THE Challenge (Nutrition)

The nutrition portion of THE challenge will be very important and most definitely will make or break your success.  In order to make this easier to understand, i am going to list the things that are NOT allowed.  The point of this is to make it easy to decide what you can eat.  If it is on the list below, or in a category on the list below, do NOT eat it for the entire challenge.

  1. Cereal Grains (Flour, wheat, oats, barley, hops…)
  2. This includes all oats and wheat products. The point of this is to identify if your body is sensitive to grains and more specifically lectins, a class of proteins that can cause all kinds of immune system issues in the body. You may find upon removing these from your diet that allergies, skin irritations and digestive problems clear up, but in order to get the full affect you must remove them for an entire 30 days. Anything less will NOT give you the same benefit.

  3. Dairy (excludes Butter and ghee)
  4. Dairy is one of those things that can cause issues for some people but not all. Dairy causes whole body inflammation which can make allergies worse, cause you to recover slower from exercise, and give you some digestive issues. Essentially dairy is meant to make small things grow into large things (Very large things in the case of cows milk) so if your goals include NOT growing larger then maybe this isn’t something you should include in your diet regardless of the challenge or not.

  5. Added Sugars
  6. Ever get some fruit juice on the floor or leave a piece of candy out for a day or two? Notice the stickyness that is left? That same reaction (glycation) happens inside your body when you eat sugar. After becoming sticky from the fluids in your body, they attach to the cells of your body and go through another process called oxidation which makes the resulting structure hard and crusty (just like that candy that has been sitting for a long time). The bond also becomes stronger and impacts the body functions at a cellular level. This can cause the arteries to harden and prevent nutrients from exiting the blood stream where they are needed.

  7. Alcohol (Yup, all alcohol)
  8. While alcohol is in the body, it prevents the liver from releasing its stores of sugar for the body to use as energy and may be why you get hungry when you drink. This is also why you may wake up early in the morning after drinking a little too much and not be able to sleep due to a racing heart or a feeling of restlessness. Your body just metabolized the last of the alcohol in your system and your liver just released its stores of sugar to the body for energy and surprise, you are awake!
    Alcohol also disrupts your brains ability to get into deep restful sleep therefore robbing you of time the brain needs to regenerate and refresh.

  9. Artificial Sweeteners
  10. Your body likes sweet things and especially when you are in need of quick energy. That is why you crave sweets or more carb dense foods when you are on a restrictive diet or when you are really hungry. Your body knows, based on the taste of a food, that it is about to give you more or less energy and as a result your body releases some stored energy as kind of an advance on what you just ate. When eating real food, this is not so much of a problem because there are real nutrients going in but, when you are taking in artificial sweeteners your body has the same reaction as real food because it thinks its about to get some serious energy. Splenda has been tested to be 100% sweeter than sugar. Can you imagine what your body is thinking?
    The result is your body releasing energy into your blood stream in anticipation of energy being present when it never appears the body takes the resulting excess and restores it for later. So, you have raised your blood sugar, produced and insulin response and stored more fat without giving your body and nourishment.

  11. Anything that does NOT support your goals
  12. Each of you know what you want to achieve in the gym and as a health goal. This final point is going to left up to you. For example, those of you that want to lose weight need to avoid things that may cause you to gain weight such as excess carbohydrates. Those of you that are trying to gain weight may make an effort to get more starchy carbohydrates. In this case, each of you will be slightly different. If you are in doubt, simply ask.

One last note about something i didn’t talk about here. Industrial oils. These are the cheap processed oils that you will find sold in big containers and at a very cheap price. These are usually highly processed and very delicate and should not be used for cooking, let alone cooking at very high temperatures. As a rule you can use this phrase to determine which fats are ok to eat, “Nature doesn’t make Bad Fats.” Essentially that means that if its found in nature and needs little processing (You could do it at home) then you can use it. This will open up a whole new door to your cooking abilities. You should be using fats such as: olive oil, coconut oil, palm oil, butter and animal fats (lard, tallow). You should NOT be using fats such as: canola oil, soy oil, sunflower oil, cottonseed oil, grapeseed oil, and margerine or margerine like products.
I’m not going to be super strict on this as its hard to control what your food is cooked in outside the house but i hope this encourages you to do more cooking inside the house.

Ok, remember, if you have any questions, Post them here for everyone.

50 m sprints
Followed by:
Tabata Burpees

Comments, ala Facebook



  1. l says

    rice is gluten free but does it contain lectins?
    do dried cranberries (put on salads) fall into any of the categories of what not to do?

    • says

      Rice does contain lectins but i have not seen them to be very potent for affect many people. Step 6 should help you make the decision on rice. It is a high carb food and it depends on your goals whether you will want to include them.
      Check the label for your cranberries. Its likely they have some sort of strange oil on them. If not, use them sparingly.

    • says

      Legumes will be allowed but number 6 should wipe them out for most people since they are pretty carb dense. In my experience, the amount of people that are sensitive to them is very low so i don’t hammer that so hard. They are, however; a lectin and potentially could cause some sensitivity for people so its your personal choice…

      Soy is NOT approved for anyone.

  2. Meggie says

    Just thought I would mention how common gluten really is in processed foods. If you can it is always better to eat things that don’t need a nutrition label but when you can’t make sure and read the label when available of the following products:
    Soy Sauce, Pickles, Malt Vinegar, Hot Dogs, Cold cut meats, Salad dressings, Communion wafers, Sausages

    Not every brand contains gluten but be sure to check your labels and remember that semolina and farina are gluten along with the obvious culprits like rye flour, wheat, gluten, barley, etc.
    And remember – when in doubt, go without!