Tips for Dominating the Transformation Challenge
The foundation of any successful Challenge is paleo eating. If you aren’t eating clean or you have allowed certain foods to creep into your diet, then getting them out is the first step towards success. If you are eating less than 60% paleo foods then you should take the first 2 weeks to simply allow your body to adjust to 100% (or as close to at as possible) paleo. It will need that time to detox from the non-paleo things you were eating. If you were more than 60% paleo, then you will probably only need the first week to adjust back. After that initial period has passed then you will want to adjust your eating based on which division you have chosen, performance gains or weight loss. I want to take a little time and discuss ways each athlete can adjust their diet to help with their individual goals. Remember, each division’s foundation should be the same, 100% paleo!
Let’s talk first about how weight loss individuals should tailor their diet to get the most success out of the Challenge. First, remove or limit all fruits. Yes, wonderful and natural fruits…lose them. On a regular day, outside of the Challenge, then having about 1-2 servings of fruit a day is fine and will allow you to maintain your weight (all other things constant). However, fruits contain sugars and excess sugars cause our bodies to store fat. So, during the Challenge, remove or greatly reduce your fruit intake to maximize your weight loss.
Second, how much water are you drinking? If you aren’t drinking ½ your body weight in ounces of water a day, then you seriously need to kick it up a notch. Water allows your body to flush out toxins, which are released when you burn through fat cells. People often experience flu like symptoms when burning through excess body fat, so drinking adequate amounts of water pushes them out allowing your body to continue burning fat and you feeling peachy keen. Furthermore, being adequately hydrated keeps you from feeling as hungry between meals. Often times we feel hungry when we are really just thirsty. So, stay hydrated and get leaner!
Third tip for weight loss folks, is adding in both a fish oil and milk thistle (not from dairy J) supplement. There are numerous studies indicating fish oil as beneficial for weight loss individuals as it helps to increase blood flow and stabilize blood sugar levels. Milk thistle is an herb that helps to eliminate toxins from our bodies. Individuals with more than 20 pounds to lose need to take some form of milk thistle (also known as silymarin). Since you store toxins in your fat cells, when you drop a significant amount of weight those toxins are released into your blood stream. If you are unable to handle the toxic load, then you won’t be able to burn through any more fat until your body clears the excess toxins.
Lastly, remember to keep your food/beverage journal during the Challenge so your coach can help you get your diet as dialed in as possible!
Performance gain individuals, it’s your turn! Most people who are in the performance gains division aren’t interested in losing weight, you are interested in lifting heavier, running faster or getting your gymnastics movements perfected. Let’s look at some ways our diets can help with that.
First, make your foundation 90% or more in accordance with the paleo diet. It is not just for weight loss individuals, but it is the ideal FUEL for your body. Once that foundation is established there are several ways you can tailor your diet to help you achieve your performance goals. The first of which would be adding in sweet potatoes to your diet on a regular basis. Yes, sweet potatoes are technically paleo, but not everyone should have a green light on eating them. Fortunately for you, I want you to make them a staple in your diet. If you do a strength workout, eat a sweet potato later that day. If you do an intense metcon, eat a sweet potato…if you do both…eat a sweet potato. They are chop full of vitamins and minerals and have plenty of carbohydrates to help replenish those muscle stores. However, I want you eating them AFTER you workout – not before, if you can help it.
Second, if you can tolerate dairy products then add in a high quality whey protein supplement. These are great for both immediately after exercise (up to 2 hours has special benefits) or as a snack during the day. We offer both Progenex and Isagenix protein supplements at ITF. Protein helps to rebuild the tears that occur in our muscles during exercise and whey protein is a fast absorbing form of protein. So adding a protein supplement AFTER exercise will help rebuild muscles making them stronger and helping you recover faster!
Third tip for performance gains folks is to add in brown or white rice. Rice is a hypoallergenic grain, meaning it has far less of the damaging lectins and phytates than other grains. It is a very concentrated source of carbohydrates and therefore great for people who are looking to gain muscle mass! A word of caution – if you are not within about 3% of your body fat goals, then I would not add in rice.
Last, but certainly not least, is hydration. Make sure you drink at least ½ your body weight in ounces of water each day. I was shocked to learn that being as little as 2.5% dehydrated can decrease your performance by 45% (humankinetics.com)! Pure, clean water is the main way I want you to hydrate – coconut water and pure cherry juice are excellent too, but just watch the sugar content. Enough said, keep hydrated and watch those PR’s roll in!
Hope this article was helpful for you guys! Proud of your efforts thus far and crush the rest of the Transformation Challenge!