As promised by the weather authorities, it began snowing just before midnight and the heaviest part of the snow is supposed to begin at 7 am.  It is being reported that it will snow until 7 pm.  The weather folks say 12-18″ of snow.   Now I’m supposed to say something like “be careful” and “stay warm”, but I will not being saying those things.  You already know you should be “careful” and you should stay warm.  So we have at least one reason I won’t be boring you with those admonishments.  Here’s another:  At some point during the day you may have to throw caution to the wind and be dangerous and you may have to get cold.  Should one or more of those things happen I don’t want you feeling guilty over failing to heed my cautionary words.  No.   If you have to be a little unsafe or cold who am I to stop you?

















(photo credits: Bevin)



As you know, the winners of the Challenge were announced yesterday.  Today I’d like to focus on the Honorable Mentions, those folks who didn’t win, but did things that make them stand out anyway.

John H.–Lost 3.6% body fat and 20 lbs.

Besides Andrew and Millie, 9 people not only lost weight and body fat, but they gained lean muscle.

Abby–Lost 7 lbs., lost 5% body fat and gained 2.5 lbs. of lean muscle

Joe Mc–Lost 9 lbs., dropped 4.9% body fat and gained 2.3 lbs. of lean muscle

Pat W.–started out at a lean 11.5% body fat and 192 lbs., lost no weight, but his body fat dropped to 10% and he gained 2.1 lbs. of lean muscle

Dan N.–Lost .8% body fat and gained 2 lbs. of muscle

Trisha P.–started out at a lean 125 lbs., lost 6 lbs., dropped 3.9% body fat and gained ,1 lb. of lean muscle.  Trisha is my age and she looks like an action hero!

Juana–Looks as though she lost a lot of weight and body fat.  Actually, her body fat went down .2% and her weight went up 4 lbs.  THAT’S 4 lbs. of LEAN MUSCLE!  Juana put on more lean muscle than everyone except Millie.  That includes all of the men.  You know that stuff that many women are terrified to get–MUSCLE?  Well putting it on your frame makes you look slimmer and more shapely.  It also makes you stronger.

George–Lost 2,4% body fat, gained 1.4 lbs. of lean muscle

Cathy–Lost 10 lbs., dropped 1.3% body fat and gained .3 lb. of lean muscle

Cindy–Did not Zone, but “cleaned-up” her diet.  Cindy reduced grains (bread, rice and pasta) from her diet to having only occasionally.  She also increased her lean protein and vegetable intake.  Cindy lost 9 lbs., dropped 4.9% body fat and gained 2.3 lbs. of lean muscle.

Gaining lean muscle and reducing body fat is what you want to do to look better and perform better.  The question many of you will have is why did some people gain lean muscle while others didn’t?, especially in light of the fact that we are all doing the same workouts and presumably consuming the same ratio of macro-nutrients according to our size and energy needs.  We will explore this topic and others as we follow-up on the  Challenge.

Some have started the Zone just recently.  Let us know if you’re interested in another 6 Week Transformation Challenge.



18 Responses

  1. Bevin

    Job well done everyone. I am definitely interested about why some gained muscle and some didn’t. And I am ready to do another challenge again and soon!

  2. Ben B.

    My uneducated guess would be those who weren’t eating enough protein gained more muscle once the protein became availiable due to the diet. Based on no evidence at all. :p

  3. Juana

    Wow, great numbers and changes by all. Everyone should be damn proud of themselves, everyone is looking rigth. My personal reasoning of why I gained muscle could be the diet, my protein intake and fat intake were taken seriously and ate everything I was allowed to eat never under age protein or fats, but I have to say the consiyinsty of working out but not just working out but working out harder then I normally did, bc I had the energy bc of the zone to go harder and push myself. That’s what I’m thinking it has to be a balance of diet and working out hard and more then you normally do which was the case for me I went from 6 days of week to 7. I’ll defiantly be up for another challenge!

  4. Trisha

    Thanks George !!! Couldn’t of done it without my Crossfit family… thanks for all the support, encouragement and motivation….??

    1. George

      You’re welcome Trisha! I knew what you meant. Apple products make exclamation points question marks on this format for some reason.

  5. George. I went outside and got wet. You never told us to stay dry. Now I’m wet. Thanks allot. Oh and don’t try to hang your hat on telling us to stay warm. That’s not same and I need explicit instructions. I got wet and that made me cold! Your fault, not mine!!!!!!

  6. George

    I agree with Ben on this one. When speaking to our athletes, not doing the Zone, about their diet, they almost always describe to me a diet very low in protein. I believe there are many factors, but this is the main one as to why someone would increase their lean muscle.

    Naturally, the working out factor is important. In terms of building muscle, pushing yourself during the strength portion of the workout is key. Some treat the strength part like it’s “warm-up”. It’s not. It’s purely to develop strength. Lifting heavy weight will force your body to adapt, building muscle. Perhaps it’s because of the diet, but Juana has PR’d three times during the Open.

    Another factor is where your fitness emphasis is. I keep forgetting to ask Juana how much she has ran and rode her bike. When she started with us her body was more adapted to endurance activity. (For those of you who don’t know, a bike ride for Juana is 50 miles or so:)) If she cut that down drastically while Zoning and lifting weights that would cause a spike in hypertrophy. Just like it did for Ben, for those who remember what Ben looked like when he first joined to what he looks like now. You can also see it in Kevin. When Kevin joined he was training for the NYC Marathon. He has packed on about 20 lbs. of muscle since CrossFitting and not training to run 26.2 miles.

    I believe running is an important part of what we do and of fitness in general, especially for one’s metcon capacity…look at Ben, Katy, Angelo, Kevin and Juana if you don’t know what I mean. I DON”T believe, however, that long, slow distance running is the ideal element to shape your body. This is where many people are confused. Long, slow, distance running is the leading cause of “skinny-fat” people. Yes, just like anything, there are exceptions. Run far for heart and lung health or because you absolutely enjoy it. Don’t do it because you are looking to lose weight.

    The we have “everything else”. How hydrated are you are at any given time? How much sleep are you getting? What injuries or medical conditions are you dealing with? How stressed out are you on a regular basis? None of us live stress free, but if you have the extra stress of major family issues, loved one’s in the hospital, the death of a close friend or relative, etc. it interferes with your diet, your training and body’s ability to recover and repair. When you think about it, we have little control of what happens in life. We ALWAYS have control over how we respond to what happens, however. We can always control what we consume and if we are going to train or not.

    Finally, we are all different. Thank goodness. How boring would life be if we all looked he same and were “made of the same stuff”? Age is a factor unfortunately, but it made my heart soar to see the 2 people to win the Most Muscle Gained category are in their 50s! I believe protein intake is even more important as we age. You start to lose muscle as you age. You can stave that off through strength training and PROPER protein intake. The Zone is a good platform to use as your method of eating. You still have to observe and tweak as time goes on. No method is perfect. What makes it “perfect” is what you bring to it. We all have to evaluate our Zone experience and tweak as necessary. If you have had positive results all around: fat loss, muscle gain and performance, then I probably wouldn’t tweak anything for the time-being. If you felt like you could have done better than let’s evaluate if it is a training issue or if you need to tweak your diet.

    What questions do you have?

    1. Juana

      In regards how much I ran or cycled since starting zoning, the only running I did was if there was any programmed in 30 Minute Thursday’s, and I cycled Maybe about twice, noting crazy the most was 15 miles just a quick flush of the legs after a whole week of strength training/lifting/metcons and such. Like George said, we are all different our bodies respond to change in diet and exercise differently.

      1. George Demetriou

        Juana you confirmed what I had suspected. Had you kept up your endurance work, at race prep level or pre-crossfit levels, I doubt that you would have gained 4 lbs. of lean muscle. You still would have lost body fat, but you would have lost lean muscle as well.

  7. Bevin

    George I have questions regarding running. I am doing a marathon in September. We talked about we following the crossfit program when it gets closer. In the meantime how much running is ok to do and how many days a week without causing muscle loss?

  8. George iI think the mistake I made wasn’t in food choice but not tweeting my basline as I lost weight but didn’t put on muscle. I think adding an extra high protein moderate meal or two ( 6 more blocks) would have made a big difference. I have since made that adjustment and feel much better. All that said if it wasn’t for the “challenge” I wouldn’t have made this mistake and learned from it.

    I’m wondering if anybody else feels like maybe their block total was too low? It’s so tempting to just eat less but that (at least in my case) doesn’t work.

  9. George

    Great question Bevin!

    It’s not an easy one for me to answer since I’m not a long distance runner and have no experience with running anything longer than a 15K (9.3 miles).
    CrossFit Endurance programming is known for increasing endurance capacity without having run excessive miles. I’m not sure how effective the program is and have read commentary by critics of it. The main criticism is there is no way to prepare for a long distance run without running long distance.

    As far as how many days of running will cause muscle loss I would imagine that each individual will experience this differently. I don’t believe you can effectively train for a marathon without losing muscle. You will be forcing your body to adapt to the task at hand. Your body will lose what it feels is excess weight. This includes muscle weight. You can probably stave some of that off through lifting and diet, but ultimately your body will adapt more toward what your focus is. In this case it will adapt toward running 26.2 miles. This is why I say run because you wan to run, but don’t do it as a method of losing weight or shaping your body.

    Let’s speak to Ben about this. Ben has done marathons and Half Marathons and he is CrossFit Aerobic Capacity certified.

  10. George

    I agree Al and those were great points!

    I tweaked the Zone three weeks in. I was told I looked too thin. When my face gets gaunt I begin to resemble a crack-addict I know it’s time to take in more calories. 🙂 I doubled my fat blocks and on heavier workout days, tripled my fat intake. I felt better and looked “healthier”. I actually took to drinking a tablespoon of olive oil if I wasn’t putting it on any food. Sounds gross, but you can get used to it. Perhaps being Greek helps.:) I started doing this after I posted the TNation article on how effective Olive Oil and Coconut Oil is for testosterone maintenance.

    Now for Phase 2, I’m increasing my protein.

  11. Ben B.

    Bevin we can talk about marathon training when we see each other next, just remind me.

    George, my question is about the proteins. I did the math and I think I lost a couple of pounds of muscle mass, not really a huge deal because I feel much stronger. But in the pursuit of more muscle gain I’m going to need more protein. How best do I achieve this? Should I add more total blocks, add only more protein to each “meal”, or just supplement more protein shakes?

  12. George Demetriou

    Ben let’s calculate your exact protein intake in grams and bring it up to 1 gram per pound of body weight. We’ll determine the best course of action once we have the numbers figured.

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