The Stark Naked challenge has come a long way since its inception back in 2012 when the Stark staff formed a casual water cooler talk challenge. Participants must pay a $1,000 initiation fee that goes directly to their charity of choice — by 2020 the competition raised $229,363 to donate to charities. We often refer to this challenge as ‘fit-lanthropy’ since participants raise money for charity before getting shredded for a photoshoot at the end of the challenge. There’s no better way to hold yourself accountable than to know you’re going to have a (mostly) naked photo of yourself posted online to compete against other people! Some clients don’t want their nude photos posted online, which is completely fine because they still get the incredible experience of donating to charity and getting super fit!
Getting Stark Naked: What Is It Like & What Does It Take
The Stark Naked challenge is not a massive departure from the hard work everyone puts in at Stark all year long. While the experience is no different than what we ask our students to do 365 days a year, the room for error is much more narrow. For example, you only want plateaus to last a few days at most, while they usually last a little longer outside of the Stark Naked challenge. This challenge requires you to be more precise and check into your body a bit more than you would regularly!
Most people don’t give themselves enough time to get lean, so the longer you give yourself, the more room you have to work yourself into that stage slowly. If you’ve don’t already, your first week or two will be getting used to weighing and tracking all of your food meticulously. There may be a learning curve, so starting earlier will allow you to develop the necessary skills to get you to that endpoint. Doing it slower also will enable you to have diet breaks — where you take a day or two to chill out a bit. You can also control the fatigue that accumulates from diet and training when you take the process slower. The body will not be a willing participant when it comes to a calorie deficit and training. Our bodies respond to these changes by increased hunger, testosterone declines, libido declines, and additional fatigue. The quicker you try to get lean for the Stark Naked challenge — the more you’ll experience these negative side effects.
You don’t have to train every single day and only eat chicken and broccoli all day — that’s a giant misconception. While you will definitely be in a caloric deficit, you will still be eating carbs and fats. As mentioned earlier, this challenge is not much different than how we train 365 days a year. It’s not as drastic as what people think — we want your body to be happy and functional! This challenge is meant to be a fun way to hold yourself accountable to a higher degree while raising money (and awareness) for one of your favorite charities.
A Glimpse Into the Stark Naked Challenge Life
To successfully complete this challenge, you’ll need to be in a caloric deficit until you get to the very end (with periods of intermittent increases in caloric intake to respect what the body wants to do). The goal is not to go head to head with the body because we’re not going to win that battle. In the end, the net results after the challenge will be in a net deficit of calories.
We will admit that it gets challenging on a psychological level during the challenge, as it requires training with less caloric intake. You’ll get fewer calories and fewer vitamins — the challenge essentially requires you to voluntarily malnourish yourself to get especially lean. Don’t worry though, that’s where Dr. Alice comes in! She says, “the vast majority of the competitors have gone through testing with me prior to starting the training process. I have a very good baseline on the hormones and metabolic function. As they’re training more and more, I want to support their energy production — their mitochondrial function. A lot of these IVs we’re looking at are B-complexes, B-12, B-5, B-6, a lot of the Bs.”
It’s essential to check in with Dr. Alice before embarking on this fitness journey because you want to get a baseline of where you’re at before the challenge. The idea is that you won’t lose weight very quickly if you aren’t getting all the nutrients you need from your food, so many of our Stark Naked participants opt to get supplementation through an IV.
Dr. Alice says “we found that some of the competitors are kind of struggling a little bit, feeling a bit fatigued, and then we get them in for a bag, and they feel a lot better, and their composition is a lot better, too.”
All in all, this challenge is a fun way to get our clients motivated through a little friendly competition. We love looking back at how far this challenge has come and how much money we’ve collectively raised for charity. We look forward to the upcoming Stark Naked challenge in 2022! If you’re interested in participating, be sure to talk to your coach sooner rather than later.