EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

New Hampshire

December 10, 2012

Hampstead gym members join forces, become healthier

HAMPSTEAD — Losing 30 pounds in two months can seem like a daunting task, but when it is turned into a team competition — with a potential huge reward — it becomes much easier.

More than 40 members of The Fort CrossFit participated in the LuRong Paleo Challenge with gyms all around the country in an effort to improve their gym and their health at the same time.

Participants eliminated all grains and dairy from their diets for two months. They also stuck to a strict exercise routine and weekly body measurements. CrossFit exercises focus on strengthening the core. The workouts are short, but are usually demanding activities such as rowing, pull-ups and weightlifting.

The Fort finished sixth out of nearly 500 gyms. That wasn’t enough to win the top prize, but they did win a $400 credit in apparel from Life AsRx, which specializes in CrossFit gear for finishing in the top 10. The grand prize was $50,000 of equipment to improve the winning gym.

“We found that it really affects body composition,” said Kyle Rochefort, one of the owners of The Fort. “People were losing 10, 20, 30 pounds. More importantly, they feel so much better and their performance went through the roof.”

The key was for participants to stick to a mainly protein diet and be honest with themselves and their teammates if they splurged on treats such as chocolate or pizza. Any time a person cheated, points were deducted from the team’s score.

Keeping to the diet was difficult at first, some members said, until it became the norm.

“It was a challenge to cut off all the foods you’re not allowed to eat,” said Audrey Maguire of Danville. “Once you get into it, it’s just part of your life. I don’t even really think about it.”

Maguire, who lost 12 pounds during the two-month contest, said learning how to cook new foods was one of the most difficult aspects of the program. But she was diligent, even while on vacation.

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