Elevate Macro Challenge: The beginning.

Good morning Elevate friends!

For those of you who don't know me (so, basically everyone who doesn't go to 9:30/9:45a classes or if you haven't been featured on the blog yet...), this introduction is probably a little overdue.

My name is Rachael Cherry and I run the Member Spotlights you see here on the Elevate blog and I post a lot of what you see on Facebook. I started going to the Bootcamp classes at Elevate a few months after having my second child and just recently switched over to CrossFit, where you can regularly find me being the worst person in the class. ;-) I really have only two claims to fame when it comes to CrossFit: I can run decently fast and I have a lot of mental endurance for gutting out workouts. Other than that, I can't lift super heavy (I'm pretty much the opposite of Jackie), my lifts aren't beautiful (looking at you Angie), and Luke is always coming up with numbers wayyyy below the RX for me to attempt and die at.

On the work front, in addition to getting to facilitate this blog, I am an editor for a Houston-based family website and I do contract writing/editing. I also stay home with my two kids, and I am currently navigating the homeschool world with my oldest (who is in kindergarten).

Fitness and nutrition are two of my favorite things to experiment with, and over the last 10+ years, I have tried pretty much every "diet" in the books to date (calorie counting, South Beach, clean eating, low-calorie, low-carb, low-calorie and low-carb, Paleo, whole30, gluten free...), but what I haven't tried is anything to do with macros. So we thought it would be a fun experiment to document how the challenge was going and talk about some of the important things you should be seeing throughout.

For full transparency's sake, here are my starting numbers from the InBody scan:

  • Total Body Water: 68.1lbs
  • Dry Lean Mass: 24.7lbs
  • Body Fat Mass: 34.1lbs
  • Weight: 126.9lbs
  • Skeletal Muscle Mass: 50.3lbs
  • Body Fat Mass: 34.1lbs
  • BMI: 21.8
  • % Body Fat: 26.9%

And my time for the benchmark workout (which was 21-15-9 kettlebell swings + 400m run between each set, for anyone who didn't do it) was 6:48 with a 35# kettlebell.

Now that introductions and numbers are out of the way, let's chat about this first week counting macros!

For this first week I did the low-carb/high-carb split and there was only one day that I had a "perfect" day. Finding that balance of hitting every number is hard! I realized pretty quickly that I naturally trend towards eating very low carb most days (more on that in a second), but higher fat, so I was constantly trying to find ways to up my carb intake without going over AND reduce my fat intake. And then I would have a random day that was supposed to be low carb, but was suddenly higher than normal (though nowhere close to what my high carb numbers should be). Fixing these minor imbalances sounds easy in theory, but it was really hard for me to put into practice...

In realizing that my nutrition is inherently low carb, I did have an "aha!" moment that I thought was worth sharing because maybe someone else can relate. While I eat decently well the majority of the time, I also have struggled with days where I go into a black hole of binge eating crappy foods - which, reflecting back, are usually very high carb foods. I THINK (this is just my best educated guess, I've done zero actual research into if it's true or not) that to date that has been my body's way of saying HEY WE NEED SOME CARBS. The obvious solution is to just add more carbs into my normal life, but after years of avoiding them (without even really realizing that's what I was doing), this has been surprisingly difficult.

HOWEVER, adding in more carbs day by day has made me feel a lot more balanced nutritionally and taken away that desire to reach for cookies, cereal, and whatever else I might normally turn to after days and days of "clean eating". So that's been cool.

Carbs and fat aside, I also realized that it is HARD to hit my protein goal (126g/day) unless I am actively inhaling protein at every given meal plus some. Prior to tracking, I thought my protein intake was decent, but now that I've spent a week weighing foods and counting grams I can see that it was pretty abysmal.

This next week is going to be an interesting one because we are going on an annual week-long camping trip to Garner State Park. As far as vacations go, I'm so glad this is the one we're taking while this challenge is going on because it definitely falls on the "healthier" spectrum of trips... we do a lot of hiking and are generally very active throughout and since I'm in charge of snacks and meals for the fam, it's usually pretty healthy with some indulgences because that's just how I roll on the food front. I also am one of those people who works out on vacation, so there's that.

I am super excited to keep talking challenge stuff with y'all, and very glad we have a two week buffer to play around with how the macros are working and figure out our individual approaches. So tell me, how is the challenge going for YOU so far?! Any "aha!" moments yet? Struggles? Victories?

See you next week!