February 90% Nutrition Challenge

The monthly challenge at Pink Dumbbells for February will be to achieve and sustain at least 90% compliance with your nutrition plan. According to Dr. John Berardi, his research and experience working with athletes and private clients have shown him that you don’t need to be perfect 100% of the time on your nutrition plan to achieve the results you want–just getting 90% of your meals down will give you nearly identical results as that 100% of perfection, and you won’t go nuts in the meanwhile.

Who wants to see if he’s right?

Here are the basics:

1. If you are eating 6 meals a day, that is 42 total meals out of the week. To stay above 90% compliance, you can have up to FOUR cheat meals a week.

2. For the purposes of this challenge:

Cheat meal = any single meal of reasonable portion size that contains even one item not on your defined plan. A huge buffet dinner that includes 3 loaded plates and a dessert exceeds the limits of a normal splurge meal.

So in one week I can replace 4 authorized meals with
a) personal size pizza at Donato’s
b) 1 c. rice with 1 c. Chinese take out food
c) regular on-plan dinner with bowl of ice cream for dessert
d) Chipotle barbacoa beef bowl

but not:
– entire large pizza with the works
– 4 plates at a Chinese buffet
– Entire 1/2 gallon carton of Ben and Jerry’s
– 3 Chipotle burritos with extra cheese, sour cream, and guacamole plus chips and bladder buster Coke

3. A collaborative spreadsheet (sample) will be posted to Google Docs for check-ins. Checking in is easy–just type an x in the appropriate box if you:

a) MISS a meal entirely
b) TAKE a cheat meal

All of the percentages will be calculated automatically. There will be space left for you to include notes about your cheat if you like, but that is not mandatory. Click on the TAB with your name to access your own chart. All participants will be able to view each other’s charts.

4. The challenge is open to Pink Dumbbells members as well as other fitness bloggers and enthusiasts who have a nutrition plan with 6 meals/day ready for February. If you’d like to take part in this experiment, send me an email with your email address by February 1 so I can add you as a collaborator on the shared spreadsheet.

Come on…tracking doesn’t get much easier than this–you only need to mark your chart if you HAVEN’T eaten on plan. Let’s make February a month of near (90%!) perfection!


I woke up this morning feeling a bit creaky from last night’s class. My calves and forearms (very unexpected) are in semi-DOMS condition already, but I felt peppy enough at 7:30 am to do a shoulder/back workout with Ashlee followed by 20 minutes of gymnastics practice covering the new moves I learned yesterday and my off-side (right arm leading) cartwheel. I think I have the power and strength to do most of the moves, but I need to develop more agility and control. As a side benefit of the PM/AM workouts, I have that beautiful “lean” sensation in my torso today that I normally only get following a run.

Gotta love it.

If I don’t donate blood today at lunch I am going to knock out my missed TT weights and core workouts or sub in a round of Rodney Yee’s Yoga Conditioning for Athletes on DVD at home tonight. I think the capoeira class more than made up for the TT intervals I would have done.

I weighed in at 141.8 lbs this morning with a bf% of 20.9% according to the Omron and a drop of 1% on the Tanita. Not too shabby considering I’ve been cutting at such a high intake level (1800-1900 on average) compared to past efforts. I should have reset my metabolism 2 years ago. It sure makes both lifting heavier AND subsequently dropping fat a lot easier.

I have measurements and pics again on Saturday, so I am shooting for just one cheat during this work week, with my remaining two available for AFTER photos.