Thoughts from the runners’ up winners of the previous BCCC!

It’s no secret to anyone who’s hung around this spot longer than a week or so that we’re a crew that loves delicious food (perhaps because we live smack in the middle of approximately eight million amazing burger, brunch and boozin’ spots). Yes, we enjoy the Good Things in Life, but we’re also committed to training hard and training well – and one of the most important lessons we try to teach is that no matter how hard you try, you can’t out-train a less-than-nutritious diet.

What constitutes “good fuel” is different for each of us, and we’ve definitely learned that at some point, you need to shift your focus to setting a goal – be it leaning out, muscling-up, pulling 300 pounds or simply getting your chronic acid reflux under control –  and committing yourself 100% to doing whatever it takes to achieving that goal.

Back in May and June, almost seventy (!) of you decided it was time to tell your inner two year old to shut it, set some short-term goals, and COMMIT to six weeks of solid   nutrition. There were no overarching “rules” (and there never will be – we’re all different, after all). All we asked was that each participant did what they said they were going to do for the duration of the Challenge.

At long last, we’re thrilled to finally highlight some amazing folks from June’s Body Composition Change Challenge (all details about the Challenge are HERE).

The bios for the FOUR WINNERS of the CFCC BCCC will be posted tomorrow!

BEST LOGGING:

1st Place: Ramsey Beyer

Ramsey’s blog is amazing in so many ways. First off her photography is to die for. The images she includes will make you hungry to try some vegetarian delights and eat more veggies. Ramsey also gets real about her struggles with food, weight and life in parts of her blog. Plus she is 100% honest about the challenges she has and the days she doesn’t eat as clean. She includes details about her sleep, food reactions, activity levels, times of eating, and reflection and feelings. Follow as Ramsey Gets Big!

-Abbey

What did you love about the BCCC?
It appealed to my neurotic sensibilities. I love blogging, charting, graphing, mapping, and generally tracking things. I had never applied that to my food before, but after starting, it made total sense that it would be a really effective way for me to take control over my eating. It demystified the entire concept of “healthy eating”  and made it something really tangible that I could understand and literally see in a concrete way (via logging and blogging). It also just made me feel incredible! I had much more consistent energy. I felt proud of myself every day. I felt confident about the choices I was making. And I knew I would get results.
What did you not like so much about the BCCC?
My food choices did feel slightly repetitive over time, but I think that was in large part to doing the BCCC as a vegetarian and most of my protein options being pretty heavy in carbs, and thus eliminated.
What is one thing that you learned that will stay with you during the BCCC?  
To look at the bigger picture of individual foods. I was really used to taking things at face value, like eggs are bad, beans and rice have a lot of protein, fruit is healthy, quinoa is filled with protein, etc! But looking at each of those foods, I learned a lot about other things they also contain that might overshadow their most commonly talked about feature. Also, it made me really aware of how much stress and lack of sleep play directly into my food cravings! It was really easy to see, after logging, that I caved in to cravings most often when I hadn’t gotten enough sleep, or hadn’t had enough protein during my day.
Favorite meal during the BCCC?
All sorts of omelets, or egg sandwiches made with eggplant slices instead of bread slices.
One piece of advice?
Use a food logging app! It was definitely the best way for me to learn about the benefits and drawbacks of specific things I ate and made it easier to game plan what my next meal would be  to keep my macros in check by the end of each day. It made it so clear which foods should be cut out or eaten less.

2nd Place: Jan (PRONOUNCED like “Y”) Lee 

This was Jan’s first time doing the CFCCBCCC and once I explained to him how important a good food log was, he dutifully began. His log was organized, easy to read, and most importantly contained The Good, The Bad and The Ugly (and pictures! and thoughts and reflections!). And it was great to see how, because he wrote down what he was putting in his mouth, he very quickly started to connect what he ate to how he felt and performed. Best of all? He was HONEST about the choices he made along the way, and it allowed us to answer questions he had about what constitutes good/better/best choices in certain situations and how to avoid faceplanting in nachos at happy hour. 

-Meg

What did you love about the BCCC?
I loved that I got to connect with a lot of CFCCers I haven’t met yet and talk about workouts AND food. It was also really eye opening to how good I could feel. I used to not eat before workouts and keeping a food log helped me figure out what works to make me feel the best when I work out.
What did you not like so much about the BCCC?
I didn’t like … (aw, thanks, Jan!)
What is one thing you learned that you think will stay with you even after the BCCC?
That I can cook pretty tasty food easily that’s way better and healthier than buying food. Also that it’s okay to eat.
What was your favorite meal during the BCCC?
Eating 3/4 of a whole chicken cooked in my slow cooker. Juice of a lemon, thyme, salt and pepper all over the chicken.
If you had to give one piece of advice to those in the next challenge, what would it be?
Don’t listen to the cookies. Be honest with yourself. It’s just like CrossFit where every bit you give is what you get.

BEST PERFORMANCE INCREASES: 

1st Place: Conrad

Since Day 1 of the BCCC Conrad has managed to hit MANY huge milestones even while working long days, training only at the late-late sessions at CFCC, and EVEN waking up in Atlantic City and having NO idea how he got there during the first weekend of the Challenge.  Needless to say, having Conrad under my tutelage was a pleasure I consistently reminisce about when I see him waltzing into the gym now and achieving more and more.  During the BCCC he hit a bodyweight Clean and Jerk (which he has since surpassed – in addition to adding some REAL poundage to his best Snatch) AND he got (and managed to be able to repeat) his first muscle-up.  Conrad was able to really embrace his pursuit of his potential during these 30 days and I couldn’t be more proud of him for laying as much of himself on the line as he could – in order to smile REAL big when more and more pounds went (and continue to go) over his head than ever before.

-e.

What did you love about the BCCC?

I loved the personal attention, and the flexibility.  There are so many schools of thought out there on how one should eat, but you have to figure out what works for you.  Personal attention, and the feedback you get from your body, helps customize your food plan as you work towards the beach bod.
What did you not like so much about the BCCC?
Nothing. But remember “take everything you hear with a grain of salt.” – This applies to even the things super awesome cfit trainers tell you.
What is one thing you learned that you think will stay with you even after the BCCC?
CARBS!!  For years I had been stuck to the mentality of no carbs if you want to lose weight.  I subscribed to the Atkins methodology, which works, but its not ideal for someone working out heavily.  I realized its why I struggled in gaining muscle – I could effectively lose weight, but it seems my muscle was going with it.  The other issue is I was stuck at some of my PRs for a while, like years.  A BALANCED diet helps change that.  If you constantly work out on Atkins, expect to lose weight, but expect your strength to go with it too.  I somehow lost a good bit of weight, and crushed my C&J PR, while actually adding potatoes to my diet.  Adding potatoes?  How do you lose weight while adding potatoes to your diet??  Not sure, ask Erin.
What was your favorite meal during the BCCC?
Breakfast – super easy.  Buy a can of salmon from Trader Joe’s ($2.99 for a big can), and add about 1/4 of it to 2 eggs scrambled in the morning.  Breakfast of champions.
If you had to give one piece of advice to those in the next challenge, what would it be?
Don’t be afraid to add carbs into your diet.  This may not apply to many, but finding the right balance of carbs and protein in your diet, plus hitting the gym hard, is a powerful combination.

2nd Place: Eileen Horgan 

Eileen: rugby player, long-time CFCCer, and one of the most dedicated athletes I know – has struggled with really, truly LEAVING THE BANDS BEHIND for a while.  In theory – the easiest way to do this is to get strong enough to do pull-ups without them.  That said, there seems to be this really muddy territory where your strict pull-up for a single is one or two… but your kipping pull-up just SINCERELY can’t seem to get beyond 1 – and even that 1 is really more of a “maybe I did it, maybe I didn’t, was Erin looking?, I gotta go to work imma-use-this-mini-band-so-i-get-outta-here-in-time-for-coffee” kind of thing.  
Well, in Eileen’s case, I was looking – and I have been LITERALLY bothering her about practicing her kip, and gaining confidence in her pull-up for almost a year now.  And, unlike so many others who I feel like I bother just as much – she REALLY has been here, has put in the time and been to EVERY Kipping Seminar we’ve EVER held.  During this past BCCC, something. just. clicked.  Now, I pretty much feel like tearing up when I see her kipping away like the champ she is.  On top of that, Eileen’s Clean and Jerk has been steadily improving (she had a near 10lb. PR in the middle of the BCCC – up to 124lbs!), and she did “Fran” rx’d for the FIRST TIME in 10:04 and THEN during the challenge PR’d her time at 9:51 – that’s crazy awesome!  Additionally – this is not all about her getting lighter making everything easier either.  Her deadlift shot up a full 20lbs. from 260 to 280lbs. and she is WELL on her way to hitting the 6th spot at CFCC for a woman that can deadlift 300lbs. at our next CrossFit Total.  
-e.
What did you love about the BCCC?
 I loved that throughout the BCCC I was held accountable for my actions.  It made me way more mindful of what and how much I was eating.  Just knowing that someone else was going to be looking at my food log made me say “wait, why am I about to chow down on these pretzel m&ms?”
What did you not like so much about the BCCC?
I have to say that I really liked this edition of the BCCC.  (Eileen is a tried and true veteran of a few BCCCs!) I wasn’t able to make the potluck but I thought that was a great idea. Maybe more CFCC BCCC potlucks in the future?
What is one thing that you learned that will stay with you during the BCCC?
I learned that it takes time and discipline to create healthy habits but once you start making changes it gets easier day by day.  Now I don’t even really want to eat junk food because of the way I feel afterwards.
What was your favorite meal during the BCCC?
My go-to meal is chicken sausage sauteed with spinach and red peppers.  Also, I cannot get enough kale. I love that stuff!
If you had to give one piece of advice to those in the next challenge, what would it be?
My advice would be don’t be too hard on yourself.  Making changes, especially ones that challenge conventional nutrition wisdom, take time and can be hard.  One misstep isn’t the end of the world but it is important to recognize how you feel afterwards.  I used to be obsessed with pizza.  Now I can’t even eat it because of how crappy I feel afterwards.

MISCELLANEOUS AWARDS: 

The Willy Wonka Award – Jen Borck Hadley, for aggressively attacking the sugar addiction monster.

Jenn had some amazing results but what stands out most from her struggle through the challenge was beating the ever-challenging sugar addiction. Jenn was honest about her sugar sneaks and went as far as confessing to noshing on Gobstoppers! But after her initial week, she worked hard at cutting out the sugar even though it tempted her. Jenn may not have been the happiest especially when I told her no sugar did mean EVEN in her coffee but she stuck to it during the challenge. With careful planning and creative distractions from other outlets, Jenn made it through night-time boredom AND family events without having sugar or snacks. Lastly, Jenn found a new love for cooking and trying new recipes. 

-Abbey

What did you love about the BCCC?
I loved how much better I felt during the BCCC.  I had a lot more energy and when I ate I was full and energetic instead of feeling like I was going into a “food coma”.
What did you not like so much about the BCCC?
I didn’t really like giving up sugar completely, though I knew it was good for me.  I definitely had ALOT of cravings I had to deal with.
What is one thing that you learned that will stay with you during the BCCC?
I learned that you can live without sugar in your life.  I’m definitely more than a sweet tooth and I realized that you don’t have to put powdered sugar on your berries…you can just eat berries.  Also you can drink coffee without sugar in it, it really doesn’t taste as good, but you can get by without it.
What was your favorite meal during the BCCC?
Its really hard to pick one meal, so many were delicious.  At first I thought that it was really limiting what I could eat.  But once I got a cook book and started taking the time to cook meals etc. it was really easy to find LOTS of tasty things to eat.  If I had to pick just one I think I would pick the slow cooker chicken (just a seasoned chicken in a slow cooker over a cut up onion) with mashed sweet potatoes with cut up apple and cinnamon in it.
If you had to give one piece of advice to those in the next challenge, what would it be?
Stick to it!  You will feel so much better not eating gluten, its worth the first week of misery.

The 180 Award – Mike Barba, for starting out with soda(s) and ending with hint water.

We all had “where we started” stories coming into this round of the BCCC. I was thrilled to see that so many of you were veterans at this whole healthful-eating Thing we do here. A good portion of you just wanted to tighten up an already decent diet that had strayed a little farther into the territory of “celebrating all the things at all the restaurants” or, ahem, “sex with your pants on” aka, “Gluten-free brownies make an awesome breakfast” or my eternal favorite/guilty pleasure, “Paleo+beer. All the beer.”  However, I’m sorry to say that the 180 Award is not for you. It’s for the newbies, the first timers, the people who ended up in this awesome gym we all call home that decided to ask the big questions like “WHOA. Wait. A Cinnabon for breakfast isn’t the best idea?” or “What do you mean my sandwich at lunch is making me tired at 3pm” or “why are all these people waving bottles of coconut water in my face?” and “Why are you all obsessed with bacon and sweet potatoes?” 

The 180 Award celebrates the journey from the very beginning – from the moment you decide to take the sandwich fixings out of the bun, scramble up some eggs and vegetables for breakfast, and reluctantly trade in your daily Pepsi for sparkling water. It celebrates the immensity of the carb flu and the sugar cravings and your inevitable triumph over the dessert tray at dinner. It celebrates the first time you pack beef jerky in your bag knowing you’ll be on the road for hours.

It’s obvious that MB deserves this recognition. Coming into the BCCC after just a few weeks of Crossfit, he’d already experienced some not-insignificant weight loss. I knew after seeing his first food log, a log that consisted of A LOT of diet Pepsi, sandwiches on the Amtrak train, and candy, that he would see amazing results by the end. And sure enough, he came through – with a nearly 15 pound weight loss combined with seven inches lost around his waist, all coupled with a totally  calm, no-drama attitude about the entire thing. Even though when he ditched Diet Pepsi, he was ditching his main source of caffeine (so he had to push through a double whammy of breaking the addiction to Diet Whatever AND cutting back on caffeine. Oy.) Even though his job has him on the road and the train at all hours and often has him working through lunch and dinner. M is the perfect example of the great results you can get just by making these big changes at the very beginning, and staying CONSISTENT with those changes for the course of your journey to good health. The best moment for me, though? Was when M posted on Facebook after the BCCC ended that the Diet Mountain Dew he’d decided to allow himself as a post-BCCC treat “tasted way too sweet” and he “couldn’t even finish it.” Way to go, M. It’s only going to get better from here. 

-Meg

Meg wrote enough to make you AND me tear up. Additionally, Barba did want us to save details of his specific progress until the NEXT Challenge :) I’m looking forward to it!

CONCLUSION? Join us on the CFCCBCCC Train to Awesome! Our next Challenge begins this September (details to come soon!) Looking for more information about what the heck we’re talking about? Head back to this post or stop by our next nutrition seminar on Saturday, September 8th. Mark your calendars!

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