“Keep It Simple” and “Be Like A Squirrel” – The WINNERS of the Fall 2013 BCCC!

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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From Coach Grog, who worked with Mike one-on-one during this BCCC:  Mike showed some real dedication to this challenge, and particularly reaped benefits in the performance department.  He also noticed big gains in his daily energy levels – a huge deal for someone as busy as he is. He dramatically scaled back his caffeine intake – a tough thing for many to do. Additionally, he started to be more specific with nutrient timing. Congratulations Miele!
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?
From Day 1 was excited, but since I’ve been eating paleo since my first BCCC in Sep 12 I was better prepared this time round. I’ve been constantly refining (getting better at executing) my diet. My plan, with Greg’s help, was to intake less caffeine after noon, eat more vegetables at my last meal (to promote sleep) and measure my portions (something I was loathe to do before). My goals were to lower my body fat percentage from 18% to 16-17%, and get better/longer sleep.
What did you like best about the BCCC this time around?
I took advantage of the one on one counselling. It was eye opening to understand the effects of my current diet on my sleep and recovery patterns. I would recommend this to anyone needing a reality check or an objective look at their diet.
What was the biggest challenge/hardest part?
This time around it was my son and my birthdays occurring in October. So …“ya know dat cake be callin'”….
What was the most delicious meal you ate? What was your “go-to” meal? 
This BCCC it was morning coffee whipped up with a teaspoon each of coconut oil and real maple syrup (Thanks Jessica). Other than that made a crock pot of stew-y stuff every weekend to nosh on all week when I needed something in a pinch.
What advice would you give to someone that’s new to the BCCC?
Prepare, prepare oh and did I say prepare. Prepare for the time when you are hungry and want something quick and are tempted by all the crap lying around. Oh, and do get rid of that crap from your house/apartment too. It’s easy to fall out without something prepared.  Be like a squirrel – hide nuts all over the house. Treat it seriously. It will work.
What habit/change in behavior are you planning to continue now that it’s over?
Less caffeine for better sleep. More Green teas in the afternoon. More carbs after workouts or at my last meal of the day .
What was a typical day of eating and training like for you during the BCCC?
6 am workout with the peeps usually on coffee and banana, I drink BCAAs during and after.
Some hard boiled eggs, protein shake at the office.
1100 – a CFM lunch with  maybe an avocado.
3 PM – a sweet potato
Dinner- some fish and vegetables
Green tea and small handfuls of nuts all day long.


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Why I’m proud of Kali: Although she admittedly struggled with some treats during the course of the month, she managed to stay the course with high quality choices about 90% of the time – including strictly limiting her alcohol consumption DESPITE being a rugby player (this is a BIG deal, for those of you that aren’t familiar with the rugby life). She was committed to her eating plan and her training in the most no-nonsense way possible and, at the end of the month, she handed me a sheet of notebook paper listing all the PRs she BLEW out of the water. Her burpees went from 44 to 48 in 3 minutes, she ran a 26:30 5K and felt like it was a “casual” pace (ed. note: I bow). She added 10 pounds to her back squat and deadlift, and five pounds to her press during the course of the programming cycle and THEN added an additional 12# to her back squat and more pounds to her deadlift at the Total. Despite her focus being entirely performance related, her aesthetic results were nothing to sneeze at either: 2 inches down at her navel AND her waist at the narrowest point, and 1/2 inch down on her unflexed bicep with her flexed bicep holding steady (read: preservation of muscle/loss of fat). 


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 specific goals for the BCCC were focusing on clean eating, specifically paleo and especially no alcohol. I wanted to increase my burpees from 44 to 54 (whoops, that may have been a little unrealistic), do a pull-up with a light plus mini band and go to cross-fit 5 times each week, 4 times if I had a game.

Because this challenge took place during rugby season, I wasn’t really looking to lose weight (because how would I hit as hard?) but was trying to add some muscle and increase my stamina and strength. I planned on making all my meals and at the times I couldn’t, doing my best to find a BCCC-friendly alternative.

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

My favorite part of this BCCC was during practice when my coach asked me two weeks into the challenge, “How is ‘skinny Kali’ doing?” That’s when I realized how much of an impact the BCCC was having. I also definitely noticed a difference in my rugby play, as sprint workouts that killed me earlier in the season became doable and my work rate during games increased. I also saw a lot of PR’s over the past month, which I think is partly because of my eating clean but also because I was going to Crossfit more consistently every week as well. Now I’m definitely going to have to keep up with the BCCC changes I made because I’ve been spoiled and know I’m going to get frustrated now if I don’t PR regularly (which I do realize will happen one day).

Finally, during this BCCC, I feel like I really became a part of the CFCC community. I learned names, saw familiar faces (hey 5:30 class!) and generally loved every minute of it!

What was the biggest challenge/hardest part?

My roommates and friends are the nicest people ever. Like actually, the nicest people EVER. And unfortunately for some reason (I’m not sure if it’s correlative or causative), nice people bake. And in the fall season, with pumpkins and apples and other fall produce, baking becomes almost mandatory. I definitely struggled with restraint when it came to the pumpkin muffins, apple pies, brownies and cookies that were a constant in our home. I did fine when other people were home with me, but when I found myself alone and no one but myself to hold me accountable… well you can guess the rest.

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

I’d first like to give a shout out to spaghetti squash. It was my discovery of the month and I’m in love. I’ve been microwaving it since I don’t always have time to put it in the oven and it still tastes awesome!

My favorite meal was PaleOMG’s Buffalo Chicken Pasta. I’m going to quote Juli’s post on it: “I want to make love to this dish. Sweet, sweet love. It’s that good. Trust me, you need to try it. You don’t have to make love to it, though. That could get weird.”

My go to meal was throwing a pound of ground turkey and a cut up onion into a pan, and then adding two cans of diced tomato once the turkey was cooked through. It’s easy, cheap and I got three meals in one.

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

If you’re focusing on eating clean, keep it simple. If I’d gone with my original menu, with tons of exciting and delicious looking recipes from PaleoOMG and MultiplyDelcious, I’d be completely broke and have gone crazy from the stress. I didn’t have time to cook the way I thought I should be and both my parents (via cross-country phone calls) were pretty instrumental in reminding me that it doesn’t need to be a five-star three course meal every night. Most nights I was just sautéing chicken and onions and microwaving frozen broccoli.

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

I’m definitely going to do my best at continuing to make all my meals and go to Crossfit 4-5 times per week. These two impact all other aspects of my training so I think they make a good focus. I also liked having specific training goals, so I’m now going for my first mini band pull-up (keeping my fingers crossed that my first bodyweight pull-up isn’t far behind), breaking into the 50s for burpees in 3 minutes and a 25:00 or faster 5k.

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

Training wise I was just doing the WOD, although twice a week, I was going straight from Crossfit to rugby practice, which was never fun if there were sprints (which there always were). I also started doing Arianna’s Sunday yoga at CFCC every other week, which I LOVE. I think that her practice is so in sync with everything the BCCC is trying to do as well. I’m really a huge fan now.

A typical day of eating looked like this:

Breakfast: Egg muffins with chicken sausage, spinach, pepper, onion, carrots

Lunch: Ground turkey with canned diced tomatoes and onions

Dinner: Spaghetti squash with chicken, broccoli, and onion.

An occasional cookie or two if no one was watching.


Congratulations to our winners, and best wishes to everyone for a safe and happy Thanksgiving (and Hanukkah) feast this weekend!


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