Paleo Challenge 2012!

We’re back for our 4th challenge and the first of 2012. Below are the details and some general info…

The Dates:
8 week Challenge – Monday 1/30 – Friday 3/23

The Rules:
1. Teams of 2. Participants are required to find a partner for this challenge (let us know if you need help finding a partner). Ideally we’d like you to partner up with someone who you can train with (attends the same class as you) and someone who you would feel bad cheating on diet-wise. (Your spouse might not be your best partner!)

2. You and your partner are in charge of taking your own photos (Front, Side, Back). No weight or waist measurements this time around!

3. You and your partner are required to get body fat percentages taken at the gym. We have calipers now!

4. You and your partner will be required to do a performance test together. Partner  “Cindy” Amrap 20 mins of 5 Pull-ups, 10 Push-ups, 15 Squats. Alternating rounds.

*Once you have met all these requirements you can put $40 per team into the pot and you are good to go. The winning team takes all!

For those of you new to Paleo, as well as our Challenge vets, we are having a 90 minute Introduction to Paleo seminar with nutritionist Diana Rodgers (Radiance Nutrition) free for all CFCA members on Sunday, January 29th at 5pm. She will be able to answer any questions you have along with giving you the details and benefits of the Paleo lifestyle. Again, this event will be free for all CFCA members, as well as open to non CFCA members for $20 fee

Below are some guidelines I found to be helpful.  Please read over it all and let me know if you have any questions. Good Luck!

Why are we doing this? & What to expect…

(text adapted from

First and foremost, this will change your life… it will change the way you think about food, it will change your tastes, it will change your habits and your cravings. It could, quite possibly, change the emotional relationship you have with food, and with your body. It has the potential to change the way you eat for the rest of your life.

 The first few days (at least) will be tough, as your body heals and adjusts to this new way of eating. At some point your energy levels will increase and stabilize. Your body composition will start to change, your performance in the gym will improve, and your recovery will skyrocket.  Conditions, ailments, aches and pains will miraculously start to improve. And through all of it, you’ll be eating delicious, fresh, natural, real food… things that you will come to realize DO taste good, and are both satiating and mentally satisfying.

The 15 rules of the Paleo diet
(adapted from

1. The Paleo diet should be high in fat, moderate to high in animal protein and low to moderate in carbohydrate. Calorie counting is not encouraged, neither is portion control.

2. Eat unlimited amounts of saturated fats like coconut oil and butter. Duck fat, tallow, lard and just about any animal fat are also great, but only if they come from healthy and well-treated animals (see rule 6). Olive oil and avocado oil are also good fats to use in salads and to drizzle over food, but not for cooking.

3. Eat generous amounts of lean animal protein. This includes red meat, poultry, pork, eggs, organs (liver, kidney, bone marrow …), wild caught fish and shellfish. Don’t be scared to eat the fatty cuts if they come from a well-treated animal and all meals with proteins should contain fat as well. Learn to cook with bones in the form of stocks and broths.

4. Eat generous amounts of fresh or frozen vegetables either cooked or raw and served with generous amounts of fat.

5. Eat low to moderate amounts of fruits and nuts. Try to eat mostly fruits low in sugar and high in antioxidants like berries as well as nuts high in omega-3 or low in omega-6 like macadamia nuts and almonds. Consider cutting off fruits and nuts altogether if you have an autoimmune disease, digestive problem or are trying to lose weight faster.

6. Preferably choose pasture-raised and grass-fed meat coming from a local, environmentally conscious farm. If not possible, choose lean cuts of meat and supplement your fat with coconut oil, butter or clarified butter. Also preferably choose organic, local and/or seasonal fruits and vegetables.

7. Cut out all cereal grains ad legumes from your diet. This includes, but is not limited to, wheat, rye, barley, oats, corn, rice, soy, peanuts, kidney beans, pinto beans, navy beans and black eyed peas.

8. Cut out all vegetable, hydrogenated and partly-hydrogenated oils including, but not limited to, margarines, soybean oil, corn oil, crisco, peanut oil, canola oil, safflower oil and sunflower oil. Olive oil and avocado oil are fine, but don’t cook with them, use them in salad dressings and to drizzle over prepared food.

9. Eliminate sugar, soft drinks, all packaged products and juices (including fruit juices). As a rule of thumb, if it’s in a box, don’t eat it. At the grocery store, visit only the meat, fish and produce sections.

10. Eliminate all dairy products other then butter and maybe heavy cream. You don’t need dairy.

11. Eat when you’re hungry and don’t stress if you skip a meal or even two. You don’t have to eat three square meals a day, do what feels most natural.

12. Eliminate to most sources of external stress in your life as possible and sleep the most you can. Try to wakeup without an alarm and to go to bed when it’s dark.

13. Don’t over-exercise and keep your training sessions short and intense and do them 3-4 times per week. Take some extra time off if you feel tired. Consider short and intense sessions of sprinting instead of very long cardio sessions.

14. Consider supplementing with probiotics, vitamin D, and a high quality fish oil. You probably don’t need multivitamins or other supplements. Fish oil has been proven to protect you from cancer, heart disease and inflammation.

15. Play in the sun, have fun, laugh, smile, relax, discover, travel, learn and enjoy life like a daring adventure!

By the way- we’re okay with coffee and tea (black, or with a little coconut milk) if it increases your success with the main food groups but in moderation, and only if it doesn’t interfere with sleep.  Usually, that means none after noon.  If you really want to go hardcore and reset your body’s sensitivity to caffeine, skip the coffee/tee for the seven week period as well. Sorry no alcohol!


 1. Prepare for meals ahead of time… don’t wait till the last minute when you are starving!

2. Have a default meal that is easy to prepare (10 min).  It may not be your birthday dinner but you don’t mind it on a regular basis. Think chicken breast on the panini press with a bell pepper and an apple.

3.  Pre-cook food. Spend a few hours at the beginning of the week and cook big batches of food. This will allow you to minimize the amount of time that you have to spend cooking during the week.

4. Cook more that you need. This is similar to the previous tip, the idea being that if you cook more than you need for one meal then you can eat it later, or the next day.

5. Do not keep junk/unhealthy food that you know you shouldn’t eat, in the house. For most people, if it is in the house they will eventually eat it.

6. Do not run out of food. This is horrible. Do not let it happen to you.

7. Try planning out your meals for a week. This comes easily to type one personality, for the rest of us it can be a nuisance. This has the benefit of ensuring that you know what you need in the house for the week, and eliminates that time wasting period during which you try and figure out what you should cook for dinner.

8. Learn to use spices; this will do wonders for you and will offer variety and different flavors to your meals.

9. Try new things.

Resources & Support

1. First and foremost count on your partner for support and accountability. If you have a camera phone..maybe take a photo of your plate before you eat and send it off to your paleo partner. This may keep you on the rails and make you think twice about bad decisions.

2. The CFCA Paleo Recipe Exchange Group (on Facebook) is another great place to ask questions, share recipes and just get another dose of community accountability. You can find that group here!/groups/173497312719295/

3. The Interweb!  Poke around and look for recipes and more info on Paleo online. There are tons of sites but here are a few.

*And if you like Podcasts, check out Robb Wolf’s Paleo Solution  Download onto itunes and  start from episode 1.

4. If your a bookworm, check out the library at the gym. We have a bunch of books on the topic as well as cookbooks. If they are all out check your local library. My favorite would be Mark Sisson’s Primal Blueprint.  This book is worth purchasing! It explains the paleo diet & primal exercise theory without being too scientific-y.


Ok, so we are doing this. Let’s give it our best shot but please don’t loose sight of the fact that this is supposed to be a fun challenge for the betterment of everyone’s health, performance, and who can’t forget superficial appearance! Try to keep it simple without getting too bogged down in the tiny details of what you can and can’t have. Just using common sense, and making minor adjustments to keep you on track is better than being a food nazi who crashes and burns because they can’t make it work. Find that balance. I do believe that the way you look, feel and perform will be motivation enough to maintain the diet in some capacity at the end of the eight weeks. Make good decisions at every meal without killing yourself especially when going out.   In the words of the prolific super model, Kate Moss, “nothing tastes as good as skinny feels”, except cocaine in her case.  Ok – here’s to next eight weeks and a HOT new HEALTHY YOU!

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