Most people seek out a physical activity with one very specific goal in mind: To lose weight. There are thousands of different physical activities that can assist you with achieving that goal but somehow you’ve found your way into a CrossFit box. As with any weight loss equation, your diet plays a key roll in your success. However, ‘dieting’ and CrossFit do not go well together. You can’t ‘diet’ and perform well at CrossFit. So, how do you get fitter?!
In many of my previous blogs I’ve discussed meal planning, the paleo diet, macro nutrient breakdown and even the different physique goals of men and women. This however, seems to be a topic of confusion for the newbie CrossFitter. Why does dieting and CrossFit not mix? Firstly, CrossFit is an activity that pushes your body into a place of extreme workoad requiring massive energy output. In order to execute these workouts, your body requires adequette fuel. Without adequette fueling, the body becomes fatigued faster, struggles with weight load, and is far more susceptible to injury. I hate the word ‘diet’ because it implies calorie restriction. If anything we want you eating more calories as a CrossFit athlete, not less.
Whoa, hang on….eat more?! No way. I’ll get fat! (I hear you ladies). As a society we have had the balance of calorie input verse output drilled into our minds. It works. Expend more calories than you consume and you’ll maintain a lighter body weight. I’m not denying science. It’s important to recognize CrossFit burns way more calories than your treadmill. Yet, why is it people don’t attain their goals? Well for starters they aren’t fully grasping the concept of clean eating. Secondly, eating too little puts your body into starvation mode, which results in it hoarding every calorie you consume to protect it from dying…yikes!. Lastly, not eating enough calories creates a great deal of stress on the body. That stress results in the release of the hormone cortisol, which also gets released during intense workouts. Next thing you know your cortisol levels are through the roof….and so is your belly fat.
In order to succeed at CrossFit, lose excess body fat, and prevent injury, you must ensure you eat whole foods and a balance of carbohydrates, proteins, fats and plant based items. Eating clean foods when starting a CrossFit training program and keeping your meals 3 hours apart throughout the day , is a great place to start. It’ll keep your insulin levels steady and prevent over eating. Making sure to hydrate is also super crucial. These workouts (especially in the Florida heat) are very dehydrating on the body! You must hydrate before and after workouts and throughout the day.
Once your body starts to put on muscle your metabolism will speed up. You’ll notice your waist getting smaller. The average woman doesn’t have much muscle on her body. This increase in muscle to fat ratio is needed to achieve leaner physical results. I tend to follow 1g of protein per pound of bodyweight daily as well as portion control. Protein roughly the size of my fist, carbs the size of my palm, a tablespoon of fats and as many veggies as my little heart desires. Plus you’re eating 5-7 times a day….um…Yes please!!
Once you’ve been training for a couple months you can move onto more advanced nutrition such as the paleo diet, using the formula of the zone diet, or even carbohydrate cycling. Until then start slowly. If you stick with it you’ll get stronger, faster and look the best you ever have in your life!!.
You can always email me for advice or stop me when you’re at the box if you feel lost or just want to ask a question. Happy CrossFitting! And if you’re new to CrossFit, get ready to fall in love like the rest of us.