Whole 30 Challenge Results
by Court under Diet
I started the Whole 30 challenge on May 14, 2012. I had wanted to do it for a while and the time finally came. You can read more about my reasons for doing the challenge here.
I’m a tracking freak and really wanted to get precise results from the challenge, so I took a few measurements.
Before The Challenge
Weight: 200.5 pounds
Body Fat: 8.56% (measured with a BodyMetrix ultra-sound body fat analyzer)
Total body fat: 17.16 pounds
Waist Circumference: 33 1/2″
I’m not going to act like I was in terrible shape before the challenge. I wasn’t. I was in good shape before the challenge. But, being in good shape before doing the Whole 30 made the whole thing more interesting to me. I knew that the program worked great for people who had a lot of fat to lose but what I didn’t know was whether or not it would work well for me – a guy who’s already pretty lean.
*Whole 9 (the people behind the Whole 30 challenge) makes it clear that they don’t really care if you lose weight or fat during the challenge. For them, it’s all about health and wellness. I knew that I would see a lot of health benefits outside of fat loss but was honestly more interested in how my body composition would respond to the challenge.
After The Challenge
Weight: 192.4 pounds
Body Fat: 6.65% (measured with a BodyMetrix ultra-sound body fat analyzer)
Total body fat: 12.79 pounds
Waist Circumference: 32 1/2″
So, as you can see, I dropped about 2% body fat. I can tell you that it’s pretty dang hard to do that when you’re already under 10%. I was a little surprised to see that.
Body Fat Accuracy
There are a lot of ways to test body fat and an ultra-sound analyzer is a pretty good one. It measures the thickness of your fat supply. That said, there are methods that I have used that are more accurate. For example, I have been tested five times in a BodPod:
- October 24, 2006 – 22.3% body fat @ 223.6 pounds
- December 14, 2006 – 20.8% body fat @ 214.8 pounds
- May 2, 2007 – 17% @ 202.5 pounds
- March 25, 2008 – 19.2% @ 210.6 pounds
- May 7, 2008 – 17.5% @ 209.2 pounds
I am of course much leaner and smaller now than I was then. That said, the BodPod test tends to run a little higher than the ultra-sound test I did to track this challenge. I’m guessing that in the BodPod, I would test closer to 9% now and would have tested around 11% when I started the challenge.
My reasons for using the ultra-sound analyzer mainly came down to convenience. I have one at home so it’s easy. I have to go to Brigham Young University to have a BodPod test which means I have to make an appointment, drive over there, and pay for the test.
The BodyMetrix analyzer may not nail down the exact percentage as well as the BodPod could, but it’s very accurate in measuring the actual thickness of your fat stores. This makes it great for measuring the amount of fat you lost even though it’s somewhat less accurate as a one-time test of actual percentage.
Thoughts On Weight Loss
So I lost about 8 pounds during the challenge. I would consider that to be pretty awesome weight loss results for someone who had little to lose. I had 17.16 pounds of fat before the challenge and ended up with 12.79 after. This means I lost 4.37 pounds of fat.
Some would assume that the other 3.5 pounds lost must have been from muscle. There is no doubt that this is NOT the case. Literally the day after I finished the challenge I hit a new personal record at the gym for my 3-rep front squat max. I improved from 290 (4-11-12) to 325 (6-13-2012). I am not a beginning lifter and it isn’t that easy for me to hit new lifting PRs. I certainly wouldn’t have been able to with muscle loss.
The weight that wasn’t fat came from excess water and inflammation. Eating sugars, grains, and other junk is inflammatory for your body. It makes you retain water and once you ditch the junk, you lose the water weight.
Performance At The Gym
I made significant gains in strength, work capacity, and conditioning during the Whole 30 challenge. The results were honestly phenomenal. Doing CrossFit, we don’t repeat workouts that often but we have repeated a few just to give you an idea:
1. 3-Rep Front Squat (improved from 290 on 4-11-12 to 325 on 6-13-12)
2. 30 handstand push ups, 40 pull ups, 50 kettlebell swings @ 53 pounds, 60 sit ups, and 70 burpees. (improved from 17:30 on 3-1-12 to 14:41 on 6-14-12)
I can tell that I have a LOT more aerobic capacity than I used to. I wish that I had more repeated workouts to share but we just don’t repeat that often. I’m guessing that I’m going to be setting personal bests in almost every repeat workout for a while. Part of that of course is because I weigh less. This morning at the gym we did the workout above with 70 burpees and I felt like I could do even more burpees than I did. Being smaller helps a ton with that, if you haven’t lost strength.
About The Challenge
The Whole 30 is a 30-day nutrition challenge focused on a paleo diet consisting of meat, fish, eggs, a LOT of vegetables, fruit, and healthy fats. You eat only whole foods.
You avoid all grains, legumes, dairy, soy, and processed foods. The only sugar you eat is sugar from fruit. You don’t drink alcohol (which I never have anyway). I posted journal entries about what I ate during each day of the challenge:
- May 14
- May 15
- May 16
- May 17
- May 18
- May 19
- May 20
- May 21
- May 22
- May 23
- May 24
- May 25
- May 26
- May 27
- May 28
- May 29
- May 30
- May 31
- June 1
- June 2
- June 3
- June 4
- June 5
- June 6
- June 7
- June 8
- June 9
- June 10
- June 11
I felt really great on the challenge. I did have a few sugar freak-outs. I eyed the Peanut M&Ms in my pantry more than once. But, I stayed strong and the results were awesome.
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