Many people get involved in various athletic activities with individual goals. Some want to pursue it for stress relief,others for competitive purposes,and some to facilitate changes in their physique. Regardless of your end goal, fueling your body is one of the biggest components an individual needs to understand when approaching fitness.
So you drank the kool-aid and now possess the illicit crossfit bug. You’ve come out of the gate strong, hitting WODs 3-4 days a week while posting endless crossfit paraphernalia on all your social media profiles. However, you’re exhausted. You are sore all the time. Your workouts, weights and endurance are not improving. What are you doing wrong?! One word. Nutrition.
In order to fuel workouts that challenge your cardiovascular endurance, strength, and speed one must understand a few simple points:
1) When to eat.
2) What to eat.
3) How much to eat.
While many crossfitters subscribe to the Paleolithic diet or structure their meals around The Zone I’m going to lay it out a little simpler to start.
WHEN TO EAT:
An activity like crossfit requires consistent fuel levels and relatively few insulin spikes. You should eat from waking to sleep every 3 hours to maintain this. Your preworkout meal being 1.5-2 hours before your workout and your post workout as soon as possible after (within a metabolic timing window of 30-45min for max results) your last meal of the day should be 2 hours before bed excluding a muscle recover shake which can be consumed right up to bedtime. (More on that soon).
WHAT TO EAT:
Due to the nature of crossfit workouts you need each meal to be well rounded with Protein, Carbohydrates, and Healthy Fats. Using the Macronutrient profile of The Zone diet that means 40% of your daily calories come from Carbs, 30% from Protein and 30% from Fats. Here is an easy to use online macro calculator that can also tell you your daily calorie allowance based on your personal stats:
So what do I eat?! Well you eat these calories from whole foods! Here are some examples:
•Sweet Potato/Potatoe/other root veggies
•Whole wheat bread
•Whole grain pasta
•Whole eggs and egg whites
•Various protein powders (Whey/Casein/vegan/etc)
•*Dairy products…but they have trace carbs so check your labels!
•Nut butters and nuts
•The yokes from whole eggs
•Butter and salad dressings
In addition to these categories you need micronutrients for digestive and immune health.
Veggies and Fiber:
•Carrots (in moderation as they are high in sugar and a root veggie)
Consuming whole foods alongside a gallon of water daily will aid you in faster recovery,more mental alertness, and more consistent energy throughout your day.
HOW MUCH TO EAT:
Once you’ve calculated your calorie allowance:
You need to break up your meals accordingly. Your heaviest carb meals should be before and after your workouts. You can eat more fat and less carbs on rest days. Carbs are needed for energy output and if you’re sitting on the couch less is more!
So that’s a starting point for those of you looking to clean up your diets and up your intensity at the gym. Certainly diets get more complicated but this guideline is a great place to start your journey into health and fitness. After all, abs are made in the kitchen.