Three Hundred and Forty-Six Pounds Shed in Lockdown in New Orleans
The community at CrossFit Algiers in New Orleans, LA. was two weeks into their annual “ShredU” fitness and nutrition challenge when their gym’s doors were forced to close because of COVID-19.
This year, the challenge included 41 clients, six of whom were brand new members, all broken into coach-led teams.
A moment of worry: Gym owner Jodi Lynn Jordan admitted she felt some panic about losing her facility in the middle of her six-week challenge. Each challenge member had paid $200-plus for the challenge, and she thought people might quit or start asking for refunds.
- “I was worried,” she said.
- “Not only that, but I was about to hand my coaches the most challenging coaching environment they have ever had to deal with, especially when it came to coaching the new people who hadn’t been in the community before.”
To her surprise, instead of asking for refunds and dropping out of the challenge, the 41 challenge clients seamlessly embraced an online version of the challenge. They continued to work together at home in their coach-led teams, continued to dial in their diets, and continued to pursue their fitness via home programming and online classes.
- “The coaches continued to reach out to everyone on their teams, and they still did the weekly weigh-ins. People took a picture of the scale and submitted it each week,” Jordan said.
Six weeks later: The “ShredU” crew lost a total of 346.6 pounds between the 41 of them. The average weight loss was 8.5 pounds, while the average number of inches lost was 4.9. Meanwhile, the average one-mile run improvement was one minute and 12 seconds.
- “Nobody even quit. Not a single person,” Jordan added.
In a city that has been hit particularly hard by COVID-19, Jordan said she couldn’t be more proud of her members.
- “A lot of people don’t have access to medical care here, many don’t have a lot of money, and a huge percentage of people in New Orleans are diabetic and obese,” she said.
- “And it’s just our culture, you know, we all kiss each other hello, and a lot of extended families continue to live in the same home, so we’re kind of a perfect storm for something like this virus.”
Another part of New Orleans culture involves celebrating together with food. Typically at the end of the challenge, the CrossFit Algiers community celebrates with a big, communal crawfish boil.
- “We obviously couldn’t do that this time. Crawfish is highly communal and everyone stands around touching (everything),” Jordan said.
Though a crawfish boil was off the table, Jordan was determined to find a way to celebrate.
This time, they did a “pick your own poison dinner” instead, Jordan explained. This brought the community together over Zoom. They all brought their own food and booze, shared laughs, and handed out awards to the various challenge winners.
The overall winner was Tonika Peavy. She lost 15 pounds, 11 inches, and took two minutes and forty-seven seconds off her mile time.
- “When she first ran the mile, she barely got through it walking. For the first time in her life, she’s now exercising every day and meal prepping. It was amazing to see,” Jordan said.
Peavy credits her success to the community.
- “The fact that I was part of a team and knew that it was a team challenge really helped keep me motivated,” said Peavy, who has been running and walking at least three times a day.
- “The coaches and (my) teammates have been a huge asset. The coaches keep us on track and motivated. Every time I don’t feel like getting out of bed or dressed to workout, I see a post from them, or a teammate…that helps get me moving.”
She has no intention of stopping now.
- “I plan to keep moving forward…I can’t wait to see how much stronger, both mentally and physically, I will be when (we) get to be back together at the gym.”
Jordan, too credits the challenge’s massive success on the relationships and community that was in place prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- “We already had great coaches and a great community, who had invested in one another, and who had built trust already. We were able to lean on that during this time. I don’t think it was something we could have done in the moment,” she said.
- “It was something that had to be built prior to COVID. I’m just so proud of my folks. They stepped up, but that’s what they do every day. They care for people, so that wasn’t new. This was just another opportunity for them to shine.”