Day after day, people all over the world put themselves through gruesome workouts, pushing their bodies to the limit and beyond, running faster, jumping higher and lifting heavier than they ever have before.
Imagine doing all that and still having a beer belly.
You’ve heard the old saying ‘You are what you eat right’?
Well taking part in CrossFit will set you on the way to becoming a badass, but if you want to look the part, you need to eat like it too.
CrossFit athletes are in incredible shape and there are two reasons for that.
- 1Is obviously the workouts, which are incredibly hard and will help you to torch fat and burn muscle.
- 2Is all down to nutrition and actually eating to fuel your body. Instead of eating like a high school kid that has to feed themselves whilst their parents are away, eat like you love yourself and love your body.
The official word from CrossFit HQ is that those participating in CrossFit should aim to follow a macro-nutrient split of 40% carbohydrates, 30% protein and 30% fat, this gives you a healthy balanced diet and is fairly consistent with a lot of general health advice. It also gives you an optimal number of calories to work towards depending on your goal.
CrossFit also recommends focusing on whole foods, lean proteins, fresh fruits and lots of vegetables and avoiding processed foods and high GI carbohydrates.
The idea behind this macro-nutrient split is simple.
Focusing on whole foods has lead to many people adopting a Paleo diet to meet the CrossFit recommendations. The bulk of a Paleo diet is made up of plants and animals.
The idea behind Paleo is to eat like our tribal ancestors did, eating foods that could be found and sourced naturally from the surrounding environment as they hunted for food themselves.
People that follow Paleo say that we have evolved as humans by ‘hunting and gathering’ foods ourselves and that this is what our body thrives off of, not processed products.
Does Everyone Eat the Same?
The CrossFit guidelines are a good starting place for anyone looking to clean up their diet and start eating healthier; however, the macro-nutrient split may change slightly, depending on your overall goals.
Fat loss comes down to a calorie deficit, that’s it.
You can achieve this by increasing your activity and therefore burning more calories off.
By reducing how many calories you take in (through food and drink) and therefore limiting your calorie intake.
You can be successful with just one of these methods, but for optimal results, you should do both.
That way you can ensure you’re changing your body shape and burning away unwanted fat.
Notice I keep saying fat, well, when you lose weight, you’re losing tissue, water, and precious muscle, you don’t ever want to lose muscle, you just want to lose fat. To ensure you lose as little muscle as possible your diet should be higher in protein.
Although you’re eating more protein, your overall calorie goal should be the same and you should still be in a calorie deficit, therefore to accommodate the extra protein, you should reduce your carbohydrate consumption.
A diet higher in Protein and Fats will help to keep you fuller for longer as they take longer to absorb and (Protein) has a satiating effect, leaving you feeling fuller for longer.
Building muscle is not as easy as everyone thinks, your training needs to promote muscle growth, but your nutrition needs to provide enough fuel to help you to grow.
Building muscle occurs in a calorie surplus, but just like with fat loss, you should slightly change the CrossFit recommendations, this time lowering fat consumption and aiming for more protein and more carbohydrates.
However, due to the cardio nature of CrossFit and the intense workouts you complete, plus the fact that you’re in a calorie surplus, not many people will aim to ‘get bigger’ whilst doing CrossFit.
Sure if you’re new to CrossFit or new to fitness in general, you will see your body change rapidly, but you will not add significant size whilst doing high rates of cardio.
Lean and Mean – Athletic Performance
If you’re already relatively lean and losing fat or gaining muscle aren’t your primary goals, then this one is for you.
If you want to further develop your physique and define your muscles whilst burning body fat, you will want to follow the advice from above, more carbohydrates and protein, fewer fats, except this time you’re not increasing your calories.
Well, you need the extra carbohydrates for energy and the extra protein to fuel and aid muscle recovery and growth, but as you’re not trying to lose or gain, you don’t need to reduce or increase your calories.
Instead, focus on training hard and eating right.
CrossFit is incredibly hard and people that take part see amazing results. The make dramatic physical transformations and they develop bodies that many of us can only dream of.
It doesn’t have to be a dream.