I never in a million years ever figured I'd post photos like this on the public interwebs, but here I am doing it anyway. Mostly because I'm kinda blown away by how ripped my back now looks. Please ignore the fact I look like a hot mess, because these were taking immediately after I finished sweating my face off during the challenge test out workout. Also, don't judge me for these shorts. After seeing them on film I know to burn them, they are so not flattering!
I am beyond happy with my results from my Crossfit gym's Paleo Challenge this past January and February. I'm actually now even after the challenge is done still eating this way and love it.
Here's essentially what the challenge entailed.
It started on January 2nd and ran up until February 13th. On these days our workout times and weight was recorded, so that we could measure the improvement after the program was completed. We also took our before/after photos on these dates after the Angie workout, which is why I look like such a sweaty mess in these photos.
Angie is a bitch. She's 100 pull-ups, 100 push ups, 100 sit-ups and 100 squats. Now that the challenge is completed, I've done the workout three times and have improved measurably each time.
As far as the eating thing goes, the foundation of Paleo is to eat all real, non-processed food. There is a heavy emphasis on fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds, and for omni's free range organic meat and eggs. So it's really not all that different than veganism aside from the meat and eggs thing. There were three different levels they allowed people to participate in.
- Beginner: eliminate sugar and grains; 1 cheat day a week.
- Intermediate: eliminate sugar and grains; no cheat days.
- Advanced: eliminate sugar, grains and dairy; no cheat days.
- Expert: eliminate sugar, grains, dairy, legumes and alcohol; no cheat days.
I participated at the advanced level, but they allowed me to leave legumes in. The main reason they say to cut out legumes is most people are intolerant to them and they can cause bloating and something they call "leaky gut". I already knew I was tolerant to legumes since I've done elimination diets in the past and had no issues when I added them back into my diet.
So the big changes for me were no sugar, no alcohol and no grains. The grains one was a huge one for me. I love my gluten free pasta, rice, and all other things grainy. I had been gluten free for a long time but cutting out all grains, including rice, quinoa and corn was going to take a lot of focus and planning for me.
The one thing that really surprised me is after I cut the grains and sugar, I stopped having food cravings. I used to like to snack all day and now I don't have any desire to snack at all. I also crave natural food. When given the choice now between a bag of chips and an apple I without thinking chose the apple. It's made sticking to this way of eating much, much easier than I ever anticipated.
As you can see in the before and after photos, my body apparently loves life grain free! The weight just kinda started dropping off. I didn't increase my workouts or what I was doing, just changed my diet and within a week saw a measurable improvement which continued through the entire challenge.
At the end of the 45 days, here's how I came out.
Angie Time: 23:15
Weight: 154 pounds
Angie Time: 20:45
Weight: 147 pounds!
So I not only cut 3 minutes and 30 seconds off my time, but I also lost 7 pounds!
I also set several personal records during the time frame as well. I'm deadlifting and squatting over 160 pounds, and I even got a clean and jerk record of 98 pounds which for me was insane. Considering I've only been Crossfitting a little over 4 months, I'm pretty proud of that. Vegans can be strong too! I'm happy to be showing my non-veg friends at the gym that the weak vegan stereotype is a load of bull.
I may be strong, but I still have a lot of work to do. My cardio endurance is sad, so I've been given orders by my coach to work on things like burpees, double-unders (jumping rope) and just trying to move faster in my workouts. So that's my next focus.
I'm actually really looking forward to reading this post in the next 6 to 9 months or so and compare these results to the results I have then. I can only imagine how much I will have progressed by then if I got these results in a short 45 days.
Sadly, I didn't win the challenge but my improvements were still noticeable enough that people at the gym are asking me more about vegan paleo. One of the coaches today even asked me if I'd mind helping out with nutritional info for one of their clients who is vegetarian. I was really impressed he asked for help and acknowledged not being knowledgeable on the subject as opposed to pushing his client to eat standard paleo. This also shows me I'm being taken seriously enough at the gym as far as my performance goes that people would think to ask me about my diet as a viable option.
I really can't make any exceptions to the no grain thing. I retain a LOT of water if I eat them. It's gross.
Immediately following the challenge, I somewhat fell off the wagon and during my Mexico trip drank a lot (obvi, I was surrounded by margaritas!) as well as had a lot of corn chips and boy did I pay for it. My body almost reverted back to the way I looked on day one. I'm now two weeks into eating super clean again and I'm leveling back out again thank goodness. Now I know I can't be one of those 90/10 paleo people. I have to eat clean all the time, no exceptions if I want to keep improving. Then again they say abs are made in the kitchen and not in the gym, so I guess it makes total sense.
I plan on creating another post shortly which will outline better what I'm now eating on a daily basis, including what substitutions I've found for things like pasta and grains. There aren't a ton of vegan paleo posts out there on the internet so I'd love to share what I learned.
If anyone has any specific questions on crossfit, vegan paleo, what I eat or my results, please let me know!