Crossfit London UK Lent Challenge.

14 Feb

The Crossfit London UK Lent Challenge will stretch from 22 February to 7th April.(inclusive)

During this period, our challenge to you is to choose either a wholly healthy diet regime ( the Zone and Paleo diets are popular) or  if going the whole hog is too much for you just now, to decide to add a healthy habit, or loose a bad one, It could be that you will start taking omega 3 every day ( buy it here) or it could be something as simple as cutting out the booze

For those who want to have a bench mark to work from, this sunday will be an optional  weigh, measure and photograph session ( you dont have to do them all) as part of the drop in session. If you want kat to “fat caliper” you, or kate to photograph you while wearing appropriate clothes ( swimming suit?), or for Andrew to weigh and measure you, or steven to (possibly) wave his new infra red  “fat hunter” toy over you, now is the time to man up and sign up.

Just book yourself into the strength Drop in session this sunday  ( 9 till 11.30)

If you let Kat “fat Caliper” you, you will need to input the measurements  here

This and the other measures we take we will given to you in confidence. Hopefully you will want to publish before and after photos once the challenge is over.

There will be various events to support you through the period, including our 1st (free) Paleo Party at Kirsty on the 3rd March ( do make sure you grab a place to get lots of recipes, hints, a session on how to make kale Crisps, and a healthy dose of good old fashioned  gossip) ( Its in the class schedule for the day). We hope to have Rutger, Kirsty’s Nutritional friend, Brie, Me and Kate  doing “party pieces”  covering “strict paleo”, the Zone, good nutritional principals and just enjoying food.

You may join the challenge when ever you like, as long as you “sign up” in comments. Just tell us what you intend to do, and your hopes. ( weight loss, improved performance more energy, “just better diet”, booze less)

As a side note, for those of you who have been following the blood test adventures of Kate, you may wish to get some food intolerance blood tests done to spot whether changing your diet is steering you away, or towards foods that are bad for you,

You can get a food intolerance test done at and, if you use this code,  you get a 15% discount CLU646


1) There will be 2 more blogs set up. A daily diary for those who want to report progress and discuss “stuff”. There will also be a “food Blog” for people to post recipes and food ideas on

2) Try and be disciplined as to which blog you post on

3) The diets we are discussing are for most of our members. If you do a sport  like sumo wrestling or extended endurance work, you will need to follow the advice of your  coaches. So  no debates like ” I have to gain 15 kilos for a sumo fight, I wont do it on  paleo? or, “on a reduced diet i wont be able to run 25 miles a day, can some one comment?”, Ill keep  us all focused on the issues.

4) This is ( hopefully obviously) not a religious challenge!

5)  You should of course discuss all dietary changes with your doctor, especially if you are on medication


45 thoughts on “Crossfit London UK Lent Challenge.

  1. I can’t make Sunday (am in Vegas getting the last of my non-Paleo fun 😉 )
    Can I get calipered and measured some other time?

  2. which reminds me. im in. im aiming for 72kg, and my best performance in April at the masters open .

    strict zone.

  3. I’m in as well, although I won’t be in Sunday I will weigh in and take before pictures at home. Caliper measurements

    Aiming for better performance all around, maintaining my weight (gaining a few kgs won’t hurt), and that rippling abs (samson stretches!)

    No starch paleo.

  4. Strict Zone, no booze, gluten, chocolate (or sticky toffee anything)
    Aiming for 58kg or less.
    Want to get my performance right up so I don’t look too silly at the Masters – therefore more than 1 pullup would be fantastic.
    Good luck everyone

  5. No wheat, no gluten, no rice (therefore no biscuits / cakes in boring meetings) and I’m considering full paleo but I’m struggling with the idea of giving up porridge in the mornings. . . . I can’t quite accept it’s a bad thing. Especially when you chop a banana into it and add some raspberries.

    I’d like to lose 2ks without losing energy and by the end of lent have proper push ups!

    I’ll come down on Sunday.

  6. I’m aiming for paleo eating (with Whisky) to get down to 10 stone or possibly just under and to get 3 pull ups. With the Cheltenham racing festival mid challenge I’m just aiming to stay as paleo as possible as much as anything!

  7. I am in strict paleo…i wont be in sunday but will measure at home and get my body fat done monday 🙂

  8. – Ideally I would like to get down from 87kg to 82.5kg. Going to be a bit of a challenge due to recent injury and lack of activity. Don’t know if this is realistic. And as Lindsay just pointed out to me, fat loss, NOT weight loss is more important to me.

    – Booze – I would like to cut out unless there is a special occasion (I have a special definition of this to avoid this rule getting corrupted – so for example, I have a group of american friends coming over for a tour of UK football matches, this counts as a special occasion. Setting a PR in the gym does NOT count as a special occasion)

    – Diet – I am probably going to keep what I have been doing recently – broadly eating a balanced paleo-esque diet along zone proportions (macro level nutients) but I think portion control is vital so unless I do this then pointless. Also, cutting out legumes seems a pit pointless since cooking them denatures lectin – the inflammatory chemical – unless someone can persuasively tell me otherwise.

    – I would like to have some performance targets but current injury is preventing physical progress and I am sure my strength has slipped since Christmas – however, if I can I would like to benchmark myself against a Cooper test (run as far as you can in 12 minutes) and get a 200 metre improvement. I would also like a muscle up – but this depends on how much training I can fit in.

  9. oh yea…..and Fran time……for those that want a Crossfit benchmark can we do a before and after Fran? Oddly, after 8 months of Crossfitting, I have NEVER done a Fran! Can we…can we?

  10. @Alex, cooked legumes are ok?! great! I can still have some chorizo and butter beans then!

    I like the idea of a benchmark before and after for those who are looking at performance improvement! any benchmark in particular? I am ok with Fran (Rx), it is going to suck but I’m up for it.

  11. @Allan – make no mistake, I am no expert! I just read as much as I can and try and balance it all out into as pragmatic a picture that I can put together. First and foremost, I am biased……I love a good pea. Pea soup, mushy peas, pea puree I could go on. So I was mighty miffed to find that the innocent pea was blacklisted from paleo on the grounds that they contain lectin in high doses, therefore paleo man would have to steer clear. But since in most cases we cook our legumes, the lectin gets denatured making them safe to eat (yea…..I used to reeeeaaaalllllly suffer scoffing my face on raw garden peas!). I read this yesterday and decided that the pea-is-for-me (unless someone can explain to me that I must be mad).

  12. one for the less strict…
    Strategy: Paleo inspired moderation + fish oil every day
    Restrict: pasta, rice, junk food, chips
    Moderate: bread, alcohol
    Anti-paleo: milk. Especially on heavier training days.

    I’m in on Sunday to get measured.
    Goal: reduce body fat %. Gain muscle. Don’t really care how much I weigh (currently 89kg)

  13. Can’t train until two days into challenge until after antibiotics course finish. This is the illest Ive ever been 🙁

    Think my lent challenge is maintain weight of 75kgs (not sure if lost kilos are muscle or water- can calipers etc tell?)

    Im going to replicate Alex’s strategy minus the alcohol and with fruit juice added instead but moderated and down from the litre of tropicana a day

    Hope u are all good! 🙂

  14. Hi,

    I’ll get in with the semi-paleo diet. Right now I’m on a high level of effort with studies, but after March I’ll be all in with paleo and training more.
    The aim: drop the sweets (highly addicted), moderate alcohol, no rice, moderate oats (this is hard), low on pasta.
    I think I can make Sunday happen, maybe if I leave half an hour later (have 15k run). The aim on that will be gaining some weight, which has been quite hard with the running going on, and I feel I could use the extra muscle for the olympic weightlifting (my nemesis). Maybe 3kg -5kg of muscle, so if there is a trade-off with 3kg-5kg of fat I’d be happy.

    Best wishes

  15. I’m in on the less strict version
    No grains, sugar, rice.
    Moderate alcohol (Red wine only – weekend only)
    Really cutting back on dairy – moderate milk (tea) but no cheese, cream etc

    Goal: more muscle, less fat – Natch. Bit of weight gain would be good. currently around 67kg – would like to see 75kg by summer.

    I’ll be in Sunday to get measured too…

  16. My moderate Paleo (thanks Alex & Chris):

    – No pasta, rice, bread, sugar (apart from fruit), dairy or processed foods
    – Minimise eating bananas and potatoes (none after 6pm)
    – Moderate alcohol (weekends only, probably red wine only)

    One question: I’d quite like to still eat beans, I’ve read Alex M’s post above, what’s everyone’s thoughts on the whole legumes issue?

    Aims/ goals:
    – Giving up sugar. I’m really addicted, especially in work, and it will be fantastic to knock this on the head
    – Reducing alcohol consumption
    – Trying to be more consistent in WODs
    – Vanity…. pure vanity

    I’m going on holiday skiing on the 17th March so my aim is to strictly adhere to all of the rules above until then. After that, we shall see…

  17. @Cian: my take on legumes are they are a good idea unless you are intolerant to them (albeit not paleo but as you are doing the moderate version that’s not an issue). They will provide you with the carbs you need if you are doing a lot of xfit and cycling. By legumes i mean things ike bortolini beans, black beans, lentils rather than heinz bakes beans btw

    interested there are other kindred sugar addicts out there. Anyone have any decent tips for giving up? Think I will really struggle. Has got worse through going alcohol free. I can quite easily drink a whole carton of innocent smoothie and big bar of chocolate in an evening

    any way chocolate can be paleo?:-)

  18. Hiya, my targets are:

    Weight – Loose 7lbs, but more interested in loosing my coating of fat (I see myself as a pork pie – lean meat in the middle with a veneer of jelly around the outside).

    Booze – No drinking in the house.

    Diet – Paleo rules except for milk in tea (unless there is an alternative that tastes similar?) and living with Alex we’ll obviously be eating peas. I will reduce evening meal portion sizes but can’t guarantee following zone proportions so I’m not going to claim to zone.

    Training – Continue with my 3/4 classes a week and get back into cycling to work. Also reintroduce running and interval training.

    Sleep – Increase – please!!

    May see you on Sunday for some team bonding ….

  19. @cian, i’ve read through the link alex posted and both sides have good points. my take on it is that i will still have some once in a while (and I think that is the key thing for me) and I won’t feel bad about it. Patrick made a good point on the heinz though….

    I’ve already removed sugar from my coffee/tea… I can now appreciate the subtle differences in flavor of different types! quite an experience 🙂 as for the other sugars (fruits, etc) I think i’ll keep on having my fruits, I think getting the nutrients from it outweighs the sugar content… it has got to be better than the M&S cookies I have stashed on my desk

  20. @Pat a carton of Innocent AND a big bar of chocolate?! You must be high as a kite after that!

    Unfortunatley I have resigned myself to losing my beloved baked beans for a while now, if only for the sugar content…

  21. @cian yeah easily do a carton of innocent, although ive been pretty ill past week or so so maybe that’s upped my intake. Chocolate is maybe a once/twice a week thing for me but when i go in i go pretty hard. We are talking a big bar. Other thing I quite like are marshmallows. Big fan of cookies too. Don’t judge me 🙂

  22. I’m in. Gluten free. No pasta, bread, sugar only as it comes pre-packaged in fruit, no beer…..(ouch), no rice & adios to dairy. Caffeine will remain however will be espresso. Tequila will still be consumed. Couple of testing moments will be when in Marrakech and Iceland. Performance goals – recover from injury (shoulder & niggly hammy), FINALLY get back into the gym, put on lean muscle. Think i have forgotten how to lift…Andrew can i have some one-on-one coaching??!

  23. I’m in, no alcohol no grains no dairy.

    Not really concerned about weight.

    Performance goals are just to stay injury free – not sure that has anything to do with Paleo though.

  24. Reduce body fat % by minimum of 1%-3%.

    Eat breakfast consistently.

    Stop skipping meals and cut out eating cooked breakfast on Sundays.

    Eat more veg and cut out pret, eat or M&S sarnies!

    Job done 🙂

    Go for a 30 min jog 2 twice a week.

  25. Ok my paleoish version. I’m going to do the Tim Ferriss slow carb diet thing. You can have a cheat day thing when you are allowed one day a week and can eat what you like in unlimited quantities. Think id need that for santity. Rules

    1. No white carbs (so no bread/grains/starchy vegetables)
    2. No fruit
    3. No dairy


    1. Maintain current illness weight of 75kg and add muscle/get stronger

  26. Righto lets do this thing!

    – Aim is to reduce body fat % (no idea how much is a reasonable amount though), but like probably the entire female race, I know exactly where I would like to lose this from. Be great to drop kgs to help improve on all body weight tasks, however realise that muscle weighs more than fat and don’t want to compromise on strength, so won’t be actively targetting weight reduction.

    – Performance – want to better my squat, press and deadlift 1RM

    – I’m already pretty much a dairy, processed wheat and sugar free zone so will keep up with this (apart from 10 days in Egypt where I will eat and drink whatever I deem imperative to fully experience the culture). Going to cut back on nuts and dried fruit as consume waaaay to much, and cut out legumes. Will also throw in a few 24hour fasts just for fun to help cut out my dried fruit addiction.

    I’ve just done 1.5months of no booze, so don’t think I am realistically going to keep up with it, but will restrict to some red wine and gin&slim.

    Pat – for your chocolate fix, buy Rabot Estate 100% dark choc, you can get it from Hotel Chocolat – it has no sugar or dairy just cacao bean goodness. Is an acquired taste but you get quite a zingy buzz of it!

    See you on Sunday everyone

  27. Here it goes:
    1) no grains at all – shouldn’t be that hard as I’ve reduce the amount already apart form the occasional yummy fresh bread
    2) no dairy – bye bye cheese I will miss you
    3) no sweets – chocolate I will miss you even more
    4) reduce body fat %
    5) reduce weight as I still can’t get rid of the excess I gained over Christmas
    6) improve my 1RMs
    7) smash the Open WODs
    8) booze – don’t know what to say (I will try but can’t guarantee the occasional drink)
    So let’s the challenge begin!

  28. Allright, been agonizing about whether to do this or not for a while now, but screw it – might as well go all in.

    Only meat, eggs, fish, vegetables grown above ground (e.g. no carrots) – is there anything else allowed..? Sounds like a very short list 😉

    Also I’ll aim for grass fed / organic meat whenever possible. seems like a good place to stock up at.

    Alcohol – only red wine, clear booze / soda – max one day a week and not more than a “few” drinks.

    General goals:
    – Improve strength – main targets : squats, pull ups, dips
    – Start some running, eventually getting in to doing CF Endurance type interval training.
    – CF 4 times per week.
    – Stretch & foam roll 10 mins per day.
    – Not get injured 😉

  29. So I am in here goes:
    Reduce body fat – 1-3%
    Loose a few pounds- how many I don’t care as long as its some lol
    Bye,bye chocolate even green and blacks I consume way to much
    Get in more fresh veg and salad and no more occasional pieces of lovely fresh baked bread 🙁
    Alcohol should not be a problem and finally I need to up my water intake!
    Training – I need to get back to the box 3 times a week and get my ass jogging in prep for the marathon!
    I need to up my pull ups and PBS in deadlift and my over head squat 🙂

  30. I’m in! Couldn’t make today’s measurement but would like to get this done another time, if possible, to properly track my goal of weight loss and reducing % body fat (ideally by 5%). Going to aim for strict paleo with the ocassional gluten free drink and absolutely no nuts since I tend to over induldge on these.

  31. Okay, so I am going to give up alcohol.

    Also, eat better (Paleo-ish) and train harder.

    Looking to achieve the following:
    1. Increase 1 RM’s.
    2. Increase max strict pull ups.
    3. Better 2k row and 10k run times.
    4. Complete seasons 1 to 5 of ‘The Wire’.

  32. My aim is to lose some fat

    Cut out all sugar, cakes, biscuits etc.
    Reduce dairy, grains and potatoes
    Get more sleep

  33. After much tortured consideration (and especially after reading Patrick’s posts on his chocolate consumption – I can be as bad!) I am putting myself down for giving up chocolate. Except for a few of days of my birthday which is late March! I know a birthday is one day but we are going to Brighton for 3 days!

    I will not commit to anything else at this stage as I found the one time I mostly stuck to a paleo-ish type diet last year I over consumed nuts and then eventually went back to everything and was worse than I had been before. So I will start with the chocolate and then see what I want to do for my next improvement after that. And I won’t even have the 95% dark either as despite what various sources articles say it is ‘not’ possible to just have a few pieces!

  34. We had some 100% the other day – it nearly blew my head off! Very bitter, very buzzy. We have another bar of it, and I can confidently state that it will be safely untouched for the whole of Lent.

  35. Awesomeness to have companionship in my dieting escapades lol! Am a month ahead on this having already been put on a very strict calorie controlled diet by my doc which is working wonders (lost over 2kgs and about 4inches) but I’ll make sure to stick to me workouts and diet extra strict even more during lent (except 10 march where an animal fancy dress party will require plenty of alcohol lol) 😀

  36. I’ve given up caffeine for the Lent period with the hope of kicking it totally.

    Reduce my grain/potato/rice etc intake, can’ totally due to training requirements outside Crossfit. Goal is to not eat any with dinner.

    Improve vertical jump, hip extension and upper body strength (pull ups/dips).

  37. Rob Wolf vs Crossfit

    Sounds like paleo man has fallen out of love with crossfit for numerous reasons, most of which seem to be about a one size fits all commercial expansion that is enabling novices to teach, offer no personal training or special programming and advice.

    The opposite of crossfit London in fact!

  38. Crossfit is all about providing free training programmes and nutrition guidelines online. Joining a class will make it more effective for some people. And one to one for maybe a smaller group of people. You can pick and choose depending on your needs. It’s the democratisation of fitness and makes the more tailored programmes he advocates more accessible

    He’s fallen out of love with crossfit because it’s popularity has hit his bottom line and noone has asked him to train the cast of 300 etc.

    @fergus impressed re the caffiene abstinence. I could never give up coffee!

  39. 76/77 kg. ( down 3kg)

    biggest problem is tea and coffee, that gets out of control. probably need to go jasmine tea.

    muscle ups back to being easier.

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