Workout of the Day

3 Ways to Sabotage Your Body Composition Goals on the Whole Life Challenge


As we reach the end of the third week of the Whole Life Challenge, we’re about due for a reminder that following the rules is only half of the equation. In a sort of “spirit of the law vs. letter of the law” juxtaposition, we can see that you can technically “do” the Whole Life Challenge and have terrible results, or you can do the challenge with proper intention and have excellent results. This idea applies to most any nutritional prescription, template, or plan.

Because change in body composition (specifically, losing fat) is the most popular for making a positive dietary change, let’s look at 3 ways that you can follow all of the rules of the Whole Life Challenge and end up getting the exact opposite of the results you want.

1. Making “non-compliant” treats with compliant ingredients. Those brownies you made with cocoa powder, butter, coconut sugar, overripe bananas, and dates? While technically compliant, you’ve still made a brownie with roughly the same sugar content and caloric density as any other brownie. Yes, this is probably a healthier choice than the brownies made from Ghirardelli mix, but you’re still missing the point. This is exemplified with the countless “Paleo ______” recipes out there to get you your sugar fix and still feel okay about your choices. If you decide to make compliant versions of “non-compliant” foods, make it a rarity, and realize that you’re still eating dessert.

2. Relying too heavily on the dried fruits/trail mix/nuts. Nuts are a great, nutrient-dense snack with a generally healthy fat profile, and dried fruit can be a convenient source of carbs for on-the-go, but we’re looking at high caloric density in an easy to consume form with these foods. On a backpacking trip with limited space and high energy expenditure? Trail mix is your friend. Sitting at your desk all day with your hand always half in the baggie of nuts? Might want to reconsider.
A small handful of dried fruit can easily pack a 25 grams of sugar punch, and a mouthful or two of nuts or nut butter is getting you at least a couple hundred calories. Looking to lose body fat? Ditch the dried fruit and be conscious of your nut consumption habits. I’ve seen people (and have myself done this, too) blow through an easy 800 calories of almonds without even thinking about it.

3. Shaping your diet strictly around what you can’t eat, and forgetting what you should eat. You can go the full 8-week duration of the Whole Life Challenge never eating a single vegetable, and still get every single one of your nutrition points. But again, this clearly misses the point. You’re looking to improve your health and change your body, not check a list of arbitrary boxes. Eating bacon and eggs with a side of juicy, sweet, sugary mango (nature’s candy) for all 168 meals of the WLC is technically “on menu,” but this is a rocky road to results. Just because you’re not eating french fries and sandwich bread every day doesn’t mean you’re making the best nutrition decision to reach your goals.

The point of playing the game isn’t to game the game, it’s to make positive change. Don’t sabotage your results by focusing on the rules at the expense of the purpose. Make a better decision!

- Preston Sprimont


  • “Cindy”

  • 20 min AMRAP

    • 5 pull-ups

    • 10 push-ups

    • 15 squats