The Foundations of CrossFit: Nutrition?

CrossFit Renew is celebrating Bring A Friend Week March 28 – April 1. This is part one of a three-part blog series introducing our “friends” to the Foundations of CrossFit. 

Whether we would like to admit it or not, our diet says a lot about us.

Some of us use food as a comfort, its our go to when we have had a rough day. Others of us pride ourselves on our ability to abstain from certain foods which we have nominated as “bad” or unhealthy.  We form unhealthy relationships with food, blaming it for the less than perfect image we see in the mirror.

Regardless of where you stand, most of us have developed some bad habits regarding food. So lets get a few things straight.

Food is meant to fuel us. It was given to us so that we could have energy to work. When we do things like Fran, we need to fuel this machine so that it will continue to run well. 

Too much of anything is not a good thing. This includes Kale. Too many people become consumed by their “healthy lifestyle” and they are no longer eating to live but living to eat. 

No matter how much time you spend in the gym, you cannot work-off a poor diet. In other words: You can spend an hour in the gym each day, but you have 23 hours to consume food, so make good choices. 

You will find many extremes, especially if you start “Google-ing” diets for CrossFitters. At CrossFit Renew, we won’t ask you to give up ALL carbohydrates, or ALL dairy, or chocolate. We believe that we (human beings) all live on a spectrum, and fall somewhere in between sick, well and fit. We want to move everyone closer to fit.

Most Americans live on the “sick” end of the spectrum. There are many illnesses that can be prevented or reversed with a some diet changes. We also believe that as you become more aware of healthy versus less healthy foods, and make a conscious effort to eat more of the healthy foods, you will see a change in the way you feel throughout the day.

You won’t wakeup needing 8 cups of coffee, or feel that 3pm crash that energy drink companies make a killing selling. Your endurance will increase and WODs like Murph won’t seem quite as daunting.

Now that you understand the WHY, lets address the more difficult question: How do I move from sick to well or from well to fit?

Its important that you start with the basics. You don’t need to make this complex. We still want you to enjoy food, we want you to be able to go out with your friends and be able to order something without making a ton of substitutions. So here is what you do:

Eat good quality, whole, nutrient packed foods.

Fill your plate with the three macro-nutireints; protein, carbohydrates and fats.

Proteins are within every cell in our body. It is a building block within bones, cartilage, hair, skin, muscles, tissues, etc. Protein helps you recover after a hard workout by re-building torn muscle fibers. They fill you up more than carbohydrates (try eating 10 oz of chicken as easily as you eat 10 oz of chips). They also help build new muscle which is important for those of us in CrossFit.

Some high protein foods include: chicken, turkey, beef, pork, eggs, legumes (beans), greek yogurt

Carbohydrates often receive a bad reputation. Many carbohydrates are processed or increase your blood sugar level. You want your blood sugar level to stay relatively level, so when you digest food high in sugar, such as cereal, your blood sugar will increase. Carbohydrates are a great source of energy, therefore they are necessary for athletes. These foods are sugars, starches and fiber.

Some good carbohydrates include: vegetables, leafy greens, fruits, berries, sweet potatoes, quinoa, brown rice, oatmeal

Fats have also received a bad reputation in the past. We can go into a grocery store and find a number of foods that say “low fat” or “fat-free”. Fats do a number of things for our body, most importantly, without fat, our brain would no longer function properly.

Fats also provide insulation, energy storage and help absorb essential vitamins. Fat helps many of the systems in our body operate well. It also provides a good energy source for our bodies, which is necessary for those of us who are extending energy.

Some HEALTHY fats include: (unsaturated fats) nuts, avocado, seeds, fish, flax seed, (some saturated fats) coconut oil

If you fill your plate with these foods you are well on your way to a healthier lifestyle. You want to divide your plate with 30% protein, 40% good carbohydrates and 30% healthy fats. In simplicity, the majority of your plate should contain leafy greens, vegetables, or fruits, some protein and some fat.

Avoid foods that can be found in the center isles of the grocery store, since these foods are generally processed foods, which often contain high amounts of sugar (I will save my lecture on sugar for another day).

We want you to be healthier, that doesn’t mean faster, skinnier, stronger; those things often come as a product of healthy eating and regular physical activity. Start off simple, make small attainable goals, and always always always ask for help!

See you around the gym,

Whit