Behind Block CrossFit’s Nutrition Challenge

nutrition challenge

In 2014, Block CrossFit launched a new nutrition challenge spearheaded by two members of the Box, Caitlin Mckee and Juana Acosta.

As registered dietitians, both had found interest in nutrition from other members of the gym in Redlands, California. “People wanted to lose weight or gain muscle mass,” said Acosta. “We spoke with the Coaches and the owners and they asked us if we will do classes or a nutrition challenge.”

The 12-week challenge was started with Mckee and Acosta sitting down and creating an objective of what they wanted participants to get out of it. “We tried to fit it all in a timeline where they would stay accountable the whole time and stay motivated through the three months,” said Mckee. “So, we really just sat down and tried to see, what are the essential things that we can reach a larger number of people with, rather than doing one-on-ones.”

The challenge begins with a body composition analysis, assessment of calorie needs and measurements. Acosta explained that by gathering the above data, people are able to realize how exactly their body is changing. She said the number on a scale does not accurately reflect what’s going on in someone’s body.

Members of Block CrossFit's nutrition challenge participate in a seminar as part of the program.

Members of Block CrossFit’s nutrition challenge participate in a seminar as part of the program.

Throughout the challenge, Acosta and Mckee encourage use of nutrition journals, send out emails every other week, hold monthly seminars and offer various resources like meal ideas. One of the biggest factors is the role accountability plays in the challenge. Mckee offered up four ways they do this:

  1. Members track their progress in workouts and nutrition. “They need to be recording everything,” said Mckee. “People who record their workouts, their nutrition, their sleep, everything, they can make changes more easily or will be more accountable to making those changes than people who just hope for the best.”
  2. Mckee explained that she and Acosta are in the gym and are thus able to personally check in with members.
  3. With bi-weekly emails covering a variety of topics, members are constantly being educated and have another avenue to ask questions of Acosta and Mckee.
  4. By holding a group meeting or seminar each month, members are able to meet and hold one another accountable. “We went around and asked people, ‘How are you doing? What works? What didn’t work? What would you change?’” said Mckee. “We had them verbalize their goals, which is huge for accountability.”

While Acosta and Mckee have had to revamp the challenge — it took more work and time than they had first expected — it was done to provide higher quality to those involved. Overall though, the focus of it remains the same: change in lifestyle. “The number one thing to keep in mind is focus on members’ lifestyle change,” said Acosta. “We wanted to take out the ‘lose as much as possible’ [mentality]. Look long term and ask, ‘How can I change my lifestyle?’”


Photos by Joey Reger

Heather is the editor for Box Pro Magazine. Contact her at