Nutrition for CrossFit Enthusiasts
Most CrossFit athletes, and athletes in general, realize they cannot work out for just 6-10 weeks and then expect to stay in shape for 12 months. The same goes for nutrition. Quality nutrition is such an important habit for CrossFitters, and laying a good foundation for nutrition should be a great focus for athletes.
A couple of popular diets for CrossFitters are the Paleo or Zone diets. The paleo diet consists of things only farmers or hunters could get – meat, fish, fruit, vegetables, nuts, and seeds. The Zone diet recommends a breakdown of nutrients – 40% carbohydrates, 30% protein, and 30% fat. In theory, this provides enough carbs to get you through intense workouts, enough protein to maintain and build muscle, and enough fat for your nervous system to function. Keep in mind you want to consume healthy fats (fish, olive or coconut oil, avocado, cheese, nuts).
Healthy Eating Apps
Counting macros (IIFYM – if it fits your macros) is also popular among athletes, but it can be stressful and time-consuming trying to count your macros each time you prepare a meal or snack. There are plenty of apps (MyFitnessPal for example) to track your nutrition to make sure you are staying on track. Counting macros aim to consume 40% protein, 40% carbs, and 20% fats.
Another option is to focus on eating clean. Eating clean means avoid the junk food. Avoid the processed sugar, saturated fats, unnecessary carbs, and fake sugars. A common rule in clean eating is 80:20; 80% of the food you consume is clean and healthy and the other 20% is left for your cravings!
Eat a High Protein Diet
The most important nutrition piece of any of these eating habits is protein. According to the USDA, the recommended daily intake of protein for adults who are at average weight and activity levels is 56 grams per day for men and 46 grams per day for women. Some good options of protein-heavy foods include chicken, eggs, lentils, fish, chia seeds, nuts and nut butters, cheddar cheese, and most commonly used supplements of whey, soy, or plant-based protein powders.
Nutrition is Not One-Size-Fits-All
Nutrition for CrossFit athletes is not one-size-fits-all. Each athlete has to decide what works best for them when it comes to nutrition and exercise. What works for a 220lb lean male may not work the same for a 130 lb lean female. There are many variables, including age, sex, weight, activity level, genetics, hormones, etc. and each person must decide their own goal and focus for what they want to achieve, and then plan their nutrition and diet accordingly.
Pro Foods for WOD (Workout of the Day)
- Almond Butter
- Brown Rice
- Protein Bar
Con Foods for WOD (Workout of the Day)
- Raw veggies
- Sugary Granola Bars