ross-by-line-picI have to admit that I was very skeptical about doing a "6 Week Challenge" at our Krav Maga Worldwide HQ Training Centers. The "6 Week Challenge" concept had become so sensationalized over the past two years or so that it bored me silly. There seemed to be a "6 Week Challege" everywhere and, really, it was just a click-bait term for a package of workouts (typically 4 days a week) a diet plan (typically a paleo diet handout) and a "before" and "after" body fat test. It seemed to be a gimmicky way to sell people on a package of workouts and I just didn't want to see Krav Maga Worldwide do that.

The day that our "Lean in 17" 6 Week Challenge started, I very stubbornly began to sense that my skepticism was wrong. When the challenge ended last weekend, there was no denying that I was wrong. Not because of the concept itself but because of the people we had running the challenge and the participants who came out to give it their all.

Tina Angelotti, Todd Harwood, and Michael Margolin turned our 6 Week Challenge into something much more than what I had previously seen....and the participants in the challenge were so determined and inspired that, seeing them working out and pushing themselves in classes, I felt embarrassed to have doubted the challenge at the onset. The results changed my mind about what this sort of program can, and should, be. Check out some stats below!!!

Participants: 51

Fat in Pounds Lost
Avg. per Participant: 3.9
Max: 11.3
Body Fat Percentage Points Lost
Avg. per Participant: 1.6%
Max: 4.6%
Classes Taken
Avg. per Participant: 28.1
Max: 98


We had 51 participants! The average participant took just over 28 classes during the course of the 6 weeks. That means if other 6 week challenges are offering participants four classes a week (24 classes), our average participant got four more entire week's worth of what other challenge programming offers. Michael and Tina came up with the idea of assigning a point value to every class we offer at Krav Maga Worldwide HQ Training Centers, so our challenge participants could workout and earn points toward their challenge score when they wanted and how they wanted. Participants  were training in fitness, fight, and self-defense classes. They were not limited to a single type of workout at an assigned time on assigned days of the week.

One of the most unique elements of our challenge had to do with food and nutrition. We partnered with Todd Harwood Certified Nutritional Coach and Personal Chef with the renowned Dolce Diet to give participants nutrition and meal-prep training. Our participants learned about how food is processed and utilized in the body and about the Dolce Diet principals that fuel elite athletes for high level performance. Todd and Tina also showed our participants how to prep and cook healthy, delicious meals, and Todd provided participants with several versatile recipes along with a solid meal planning structure. These are skills, not just handouts, that our participants took away with them and will never lose.

The nutrition, meal-prep, and healthy cooking principles that Todd and Tina conveyed really inspired everyone in the Lean in 17 Facebook group. Everyday the group timeline was filled with pictures of delicious, healthy, food...some of which was made by people who had never cooked or done meal-prep before. The Facebook group became a forum and support system for participants to share recipes, inspire each other and hold each other accountable. Check out some of the food pics!

For the body composition element of our challenge, which was the other method by which participants could score points, we didn't just do a body fat caliper test. We partnered with Body Spec in West L.A. and gave our participants cutting edge DXA scans. A DXA scan takes a comprehensive snapshot of your exact breakdown of bone, fat tissue, and muscle mass. The results are interpreted and aggregated to a total body fat percentage, as well as complete visualization and analysis of your lean tissue and bone density. You can see what a sample DXA scan looks like here.

The average participant in our challenge lost nearly 4lbs of fat and almost 2% body fat overall. This is the sort of sustainable weight loss and body fat loss that keeps people motivated and involved in a healthy lifestyle even after the challenge is over. 4lbs of fat!! That's amazing. 4lbs!! Couple that with an average body percent loss of 2% AND the skills and knowledge to keep the weight off and you can really see that our challenge provided people with a lifestyle change.

Last weekend participants celebrated the end of the challenge at a pot-luck dinner where the challenge winners were revealed! In the far left pic: Jordan Phelps, Troy Donnel, and Bernice Esquerra were our member winners. In the middle pic: staff winners Hanna Smith, Davis Dulnuan and Rosa Morrow standing in for Shayna Thea who's in the far right pic. I know, it's a little confusing. Sorry.

Despite my initial skepticism, the participants and coaches in "Lean in 17" set a new standard for how a "6 Week Challenge" can, and should be, run. We offered better, more comprehensive, body composition testing through Body-Spec DXA scans so participants could see exactly how their body was changing. We offered better programming so participants could train when and how they chose. We offered life-long skills in our nutrition and meal-prep training. Most importantly we had participants who pushed themselves and supported each other throughout! I witnessed people transform their bodies and I myself was transformed from skeptic to believer.

There's no denying what a positive impact "Lean in 17" had on our Krav Maga Worldwide HQ Training Centers overall.  I'm really looking forward to seeing what ideas these innovative coaches have for our next challenge!


Ross Cascio is the Krav Maga Worldwide Marketing Manager and an expert level Krav Maga self-defense and fitness instructor at Krav Maga Worldwide HQ Training Centers in Los Angeles.
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