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Real Food Challenge Finalists Announced

I’d like to congratulate all the participants for a great job during this challenge.  The results have been truly amazing.    I’ve reviewed the photos and with the help of the coaching staff, who have given me their top pics based on performance and body composition changes, I’ve chosen the top 3 men and top 3 women.  Now it’s up to the Real Food Challenge participants to determine who takes the top spot.  So, to all who sent in before and after pics, please email me your vote for top Real Food Challenge Winner.  Feel free to post comments…

Here they are…

Connie Reimer a.k.a Hardcore

Wow…it’s been 8 weeks!
The challenge came at a good time. I had spent some time reading about Paleo eating over Christmas as a result of hearing about it at crossfit. As I entertained thoughts of giving it a try, along came the Real Food Challenge.
I had played with balanced eating over the last few years…but nothing like this. Week one was hard…ok…brutal! As I said goodbye to breads, cereals, cheese, pasta etc. I experienced carb withdrawl for the first 4 days…however by the 5th day I was already sleeping better. Although energy levels were not bad…my body seemed to be fighting the change in eating. It was tough to stick to it…but for the challenge. Four weeks & very little change…then in week 5…suddenly change came daily :o) As I began to lose inches, energy increased, sleep came easier at night & I was waking up before my alarm. I also noticed ability to handle stress increase (at home & at work) not to mention improvement in performance at crossfit. As we entered week 7, the finish line was in sight…or so was my thinking at that time. I had a few small rewards planned for the days following the challenge. However, by the end of week eight what a surprise came when at a family birthday party, some of the cheats I had planned really didn’t appeal to me anymore! When we got home that night I told my husband that I really would sooner have had some of the recipes that we had discovered over the past 8 weeks than the home made pizza & birthday cakes. I am amazed at the change & transformation not only to my body, but how I feel & look at life…lifestyle…this is definitely a permanent change. Anything less than 8 weeks and I’m not sure I’d have been as convinced as I am at this time. Thanks for all the support & the blogging. Logging the meals & snacks helped tremendously and I appreciated the great suggestions for recipes to try. Oh, yeah…the other aspect of life that changed was my shopping habits. I used to hate grocery shopping. It really felt like a chore. It usually meant a long list & took a big chunk of time out of my day. Now, I shop for fresh meats, veggies & fruit…short, plain & simple…I actually have a plan. Although this means I shop more often now, it doesn’t take long, the “chore” is taken out of it and I enjoy picking out good “real” foods to eat. The side benefit this is creating is that my family, although not completely changed over yet, is making some better choices as a result. Thanks again to my crossfit family for the encouragement & support, which with out them, I would not have been so successful. :o)

Kerri Arsenault

What has this food challenge meant to me? I think to answer this I need to back up a little, sorry if this gets a little long, I’ll try to be quick.

I have struggled with my weight almost all my life and have never found something that really worked for me. I would either get really bored with the workouts or feel like I’m starving myself all the time. Two years ago I was in a car accident which left me with a lower back injury. I was off work for three months and when I started my return to work program I started at two hours every Mon-Wed-Fri and was not allowed to lift anything, no bending, no squatting, no nothing basically. So for the next year and half, with the aide of physio, I was able to work up to my normal schedule but could only get my weight restriction up to 25 pounds. In April of 2009 I was cleared to return to work with a weight restriction of 25 pounds, July I discovered Crossfit. For the next four months I used the main site for my workouts (scaled down of course). I was quite successful to a point and when I found myself using heavier weights I thought it was time to see a trainer. Enters Crossfit Winnipeg. I found the workouts much more intense and I really started noticing changes quickly and when I started the food challenge all I can say is WOW! I had to go and buy new clothes as none of mine fit anymore. I’ve lost about 22lbs during these eight weeks and I feel great! These last few weeks I’ve also felt my workouts going a lot better and I feel a lot stronger. For example my previous DL was 100lbs, I just lifted 140lbs the other day. To put it simply Crossfit+Paleo= my life back.

Mandy Bernstein a.k.a Motha

When I started Crossfit back in May 2009, I heard rumblings of this thing called ‘Paleo’ but never inquired further about it. When I eventually heard that you had to cut out grains and sugar, I thought this was crazy, and still continued to eat out of a box. Fast forward to October 2009, after being with CFW for over 6 months, I wasn’t seeing the results in my body composition that I thought I should. After talking to a close friend, she had said ‘Why put in all the effort at Crossfit, when you aren’t going to put any effort into your diet?’ In a way, it’s like I was wasting my money. This was my ‘Ah ha’ moment.

I now can’t imagine my life without Paleo and Crossfit. It has changed my life 100% for the better in all aspects.

  • I can look in the mirror for the first time in my life and say ‘Hey, nice body’
  • I don’t have negative self image thoughts or grab my ‘rolls’ and say ‘Why can’t you just go away’. lol
  • I love the compliments I get with the new body
  • I don’t have crazy stomach aches for what I thought was ‘no apparent reason’
  • I am free of all allergies and don’t take any asthma medications anymore
  • I love that I don’t feel tired during the day and have ‘sugar/wheat crashes’
  • I love the feeling of getting stronger every day, and seeing the muscle definition starting to show on my body. I often wondered if I even had muscles.
  • I love to cook for the first time in my life. I am not scared of 5 or more ingredients, and don’t need ‘Stovetop’ to complete my meal. And the variety that I had been missing for years is amazing. Now I know what to do with all those greens… and actually know the names of them.
  • I love how food tastes. It’s like my taste buds woke up.
  • I find it’s easy to eat this way. I don’t panic anymore if I didn’t ‘defrost’ anything. I have become very imaginative in my cooking.
  • I have learned how to be prepared for anything. Travel, meals out, snacks
  • I have learned that there is a crazy amount of sugar in almost everything I used to eat

I really can’t imagine where I would be ‘diet’ wise today if I didn’t find Paleo. I was at my heaviest before starting Paleo and almost felt at a loss of what to do next. I wasn’t a fan of diets, and I thought I was eating ‘healthy’, and wondering why I wasn’t losing any weight. To see the pounds drop off, the strength increase and the ease of eating Paleo, It’s like I hit the jackpot!

I can’t thank Crossfit Winnipeg enough on how you’ve enriched my life. CFW and Paleo are in the top 5 best things that have ever happened to me, and again for this I thank you.


Daryl Chapiel

Where to being……I remember  the first meeting with Tania and our discussion about diet.  I said that I eat pretty clean, the right carbs not too much fat etc, as to which she replied we will convert you before too long.  As a runner for 10 years I was very sceptical about changing what I thought was my “perfect’ diet.  Along came the Paleo challenge, so I thought I will give it a chance, but in the back of my mind I thought paleo would never work for me.  As a runner I couldn’t comprehend the idea of cutting out most of my carbs.

Well after losing  11 pounds and 3” inches off my waist I AM A BELIEVER!    To put this in perspective, when I was training for Marathon’s I would train for 18 weeks and run about 30-50 miles per week.  I now after only 8 weeks of paleo, am 6 pounds lighter than any post marathon weight.  After a marathon I was really resigned to the fact that I could never look better than I did at that time.  Now I feel the sky is the limit.  I will have abs one day,  and a body to be proud of at the beach.

What all this means to me personally is that I have never felt  more self confidence, energy, enthusiasm and  strength in my life.    I have been setting new PR’s in just about everything I do.  I have done things that I thought I could never do (a pull-up..can now do 3 strict) and I never  feel nervous about a new challenge anymore, as  every crossfit workout is a new challenge and I have learned to embrace this instead of fear it. I realize I have  a long way to go get where I want to be, but I look forward to the journey and sharing it with everyone at CFW,  who I could not do this without.

Eric Luke

The Challenge has given me an notion of “why” I was doing what I was doing. Aesthetically I think I have never looked better. I have discovered that I can loose the “extra inches”. (more to go for sure). This in itself is motivating.  My Performance has improved dramatically. I have hit P.Rʼs in the dead lift, the squat, pull-ups, 1 mile run, 500m row…the list goes on and on. I am stronger and faster. I have been afforded the opportunity to track a number of statistics regarding body
comp and performance for the last 15 years and this year was easily my best. The fitness advisor asked me what I was doing to achieve such dramatic results. The simple answer was, Protein, vegetable and Crossfit! I now have the lowest blood pressure in 15 years (110/60). I have dropped 5.5” from my waist without any loss in measurements in chest. My VO2 max is at an “superior” athlete level (61). My skin fold measurements are lower than when I was 22 and my resting Heart Rate has dropped from 74 to 58!!

The hard work in the gym COMBINED with sound nutrition of the Real Food Challenge has allowed me to train harder and recover quicker. It has really caused me to listen to what my body is telling me tells me and adjust what fuel I need. If one is eating crap food and suffering every day from inflammation, gut issues and the like it is near impossible to see what effects your training regime has on your system. The Challenge has made me feel “clean” and now allows me to adjust for energy levels, recovery, deficits of any sort. It has given me a baseline of well being.

I would like to give all the credit of my transformation to the real food challenge but in reality it is the community and the support given by first and foremost the coaches at CFW. Each coach offers something unique yet always inspiring. gave me information and support. Support when I stumbled and the information to get back up and not quit.  It gave me the knowledge that no matter how hard one trains, if you feed yourself garbage you are not going to reach your ultimate goals. If one combines crap and gold and expects silver disappointment will ensue…..all you get is crap on your gold.  The support of the other members participating in the challenge has been awesome. It is important to know that others can empathize when cravings hit and support of others is simply an email away telling you to stay strong, that “nothing tastes as good as this
feels”. I have found this support is as equally important as the support when trying to hit the last handstand pushup.  I may not be at gold yet but with the support of the coaches at CFW and the new knowledge garnered from the Real Food challenge it certainly has put me on the path to be the best me yet…. The Challenge has been a catalyst for further change. The best is
yet to come…

Steve Antle

I had been working out at a gym for 4 years doing the same old routines day in and day out. I needed something different…. I needed a swift kick in the behind. Well along came Crossfit Winnipeg! I instantly fell in love with the way things are done there.  The workouts are constantly changing, the staff are wonderful and the advantage I receive from friendly competition is invaluable. Shortly after joining CFW I entered “the real food” challenge.  That challenge being that you ate “real” healthy food for two months. No junk. I had been meaning to change my eating habits so now was as good a time as any.  I quickly learned that it should have been called the “change your life forever” challenge.  When I decided to change my eating habits and start going to crossfit on a regular basis, it began to change everything.  I suddenly had more energy. I began to see
immediate improvements in the gym. I was able to sustain that energy through the intense cardio sessions and throughout the remainder of my day.  I began lifting heavier because I was finally lifting smarter thanks to the great coaching I was receiving. Having more energy throughout the day improved my the overall mood. When you’re in a better mood it starts to affect many aspects of your life especially the interactions with friends, family and co-workers in a positive light.  I never stopped to think that changing my eating habits would change my life so drastically. Taking on the real food challenge and
doing Crossfit has given me a new lease on life.  I am beginning to lose count of how often I hit a personal best, or how my goals I initially set seem small compared to what I can do now.  I offically weighed in at 227 lbs before the challenge and my current weight is 198. None of my clothes fit anymore and I’m ok with that. I just went out and bought new clothes. I am the same person I was 2 months ago…. It’s just that I’m healthier, stronger, have a better attitude, I’m more fit and I feel better then I ever have in my entire life. I am addicted to the way I feel when I leave the gym, that feeling of accomplishment you get from a job well done. In short, I LOVE CROSSFIT WINNIPEG, and I’m not ashamed to say it!  My name is Steve,  I’m 34 years old, I lost 29 Lbs in 2 1/2 months and I’m a Crossfit addict.  Thanks so much to Tania and all the CFW staff.  You have yourself a lifetime member!


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