Whole Life Challenge – Time to Prepare!

By August 17, 2014 wod No Comments

NOTE: There will be no NOON class this Tuesday (8/19). All other classes will be as scheduled.

We’re getting ready for the Whole Life Challenge (WLC) at the gym, and we are very excited! We love that this challenge is geared towards creating a sustainable approach to lifestyle change.

While the WLC is not just about nutrition–it is also about mobility, exercise, and consistency of all behaviors–dietary choices are a substantial component of the challenge and seem to be a major source of stress for many potential challenge participants. Perhaps the number one thing I hear is “I can’t do this.” (Yes, yes you can!)

Often, this is followed by, “I LOVE (insert “forbidden” item).” Truly, I get it – I love (chocolate, a good glass of wine, lasagna, cheese, etc.), too. But (and here’s the critical thing), you can survive without them. (Shocking, I know.) Moreover, the whole point of the WLC isn’t to go cold turkey on your favorites for 8 weeks and make it a deprivation challenge, but to make reflective decisions about what, when, and how you are consuming foods. So, if you really want that glass of wine/piece of chocolate/pop-tart? Go for it but mindful of what you’re eating and how it’s affecting you and your score.

At its heart, however, I think many of these hesitations regarding the dietary framework of the challenge reflect concerns that it will be hard. And, to some extent, it is. Not in the this-is-so-hard-it’s-impossible sense, but in the fact that eating this way requires more planning and cooking than may currently be a part of your life. Label reading reveals hidden, sneaky ingredients that is frustrating, yet quite illuminating about how many chemicals/sugars we unwittingly consume via seemingly innocuous food products.

So, to make it less hard on yourself, you need to start preparing. And, to prepare, you need to understand the nutrition rules. You get five points per day for nutrition, provided you do not consume anything that violates the challenge guidelines. For each food/serving eaten that contains something not within the guidelines, you lose one point.

In recognition that we’re all different people on different journeys and at different points in our life, the WLC offers three levels of nutritional guidelines to follow.  The most strict level is called “Performance”, the next level is “Lifestyle” and the level which allows the most flexibility is called “Kick Start”.  If you are familiar with Paleo, you will realize that this is NOT a Paleo challenge.  The WLC follows many of the same guidelines as Paleo, but not all. There are also guidelines for vegetarians, for example.

Here is a handy guide to the differences in the three levels:


Remember, the point of this challenge is to help you be mindful of what you are consuming. By the end of the challenge, you should be more aware of what is in the foods you regularly purchase at the grocery store, as well as more aware of your personal preferences and challenges. You can choose to adhere strictly to the guidelines if you wish, or you can be more flexible with your choices. How you choose to play is up to you.

However, it will be hard to play well if you don’t start from a good position…so start preparing! Some things to do:

  • Mark items in your cabinet that are WLC-approved vs. not approved so that you can easily make choices while preparing meals.
  • If you know you struggle with willpower avoiding certain foods (and you would like to avoid those foods), either donate them (if appropriate) or throw them away. You’ll either find out that you can live without them or you can reintroduce them at the end of the challenge.
  • Stock your freezer and your pantry with some emergency dinners and snacks.
  • Buy a whiteboard for your fridge so you can keep a running list of the meals you can easily make with the ingredients you have on hand.  You can also keep a shopping list handy on the whiteboard.


The game starts on September 13th, but the time to register is right now! You save $10 if you sign up by August 24th!

Here’s what to do:

Go to http://www.whole.lc/wlcfall14/pt/crossfitzenith

Create an account

Register for the Challenge that starts on September 13th

Join the CrossFit Zenith team




Keep your eye on the CrossFit Zenith blog and Facebook page for recipes, mini-challenges, support and other tips and tricks!






(some content adapted from Solidarity CrossFit)

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