As we've done in prior years, we'd like to introduce a Healthy Lifestyle Challenge for the month of January - an opportunity to join the rest of San Francisco in buying chicken, eggs, green veggies, and all the other healthy stuff that was sold out at Whole Foods yesterday. Gee, thanks San Franciscans, we've been eating this stuff all along!

We remain opposed to New Year's Resolutions, and this isn't really about New Year, New You.  This is intended to be about redirecting any counterproductive habits that may have crept in given the higher than usual number of social events, delicious treats, and other temptations that are common during the holiday season.  Rather than letting yourself slide into these habits, the Healthy Lifestyle Challenge is intended to bring you back to the healthy choices you were making consistently earlier in the year.

We'll be keeping the same categories this year: More Sleep, Less Booze, No Sugar, Less Caffeine, More Water, and Nutrition Overhaul.

More Sleep: this category is intended especially for those of you who find it difficult to get more than six hours of sleep per night, and potentially for those who sleep less than eight hours.  Time and again, research shows the detrimental effects of insufficient zzzz's in terms of its effect on stress levels, metabolism, and general performance.

Less Booze: this category is intended especially for those of you who are interested in competing in the Open and/or those of you who have body composition goals.  Alcohol (especially in excess) is detrimental to sport performance, recovery and body composition, so really has no place in a serious athlete's routine.

No Sugar: Increasingly, the addictive and harmful nature of added sugar is hitting headlines.  We're not talking about naturally occurring sugar in fruit and other foods, more so sweeteners (including calorie-free sweeteners). For those of you seeking to improve body composition, and to get control of your cravings, cutting sugar out entirely for the month of January will be a challenge, but worth it.

Less Caffeine: For some responders, caffeine at any dose is detrimental to health, and if you're in that category you're probably not inclined to consume much caffeine anyway.  For the rest of us, caffeine in reasonable doses as an enhancement to an already healthy lifestyle is probably not an issue, but if we start to exceed roughly four (reasonably sized) cups per day, or start drinking it late in the evening, it can begin to have detrimental effects. If you've gotten in the habit of replacing sleep or water with coffee, this may be the challenge for you.

More Water: While the recommendation to drink 8 cups per day may not be as scientifically backed as I once thought, the guidance to drink enough to keep your pee relatively clear is pretty widely acknowledged.  Being chronically dehydrated is a known performance inhibitor - even being mildly dehydrated can have dramatic effect on performance.  That said, there is no advantage to excessive water consumption, and drinking too much water can also be harmful.  With this in mind, if you tend to pee on the yellow side, perhaps just getting to mellow yellow would be a good objective.

Nutrition Overhaul: If you've been wanting to try a Paleo, Whole 30, Zone, IIFYM, or other nutrition challenge, this could be the month to do it alongside other Arena Ready friends.  I am very opposed to crash diets, intended to dramatically alter body composition through unsustainable means.  As an alternative, I'm very strongly in favor of learning how your body responds to various foods as fuel and sources of micronutrients (or toxins), and trying to gradually change your habits (and body composition) through pursuit of healthier habits. If you're not on the Facebook group you may not realize I'm running a 12 Week "How to Paleo your Macros" program for AR members, and if you're interested in this challenge, but don't already have another idea in mind, please feel free to contact me, and I'll add you to the list!

As always, your score will be your self-reported sticker on your scorecard/calendar on the gym walls. You determine your criteria (i.e. whether you're completely avoiding caffeine/booze/sugar, or whether you'll allow x servings per week, or whether you'll get a sticker any time you slept more than x hours). It's not for us to draw that line.  Pick something that you think would be a healthier (and realistic/sustainable) level for you, and give yourself a sticker any time you reach that goal.

Finally, the challenge technically started on January 1, so feel free to backdate your stickers.  You can also enter as of today, and just skip or cross out the earlier days this month.  You can enter as many/few challenges as you wish.

Here's to creating a few new healthy habits!

WOD for 01-06-17:

Deadlift:

3x4

Across.  If possible, add to your 6-rep working weight from 12-22-16.

 

-then-

 

Alternating EMOM For 6 Rounds (18 Minutes):

1) 35 Double Unders

2) 25 UNBROKEN Wall Balls @ 20/14 lbs to 10/9 ft

3) 15 Deadlifts @ 185/135 lbs