Believe it or not, I think many people at our Box are underfed. What? That’s right. In my view, you, yes you, are not eating enough quality food!
Imagine you have a brand new Ford Raptor (truck) with aftermarket rims, tinted windows, and enough horses under the hood that PETA should probably sue Henry Ford and each of his living relatives? Now, would you expect that wonderful piece of machinery to run efficiently, or AT ALL, without fuel? Based on my conversations with many of our athletes about their diets, I think an uncomfortable number of you would actually answer that question with a “yes”.
The problem with that is that quite simply, your body is not going to make it through, let alone thrive, during grueling CrossFit workouts, without adequate fuel (food). I know this seems obvious but listen up. I am only going to say this a few hundred times. It is o.k. to EAT!
A 200 pound guy can’t properly fuel himself with only side salads and kale chips. Now I am not going to go into nitty gritty detail about exact calories. That is not my job (please ask Shanna and Shari for the details) but what I will say is that if your weight loss has stalled, you are getting dizzy or lightheaded during WODs or if you have no energy throughout the remainder of the day, you are most likely not eating enough. If you are wondering if I am talking about you, I AM.
That doesn’t mean you can use this blog post as permission to eat anything smaller than yourself. Use some common sense.
So let’s start with some basic guidelines to keep in mind. They may help you get on the right track.
First, if you don’t know what to eat, eat protein. In my opinion, roughly 101% of women CrossFit athletes aren't getting adequate protein in their diets and most men aren’t either. Eat healthy cuts of meat, milk if tolerable, eggs, and supplement with quality protein powder.
Physiologically most male bodies utilizes more carbohydrates than the ladies (sorry girls, just science) but both men and women alike need to make sure their carb sources are coming from something as close to natural as possible. Think sweet potatoes, rice and natural oatmeal. Men should consider making these fuel sources a greater percentage of their diet; especially those who carrier a high volume of muscle.
A handful of basic guidelines applicable to everyone:
Calories - No less than 10-12 calories per lb of bodyweight, NO LESS. If you are trying to gain weight, consider much more than that; perhaps closer to 15 calories a day per pound of body weight.
Protein - The leaner you are, the closer to your bodyweight you need to eat in grams. But in general, everyone needs to aim for a minimum (in grams) of your body weight less 25. For example, if you weigh 150 pounds, eat 125 grams of protein each day. Don’t forget, protein is the building block for muscle and also helps keep you feeling fuller longer. Not to mention protein provides your muscles adequate fuel to grow new muscle.
Carbs - Eat all the fresh green, leafy and brightly colored fruits and vegetables you can, as often as you can! After that, try to keep your starchy carbs (i.e. potatoes, rice, bananas) to a minimum and eat them closer to your workout times; especially post workout. For example, have a banana with some protein roughly 30 minutes prior to your workout. Have a small serving of potatoes or rice with your protein after your workout. This will give you quick, efficient energy during the WOD and adequate muscle recovery essentials afterwards. Avoid refined, processed sources of carbs at all costs. If it comes in a box, it's probably not the fuel you need.
Fats - Don’t be afraid of the healthy ones like lean cuts of red meat, seafood and protein. That’s all I will say.
I know it sounds like a pain in the butt, but the only way you can be sure you are getting the adequate calories you need is to keep track of them. That means some type of food journal. That doesn’t mean you have to be write down every last calorie but you should be able to track them well enough that if asked, you can give a guess within 200-300 calories per day.
There are several free smartphone apps out there that allow you to log exactly what you eat as well help you track how many calories and macronutrients you are consuming. You can actually use your WODTogether account to keep a food journal as well!
Remember, don't let all your hard work in the gym be derailed by what you eat. Eat smart and give yourself the right healthy fuel it needs to keep your motor running smoothly and efficiently. Sometimes that means you have to make sure you have enough fuel to keep from running out of gas.
Posted on Tue, July 15, 2014
by Cory Finley