No, I don´t mean that there´s an easy way out of having to eat a healthy diet. There are no magic diet pills and no rational diet that allows you to eat Twinkies and ice cream and still lose weight and feel great.
I mean there´s an easy way to make your CrossFit workouts feel not so bad, have great results, and feel more energetic day after day, and its called good nutrition! Ever wonder what the secret is to a sub-3 minute “Fran” where you finish the workout and not feel wrecked for 20 minutes? Or how to squat 300 pounds multiple times and not feel like a train ran over your legs the next day? Here´s how to do it, the easy way:
Step 1 – admit it. Think you eat pretty clean? Go look in your fridge or closet and count all the “food” you have with more than 5 ingredients in them. How many cans and jars and bottles and packages do you have in there? Don´t feel bad about it, and before you go nuts and throw everything in your pantry away, read step 2.
Step 2 – baby steps. If you have had foundations with me, I teach two things when it comes to nutrition and dieting: quality of food and quantity of food. Until you get the quality under control, don´t worry too much about the quantity. I can almost guarantee that if you just eat healthier, you will have great results without worrying how much you are eating. Start by changing just one of your meals per day, for example breakfast. Eat a perfect breakfast for two weeks but continue eating the same for the rest of the day. When your body is ready, change your lunch. Pretty soon, you´ll be eating 3 healthy meals plus snacks per day.
Step 3 – understand what we mean by “healthy.”
- Eat vegetables, lean meats, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch and NO SUGAR.
- Avoid processed foods and chemicals like you would avoid a close talker with the flu.
- If you can´t pronounce one of the ingredients, don´t put it in your body. If for some reason you can pronounce it (maybe you majored in chemistry?), but you don´t know what it is…don´t eat it. If you can pronounce it and you know what it is, pat yourself on the back. But if it’s a chemical, still don´t eat it.
That´s it. Simple. If you need help with good recipes so that you aren´t eating grilled chicken and dressing-less salad 3 times a day, do a quick google search for “paleo recipes” or the Whole 30 diet. There are a TON of resources out there to keep you eating clean and delicious. Combine the good food with the baby steps and you are on your way.
Step 4 – understand WHY you should eat clean. Whatever you put in your body will affect you. Bananas, Tylenol, drugs, alcohol, peanut butter, everything goes into your body, gets broken down and triggers the release of hormones. Calories don´t matter as much as you think, hormones do. Ever wonder why it’s so hard to resist all the sugary, delicious treats in the bakery? Because you are addicted to sugar. Just like an alcoholic is addicted to alcohol. Think about the way you would LIKE to feel during the day – tons of energy, happy, attentive, focused, alert. Our hormones control all of these feelings – so if you put the right food into your body, you will feel this way. Put the wrong things into your body and you know what will happen – slow, sluggish, depressed, tired, bored, etc.
Step 5 – lastly, if you are working out with a high intensity program like CrossFit, you should have some sort of supplements. Whey protein, casein protein, branched chain amino acids, glucosamine, omega-3, etc. If you are just working out recreationally or 3-4 times a week, I wouldn´t overdo the supplements. Take them for sure, but in moderation. If you are competitive or working out 5+ times a week, you NEED to be consistent with your intake of supplements. You should have a protein shake on hand twice a day, a recovery mix (amino acids) after your workout, and lots of fish oil and glucosamine.
There are a ton of supplement companies out there, so choose wisely. I have always been cautious when it comes to supplements. CrossFit COMO recently partnered up with a company called Game Plan, so I have been experimenting with their products for a month. I never recommend brands unless I have tried them for at least a month, so I definitely recommend this brand to anyone looking for a good quality supplement. Here´s the link so that you can check them out:
Please never hesitate to ask me, Mike, or any other coach about how you can go about changing up the way you eat. I´m always available to sit down before class and explain in further depth anything outlined above.
– Coach Doug