"Good nutrition, good exercise, improved lifestyle choices make everything that's critical to your well being better. It's huge."
—Greg Glassman, CrossFit Inc. Founder and CEO
Congratulations! You are embarking on one of the most rewarding 8 weeks of your life. Food has the power to make us thrive, as well as to make us sick. You’ll be amazed at how great you can feel in just 8 short weeks out of your life by simply changing what you eat.
This is an eight-week real-food nutrition challenge broken up into two 4-week halves:
For the first 4 weeks, eat real food and balance it. By “balance,” we mean all three macronutrients—protein, carbohydrate and fat—must be on your plate at each and every meal/snack.
For the second 4 weeks, eat real food and Zone it. By Zoning it, you will continue to balance your food by macronutrients and also weigh and measure it.
What’s “real food?” We’re glad you asked. If you can kill it, pick it or dig it out of the ground, you can eat it. So, as CrossFit Founder Greg Glassman first said back in 2002: meat, vegetables, nuts, seeds, fruit, little starch, no processed sugar. Basically, if it has a nutrition label on it, it’s probably not real food. Likewise, no grains, dairy or legumes (except peanuts). Some exceptions to this are olive oil, coconut oil and natural peanut butter.
How do I Zone? Easy. Go here and get your Zone prescription: http://www.zonediet.com/resources/body-fat-calculator/. This will tell you how many Zone blocks you get to eat over the course of a day.
What the hell are Zone blocks?
It’s a macronutrient-based system used to calculate the appropriate amount of food you, specifically, need to fuel your body. Here’s the master key: http://www.zonediet.com/resources/food-blocks/.
You will log your food in Wodify, where your assigned coach will review it, provide feedback, answer question and help you in any way he or she can. You are required to log your food each day for eight weeks. Your food journal must be submitted for review by midnight each day.
If you begin the challenge Zoning, then at the start of Week 5 you may reintroduce dairy, grains (including beer) and whatever else floats your boat. However, for your long-term health, we strongly suggest you reintroduce one type of food per week. If you have an intolerance or allergy to anything, you won’t be able to discern the culprit if you reintroduce everything all at the same time.
Each team is assigned to work one-on-one with a designated coach throughout the challenge. The coach’s main role will be to review your food log on a daily basis, offer feedback and answer your questions within the text of the food log, and to help you figure out solutions to questions or challenges you face throughout the eight weeks.
Challenge Scoring and Compliance
What would a challenge be without a winner?
You will earn stars in Wodify if/when you submit your food log via “My Journal.”
Here’s how it works:
—1 star for submitting food journal for review by midnight.
—1 star for eating real food.
—1 star for all three macros present at all meals (first 4 weeks)/1 star for equal blocks at all meals (second 4 weeks).
—1 star for fish oil.
If more than half of your team begins the challenge by Zoning, it will earn an extra star at the end of each week all team members are compliant with their respective eating.
If your team is compliant for all eight weeks, it will be admitted into the final pool of teams eligible to win. A rating system combining body-composition results, performance on a benchmark workout and challenge compliance will determine the winner. In some cases, we might also consider inches lost in the waist and general weight lost.
Questionable Food Items
What about sweet potato fries?
-All restaurant, packaged, frozen, pre-made sweet potato fries (or any other variety of fries) are a no. If you cook them yourself in the comfort of your own home and in a challenge-approved oil, then yes.
What about chips?
-All restaurant and packaged potato chips (or any other variety of fried chips) are a no. If you cook them yourself in the comfort of your own home and in a challenge approved oil, yes.
What about stevia, maple syrup, honey, agave, or any other extracted sugar?
What about dried fruit?
-Dried fruit is allowed but be certain it does not contain added sugar. If you eat it, check the label and provide the specific brand name when listing it on your food log.
What about Larabars?
-Larabars are fine but be certain not to eat one of the many new LaraBar flavors that have added sugar.
What about white potatoes?
-You can have white potatoes. You’re welcome.
What about cashews?
What about peanut butter?
-As long as it’s natural peanut butter. If it has any added sugar/sweetener or weird oil, then no.
What about snap peas and green peas?
What about salad dressings?
-Salad dressings made with challenge-approved foods only are permitted. Our personal favorite is balsamic vinegar + olive oil
So what oils are allowed, then?
-Olive oil and coconut oil.
We expect you to ask an excessive number of questions of your waiter when eating out to be certain the food you order is challenge-approved. We recommend you ask your server if the food contains extracted sugar, including honey, agave, or other sweetener. Also, ask about marinades, sauces and salad dressings
The Visibility Rule: Should a meal come to your table and there is food on your plate that is visibly offensive to your challenge, we expect you to either send the dish back or eat around the offensive food. Example: If a salad comes with croutons, we expect you NOT to eat them.
For this challenge you will be permitted to drink some alcohols in limited and measured quantities. Again, you’re welcome.
What’s the deal with limiting alcohol?
Overall, it’s not beneficial to the goals of the current food challenge. Here are a few reasons why:
Alcohol is a hepatotoxin (damages the liver).
Alcohol is nearly twice as calorie dense as sugar with virtually no nutritional value.
Alcohol is addictive, which can make it hard to moderate consumption.
Alcohol interferes with glucose regulation (the hormonal response to food).
Alcohol lowers inhibitions and can negatively affect your choices, including what you chose to eat.
For this challenge, you are allowed 7 drinks per week, no more than 2 per day. This is the same whether you are male or female and whether you weigh 105 lbs. or 205 lbs.
Here is our list of best choices for alcohol, should you choose to partake:
Wine (red, white)
Tequila (100% agave)
Ciroc Vodka (grape derived vodka - not to be confused with grape flavored vodka)
VuQo Vodka (coconut derived vodka)
Basically, we want products that are derived from plants, not from grains, which is why you don’t see things like beer or whiskey. Caramel colored liquors also generally contain additives, such as sweeteners.
What’s “a drink?” We’re glad you asked:
Wine: 4 oz.
Liquor - 1.5 oz.
No exceptions. Measure your drinks at home and ask your server when you go out.
Are you saying I can only drink glasses of wine or take shots of liquor?
Absolutely not. However, your mixer must fit into the approved foods list for this challenge. Some ideas are water, carbonated water and fresh squeezed lemon or lime juice. You cannot, for example, use tonic (or diet tonic), any sort of soda, juice from cartons or an excessive amount of fresh juice (think: more than the yield of 1 lemon or lime).
This list contains foods that are approved for the CFSV FitWagon Nutrition Challenge.
This is not an all inclusive list. If you have any questions at all, please ask your coach BEFORE you eat. If you are purchasing something at a store made of foods on this list that has a food label (i.e., vinegar, fish sauce, salsa, etc.), you MUST read the label. It's shocking how many sneaky sugars and not-approved ingredients there are lurking in canned goods and prepared foods. If you have any questions, snap a photo of the ingredients list/nutrition facts and send it to your coach.
Snow/sugar snap peas
Animal fats (lard, bacon fat, etc.)
Coconut (milk and flesh)
Legumes (except peanuts)
"When properly composed the right diet can nudge every important quantifiable marker for health in the right direction.” —Greg Glassman