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Finish Line: The 2016 Primal Blueprint 21-Day Challenge

I’m kinda sad to be saying this, but the 2016 Primal Blueprint 21-Day Challenge [1] is officially over. Mine is a bittersweet sadness, though—the good kind you get after a great party or wedding. I’m not really broken up. After all, thousands of you guys participated in and finished the challenge, which means thousands of lives probably improved (and thousands more witnessed your lives improve and wondered whether it might improve their own lives, too). That’s nice.

Although I’ve mentioned it before, most people probably don’t know this: a primary interest of mine in the Challenge is entirely selfish. You guys inspire me. When I’m putting together contests for 15-second recipe videos, I want new ideas for making quick and delicious food in my kitchen. When I ask for your thoughts, I’m getting advice and insight from the best and brightest around. The beauty of this Internet/social media thing is that the information is open to everyone, so everyone can be selfish and draw inspiration from everyone else’s content. You’re not emailing me the recipe videos. You’re posting them to Instagram.

Let’s revisit the highlights, shall we?

The Contests

My team and I came up with some great contests [1], and as always you guys rose to the occasion. All in all, there were 9 separate contests, each offering the chance to share knowledge, impress and inspire others, show off your cooking (and video-editing) skills, or just get lucky. You shared success stories [2], made Primal Blueprint recipe videos [3], shared your innermost thoughts [4], told jokes [5], asked poignant questions [6] (and gave me lots of ideas for future posts), posed like Grok [7], and showed what’s in your kitchens [8]. Oh, yeah, and there were some sweet prizes for each one, too. You got the chance to win $1500 in meat from US Wellness [9], $1000 to the Primal Blueprint store [10], a Primal Essentials Kit [11], a full array of Primal Kitchen offerings, a year’s supply of Primal Fuel [12], $200 worth of breakfast meaty goodness [13], and tons more.

Your Creations

Each Challenge (pleasantly) surprises me with regards to how smart, creative, and impressive my readers are. It keeps me on my toes and makes me realize I have to step up my writing and researching game. These are hard realizations but ultimately good ones. So thanks for that humbling feedback.

The cooking videos were innovative. They had to be. 15 seconds goes by a lot more quickly than you think, so you have to be merciless with the editing. The results were lean and mean and drool-inducing. We got 35 entries [14], every one of them worth trying at home. From the winning (and hilarious) pork carnitas [15] to a delicious (no joke) chicken liver smoothie made by two cute kids [16] to a delicious tropical mango shrimp avocado ceviche [17] that fits in the palm of your hand to an incredible sweet potato hash [18] requiring massive chard leaves, the Grinch, and excellent throwing accuracy, you’ll have ideas for weeks. I know I will.

Your “you might be Primal if” jokes made us laugh, guffaw, chortle, chuckle, giggle (both uncontrollably and more measuredly), snicker, and snort. The best ones made us think. You asked great questions [19], ones I’ll be answering [20] for months and maybe years into the future. You shared thoughts and criticisms and suggestions [4]; I’m grateful for that. It’s how I improve.

36 Groks posed [21] for us. Instead of spears, some of you used infants [22], cows [23], barbells [24], pool noodles [25], neckties [26], atlatls [27], and graffiti [27]. Either way, they [28] were [29] all [30] beautiful [31].

The Articles

Although the 21-Day Challenges limit how many feature MDA articles I can produce, I do my best to increase the quality. You don’t want to lead people on wild goose chases or have them switch directions in the middle of a Challenge, so the trick is to help them maintain focus. Articles during a Challenge need to support the journey and motivate, not throw you off. My article on personalizing Primal Blueprint Fitness [32] based on fitness level and personal context was designed to help you make realistic training goals; my article on the 8 essential kitchen hacks [33] made your experience in the kitchen easier and more effective. Another pair on identifying [34] and overcoming obstacles [35] had obvious relevance (because obstacles will bar your path and you need tools to get around or over them). I also wrote about the effect your gut bacteria might be having on your mental health [36]—including your motivation and drive to win—and what you can do to improve your mood and the way your brain responds to challenges by eating fermented food, taking probiotics, and consuming prebiotic fiber. But perhaps the most useful and relevant feature article was the one I wrote on compassion [37]. We’re too hard on others and especially ourselves, and there’s powerful evidence this has negative effects on our ability to succeed and, well, be happy.

The App and Program

For the second time, we partnered with Vimify to bring you a Primal Blueprint 21-Day Challenge app [38]. It’s always fun and inspiring and beautiful and a dozen other adjectives to see people killing the challenges, overcoming obstacles, helping one another, and making real change in real time.

The Challenge is over for now, but it’s not over. Keep the momentum going. Maintain the gains you’ve made, the changes you’ve wrought, the good habits you’ve established. More prizes still await. And if you want to give it another go down the line, or can think of someone who could benefit from the experience, you can always grab a 21-Day Total Body Transformation package [39]. It’s the templates we use for every year’s challenge.

Great work, everyone. I’m pumped for the rest of the year. I hope you are, too.

That’s it for today.