Whether you have just started CrossFit or you are RX'ing all of your workouts getting your nutrition in line is of paramount importance. We are here to provide practical advice on the process of setting up your nutrition for CrossFit.
Starting CrossFit is daunting enough - all the new movements, the intensity of the class on top of the muscle soreness in the first week! So now you have to think about how to eat to make sure you can get to the end of the 20 AMRAP still in one piece.
Too often people overlook the impact nutrition plays in improving your CrossFit performance. Nutrition is a minefield anyways, let alone adding the fact you have to fuel for CrossFit into the mix. The reason why have written this article is to provide PRACTICAL advice and help you get the most out of your CrossFit membership.
5 simple steps
Before you read on - we are not here to tell you to count every gram of fat in each meal and be stuck on your phone entering all your food in every 3 hours. This is about providing practical advice based on our experience and knowledge.
This is the process that we would like you to follow. We use this with all clients from Games athletes to new members.
If you are not assessing you are guessing. You need to perform some kind of analysis to get your starting point. Numerous factors we can address here so just finding which one may work will help us get the ball rolling.
- Identify your goal. Once you have your goal note down why this is your goal.
- Assess how to achieve these goals and where you need to make changes
- Note what you are going to do to achieve that goal
WHY . HOW . WHAT
Objective data is great to track your progress. You can simply weigh yourself, take measurements, get someone to take your body fat using callipers or use a body composition machine such as boditrax or inBody. You will be glad you did this in the future! Trust us.
So now we need to set your plan up and personalise it to you. You have your goal and measurements so we can align your plan to fit your lifestyle.
To achieve any nutrition related goal you need to have some awareness of energy balance. This is basically the amount of energy in vs the amount of energy you expend. What you are required to do is find which method works for you.
- Calculating and tracking calories and macros
- Portion control using hands
- Building meals by portioning parts of your plate
Structure of eating is an area we work closely with clients on. Has the following ever happened to you?
You train at 7pm and eat your porridge and peanut butter at 7am, you get hungry mid morning so try to resist a snack as its only an hour to lunch. You are ravenous at lunch and so buy extra from the canteen or sneak a little bar after lunch. Work is busy and you are tired at 3pm but you have to crack on and end up heading to class having not eaten since 12.30. You get through the session and now are so hungry you snack when you get in. Dinner is inhaled and you go to bed feeling so full.
Setting a meal structure using your goal and when you train will help eliminate any incidences of under eating or overeating. We recommend using 4 meals per day as your base. Eat each meal roughly 3-4 hours apart.
Now is the time to put the plan in place and monitor the changes. This is an area most people skip, they want instant results and when they haven't got a mens health cover model body 3 days in they give up. Use whichever measurements you started with and TRACK THE CHANGES. We also encourage you to be aware of how foods make you feel, sleep quality, how your energy levels are over the day and what your motivation to train is.
Commit to the process for a minumum of 2/3 weeks.
Assessing your progress to allow for small adjustments is how we take the usual short term "diet" and make it sustainable.
- How did you measurements change?
- Did you hit any personal bests?
- What other areas did you notice an impact - such as sleep, digestion, energy, skin etc
- How did the meal structure work for you?
- Do you feel on target to achieving your goals?
Answer these questions and then adjust the plan to continue your progress. For example if you were super hungry mid morning and felt like you needed a coffee then maybe adjust breakfast. But your evening CrossFit session was awesome as you had the snack to fuel the workout. You could also do with getting a few quick cook meal ideas for when you get back late after training.
Now implement those two small changes and build them as habits. Assessing how they affect the metrics you are tracking.
The last piece of the puzzle is progress. This is about habit forming and building on your success. Most people don't get this far...we challenge you to break the norm and start achieving your potential.