One of the biggest things I learned when I stepped into CrossFit world was that nutrition and WODs go together like a clean and jerk. You can focus on only one, but man, put them together and yeah baby we’re rockin’. If you just eat healthy but aren’t active, no bueno. And conversely, if you work hard but eat crap, well… you won’t win the fight that way either. Shed your silent tear now.
In the Beginning…
As a CrossFit elements coach, I get to speak with a broad range of people, from desk jockeys with zero activity to endurance athletes, strong men and everything in between. The most common issue I encounter on the nutrition front is an inability to cook. Very sad, but let’s move on. The next most common nutrition issue is that many athletes are stuck in a rut cooking or buying the same old things and don’t think they can change. In reality, they simply don’t know where to start.
Don’t Get Too Complicated!
Regardless of what you choose to do, I believe the key to long-term nutrition change is not over-complicating the matter. If you are making a life change, it really needs to be easy to achieve FOR LIFE. And don’t go balls out all at once making too many changes at the same time. Pick a few things a week to achieve. I know — there are those rare people who seem to be able to make superhero changes and not waiver. I bow to you all. They are few and far between, friends. Once you have a regularity in your training, move on to adjusting your nutrition step-by-step.
Remember: We All Start(ed) Somewhere
If you’ve been in or around the CrossFit community for a while, you likely know that many CrossFitters subscribe to a Paleo, zone or Primal Blueprint lifestyle. As prescribed by CrossFit HQ, you should be eating:
- Nuts and berries
- Some fruit
- Little starches
- No sugar
Okay, so what does that mean?
One: It means you shop on the perimeter of the grocery store. You hit the produce department; you visit the meat guy; perhaps wander to the bulk section and don’t buy anything in a box or package. I can hear it now… “Really?” Yes, really. You’ll be amazed at your body composition change by making the above adjustment. YOU-WILL-BE-AMAZED! Truly.
Two: Empower yourself with information. Gather independent information and be enlightened. And check out the resources below.
Getting Started: Resources and Simple Food Ideas
Information Gathering Sites
Below are a few resources to feed your brain and thereby the temple — check it out:
- What is Paleo (from Balanced Bites)
- Paleo Lifestyle Magazine
- Balanced Bites
- Nom Nom Paleo
- Rob Wolff
- Mark’s Daily Apple
- The Whole 30
- Going Paleo Without Going Broke
Easy Food/Snack Ideas to Get You Going
Boil a dozen up and use throughout the week as a quick on the go snack or part of lunch.
Left overs from dinner:
Cook good evening meals and make enough for lunch the next day. It will help you avoid making poor meal decisions when you are so hungry you want to chew your arm off.
Super easy to make and have on hand as a snack.
Excellent on the go food. Slice in half and eat out of the husk.
Make small container with a handful of nuts. Stack them in the pantry for easy snacks or for packing a lunch.
Seasonal fruits and vegies:
If it’s in season, eat it. Fresh cucumbers, tomatoes, carrots, etc., etc. If Asian pears are in season, grab one. Be adventurous.
So let’s get down to the bottom line: If you truly want to see progress and maximize your CrossFit work, then you need to make changes to your nutrition in addition to WODing regularly. Take that first step, make a few changes, and then dive in. Good luck!