The idea here is that in order to fuel your fitness and athletic performance, what you eat and what you drink while NOT AT THE GYM is as important as your training. You are athletes. Whether you train a couple times a week or are at the box daily, what you eat and drink is the basic foundation that helps to support your performance, moods, and energy. The basic nutrition tenant prescribed by CrossFit founder Greg Glassman is: “Eat meat and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch, and no sugar. Keep intake to levels that will support exercise but not body fat.” This is a simplistic way to say that making an effort to stay away from highly processed foods and sugars are one of the most effective ways that we can eat to give us energy and move us along the health continuum line towards being exceptionally healthy and fit.
Here is a basic way that we, at SteadFast like to break this down:
Water and hydration is one of the most important nutrients you can put into your body. We tend to drink a lot of beverages that dehydrate us further. Including more clean water every day helps your body to flush wastes, makes your skin beautiful, muscles and joints more resilient…it makes everything work better. Diuretics that actually deplete your hydration include: coffee, tea, sodas, fruit drinks. Our goal here is to start minimizing on the diuretics and upping the water content on a daily basis. If water is too boring for you, get some extra vitamin C and squeeze a lemon or lime in there, or stick a sprig of mint. Daily water consumption rule of thumb: take your body weight in pounds (lbs) and divide by 2. This is the number of ounces of water you should be drinking per day.
Vegetables with lots of color provide your body with tons of vitamins and nutrients to help with your recovery, immune system and a general state of well-being. Examples of this are: all the salad veggies, leafy greens, broccoli, cauliflower, root vegetables (carrots, parsnips, turnip, beets, sweet potato etc), peppers, zucchini, squash… Try to include 2-3 vegetables AT EVERY MEAL.
Like vegetables, fruit are packed full of vitamins and nutrients. However, some fruit are also very high in sugars, so while we want you to eat fruit daily, we don’t want you to ONLY eat fruit and forget about the veggies!! If you are doing an early morning workout, then getting up and eating a banana can be a good way to start the day. Berries and green apples are also wonderful options and make good snacks throughout the day. A serving of fruit will be a small banana, a cup of berries or other cut up fruit, or a medium size green apple.
These provide long-lasting energy and are what make up all the cell building blocks of your body. Whether you eat meat or are a vegetarian, protein is crucial to your athletic performance and functioning at a high level. Some ideas: eggs, sausage, bacon, ground meat cooked up, burger patties (all meat), fish, shellfish, chicken, turkey, steaks, chops, wings. Non-meat options: almond butter, peanut butter (natural with no sugar and junk in it), almonds, edamame, chickpeas, other beans and peas, lentils. Try to have a protein at EVERY SINGLE MEAL. This will give you good energy throughout the day. Also, you will be less likely to have sugar crashes and cravings where you make poor choices due to being ‘hangry’. So at breakfast, have eggs, or leftover meat from last night with your food. If you are snacking on a green apple, have some peanut or almond butter with that. Eating a salad? Make sure there is some kind of protein on that. Have veggies cut up with hummus and get protein AND veggies!!
Most Americans tend to really over consume simple starches to the exclusion of veggies, fruit and proteins. They are an energy source, but they are low in nutrients and tend not to fuel you for very long. Over time, these should become a treat or a small side on your plate, rather than the majority of what you eat. Good choices are: White rice, whole grain pasta, oatmeal/porridge, potatoes, quinoa. Portions are ideally the size of what fits in the palm of your hand. These are best eaten around your training times. If you have a choice to fill up on starches or vegetables and fruit and protein, always choose the vegetables and fruit and protein first!
Contrary to popular belief, fats are not bad for you! They are full of vitamins, help you to absorb the minerals in the other foods you are eating and make you feel full longer. Examples: cream in your coffee (not creamer), coconut milk added to a fruit smoothie, avocado on your salad, or with eggs, as guacamole, nuts and seeds as snacks (eat only enough to hold in your palm), butter, olive oil in a salad dressing. Cook your veggies with butter to make them taste better. Use whole milk when you use milk and have some hard cheese as a snack. Please avoid commercial seed oils such as canola, soy, corn and vegetable oil and margarine. These are not healthful, cause inflammation, and lead to all sorts of issues. If you are an athlete, you want to avoid what makes inflammation worse!
We Can Help You…
If you have been consuming a Standard American Diet (SAD) and are experiencing digestive distress, low energy or energy peaks and crashes, mood peaks and crashes, sleep disturbances, a whole host of chronic illness and autoimmune and your body composition is not where you would like it to be, then we would like to work with you to start implementing changes outside the gym.
The Restart Program
A good place for many people to start is to sign up for and take The Restart Program, which is a 5-week course we offer periodically throughout the year at the box. You attend (one) 90-minute class every week for 5 weeks with other participants, where you learn all about digestion, blood sugar regulation, energy and choosing healthy foods. There is a 21-day sugar and processed food detox challenge within the program. It is held in a small group setting, led by our Health Coach, Dawn. You receive instruction and support through her and the other group members, encouraging you to learn how to cook healthy foods and kick the sugar and processed food habits! Many participants find that even in just 3 weeks they have improvements in many health markers and their energy and performance.
One on One Health Coaching
If you do not like working with others in a group setting, or like many, find that a 5-week detox program is not enough to reverse many years of poor eating habits, then working one on one with our Health Coach may be a good option for you to do, either in conjunction with Restart or afterwards. As lasting changes can take several months to implement, we suggest you sign up for a 3, 6 or 12-month package. You will meet monthly with our Health Coach to first have an evaluation, go over a myriad of questions and discuss goals. You will be asked to fill out an online questionnaire and write a food journal. Based on where you start, you will work together to formulate a workable plan moving forward and make changes at a speed you are comfortable with doing. The goal here is to achieve lifestyle and lifetime changes, not just a quick-fix. Throughout the rest of the month, the coach will check in with you to see what your progress is, go over concerns and also tweak things as needed.
If you would like to work with our health coach to improve your nutrition, please contact us and we can set up a consult.
Email: [email protected]
FB: Eat Thrive Move
Web: The Restart Program