30 Day Challenge – Rules and Regulations

Brass Tacks

Careful, they're sharp!

So you’ve decided to join me on my 30 day quest for even better health. Awesome – so what are the rules? Well, let’s get down to brass tacks.

First things first. We’ll be following, for the most part, the whole9 30 day program. It’s currently the best laid out 30 day plan, and a lot of people have had a lot of success with it. Be sure to read through the linked page, as it provides a framework in which everything else will stem from.

I am going to make a couple of small concessions, here. If you know how your system handles dairy (that is, if you really know because you’ve cut dairy out completely in the past, reintroducing it in a controlled manner), you can use regular butter for cooking only. Using it  on vegetables is not allowed. (Use a little coconut oil instead – it’s awesome!)

Although I would absolutely prefer that you went cold turkey on your alcohol intake, I am going to allow one drink – that’s two ounces – of hard alcohol per week. It’s important that the alcohol not be grain based in any way, and not have any sugar added – think clear alcohols. This pretty much restricts you to 100% agave tequila, rum, or real potato based vodka (be careful, most vodka’s are not potato based). I’ve included a recipe for the “NorCal Margarita”, a mixed drink which would be acceptable for this requirement.

The NorCal Margarita

All it's glory

NorCal Margarita

  1. 1 shot of 100% agave tequila (or rum, but it becomes more of a daquiri at that point)
  2. Juice and pulp from one half lime.
  3. Shake it all up with some ice.
  4. Add soda water to taste.
  5. Drink and enjoy!
In order to prepare to start this, we need to do a couple of things. These things should be pretty quick and will serve as indicators of progress and changes.
  1. Photograph yourself. Your photograph should be fairly revealing. Men, shorts only. Women, shorts and a sports bra. The picture should be full body, and three should be taken. One should be straight on, arms at your side, relaxed. The next should be turned sideways, arms raised straight out in front of you. The final one should be a 3/4 view, with your body turned about 45 degrees from the camera. Arms should be relaxed at your sides. If you are competing for kudos and/or bragging rights, these photos should be submitted to me. They will not be posted without your express consent, but they will be shared amongst the group (in a before/after comparison). Faces will be blurred and voting will be by letter. (For example, if I’m “B” and I had the best body composition changes, you would vote for “B”).
  2. Weigh yourself. This will be the last time you do this for 30 days. Once you have finished weighing yourself, take your scale and put it in the attic or in a cupboard somewhere. Seriously. Record your weight, and submit it along with your pictures.
  3. Have a body fat analysis done. The most straightforward “do it at home” method is the US. Navy method. It’s better than the BMI, but it’s not perfect. Use this calculator here. Submit your calculated percentages as well. (For those of you that have access to CrossFit Bellevue, they are having an immersion tank truck (I’ll let you know the date when I have it) stopping by soon. This could also be a beneficial way to calculate your BF percentage in addition to the US Navy method. (We will be using the Navy method because it is reproducible at the end of the 30 day period).
  4. Take a moment to think about how you’re feeling and record it. Think about aches, pains, mood, performance gains (or lack thereof), common ailments you think of as chronic (rheumatoid arthritis, sinus issues, etc.). Then rate yourself on a scale of 1-10 as far as what your overall level of “wellbeing” is (1 being horrid, 10 being phenomenal). Be sure to include any current injuries. Submit your well-being self-assessment along with your photos, weight, and BF%.

Here, I want to add a couple of extra pieces to the whole30 plan. These are recommended but not required. I believe they are a huge ‘value-add’ to the program.

  1. Take fish oil, at least 2 grams per day (or if using liquid fish oil – which I recommend – take at least 2 teaspoons per day). I would not take more than 10 grams (teaspoons) per day over the 30 days, and would not take that much on a regular basis. Short term, however, you might see some additional benefit in a larger amount (as it helps your omega6:omega3 ratios balance themselves. If you have been on a “food pyramid” style diet, your ratios are probably out of whack – on the order of 15:1 as opposed to the much more optimal 2:1).
  2. Make it to the gym at least 3 times per week. If you already do that, try to add an extra day. If you feel exhausted or overworked, take an extra day off, or use a day in the gym as an ‘active recovery‘ day. Listen to your body. A little fatigue is good and means you’re on the right track. A lot of fatigue, soreness, or pain means you need to tap the brakes a bit.
  3. Take a vitamin D supplement (if you live in the Pacific Northwest). Don’t be afraid of the sun, lathering on the SPF-1000000 before you go outside. Your body needs the exposure. Not having enough leads to problems.
  4. Sleep. Make it your goal to get at least eight (8) hours per night. Anything less than that and you can derail all your efforts.

Almost as important as cleaning up the calories you intake is getting your ass in gear. Cleaning up your diet will lean you out and improve your mood, but working your body will improve mood (more), strengthen muscles and connective tissue, increase flexibility, increase agility, improve bone density (and decrease risks of osteoporosis), and make you look better naked.

I will be programming a month of workouts for those of you that do not have access to a CrossFit or Strength and Conditioning gym. As such, the workouts will be primarily equipment free, but will require between 10 and 20 minutes of maximal effort to complete (these will be conditioning style workouts). If you feel uncomfortable with anything I recommend, don’t do it, or modify it so you can. Your goal is not to hurt yourself, but rather to push yourself to the edge of what you find comfortable. You are the master of your own destiny, and only you can know what is right for you.

If you do ‘cheat’ or ‘slip up’ or whatever you want to call it, there will be consequences to doing so. Of course, you are the master of your own destiny, so this is all honor system…

There will be a special workout assigned at the end of every week. If you did not cheat at all the previous 7 days, you don’t have to do it at all (of course your could). If you did cheat, no matter how small, you’re doing the workout. But wait, there’s more! The workouts will be round based, and you will have to add a round for each cheat/slip-up you made. One cheat, one round. Ten cheats, ten rounds. Thirty cheats, thirty rounds. Obviously, you want to keep your cheating to a minimum (and zero is a great minimum!)

So who’s in?


2 thoughts on “30 Day Challenge – Rules and Regulations

  1. I’m excited and looking forward to the 30 day challenge. Do I understand correctly, is Dairy out of bounds?
    Thank you for making the challenge possible

    • Pam – yep, for the purposes of this challenge they are off limits (See this article on Paleo Diet Lifestyle for more information). In the larger ‘paleo lifestyle’ it’s really up to you and how well your system tolerates (or doesn’t) dairy intake. More than just lactose intolerance, there are a lot of different effects dairy in your diet can have, including susceptibility to breakouts and increased sugar intake (it’s really not a good thing for diabetics at all). Good luck!

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