Little Black Dress vs Take Down Challenge

We started running the Little Dress Program about 5 weeks ago and we had quite a few women sign up for the program.  I’ll admit I wasn’t too familiar with the program when we started.  What I liked about the program was the components of the program.  It has meal plans, recipes, and an accountability structure.  The women who signed up for the program took a chance on the program.

The participants overall have great things to say about the program.  Many have embraced it and have taken it as a new lifestyle.  The eating is based on “clean” eating and promotes vegetables, lean meat and fish, and good fats.  I started the program a week before everyone else so I could talk about what they could expect first-hand. 

The first 2 days are detox days with meals made up of fruits, vegetables, and lean meat.  There is very little protein and these days are meant to you’re your body a break by eliminating the toxins normally ingested in our body.  There is a list of ingredients too avoid in our daily products including ingredients in shampoo, deodorant and detergent. 

After the first 2 days, the program focuses on a protein shake for breakfast, vegetables and lean meat for lunch and dinner and healthy snacks.  I’ve never been one to make my own salad dressing but now I’m hooked!  The program got me to cook more and my goal is to eat dinner at home every weeknight. 

Since starting the program over 5 weeks ago I’ve cut my alcohol intake significantly.  I was a one drink / night person.  On the weekends I might indulge a bit more.  Now I might have one drink per week.  I’m also cooking more.  I haven’t made a burger in years and the program has a delicious turkey burger option. One of the biggest changes has been when we go out for breakfast on Sunday.  I order sliced tomatoes to replace the hash-browns.  And I don’t even miss the potatoes.  I’ve lost 14 pounds and am almost back to my racing weight!

During these last few weeks, many people have asked how the Little Black Dress Program (LBD) is similar to the Kick-start, formerly Take Down Challenge (TDC.)   We’ve been running the Take Down Challenge with a lot of success since September of 2015.  We’ve had over 100 women participate in the Take Down Challenge and learn about the importance of Macronutrients, portion sizes and meal timing.  We’ve released over 500 pounds of body fat during these challenges.

I fully support the Kick-Start (TDC) and the education it provides for women looking to change their eating habits.  The food coaches are there to teach, support, and hold accountable.  There are new recipes each week and new recipes for every challenge.  There’s a shopping list provided and exercise suggestions customized for each participant. 2 coached workouts per week are included in the program. 

We will continue running both programs.  But it really got me thinking about what I would change with each program based on the programs I want at Active Souls.  These components are goal setting, fitness, nutrition, accountability, and coaching. 

At the start of both programs, we ask each participant to write down their goals and share them with us at their first weigh-in / accountability session.  We try to hold them to their goals through e-mail and conversations.  Because of the added component of semi-private training in LBD program, we were able to come back to the goals more frequently.

Fitness is a big component of all our programs and LBD is no exception.  Because we were able to set up semi-private training groups trainers were more accessible.  Our trainers got into this business to help women be fit, have more energy, and feel confident in their bodies.  This was a win not only for the participants but also for the trainers.

Both programs focus on nutrition.  The big difference between the programs is Little Black Dress is very prescriptive giving meal plans and recipes for 42 days.  The Kick-Start / TDC provides education and suggestions on crafting your own meals.  Both programs include recipes, the Kick-Start / TDC includes many more recipes geared toward family friendly meals.

Accountability is where I see the biggest change.  The women who joined LBD could visualize themselves at the end of this wearing a Little Black Dress to a holiday party, wearing leggings and a sweater to a friend’s get together, or finally fitting into their skinny jeans!  Their goal setting sheets were more focused on how they saw themselves than just a number on the scale.   The goal sheets and the accountability to them has been the biggest key to the program success. 

I’ve been thinking a lot about this and the team and I are developing programs to support the 5 components – Goal Setting, Fitness, Nutrition, Wellness, and Accountability.   We will start announcing new programs in mid-December because it’s not just about group fitness; this is a new way of thinking holistically about your life and how fitness, nutrition, and overall wellness play THE role in how you live.