Checking in with the winners from the CCF Healthy Eating Challenge - what did they do to win?

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Checking in with the winners from the CCF Healthy Eating Challenge - what did they do to win?

13 December 2020
blog

After our most successful Nutrition Challenge yet we thought it could be cool to draw some inspiration by checking in with our three "Box Winners"!

In each CCF Box we had 3 prizes, and as you may know by now these three took 1st place in their respective box and as such they won 6 months of Free CCF Membership!
But what we're really interested in is actually how they did it, what similarities and differences there might be between their approaches - and of course what they are planning to do going forward. 

Even though these are 3 very different human beings, perhaps with very different goals in terms of their training there are some pretty cool similarities from their stories below:

  1. They all trained very consistently. Justin have been doing our full on Competition Program with multiple sessions per day, while Lindsay as an example took her training from 3 times per week to 5 classes and felt great doing so!
  2. They all followed DIFFERENT nutrition protocol, Vaughn was struggling a bit to "eat enough" but focused on getting his macro balance right, Justin followed a clean eating diet with an Intermittent Fasting protocol while Lindsay (and her husband Charl who finished second in Century City!) followed an eating plan given to them before with focus on eating clean while getting the correct nutrients in, and with the right portion sizes.
  3. They all talk about the benefit of not being TOO STRICT on yourself, and rather allow your self a cheat meal once in a while.
  4. They all seems keen and very likely to be able to continue with their "New Nutrition Lifestyle" moving forward, which always is the big goal!

Side note: what's been really cool to see is that all these 3 winners also crushed their CCF Test Week following the end of the Nutrition Challenge. Like we always say it's so cool to see Nutrition and consistency fuelling an increased performance.

CCF Gardens 1st place - Justin Parker

  • CCF: Congrats Justin, you won our 8w CCF Healthy Eating Habits Challenge by taking your body fat % from 10.4 to 6.5 (a whopping 41% improvement), how are you feeling?
    JP: I am chuffed with having won. Especially with the prize! It gives me access to one of the places I get to have some of the most fun in my day, every day.
    I am also surprised that I managed to win because I expected it would be challenging given my low starting body fat. After the midway check-in, I pulled out my calculator and thought that if I didn't pick up any bad habits I would have a good shot at winning which then motivated me to continue on.

  • CCF: What was your goal going into the Challenge, and did you reach them?
    JP: My goal was to build muscle (or at very least preserve it) and lose body fat. I felt these two focuses would best facilitate and support my training. I didn't build any significant muscle mass (0.8gms) but managed to lose much more fat than I anticipated. I also signed up for the challenge to continue to learn more about nutrition and broaden my way of thinking about it. I've tried many approaches to my nutrition since I started training consistently and I found my relationship with nutrition has only improved the more I learned.

  • CCF: How did you find the Challenge Structure, was the direction and weekly habits helpful, and if so how?
    JP: The big benefit of the challenge is that it isn’t prescriptive. It empowers you with options (Keto, Paleo, Intermittent fasting, Zone, IFFYM, etc) and gives you a framework to set up your nutrition. This means your ability to succeed is in your hands, which is empowering especially if you bristle when you are micromanaged.
    Another feature I really enjoyed was the check-ins with the In-Body machine. I don’t own a scale at home, so the only time I knew I had gained or lost weight was at these check-ins, The advantage of this however is that you get much more than one meaningless metric, you are given your BMI, body fat percentage and the amount of muscle you are carrying.

    Detaching from weekly weighing in also helped avoid any anxiety around whether it was working or not.
    The weekly habit emails were always a great prompt to remind me that we were in the challenge and to think of food and my relationship with it more holistically. The one point which has really stuck with me was to be very deliberate with my eating, and take the time to chew and just enjoy it.

  • CCF: How did you structure your eating during this period, did you follow any specific eating protocol?
    JP: I have been doing intermittent fasting (16:8) for about two years now and I had also actively tried to optimise the amount of meat I eat because in the past I was eating nearly 2kgs of meat on my own over five days. I had managed to bring this down to about a kilogram over the five days. I also try to keep things as simple by eating whole foods, lots of fruit and vegetables. I wanted to maintain these habits as much as possible.
    I tracked my macros for the first week and found for my activity level I was undereating on carbs and protein. The solution was as easy as adding 50gms more white rice at dinner and an extra 100gms of meat and vegetables too.
    I have a notorious sweet-tooth too (doughnuts, chuckles, sour sweets, you name it I probably love it), and I didn’t deprive myself of the occasional doughnut or chocolate.

    I gave myself the opportunity from Saturday night to Sunday evening to eat foods that weren’t necessarily going to help me achieve my goals. I just always made sure that I ate a good portion of protein and carbs (burger and chips, omelette and sourdough toast) before I went too hard on my vices.

  • CCF: What's the biggest take away you've had from these 8 weeks?
    JP: It is boring, but the lesson I keep learning is that consistency is important. You need to trust the process and be patient. When you get feedback, use it to make small achievable changes.

  • CCF: How did you structure your training during this period?
    JP: I had been doing most of the add-ons since before the lockdown (so between two to three hours of training), but also had been taking no rest days. I decided that if I was going to follow the nutrition challenge process that I would commit to following the prescribed structure for the add-ons – which meant rest days. I have come to really appreciate the value of the rest days and having the opportunity to refresh my mind with (easy) walks on the mountain on the rest days.

  • CCF: How do you intend to move forward with your eating habits from here on?
    JP: I will maintain the intermittent fasting and focus on whole-foods. I will keep the additional carbs and protein in the week too and see if that can slowly add additional muscle. I am also certain I will eat one or two more doughnuts in the week too.

  • CCF: You won 6 months of free CCF Unlimited Membership (value ~R9.600), how do you intend to use your training moving forward, and what are you going to do with the money you are saving?
    JP: I am looking forward to taking advantage of the access to the add-ons, and excellent coaching in the gym so I can continue to improve incrementally.
    I intend on saving this money for a trip to Spain next year, especially after I had to postpone the trip this year due to COVID.

  • CCF: Congrats once again, we look forward to seeing you crush this test week as we often see that nutrition and performance go hand in hand!

CCF Newlands 1st place - Vaughn Wilkinson

  • CCF: Congrats Vaughn, you won our 8w CCF Healthy Eating Habits Challenge in Newlands by taking your body fat % from 12.5 to 10.1 (a whopping 19.2% improvement), how are you feeling?
    VW: Thanks Coach, I pretty stoked with the results always great to have a little competition as motivation!

  • CCF: What was your goals going into the Challenge, and did you reach them?
    VW: My goal was to lose BF and not actual weight. All in all I’m happy with the result as I only lost about 1kg total weight while hitting the BF% goal.

  • CCF: How did you find the Challenge Structure, was the direction and weekly habits helpful, and if so how?
    VW: The structure was great as usual, loads of useful tips which I did try carry over into my routine, having a halfway weigh in was also great for us to see how were are doing and make changes if need be.

  • CCF: How did you structure your eating during this period, did you follow any specific eating protocol?
    VW: I used the info that was given to me at the 1st weigh in, I had a calorie intake goal to try meet, which was actually to eat more! This wasn’t always possible so I just tried to ensure that I met my Macro splits everyday, even if I wasn’t eating quiet enough, just try eat the correct amounts of the right stuff.

  • CCF: What's the biggest take away you've had from these 8 weeks?
    VW: To be honest, it would be that you don’t have to completely cut out things you enjoy and you can still have a cheat day every now and then, balance is the best thing!

  • CCF: How did you structure your training during this period?
    VW: I always enjoy training (Saturdays excluded) so I went to all the classes I could 5 times per week and added in a 5km run with the crew from Newlands every Thursday morning.

  • CCF: How do you intend to move forward with your eating habits from here on?
    VW: I will most definitely carry on with the eating habits, it’s super easy and has worked for me! In the new year I’ll try eating all those calories and see what the results are.

  • CCF: You won 6 months of free CCF Unlimited Membership (value ~R9.600), how do you intend to use your training moving forward, and what are you going to do with the money you are saving?
    VW: Like I said I love the training so I’ll be at every class as usual ... but still not Saturdays 😅 .... I have a honeymoon coming up so it’s going to help me with that for sure!

  • CCF: Congrats once again, we look forward to seeing you crush this test week as we often see that nutrition and performance go hand in hand!

CCF Century City 1st place - Lindsay Knoesen



This is a pretty cool moment when Lindsay a few months back conquered the 50cm Box for the first time!

  • CCF: Congrats Lindsay, you won our 8w CCF Healthy Eating Habits Challenge in Century City by taking your body fat % from 30.3 to 24.9 (a whopping 17.8% improvement), AND you managed to lose weight while building muscle mass - how are you feeling?
    LK: I feel amazing! Stronger, fitter and much happier in my body after the challenge.

  • CCF: What was your goals going into the Challenge, and did you reach them? 
    LK: During the hard lock down with not being able go out or exercise I had picked up weight and my fitness had evaporated. I really just wanted to get back into shape and get fitter. I feel I have started to reach those goals.

  • CCF: How did you find the Challenge Structure, was the direction and weekly habits helpful, and if so how? 
    LK: I had participated in a previous challenge so had already incorporated most habits- but having the weekly reminders was useful.

  • CCF: How did you structure your eating during this period, did you follow any specific eating protocol?
    LK: Previously I had used a strictly Paleo eating plan. It worked but I found it to be too restrictive.
    This time Charl and I followed an eating plan created for him by Coach Di. It focuses more on eating the correct nutrients and portions rather than being harsh and what not to eat. So this time round we focused on following the plan, eating the right number of calories and eating 'clean'.
    We also decided to supplement with whey protein which really made a difference 😄 helped to stay fuller for longer and build muscle.

  • CCF: What's the biggest take away you've had from these 8 weeks? 
    LK: The biggest take away is to try eat the right foods my body needs! A cheat meal is allowed but only in moderation.

  • CCF: How did you structure your training during this period? 
    I had previously only trained about 3 times a week. For the challenge I tried to up this to 5 times and think it really paid off!

  • CCF: How do you intend to move forward with your eating habits from here on? 
    I intend to continue with the eating plan but will allow myself a few more cheat items (in moderation of course!)

  • CCF: You won 6 months of free CCF Unlimited Membership (value ~R9.600), how do you intend to use your training moving forward, and what are you going to do with the money you are saving?
    I think we both intend to continue to train hard - it gives us more energy and we are seeing results. With the extra cash, definitely more splurge purchases!

  • CCF: Congrats once again, we look forward to seeing you crush this test week as we often see that nutrition and performance go hand in hand!

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There you have it folks, the cool thing about Nutrition is that there is really no "one size fits all" but there are certain common areas of eating clean, enough/not too much, creating accountability, and of course allowing yourself to LIVE while you are eating healthy MOST of the time.

PS. We'll shortly be offering some pretty cool new CCF Nutrition "products" where you can actually work 1-on-1 with one of our Nutrition Coaches, purchase inBody measurement clip cards to keep track of your body composition regularly, and then we are of course looking forward to our next CCF Healthy Eating Habits Challenge which will start in January 2020!