Real Food Nutrition Challenge

In January, CFQS holds an annual “Real Food Challenge.” The challenge has a duration of 4 weeks, and focuses on food quality and quantity. We eat whole food, not too much, and mostly plants, 3-4 times a day. The goal of this challenge is to form good eating habits, and to learn through experience how you can eat in ways that support your health, athletic performance, and general well-being. While the challenge is only one month, the intention is to have lasting effect: that the foods you try and things you learn will help you develop sustainable eating habits you can take with you in the long term. Our challenge is modelled off of other nutrition challenges, like CrossFit New England’s and the Whole 30, but we have picked what we think are the best elements of these different sources to make the best challenge possible for CFQS!

To add some extra incentive and fun to the challenge, there is a scoring system and prizes to the most consistent participants. You can receive points daily for success in four areas.

1 point for eating real food (quality)

1 point for eating not too much (quantity)

1 point for sleeping >7 hours (recovery)

and if you reach those 3 points in a day, you are eligible for 1 bonus point for participating in a class that day. (training) –UP TO A MAX OF 5 BONUS PER WEEK
Read below to learn about how we are determining and measuring each of these factors.

1. Quality

The main focus of this challenge is to eat real food and real food only for the four weeks. While having processed or semi-processed foods can be part of a healthy diet, for the sake of this challenge we try to eliminate all treats and processed foods for the entire duration. This elimination can help you “reset” your taste-buds and routines in a way: six weeks should be enough time to help you remove any dependence you may have on sugar, sweeteners, and processed foods. It can also show you that you do not need treats to get through your day!

What foods can you eat?

  • All vegetables. More the better!

  • All meat (and eggs)

  • Fats (avocado oil, coconut oil, olive oil, nuts, seeds)

What to avoid?

  • All processed foods (Bread, cereal, any frozen meals or food products, store-bought snacks- this includes protein bars and other "healthy" pre-packaged foods)

  • All sweeteners (including maple syrup, honey, coconut sugar, etc.)

  • Grains and legumes (rice, oats, corn, peanuts, etc.)

  • Dairy (milk, cheese, yogurt, etc.)

2. Quantity 

The secondary focus of the challenge is to encourage you to sit down and enjoy your meals at regular times throughout the day. We want you to feel nourished and satisfied from your meals, and discourage mindless snacking or forgetting to eat.

In order to accomplish this, the challenge involves eating 3 or 4 meals a day, and no snacking between meals. You pick whether you think you need 3 or 4 meals, and the size of your plate. What is most important is that this amount leaves you satiated and not stuffed, and that you are consistent with these amounts. We will be providing further guidelines to participating athletes (if you are unsure how much you should be eating).

Each meal should consist of protein from meat and carbohydrates from vegetables and fruit. Two thirds of your plate should be vegetables, one third meat, and one third a starchier vegetable (like potatoes) or fruit.  

3. Recovery

Sleep and nutrition go hand-in-hand in health and recovery. People often underestimate how much sleep can help you feel better and improve your ability to make good nutrition choices. For that reason, there is a sleep component to the challenge.

4. Training

We also want to keep seeing you at the gym! You can earn a point for participating in a CrossFit class, but that point only counts if you have the first three factors (food quality, food quantity, and recovery) in order!

Other important information:

There will be a 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winner based on points earned over the 4 weeks.

There are 30 spots available for this challenge, and there will be a $20 fee (this money is going directly to the prizes).

Who is (and isn’t) the challenge for?

If your goals are focused around generally improving health and are interested in improving your nutrition habits (a fitness stream athlete), this challenge is for you. Since we are restricting dairy and grains, we do not recommend this challenge for vegans or vegetarians. If you are a performance or competitive athlete, this specific challenge may not be best for you. If you have any history with disordered or restrictive eating, we do not recommend that you participate in this challenge (or if you would really like to, to tread lightly!)

If you are interested in signing up or have questions about the challenge, please send us an email at