EVERYTHING you need to know about the latest Nutrition Seminar and how to enter the CFCC BCCC.

22 Apr

Before you address the rest, if you’re interested in seeing some physical results of past challenges, and my progress from about 2 years ago (I really should update!) check out the links below!

MY PROGRESS Again, I should update! I now compete in the 58kg class for Olympic Weightlifting (when I am competing) and walk around at about 135lbs. while NOT eating bread or other gluten-containing substances except for on EXTREMELY rare occasions (like, if my 8 year old cousin bakes me cookies, I may try one and live – but usually, this situation is never a problem).  I literally don’t own a pair of normal pants from over 2 years ago because they fall off me (and that’s just embarrassing).  I’ve found that cutting out gluten entirely for me (in spite of still eating some dairy, chocolate, and having wine and cider *some* of the time) has helped my body composition, moods, sleep, strength, conditioning, digestion, skin, and I haven’t felt deprived at all. Feeling good is important to me, and REALLY worth it. 🙂

CFCC BCCC Results, January 2012.

CFCC BCCC Results, August 2011.

CFCC BCCC Results, May 2011.

CFCC BCCC Results, September 2010.

What you will need for THIS CFCC BCCC 🙂

-A BEFORE Measure Date and an AFTER Measure Date.  Before, we will be measuring on Thursday and Friday of NEXT week.  Specific times will be announced to members who have already emailed me – if you haven’t emailed me yet at erin@crossfitcc.com – do it now!  After, we will be measuring for most on June 7th and June 8th (that’ll be 41 and 42 days from the 28th of April, respectively.)  You do NOT need to be present for the entirety of the challenge if you would only like to be involved for part of it and get measured early.

-A goal.  And it would be nice if this was both strength and body composition related.

-A swimsuit, unless of course you opt to pose for your before and after pictures in something else (you are allowed to – but this is, the swimsuit edition).

-A check with the equivalent amount for whichever version (see below) you’d prefer.

-A food log – here’s a sample template, but any medium is fine. You will food log for the ENTIRETY of the CFCC BCCC, but if you can start one now, that’s even better. It is really helpful to keep track of the following: food, amount, time eaten, observations on feelings before and after.  Sleep and Training are also good to include on your log.

-Upon your measurements, a signed consent form (you know we are not docs, etc.)

-Optional attendance (some for an additional fee or given as a prize) to a SLEW of helpful events along the way: a trip to Wyebrook Farm, Yoga Seminar, Shopping Trips, Hiking, Goal Setting Seminars, Paleo Potlucks, Recipe Sharing, and more!

VIRTUAL ($50): Email contact with the team of consultants (myself, Meghan Ramos, and Abbey Sangmeister) and measurements before and after. You are still required to submit a food log and weekly, changes will be required of you! Eligibility for the grand prize and prizes/workshops along the way.

IN PERSON ($100): In addition to email contact, 4 1/2 hour meetings to go over your food log and discuss changes, questions, theories behind alterations – if you have a preference on a consultant – feel free to ask! Measurements before and after.  Eligibility for the grand prize/workshops along the way.

Whether you’re doing this challenge and you haven’t been to the Nutrition Seminar, or whether you’ve been to five Nutrition Seminars – start the challenge off right by taking a look at the outline below.  Knowing the “why” behind the strategies we use during the challenge is empowering and a lot more motivating than just doing something “just because”.  Links to articles, podcasts, and videos pertaining to specific topics are shown after you’ve seen the whole picture.


Sometimes It’s Hard from Whole9
Depression – a huge series of articles on all things related, from Chris Kresser
Lights Out: Sleep, Sugar, and Survival – a quick read, and an indispensable resource… FIRST you’ll think it’s CRAZY, then you’ll be VERY concerned that the author is RIGHT.
Sex, Lies, and Menopause – also an INCREDIBLE read – but more for women than men.
So much awesome information about food and mood, from Dr. Emily Deans.


A basic definition from Wikipedia.

A basic definition of Paleo. (the truncated version of the below)

For those of you who want to skip the details and get right to the WHAT CAN I EAT PART: a Quick Start Guide.

AN ORDER OF OPERATIONS FOR QUELLING INFLAMMATION – start at the top, work your way down.  The more you avoid certain things at the top, the closer you are to knowing what happens when your body is recovering at its best.  The more you your body recovers, the better you feel and the better you are at achieving any number of life and performance goals that are important to you.

EAT WHOLE FOODS: the less that your body has to work twice as hard to recognize and “dissect” a food intro pieces it can handle, the more likely you are to digest it easily and therefore not waste energy or valuable defense mechanisms in dealing with a food.  Here’s a more thorough blurb on “whole foods” as a foundation of a healthy diet. What are whole foods?  Check out this list or, take a cue from many a paleo grocery shopper and stick to the perimeter of the grocery store: eat nothing from a box or package – that is, if it doesn’t have a face, or if you literally can’t imagine growing it and eating it yourself, you probably shouldn’t be eating it in the first place.

AVOID GLUTEN: if there’s one thing that I would actually BEG you to try if you never have, it would be to give up gluten in your diet.  If you must know why – there’s a whole HOST of actual reasons…(the below scratches the surface) but if you don’t need to know why, just DO IT and see what happens.  

AVOID SEED OILS: seed oils are processed at extremely high temperatures which causes them to oxidize and become highly inflammatory once digested.  Saturated Fats are actually some of the most stable fats you can digest.  The more stable the fat, the less likely your chances of incurring cellular damage as a result of having ingested it.  No, you shouldn’t start swigging bacon fat, but yes, you should begin to examine the truth behind what fat is and how too much of it can create a caloric binge, too little of it can cause the hormones that are most responsible for keeping you well to rebel, and the wrong kind altogether may just be the principal cause of heart disease in our nation today.

AVOID NON GLUTEN GRAINS: Once you’re good on living a life without gluten, you can move on and attempt to examine whether or not some of the non-gluten grains are a good idea.  Most find that a few are ok, and many are not.

  • Rice – the lowdown on this is that most are fine to digest it, and some even NEED it in lieu of potatoes, and other commonly “ok” paleo dense carb sources… if a lean body composition is your primary goal you may want to examine your intake – that said, here are some helpful thoughts:

How Bad is Rice Really? From Mark’s Daily Apple.
The White Rice Question – full of great links to other thoughts on practical uses for white rice in a diet.

  • Corn – Corn is Not a Vegetable from Mark’s Daily Apple.  Super-sweet, super-modified, and pretty devoid of any substantial nutritional content, corn just isn’t worth it.  It’s not the devil, but it’s not really worth TRYING to include in your diet for any reason at all.
  • Alternative to Grains: including a question about quinoa, and the fact that being healthy does not always equate with being “low carb”, healthy carb choices are important for many athletes!

AVOID CHEMICAL SWEETENERSOnce you’ve eliminated things that are potentially pretty harmful to your gut as they are, it’s time to take a look at your sugar intake (and by extension, your insulin levels).  As weird as it sounds, fake sugar is the first step.  If you’re reading this with a can of diet coke in hand, fear not: people have lived through where you are to where you can be – and they have not suffered for it.

AVOID SUGAR: This is a tough one, but be aware that sugar can take many forms: glucose in vegetables, fructose in fruits, lactose in milk, etc.  Weening yourself off of a constant stream of sugar (note: it’s not that we NEVER want you to have a sweet thing in your life!) may be the hardest thing you’ve ever done, but in the end, it MUST be done for optimal health, and is something that MOST of you will find entirely fine after the first few weeks of struggle, and HUGELY relevant in the fight for feeling and looking your best.

  • What is insulin resistance? a video by Robb Wolf.  Why does sugar withdrawal happen?  Why do sweet potatoes suddenly taste SO sweet when you’re not dumping 15 sugars in your coffee(s)?
  • The Definitive Guide to Sugar from Mark’s Daily Apple.
  • How Sugar can Suppress Your Immune System, I’d be willing to bet this is REALLY why we get sick around the holidays!
  • What does all of this have to do with diabetes?
  • It could be a really great idea (for more than just lean body composition purposes) to lay off the fruit. Learn more here – and yes the video linked in the article is FOREVER long, but it is actually REALLY fascinating if you have the time.
  • Sugar, Sugar, Sugar – how sugar hides in your foods, from Whole9.
  • Sugar Tantrums – your body is going to do EVERYTHING it can to get sugar because it’s the EASIEST fuel we burn, don’t let it happen!

AVOID LEGUMES: It’s at the end of the list because it’s not the END of the WORLD if you eat peas.  In fact, you may feel worse after eating brussel sprouts than you do after eating peas… but that’s a WHOLE other ballgame.  If you have come this far and you are curious about what being at your best is really like, the BIG legumes are below.

AVOID DAIRY: For those of you who were fortunate enough to be able to digest lactose, I congratulate you on being able to have fun at various dairy-ridden parties as a kid.  Many of you, are in my camp, and find that dairy, no matter which way you swing it, isn’t your friend.  If you’ve come this far you’re used to the idea of just trying things to see if they help, KNOWING in full that you can keep putting heavenly full fat grass-fed cream in your coffee for years to come should you choose to do so. 


1. Meat Consumption vs. No Meat Consumption. No matter who you are or how you eat, I can pretty much guarantee you there’s a very good chance that you could do better: more protein of some kind, less sugar in some way, more high quality meat in more meals, and/or less cooking with oils that irritate you and cause your recovery to drop. Here are some thoughts from those wiser than I:

2. Cholesterol? Fat Intake? Heart Disease? OH MY!  For most of us – these three topics seem to be irrevocably linked – the truth of the matter is that many of us have GROSSLY misunderstood each of them.  The resources below are extremely helpful, and if you have questions or concerns about this in the immediate or long-term sense, OR if you have familial hypercholesterolemia, it’s important for you know your way around this topic.
3. What am I going to eat? (Answer: you HAVE to cook) 
4. Cost?
5. Fasting?
 6. What if I want to grow?
  • You HAVE to train.  And hard.  And in some cases, more frequently or harder than others. You HAVE to eat, most likely WAY more than you’re currently eating…and usually liquid (whey protein included, and straight up dairy for those who aren’t sensitive to it) and in some cases, you have to stop eating sometimes, and then eat a WHOLE lot.  The trick is, you ALSO have to rest – only just enough, but not too much.  Yup, mass gain is VERY tricky – but it CAN be done!
  • Clean Mass Gain from Whole9 – get ready to eat tapioca!!!
  • Robb Wolf’s experience with Mass Gain
  • Choose your training WISELY(read, STOP chasing the sexy metcon) – you may be the way you are, but be patient, start by learning what to do for 40 days… and BIG things will happen over time (from Eric Cressey – these before and after shots are AMAZING.)
  • Can you be leaner, stronger, and faster at the same time?  It depends on where you’re starting from – but this is an interesting account from Jocelyn Forest.
7. How am I going to get enough calcium if I don’t have dairy?
8. Supplements?
9. Must I live without coffee? Chocolate? ALCOHOL???

10. How do I fuel appropriately for workouts and after? The real answer is that it really depends on the time that you train and what your goals are.  Here are some good places to start:

  • If you are training and feeling extremely sluggish while training, say, in the a.m. or after work, there’s a good chance that you might need to have something small and carb-ey before training – your work output should be better because of this.  Good examples of easily-digested, pre-workout food would be a coconut water – (my FAVORITE is TasteNirvana which can be found at this store on Walnut in the VERY back, in a green glass bottle), and, if you’re not worried about fructose in general for body composition purposes, something simple like a banana works as well.  If you’re not off coffee for other reasons (see above), it’s not a bad idea to have a bit before training – green tea works as an alternative to this too.
  • Fasted Training, though often thought as being the exact opposite of what you’d want to do, can be an awesome tool for body composition.  We run sessions that work particularly well for this in the morning on Tuesday and Thursday (our Conditioning only sessions).  These are sessions that range in intensity and volume but are generally low enough in volume that if you wanted to, you could attend regular classes later and still be good to go on the strength portion of your training.  If you are just recently acclimating yourself to new habits in eating or in training, fasting should NOT be the first habit you start and should be limited to only one day a week at first.
  • Generally, if you don’t mind the sluggishness of a morning or an after work workout, this is all you’ll need: BCAAs will greatly assist in your recovery ability, especially if you are not training in a “fed” state. You should be slightly hungry before you take them and then train. If you don’t want to wait for the TrueProtein kind, you can always walk to VitaminShoppe and get some.  10g/5-10g (M/F) 15 minutes both before and after your workout. IN WATER. They will taste bitter. It’s worth it. Try using crystallized lime or lemon to mask the taste.  More info on BCAAs is here – they are NOT animal derived, but are chemically created amino acids (the stuff that makes up protein and aids in muscle metabolism, growth, etc.)

11. What is SEX WITH YOUR PANTS ON? Read this.  You’ll understand.

12. How much food is too much? How do I know how much lean body mass I’m trying to support?

    • There are some details about how to determine body fat here, along with some suggestions on just how much you need.  Basically, it’s .8-1g of PRO per pound of LEAN (NOT TOTAL) bodyweight, at least 50g of FAT a day – and sometimes more -, and anywhere from 100-150g of CHO today depending on your size/activitylevel/goals.
    • Then there’s the bod pod – the only ACTUALLY accurate method for measuring body fat to muscle mass ratios, and exactly WHERE you are holding these respectively.  Here’s a word from Emily Tunney on this:

University of the Sciences owns one of only 3 Bod Pods in the tri-state area. If you’re not familiar with the Bod Pod, it’s a contraption that measures total weight, body fat percentage, and resting heart rate. And it’s the most accurate technology for taking these measurements that currently exists (which is why I could imagine that someone like Record would want to use it!).

The Bod Pod is available to the public for $35 per person, or $25 per person for a group of 5 or more. It only takes about 15 minutes to complete the test and anyone who is interested can contact William Rebman to schedule a time. I am told he has some evening hours available.

I may be interested in doing this this time around – so let your consultant know if you’d like to plan to make this happen!


6 Responses to “EVERYTHING you need to know about the latest Nutrition Seminar and how to enter the CFCC BCCC.”

  1. crossfitcentercity April 28, 2012 at 12:11 am #



  1. Monday, 4/23/12 « CrossFit Center City - April 22, 2012

    […] Wanna know more about Nutrition at CFCC?  Check out this post and don’t forget to let me know by WEDNESDAY if you want to be involved. (erin@crossfitcc.com) – ALSO, if you’re interested in going to Penn to get a VERY accurate reading of your body composition, feel free to include that in your email as well – a group us is trying to figure out a time to go. Who wants to lift these guys?! […]

  2. Thursday, 4/26 | Ramsey Gets Big - April 26, 2012

    […] Things are about to get strict! I went in for my photo and measurements today and talked to my nutrition coach. I’ll “officially” start the challenge on Saturday but for the most part I already have. I’ve contacted another Crossfit Center City vegetarian who has done the challenge before to see what she recommends in terms of protein and which paleo no-nos she makes exceptions for. Also, as far as I know, the gym doesn’t follow strict paleo guidelines as their recommendation for nutrition, but a variation thereof. Just fyi for anyone who might be reading who has done a paleo challenge before. Here’s a huge nutrition post my gym made, gearing up for the challenge. A HUGE amount of useful info to work your way through if you’re interested in really optimal n… […]

  3. Thoughts from the runners’ up winners of the previous BCCC! « CrossFit Center City - July 23, 2012

    […] At long last, we’re thrilled to finally highlight some amazing folks from June’s Body Composition Change Challenge (all details about the Challenge are HERE). […]

  4. And now… the before and after pictures of the winners of the CFCC BCCC! « CrossFit Center City - July 31, 2012

    […] At long last, we’re thrilled to finally highlight some amazing folks from June’s Body Composition Change Challenge (all details about the Challenge are HERE). […]

  5. Fall is for Food at CFCC! « CrossFit Center City - August 23, 2012

    […] 2. Join us for a NUTRITION SEMINAR at CFCC on Saturday, September 8th, 2-4pm. Sign up on Mindbody if you want to attend – it’s completely FREE! Meanwhile, if you want to start poking around the internet to learn more about what works for us, why we recommend the things we recommend, and how many wise people, some with LOTS of letters behind their name agree with all of these things, you can start here. […]

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