5 Things I Learned From My First 8-Week Nutrition Challenge

I recently completed my first 8-week nutrition challenge which was led by Matt Dengler from RXRD Nutrition. With the 8-week challenge, done through EDGE Performance, we received an initial & final Inbody assessment, a 60 minute nutrition seminar, two one-on-one consultations with a Registered Dietitian (Matt), a customized calorie & macronutrient breakdown, a weekly nutritional education newsletter, access to a private Facebook group for accountability AND unlimited classes at Edge Performance.

The past 8 weeks FLEW by and I’m excited to share with you all what I took away from my first challenge!

1.       MyFitness Pal became my best friend. I have always considered myself a healthy person, and I “eat clean” (whole foods that aren’t processed) 85% of the time. Little did I realize how eye opening tracking your macros really is. Measuring your food portions sheds light on how the little things add up — a bite here, a dash of cream there. 

2.       I wasn’t eating enough calories. Based on my fitness goals I was supposed to be eating 1,400 cals on a rest day and 1,500 on a workout day. When I started tracking with MyFitness Pal, I realized I was only eating around 1,200 cals, and I needed to step up my gameto give my body the fuel it needed to perform as well as I wanted it to. 

3.       Protein shakes became my go-to. During the first few days of the challenge, I was having trouble meeting my required protein levels. It felt like I was eating a lot, but I still wasn’t getting the necessary amount of calories or protein. ON protein was a fast (and tasty) way to make a shake for breakfast and post-workout to add those macros into my diet.

4.       Waking up at 5 am for a workout is tough, but it’s definitely worth it to start the day doing something to invest in yourself and your goals. Wake up, drink some water, get dressed —  and just go.. I loved the 6am classes at Edge Performance – they consisted of a small class size with knowledgeable and energetic trainers that always made you smile during the intense, but fun workouts. You will never be mad at yourself for getting in a great workout before the sun rises.

5.       The importance of meal prep and planning. To succeed with my fitness goals I had to create a weekly menu, food shop, meal prep, and pack my lunches and dinners for several days at a time. Planning ahead means less room for error and veering off the healthy path.

The Results

Did I beat 24 other competitors and win the grand prize for the fitness competition? ($150 cash, one month gym membership to Edge Performance, and RXRD Nutrition gift card). No, I came in second place, and they don’t give out participant ribbons in these challenges.

I’m so glad that I participated, learned so much about nutrition, and I feel stronger and have more energy. Ironically enough, I weighed the same amount (down to the ounce) at the start and the end of the challenge- but I increased muscle, and decreased body fat which is always the goal. The results also reminded me that in life — and in wellness — it’s about balance.

During those eight weeks I celebrated two birthday weekends and vacationed in the Pacific Northwest for seven days. We do what we can, but don’t forget about enjoying life by sleeping in if you need to, and having that beer on a warm summer day. It was an awesome experience, and I look forward to continuing my fitness journey using the new tools I’ve picked up along the way.

I’ll be joining in on the next 8-week challenge led by Matt Dengler of RXRD Nutrition through First Wind Cycling which begins on July 8th! If you’re interested in participating in the challenge, feel free to shoot Matt an email rxrdnutrition@gmail.com !

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Julie Hurley
Julie is a Philly girl, but loving her Charlotte world. She received her Bachelors in Communications from Penn State University and her Masters in Healthcare Administration from Pfeiffer University. She loves all things health and wellness, traveling, and exploring her community. Her personal mission statement is "Impacting Lives While Creating Healthier Futures." Julie recently joined the fabulous SweatNET Team as the Business Development Manager.