CrossFit Nutrition: Feed the Beast
Who can deny that they feel somewhat superhuman after a good workout? Pain and exhaustion aside, there is a liberating feeling that comes with raising the bar every chance you get. But some newbies find it difficult to experience liberation through their WODs. For some reason or another they can’t seem to break the barrier that keeps them at a beginner level. If you are mentally prepared and you give your workouts everything you have, then why on earth does it still feel unproductive?
In case you haven’t noticed, the third and final secret to becoming a CrossFit superstar is to start eating right. We’ve already discussed the mental war CrossFit presents and the physical challenge is painfully obvious, which leaves only the diet you are following. You can’t just throw any gas into your car and drive, just like you can’t put anything in your body and expect it to function properly.
CrossFit Zone and CrossFit Paleo
There are two main diets within the CrossFit community, namely CrossFit Zone and CrossFit Paleo. CrossFitters will either stick to one of those or they will combine the two according to the needs of their bodies. Unlike typical CrossFit diets, these eating plans are not based on consuming as little as possible or starving yourself. It’s about eating food that actually serves the body in a nutritional way.
Food is like drugs. When you eat chocolate you get a sugar rush, which leads to a short burst of energy, much like the effects of cocaine. Yes, that’s right, food has the same effect as drugs and everything else you eat will have a substantial consequence. In fact, food can even make you feel positive or negative. In order to build strength, endurance and speed, you have to give your body the right nutrients.
The CrossFit Zone Diet
The CrossFit zone diet is primarily going to focus on getting your hormones in a perfect balance. This is done by taking quality food and eating in healthy combinations several times throughout the day. Instead of only eating three times a day, you’ll eat five to six times, depending on what your body needs. Forget about low-carbs and high protein. Instead, see it as a well-balanced diet consisting of three main categories, namely protein, carbs and fats. On the protein side you want to stick to lean, natural meats. As for the carbs, mostly low glycemic-load fruits and vegetables. In case you didn’t know, fat is one of the most important macronutrients, so it should be part of your diet.
Now, the CrossFit Zone diet does require a little more focus compared to the Paleo diet, because you will have to start weighing your food. Each plate you consume is broken up into blocks. For example, a one block meal consists of one item from the protein list, one item from the carb list and one item from the fat list. A two block meal consists of two items from each list. The general rule is that an eleven block meal is just about right for a small woman, but every athlete has different needs, so you’ll need to listen to what your body tells you.
The CrossFit Paleo Diet
Based on the concept of hunting and gathering, the CrossFit Paleo diet takes you back to the basics of eating. Meat is the primary source of power, but not just any meat. You want to get meat from animals that feed on grass and leaves. This will include red meat, beef and lamb, bison, elk, venison and goat. You can also eat some pork and chicken sometimes, but it’s not nearly as healthy. If you eat the right type of meat then you should be getting most, if not all, of the nutrients your body needs. However, you can also add some fruits and vegetables if you feel like it, along with fish.
Food you should stay away from is anything made with flour. Given that flour is a made of seeds, it works against the whole concept of the Paleo diet. Hunters eat meat, not doughnuts, bread, crackers and cake. Another source of food you should stay away from is dairy. You want to learn how to drink water instead of anything else, and after a while you’ll notice that nothing else is going to quench your thirst.
Listen to Your Body
It’s with good reason that many CrossFitters choose to combine these two diets and it was mentioned earlier. Everyone is different and your body is going to speak to you as you go along. The most important thing is finding a healthy lifestyle that makes you feel better with every passing day. Instead of carrying around hunger pains or feeling lazy from eating too much junk, you should feel energized. In other words, you want to feed the beast that’s going to kill WODs every chance it gets.