Nutrition Challenges at Roux have seen a lot of iterations.
There was the Paleo challenge. Then there was the Eat Clean, Live Clean Challenge. Then there were a few more versions of the Eat Clean, Live Clean Challenge that took participants from focusing on doing it all to stacking habits. And now we have seen our first 800g Challenge.
In all of these, what we have tried to do is not only find ways to provide challengers with new information every time, but also to find ways to make it more sustainable everytime. What we are after is playing the long game; seeing a mindset shift, a lifestyle change.
While previous challenges did lend themselves to some amazing results, we also saw trends that made us pause from a coaching perspective. We saw two things. Participants felt the need to be perfect and be able to check that they were “compliant” each day. Which is great. But for a lot of people, one misstep often caused them to give up on the challenge altogether. We also saw challengers planning parties that centered solely around food to celebrate the end of the challenge. Which, don’t get me wrong, it isn’t bad to have a pizza party, but it generally led to people quickly sliding back into old habits.
Enter the 800g Challenge.
With starting 2020, we decided to turn our nutrition challenge on it’s head.
We decided to try the 800g Challenge and see what happened when we stopped telling people what they shouldn’t have and just focused on what they could have. We approached the whole thing from the idea of addition and not subtraction.
All we did was ask participants to eat 800g of fruits and/or vegetables daily. That’s it.
Foods could be cooked, canned, frozen, or fresh. And no food was off the table. But only the fruits and vegetables counted towards your 800g.
Why 800g? A meta-analysis showed that 800g of fruits and vegetables daily reduce your risk of cancer, coronary heart disease, stroke, cardiovascular disease and perhaps most importantly, all-cause mortality. Plus just saying your going to eat more fruits and vegetables doesn’t mean much. To see success, you have to put a number behind it.
During the Challenge…
We ramped up. We spent week 1 at 400g, week 2 at 600g, and weeks 3 and 4 at 800g. A big part of this was allowing peoples bodies to adjust to the increase in fiber intake.
The first two weeks seemed to provide few challenges, but the jump from 600-800 seemed to challenge many people. But what I saw was even people that struggled to get there, they still made an effort to add more fruits and vegetables daily, they still made a conscious effort even though they weren’t “perfect”.
“I loved this challenge! I feel it’s the most sustainable. It was only 4 weeks and I wasn’t perfect every day, but it has made me more aware of what I eat. I haven’t deprived myself of anything but I have chosen to eat at home more and eat foods that are better for my body. I’ve always loved fruits and vegetables but never realized how few I actually ate. I’ll definitely keep this going!”
But people were excited! They were sharing photos and recipes constantly. They loved how colorful their plates were. People also found that even though they enjoyed things like king cake or margaritas, it wasn’t nearly as much. In an effort to hit their grams daily, there just wasn’t as much room for those other foods.
From a numbers perspective, this challenge might not blow you away. Some people saw really great InBody scans and a lot of people maintained. And honestly, maintenance in New Orleans this time a year is HUGE. But we bet if we had tested participants’ bloodwork before and after that everyone would have seen a positive change in their biomarkers.
What has been the best to see is how participants are defining success. Success for some now means passing on the snacks at work or cooking more. So many of them have seen past the numbers and made huge strides toward lifelong change.
One challenger had no problem passing up chips and salsa at a mexican restaurant, causing her husband to wonder if she was alright. Another found she was finding it easier and easier to pass up the processed carbs, like cookies, that were always around at work. Some learned they were fine with grabbing an apple or strawberries for dessert as opposed to ice cream.
“I feel like having little kids, I always worry about cutting things out of my diet. Because they notice and ask A LOT of questions. It was nice to talk about how I’m just trying to eat more fruits and veggies to keep my body healthy, instead of explaining to them why I couldn’t eat the pizza with them. This time, I enjoyed my slice and my salad.”
People were trying new foods and recipes. They weren’t being as picky with food or wasteful. People across the board commented that their energy was through the rough and even if their muscle mass hadn’t budged on their scan, they FELT stronger. People were sleeping better.
All of this AND people were excited to continue after the challenge because it felt doable. Not one person came for their post challenge scans with jitters about how to live their lives outside of the challenge and it’s guidelines.
That’s always a big question, isn’t it?
Now that you have some great habits in place, it’s time to build.
I suggest taking a look at your goals and your scan and then thinking about what is needed to reach them. I saw two consistent things. One was that people didn’t gain muscle, which means you probably ate less protein during the day to make room for your grams. That’s fine! But if building muscle is your goal, what changes can you make to add a healthy amount of protein while still getting all of those fruits and veggies in? Another was that people might have put on a pound or two. So if your goal is weight loss, look at the whole picture! If this happened to you, chances are that you probably just added more food into your diet. And even though it was good food, it might have put you in a caloric surplus. Moving forward, where are there calories you can take out to get you back into a slight deficit for healthy weight loss?
AND if that feels like a lot or the idea of what to do next seems overwhelming? We’ve got you with 4 nutrition coaches to help you reach your goals. You can meet with one of them to talk about what’s next for you! You can schedule with one of them HERE.
We were looking for an elegant solution to good nutrition and we found it! The 800g Challenge has been the most effective challenge from the perspective of mindset. Haven’t tried it? What’s stopping you?!
“Y’all. This challenge has me all messed up, in the best way.
I’ve done various nutrition challenges over the last 8 years at 3 different gyms. I’m good at challenges. I like the rules, the minutia, the culinary challenge. I’ve “won” challenges, and I’ve gotten results.
But nutrition doesn’t need to be hard. And to be sustainable, it can’t be.
That’s why I’ve liked this challenge. It’s easy. It’s do-able. It’s repeatable.”
Whether you are just starting your fitness journey or a seasoned pro looking for something new, we’d love to meet you! And guess what? Your first class is on us. Click HERE to schedule your FREE Jumpstart Class and let us show you what makes Roux Fitness different!