Saturday, August 27, 2011

1000 Calorie Challenge...Bring it on, and make it Vegan!

I know you guys have probably seen this floating around the internet, or maybe in a magazine or a talk show. It's called the 1000 Calorie Challenge. It was created by Arnel Ricafranca and Joel Marion, and it claims that you can burn 1000 calories in one workout and lose 3-5 pounds a week. What...? No... Really? I don't know. I guess we'll see. Despite it's popularity, there seem to be very few extensive reviews. There a a lot of success stories, but I like to read detailed blogs and week by week impressions, and there just isn't enough out there. I know it's new, so I'm taking the challenge myself so you all out there can get a feel for what this program looks like from a vegan perspective.

It looks, from the sales page, like every other internet workout routine, but this one really caught my interest when reading about the metabolic effects of the diet. Several cited studies grabbed my interest, as well as the emphasis on interval training, which I LOVE! I've got the weights, the pull up bar, and the spare time, so I am giving it a go!

I'm on Day 2, and let me tell you I got really moody by the end of the first day. The staggered calorie schedule is brilliant on paper, but in practice? Ooh, it's gonna take some getting used to. The 1500 days are perfect for me, just enough food keep me going and satiated. However, one of the interesting things about this program is that is has you restrict your calories on your heaviest workout days, followed by fluctuating calorie requirements throughout the week and one day a week where you basically eat anything you want. I love this aspect of the program, and the diet manual included cites sources and makes a very good case for metabolic stimulation.

Converting the eating plan to vegan was a hassle, so don't expect anything remotely helpful in that direction. Acceptable sources of protein in the proposed eating plan was meat, meat and oh, yeah...more meat. However, anyone with even a little experience in nutrition could make the necessary adjustments. Basically, you need to combine macronutrients properly during certain times of the day. To be honest, you will have a lot of trouble trying to follow this to a tee if you are vegan or raw vegan, but follow the caloric requirements proposed and do the best you can. This particular diet assumes that there are superior protein sources, but a wide variety of amino acids taken in whole, natural foods throughout the day is proven to be healthier than actually consuming a targeted number of grams by weight. Do your best here, and remember that this is meant to be a fat loss and muscle building workout, so much of the dietary dogma comes from the bodybuilding world. That being said, I think that, for the sort of fat loss this program wants you to achieve, leaving out unnecessary carbohydrates in the evening isn't a bad idea. You won't need that energy while you're sleeping.

You know what? Never mind. I'm going to make a separate post about my personalized eating plan. There are quite a few amazing vegan and even raw sources of amino acids, and I'd like to take more time to cover them. Right now, let's focus on the program itself. Speaking of which, I am sharing my experience with the 1000 Calorie Challenge, not promoting it or trying to sell it in any way. And remember, I am deviating from the provided menu plan, but I do so with my own nutritional education and eating practices to rely on. YMMV.

The entire program takes ten weeks, eight of which are the actual 1000 Calorie Challenge, and two more which act as your off season, giving your body a much needed rest while maintaining results and gearing you up for another program. Here's something I love: every week, you do a different workout. I did P90X last summer, and while I loved it, it did tend to be repetitive, and I'm easily bored. So, you only do the same workout three times in a week, and then you move on. I've only performed the first week's workout, but I'm really happy with the simplicity and the challenge. There's no fancy moves here, but the basics are the basics for a reason: they work! Be prepared to do squats, burpees, lunges, and simple weighted exercises that look pretty easy, yet pack a punch when you follow the regiment. You're not just doing exercises, you're doing them in a specific order, with specific results in mind.

The package does come with a wealth of information in easy to read manuals, so if you decide to try it out, be prepared to read- a lot! You'll want to set aside some time to go through the information and really get a sense of how the program was designed. Trust me, you'll feel much more confident in your program if you understand how it works, and anyone can understand the methods outlined here.

So, I'm about to go and eat meal number five on Day 2! Drop me a line if you've tried this workout, completed, or even thought about it! I'll keep you updated on the progression, the tools, the food, the frustrations, etc. Don't forget to follow to find out how it all turns out! At the end of the program, I'll be posting results!


  1. 1500 calories is NOT ENOUGH if you're eating raw!

  2. According to some philosophies, I'm sure that's true, nonnie :)