Ahhh, the valley of the shadow of death at the gym: those weeks between Thanksgiving and New Years when there is an unwritten cease fire on barbells clanging to the ground and an informal blurring of cheat meal into cheat month.
But never fear! We shall blitz the new year brandishing our shiny resolutions and slay the mighty demons whom we forgot to (or never got around to) vanquish last year! Or the year before… or the year before that…
Almost as inevitable as Theresa’s trek to the chalk bucket, we can’t seem to resist promising ourselves that we’ll do better next year. That this will be the year we save more, eat better, worry less, squat 700 lbs, cure cancer, and save the world. And we genuinely know- even before the thought flitters through our silly little brains- that these resolutions are futile and frivolous; fancies to be forgotten within a month.
Yet, we’ve had a lot of success with our January nutrition challenges here at ABV. Instead of committing a monumental, year long commitment eating only premium, Level 5 organic, free range spinach, we try to set smaller, more manageable tasks and goals for ourselves. We like to use these January challenges as kind of a “reset”- an opportunity to remind ourselves of what we’re doing, why we’re here, and how much better we feel when we’re taking care of our bodies. For most of us, adherence to an ultra strict nutrition plan for 365 consecutive days is neither plausible nor wanted; we want to celebrate our fitness, not mourn our lifestyle.
Part of the success of these challenges can be chalked up our commitment to community. In much the same way as it’s easier to push yourself during a WOD with your brothers-and-sisters-in-barbells next to you, there is a lot more motivation when the whole tribe is holding you accountable to the challenge. There’s just something different about attacking these challenges together, knowing that everyone else at the box is going through it with you, relying on each other for ideas and support, and knowing that there is a finish line- that this Puritan lifestyle is not indefinite.
Our goal in doing some sort of nutrition challenge each year is not to prescribe your diet for the year, but rather to expose you to something new, whether that’s Paleo, Zone, Whole30, or anything in between. The hope is that you find one or two things that work well for you- a new recipe or eliminating a particular food or how to be mindful at a restaurant- that you can incorporate into your lifestyle for the long term. Over the years, as you accumulate knowledge, recipes, and strategies that work for you, we can slowly start to craft the best fit, sustainable plan for you.
This year we’ve decided to take the challenge to the next level. We’re participating in the Lurong Living Resolution Challenge: a nationwide challenge with an online platform designed to make this as easy and accessible to each of our athletes as possible. While we’ll crown a box champion for ourselves, this is also an opportunity for us to see how we stack up against other boxes across the country. Us versus Everyone Else.
For those of you who have completed our ABV challenges in the past, you’ll notice a lot of the same framework: the main focus will be on eating well, but there are lots of ways to earn lifestyle points- from workouts, to finding to recipes, to setting and tracking goals. But there are several key differences:
1) The Flexibility
One of the best features of Lurong Living’s challenge is the amount of flexibility it offers. For those of us who just want to get our nutrition back on track after the holiday hiatus, the “Classic Diet Path” focuses more on what types of foods we’re eating without worrying about how much of these foods we’re consuming. For those of us who really want to zero in our nutrition, the “Macros Focus Diet Path” helps quantify and balance how much of these foods we’re taking in.
Beyond which diet path is the best fit for you, there are also different levels of adherence within these paths. Each meal is rated “Elite,” “Pro,” or “Starter” offering even further customization and adaptability between meals. Slip up a bit at a business lunch? No problem- maybe that’s only a “Pro” level meal, and you can get back to your “Elite” status tonight at dinner.
2) The Data Points
This year we’ll be taking before and after measurements to help quantify your improvement. There’s also a benchmark WOD that we’ll perform at the start and end of the challenge to help track your performance gainz. And all of this data will be automatically saved so that we can compare your results this year to next year.
3) The Online Platform
Not only does this simplify tracking your meals and points, but it also gives you access to some really awesome resources: recipes, macro calculator, and a food database just to name a few. Changing your eating takes enough work as it is- we want to make planning, measuring, and tracking as simple as possible.