“I Finished [the Challenge] in a Much Better Place”: The Fall 2013 BCCC Runners-Up!

As a quick reminder to those of you just tuning in, here’s what it means to participate in a Body Change Composition Challenge at CFCC.  Historically, we’ve hosted this month-long Challenge three times per year. It’s been a cornerstone of our community at CFCC as we’ve grown from a hundred people in a tiny upstairs studio behind 12th Street Gym to the 300+ members strong that share our basement home today.

As we’ve learned and changed over the years, the format of the BCCC has changed. As it stands now, we make baseline suggestions for optimizing nutrition for each of our athletes, regardless of circumstance. Within those guidelines, we encourage the individual athlete to explore his or her personal nutritional habits, identifying those that could use improvement, and committing to that improvement for the course of the BCCC. This is not a “paleo” challenge, where we punish everyone with burpees for eating cookies – it’s a focused effort to simply do the things you say you’re going to do, without fail, for a month.

This commitment could be goal-based or habit-based, for example: “Cook all of my food,” “train 5x per week,” “add twenty pounds to my deadlift,” “lose two inches at my waistline,” “remove gluten and dairy from my diet,” and “cut out alcohol.”

The results were stunning across the board and not necessarily because the participants achieved maximum levels of leanness. There were major shifts in mindsets and overall nutritional approaches, tons of PRs set and major improvements in performance and yes, some very identifiable physical changes – but what was most noticeable to me was that every single winner came into the Challenge looking for a new, sustainable way of eating (regardless of where they were in their personal journeys) and each of them managed to find it.  And in the end, the changes that stick are the ones that will bring the most success going forward.


PS:  If you’re ready to take the plunge into CFCC’s nutrition programs for the first time OR if you’re a veteran BCCC’er who needs a fresh perspective, keep an eye on this space in the New Year because we’re about to change EVERYTHING about how we talk about Food at CFCC.

And, SAVE THE DATES! If you’re planning to prioritize your nutrition as a New Year’s Resolution in 2014, mark your calendars for a FREE Nutrition 101 seminar at CFCC on Saturday, January 4, 2014. This seminar will be designed primarily for those who are new to CFCC or just new to thinking about Nutrition but will also be a great refresher for those of you that need it after the holidays/ at the beginning of a new year, and will be the official kick-start to our January Nutrition Challenge. Again, we’re changing just about EVERYTHING about the way the BCCC runs (maybe even the name!), and we’ll be posting details right after the Thanksgiving holiday….but if you’re even a little interested in participating in January please save the date for the seminar on January 4th! 

We’re excited to host a day-long Balanced Bites seminar right here at CFCC on January 25, 2014. Details and registration will be posted soon. The Balanced Bites seminar is designed to be accessible for all athletes at CFCC, whether you know a little or a lot about food, how it works in your body, and how to triage some issues that you may be experiencing as a result of the way certain foods act on your body.




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I’m proud of John because this wasn’t his first time around the block, BCCC-wise (and we all know that once the shiny-newness of it all wears off, it can get a little tough to gut it out during the parts you know are the hardest. I’m proud of John because he was able to kick some BIG BAD habits during this particular round of things. He was ever enthusiastic and and committed, and his results are a testament to his dedication. After a month, John lost more than 2 inches at the navel and increased his 3 minute burpee score by 13 (no small feat!) 

Can you say a few words about your specific goals for this round of the BCCC? What was your general “plan”? What did you hope to achieve? Did you have any expectations coming in? How did you feel on day 1?

My first goal was not to go off track! The last BCCC I did was in the spring/summer and like everyone says, there is never a “good time” to start something like this. Well, Monday- Friday of the first week I did fine, then the weekend came and it was over. I never dedicated myself to the challenge the way I should have, and I was determined that this time would be different! Day 1 felt fine, I had done Whole 30’s before so I knew what to expect. It was around day 20 I started to get a little cranky. I fixed my crankiness by allowing myself to cheat and have some paleo chocolate chip cookies. They were life and sanity savers.

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

About half way through it, I realized just how much progress I had made in 15 days or so. We had a metcon that involved running, which I generally struggle at. Well, I did the 400m loop in under 1:50, and I was the first person back from the run. (Granted, Zach didn’t show up that day, and King must have come later on, but even if I ran alone, being done around that time was HUGE….for me!) I like that I saw immediate improvements and everything felt better. The general aches I had were gone, some random elbow issue cleared up on its own, and overall, everything improved.

What was the biggest challenge/hardest part?

Temptation from everywhere and everything. Work is the worst place because there is always a cookie, donut, potato chip, etc being waved around and offered to you. And when you go to somewhere as simple as the grocery store, even if you stick to the theory of only shopping the perimeter of the store and not going down any aisles, you will still see various things that can lead you to cry just a little.

What was the most delicious meal you ate? What was your “go-to” meal?

This might be the hardest questions asked. I really like all of the food I ate, and I had no “go-to” meal because I usually had the same thing at least once a week. I work right across the street from the Reading Terminal, so I often buy fresh food there every day, or at least fresh vegetables. The easiest thing I made though would be Bison burgers with pieces of Prosciutto mixed into the meat with some rosemary, pink Himalayan sea salt and a fried egg on top. (I think I know what my dinner will be tonight.)

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

Take it seriously, and to go into it knowing that you have to devote all 30 days to the challenge. Set goals for yourself and don’t change them halfway through. Make the goals realistic, and you’ll probably surprise yourself by the other things you can do that you were not even trying for.

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

To continue improving myself any way I can. I found that by accepting the fact that the whole point in the challenge is to show us that these things 100% make a difference, it is hard to justify returning full time to the junk and toxic stuff I used to eat and drink. Just keep maintaining being as healthy as I can.

What was a typical day of eating and training like for you during the BCCC?

Eggs for breakfast, training at noon, not a heavy lunch but enough food to carry me through the day with occasional snacks like a piece of fruit or vegetables. And dinner was always something like chicken, pork, steak, or fish with plenty of greens. And almost always at least 7 hours sleep, even though I really would want 8, I was quite pleased with 7 hours when it used to be 4 hours if I were lucky!

John at the 2013 Stache Showdoown…the BCCC takes no credit for the beard or the jorts. Photo courtesy Hudson Handel Photography



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Why do I love Lucia? Because she took the plunge into a BCCC within just a few weeks of starting CrossFit. Her food log was that of the typical busy, overstressed student – lots of convenience foods, lots of late night pizza, lots of drinking and very little mindfulness, prep, or planning. It was great to spend the month getting to know her one-on-one and experiencing the magic of CrossFit + nutrition firsthand. Lucia gamely faced down her cravings (including late night pizza!) and challenges and committed to a whole new lifestyle. At the end of 30 days, she felt and looked completely different with results that included not just a 2.5 inch drop in waist circumference, but a whole new perspective on training, food and life! 


Can you say a few words about your specific goals for this round of the BCCC? What was your general “plan”? What did you hope to achieve? Did you have any expectations coming in? How did you feel on day 1?

 My general plan was to eat healthier (look at labels and somewhat paleo), but the focus was to: #1 eliminate dairy,  # 2. go to crossfit 3 times per week (or atleast exercise 3 times per week),and #3. Limit alcohol intake to no more than two drinks per week.

The dairy part was going to be very difficult, as my fiancée nicknamed me “pizza monster” because I love pizza and my older brother called me “super cheddar” growing up because I loved cheese.

Honestly, I did not think I’d be able to do it. I was going to try, but not sure how I’d come out on the other side.  Also, drinking is very social at business, so I felt like I’d miss out on a lot of things.


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

How I felt after the month was over! I was able to fit into clothing I haven’t work in months/years.  I’ve never lost 10 pounds before, and now am lighter than I’ve been in a while. I have more energy, I’ve been sleeping better, and I’m generally happier.


What was the biggest challenge/hardest part?

 The hardest part was at the beginning of the BCCC. I was craving pizza and junk food. I was not hungry, it was just craving cheese.  I went to a class where there were boxes of pizzas stacked within arm’s reach of me, and I could smell the glorious cheese. But I didn’t budge.


What was the most delicious meal you ate? What was your “go-to” meal?

The most delicious meal was Korean grass fed short ribs. These are amazing! I bought a slow cooker and made them over the weekend. My go-to meal was Paleo Quiche breakfast. I made it on the weekends, and would just grab a piece and heat it up in the microwave every day.  The quiche had about a dozen eggs, a pound of bacon, and tons of veggies (tomatoes, onions, squash, scallions, etc)


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

 Stick with it! I started in a bad place (the heaviest I had been in my entire life), and finished in a much better one.  You can do it too. Also, be good to yourself. Reward yourself. I gave myself a treat every five pounds – I’m three pounds away from another one!


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

 I am still trying to minimize the amount of processed foods I eat and I now consume many more fruits and vegetables.  I look at labels a lot more too, to see what I’m putting in my body.  Also, I thought I would go running to pizza and cheese once BCCC was over, but I have only had it a handful of times since then.


What was a typical day of eating and training like for you during the BCCC?

I would go to CFCC three or four times a week. Also, I would cross train with some bikram yoga.


Breakfast: two eggs (scrambled or fried)  with vegetables OR paleo quiche (Eggs, bacon, veggies).

Lunch- Pulled Pork or Chicken, Sweet potatoes (mashed, or baked), mixed vegetables on the side (Squash, carrots etc)

Dinner- Salad (spinach or Mesclun base, BACON (again! J) or chicken, avocado, cucumber, red peppers, corn, mushrooms etc).


Congratulations to our Runners-Up!


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