Thank you to everyone who participated in the Fall Performance Nutrition Challenge. Your 4 weeks of carefully planned meals, and committed workouts lead to a number of impressive accomplishments across the board. We’d like to extend a special congratulations to our Champion Female and Male Challengers, Jeanne DiPace and “Sailor Matt” Williams. Jeanne finished strong with a nearly perfect point record at 27 (out of 28) max point days, and Matt topped the men’s points category with an impressive 24 max point days. As a result of her unwavering motivation and commitment, Jeanne saw remarkable improvements in all of her physical outcome measurements, while Matt’s double workout days and extra mobility sessions paved the way to a faster performance on the benchmark WOD. In recognition of these outstanding achievements, the winners will receive a limited edition Steaks and Cakes™ t-shirt, and a $100 gift card to Eastern Standard. Please join us in offering a high five to Jeanne, Matt, and the rest of our peers for their great success in this contest.
Now that you have completed the challenge, take a moment to reflect on your experience. Recognize your accomplishments, and identify the challenges that you faced when trying to modify your eating and exercise habits. Did you reach the goals you set out to achieve? If so, consider the changes you made that lead to these improvements, and develop a strategy for maintaining them. If you did not reach your goals, try to identify the obstacles that prevented you from accomplishing them, and think about what you could do differently to achieve greater success in the future.
Aside from your performance related to the outcome measurements, consider the behavior modifications you have made, and try to identify how this has affected your performance, your energy level, or your mood. Did increasing the time you devote to mobility promote better workout recovery, and/or improve your posture during lifts? Did drinking more water each day help curb hunger cravings between meals? Use the knowledge and self-awareness that you’ve gained from this process to strengthen the continued pursuit of your health and fitness goals.
When deciding if you want to bring certain foods back into your diet, remember that resuming all of your pre-challenge behaviors will make it nearly impossible to maintain the improvements you’ve seen over the past few weeks, so choose these regressions wisely. Instead of indulging in these “non-compliant” foods on a daily basis, consider the option of maintaining your strict diet for a majority of the week, and permitting these food items only on planned off days. For example, many people find it most beneficial to practice a pattern of “6 days on, 1 day off”. Experiment with these ideas to determine what will work best for you.
Adopting the dietary changes as defined by this challenge, even for a short period of time, can be extremely useful in increasing our awareness of what we are putting into our bodies, and helping us to understand how these choices affect our quality of life and athletic performance. Regardless of how you plan to move forward, we hope that you all learned something valuable from this experience. You did a great job of facing difficult situations, and supporting your peers along the way. Congratulations to everyone for your exceptional efforts!
Note: To the members who plan to maintain some or all of the dietary changes that they’ve adopted over the past few weeks, please feel free to reach out to me for continued guidance and support. I also welcome nutrition related questions from all CFA members, as I hope to address your sports nutrition inquiries in my periodic CFA Blog posts.
Eat clean. Train hard. Live well.
Kate Clowry, MS, RD, CSSD