5 World Class Basics For Crossfit Nutrition
Nutrition is for life. Make sure you understand the basics and make them a habit.
Practicing CrossFit without any regard to nutrition is similar to only having “one oar in the water,” according to CrossFit Founder and CEO Greg Glassman. Diet is crucial to optimising health and performance, which is why nutrition is the foundation of the CrossFit pyramid.
“Sound nutrition, obtained from a high-quality diet in optimal quantities—as determined by the individual—provides the necessary foundation for continued progress and maximum adaptations from the program” -CrossFit HQ
You wouldn’t expect to jump straight into the main class and be performing WOD’s with RX weight without having first completed your foundations. Why does this occur with nutrition? We all need to stick to the foundations of CrossFit nutrition Every. Single. Day. Good nutrition needs to be a lifestyle, something that is a basic habit and that you enjoy. The basics can be the mundane stuff – prepping meals, eating more vegetables, limiting alcohol consumption or getting to bed early. If you take one piece of advice from this: no sugar! Try to limit natural sugars and say no to refined sugars. You will get plenty of carbohydrates. You will feel 100x better without sugar and its physiological effects.
When you nail the basics, the effects on performance and health are incredible.
Nutrition is the basis for achieving the results you want.
Here are 5 world class basics to focus on now:
1 EAT THE RAINBOW
The fact is that the majority of people underestimate the impact that eating enough vegetables has on health and performance. The intensity of CrossFit means that your body requires more support than the average Joe, and you need to be supplying it with a variety of nutrients. A recent meta-analysis concluded that a higher consumption of fruit and vegetables is associated with a lower risk of all causes of mortality, particularly cardiovascular mortality. There is no supplement that has this kind of effect!! Adding more vegetables (particularly green veggies) into most meals is the first place to start. Add kale/spirulina into your morning smoothie, spinach to your omelette and a variety of green to your lunches and dinner. Bottom line is to eat vegetables at every meal.
2) INDIVIDUALIzE YOUR NUTRITION
Finding what works for you is so important, and that takes a little bit of awareness. Do you have those days when you feel superhuman?! Just jot down what you ate in the meals leading up to that awesome workout. Additionally, write down what foods you ate when you feel like death and everything feels heavy! Tracking food, especially at the beginning, is a huge key to success. Every person is different.
Nutrition: Trust in the process. Proper nutrition takes time. It won't happen overnight, but discipline and persistence lead to success.
3) MINIMIzE THE STRESS OF DECISION
Deciding what to eat for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, pre workout, post workout etc etc etc…it can become overwhelming. Putting to work some simple strategies to minimize the stress of making these type of decisions can help you focus on other areas like training, work, and your social life.
Meal prep – you don’t have to prep every meal for a whole week, but just double your (healthy) recipe for dinner, roast some meat and veggies that you can take for lunch a few days a week. Healthy snacks are especially important to plan for and have nearby.
Have some tried and true meals on standby – this could be a good smoothie recipe, a quick tasty superfood salad lunch or a spicy stir fry. Having these quick go to meals allows you to stay on point with your Crossfit nutrition regardless of the situation.
4) EAT THE BEST QUALITY PRODUCE THAT YOUR BUDGET ALLOWS FOR
You don’t have to buy everything organic from expensive health food shops, but one basic thing to do is to buy the best you can afford. Do a little bit of research to find a local producer who provides amazing eggs for a fraction of the supermarket prices, or buy up superior cuts of meat and fish when they are on sale and freeze them. Another tip is to buy larger cuts of meat and cook for a few meals at a time, which is always cheaper than buying the pre cut fillets, allowing you to spend more on better quality veggies!
5) EAT SOME FORM OF PROTEIN AT BREAKFAST
Protein for breakfast!
Cornflakes and milk? Does anyone still eat this?!?! Want to build muscle, lose fat and be awesome at work?? Then get SOME PROTEIN IN YOUR BREAKFAST!
So why is having protein at breakfast so crucial?
Boost neurotransmitter production – boosts memory, attention and drive for the day ahead.
It is linked to eating less throughout the day.
Stabilizes energy levels – no mid morning energy dips.
Provides amino acids to build muscle and recover from training.
It doesn’t matter whether you do the 5:00am CrossFit class or the 7:30pm yoga class, you need protein at breakfast.
Here are some great breakfast ideas
Eggs – anyway you like: Omelettes, baked eggs, scrambled, poached, boiled……add veggies, add meat, add fish – be creative.
Greek yogurt – add nuts, seeds, berries, protein powder – done!
Meat and nuts – Try it for a change.
Chia seed puddings – Google them. So versatile, and can be used for snacks and desserts also.
Smoothies – get yourself a Nutribullet or Ninja, and start creating masterpieces! Smoothies are a great way to add in lots of different superfoods and nutrients. Add spirulina, maca and tyrosine into a morning smoothie. Aronia berries are also great for the recovery from oxidative stress from our high intensity efforts. This may be the easiest way to get some greens into your diet without getting tired of chewing.
Crossfit Nutrition: The Take home message
Nutrition is for life. Is the sugary sweet worth the immediate pleasure but long term pain? Remember that everything you put in your mouth, in either solid or liquid form, is either helping you achieve your goal or hindering your progress. Make sure you understand the basics and make them a habit. Short term pain for long term gain or vice versa, short time gain for long term pain. Which will you choose?
(Source: Liam Holmes, edits by Landon Weber, Jill Paullus)