCC began when she was just a few days into her Elements cycle, and she showed up at our first Q&A with, well…quite a few Qs. After clearing up a few initial questions and having to (in my most Debbie-Downer way) tell her that Paleo-fying Girl Scout cookies was off the table for a month, I watched her embrace her new lifestyle with high spirits and enthusiasm. She dutifully cooked her way through the month, always game to try out new recipes and always thrilled when she found something new that she LOVED. When all was said and done, Kat showed up at our afterparty a full FIFTEEN POUNDS lighter,  two inches smaller around the chest and navel, and 2.25 inches smaller at the hip, and she smiled the whole damn time. Oh, did we mention that she got her first kipping pullup during the BCCC? Kat’s a testament to Trusting That It Works, that just getting your face in the place and eating well, no excuses, will get you some dramatic results, and that she’s now required to bring the Paleo Samoas to every party we ever have at CFCC, forever.  

Can you say a few words about your specific goals for this round of the BCCC?

My goals were pretty much input-related as I didn’t know what kind of results to expect. I had 4 goals: eat paleo, no alcohol, go to CFCC at least 4 times a week, and meet people. I did pretty well with the paleo, despite a couple of cheats (both conscious and not…I forgot hummus was made of chickpeas!). And killed the other three goals. Definitely is insanely noteworthy how nice everyone is here. And I wanted to connect with people to keep me coming back, which is why I made it a goal to meet people. But that was the easiest goal by far.

What did you like best about the BCCC this time around?

This was my first BCCC, and I loved just plunging myself into the whole thing: CrossFit and paleo altogether. The most helpful thing was having a community of people doing the same thing. I remember on day 3 I was so bummed that I gave in and had my first cheat, and it just felt nice to remember the words of a fellow BCCCer at the first meeting about not getting down on yourself if you cheat, and then it was a relief to read from the Facebook group that everyone was hitting bumps (hating on coworkers for bringing Girl Scout Cookies to work, etc!). And it was a good connection point and a good realization that it wasn’t just me. And it was just generally nice to have other people in the gym doing the challenge, and being able to talk about how everyone was keeping up.

What was the hardest/what did you hate the most?

Breakfast was a struggle sometimes. I very much like “breakfast foods” like cereal and sweeter things every once in a while (like Sabrina’s stuffed challah…I still haven’t made it around to that post-BCCC! Brunch date anyone..?) But I’m getting used to just eating meat and other stuff, and paleo banana pancakes were a life saver. But in general, it was surprisingly easy because I really liked what I was eating. The food is good! Not like any “diet” I’ve ever been on before.

What was your favorite meal?

Definitely my preparing-for-the-Super-Bowl-meal meal. A big juicy bacon+egg+avocado burger, plus the star: Meg’s buffalo wings. I cannot get enough of those wings.

What advice would you give to someone that’s new to the BCCC?

Commit and enjoy the ride! You’ll learn a lot of things about your body (like that you might be lactose intolerant despite your love of cheese and milk). And you’ll meet a bunch of cool people, and learn a great way to be healthy and still enjoy what you eat! That’s the best thing for me. Knowing that I can be healthy and still enjoy food. I love food!

What habit/change in behavior are you planning to continue now that it’s over?

Definitely CrossFit as much as I can is going to keep happening. I’m in love. And I’m going to try to keep to paleo when I cook, continue to cook for myself a lot, and just in general be conscious of what I’m putting into my body and how it affects me (energy, happiness, workout performance, etc.). I need to figure out a plan to eat clean again for a little bit and then add foods back in one by one to really get a better understanding of which foods I can add onto a paleo diet. Hopefully cheese is not the problem food.

 

RUNNERS-UP:

HANK A.

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A former lacrosse player, Hank was also new to CFCC and especially new to nutrition when he started the BCCC in January. I think he told me in one of the Q&As that he’d never before given a thought to what he was putting in his mouth. I think it’s safe to say that the four weeks of the BCCC showed him the light. Hank lost nearly TWENTY TWO POUNDS and almost FOUR INCHES around his waist…and as you can see from his words below, gained a whole new perspective on health and fitness.

Can you say a few words about your specific goals for the BCCC?

My specific goal was to lose as much weight as possible while still getting strong.

What did you like best about the BCCC?

I love my results!  It’s awesome seeing what can happen when you dedicate yourself to something and work really hard.

What was the hardest part about the BCCC?

The hardest thing for me was the first few days – I had a lot of cravings and wanted to break the diet, but once I got over the hump of the first week it was easy.

What was your favorite meal?

My favorite meal was was an omelette with 2 strips of bacon, 2 eggs, and sautéed onions and peppers.

What advice would you give to a new BCCC’er?

My best advice would be to be consistent and strict, and you’ll see great results much faster.

What habit/change in behavior are you planning to continue now that it’s over?

I plan to stay pretty consistent. I now realizee that I can get in shape and all it takes is some hard work and dedication (which goes hand in hand with everything important in life).

ASHLEY F.

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Some people might look at a weight loss of just 3.2 pounds over the course of an entire MONTH of hard work and consider it to be all for naught….and that’s why I invite you all to join me in the ritualistic Smashing of the Scale along with Ashley – who rightfully earns our pick as Female Runner-Up. But look at her! Look at the genuine joy in her face in her after pics (pay no attention to the awesome “before pic” face she’s making). Ashley’s results are a perfect example of why the scale doesn’t always tell an accurate tale. She weighs only 3 pounds less than she did at the start, but she’s down almost three inches at the waist, an inch at the hips, and an inch at her unflexed bicep. Sorry we’re not sorry that you have to get your wedding dress altered AGAIN, Ashley. Congratulations!

Can you say a few words about your specific goals for the BCCC?

This was the first BCCC since I joined CF so I frankly wasn’t even sure what to expect.  Full disclosure: I only was going to try it at first for just a week to do a completely strict Paleo diet, and then take it a week at a time.  And then suddenly it was 10 days later, and I felt great, could see a significant difference already and realized I was almost halfway to the goal of 30 days.  So I just kept going.  My main goal was really to cut back on my sugar in order continue my weight loss (a necessary goal courtesy of 4 years of residency when I basically never slept or exercised).  I was able to not have any sugar for the entire BCCC – which I felt was a HUGE accomplishment and made me realize how much sugar I do eat, particularly hidden in foods I didn’t even realize…marinara sauce, even a can of lentil soup (why?!?).

What did you like best about the BCCC this time around?

The thing that I liked best is actually what I love most about CF–that I think that something might be too hard or I won’t be able to do it, and instead not only can I do it if I just try, but I am better/stronger/faster/etc in whatever it is than I ever thought I would be.  I felt the same way in the BCCC.  I was nervous about trying it and staying strict with everything for 30 days but turns out if I just try, not only could I be successful, but the results would be even better than I could have imagined.

What was the hardest/what did you hate the most?

The part that I hated the most being out in social situations where foods and alcohol were really tempting.   But since my main goal for this BCCC was for weight loss for my upcoming wedding in May, every time there was something really tempting I would literally picture myself in how I wanted to look in my wedding dress and that was enough to be able to avoid it.  It was also actually hard for me to get breakfast together.  I usually just eat on my way into work, and so I had to do much more preparation for what to eat.  But the egg muffins with various fillings (tomato and basil was the best!) were a savior and I now also have a major new found obsession with almond butter.

What was your favorite meal?

I love to cook, and we make a lot of dinners that turned out to be already relatively Paleo-friendly (roasted veggies with meat or fish) so that didn’t take too much of a transition.  But I wanted to branch out in some of our recipes, and my favorite was for Paleo Eggplant Parm (dredged in almond flour with garlic powder, sauteed and then baked with homemade tomato sauce…soooo yummy!)

What advice would you give to someone that’s new to the BCCC?

Being a new participant in the BCCC gives you a world of possibilities to explore things that you can change in how you eat in ways you may never have considered before.  You basically have a blank slate to think about what you want to try.  And just being willing to participate for 30 days and try something new makes you a success no matter what your goals are.

What habit/change in behavior are you planning to continue now that it’s over?

I gave up my venti nonfat vanilla lattes for an americano (a shot of espresso + hot water).  To let you know how significant this was for me: every single person at the starbucks I go to in the morning not only knows my name but they start making my drink for me as soon as they see me walk in.  So that means that I basically had to yell across the line of people for many mornings in a row that I changed my drink–which threw everyone off.  So of course I had to repeatedly answer why I had strayed from 4+ years of the same drink and explain that I gave up sugar and dairy :)  But I have actually really liked my switch (I feel like I can really taste the espresso now) and am definitely going to stick with it!

p.s: I went for my first wedding dress fitting today and after my wedding I will definitely show you all the picture of me holding how much extra dress I have (since my measurements to make the dress were taken 1 year ago).  I could NOT have been happier in how I looked today in my dress and I have all of you to thank for that (not just for the BCCC but for kicking my butt back into shape since October!) [Editor’s Note: Ashley’s gown is strictly top-secret til her wedding, but she promises to show us some great before and after pictures from her dress-fitting appointment!]

So concludes our January 2013 Edition of the BCCC. A hearty congratulations to our winners and runners-up and a sincere thank you, friends, for your eternal patience and enthusiasm this time around! It was appreciated more than you can possibly know.

 

 Mark your calendars and get your sunglasses and neon ready…because in just two short months we’ll be planning for the BCCC: SWIMSUIT EDITION! Now go out, and lift heavy things with virtuosity.

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