CrossFit Nutrition, things you should know
Everyone agrees that nutrition represents at least 80% of the efforts we must put in trying to reach our fitness goals.
CrossFit athletes are no exception to the rule. In the contrary, the CrossFit training regimen requires efforts that need to be supported by proper nutrition and food selection.
You must be careful nowadays since you can find just about anything and its contrary on the topic of adapting nutrition to your fitness goals and aspirations.
Even if some basic rules are crucial to know and can be applied to the vast majority of the population, everyone is different and only customized coaching and follow-up will help you reach your goals at 100%.
With this in mind, let’s take a look at the basics that you need to know in order to adapt your nutrition to your fitness goals.
1- Quality VS Quantity
Here is an important distinction to make: quality MUST be at the core of everyone’s diet, whereas quantity is a factor that is more likely to vary depending on your goals.
If a CrossFit athlete should, on average, have a daily caloric intake of around 2500-2800 calories, everyone has specific needs depending on the frequency and the volume of their training.
Adjusting your caloric intake can be tricky to do alone, especially at the beginning. Never hesitate to ask a specialist for advice, and above all you listen to what your body tells you about your performance and your fatigue levels.
However, you don’t only need to eat enough but also to eat right. A good balance of your macronutrients (carbohydrates, proteins and fats) is key to keeping good levels of performance.
Consume too little carbohydrates and your performance will suffer. Eat too much carbohydrates and your body fat will quickly spiral out of control. Too little protein will slow down your gain in muscle mass.
Even fats are important! They usually help you recover since they play a key part in things such as hormonal balance, cell regeneration and a healthy central nervous system.
A rule of thumb that you can apply easily to balance your diet would be to split your caloric intake as follows: 55% carbohydrates, 25% proteins, and 20% fats. You should keep in mind that these are not golden numbers and that you need to keep an eye on your needs and have a good follow-up on your ideal diet.
2- Small details matter!
Next, you should never forget the tiny details. Stay properly hydrated all day long, and never forget that while “macro” factors (carbohydrates, protein, fats) are important, you should also keep track of your “micro” nutrients (vitamins, minerals, etc…)
In fact, a diet that lacks diversity can lead to serious drops in your performance. A deficiency in iron levels, for example, can deal heavy blows to the CrossFit athlete. The high-intensity trainings that they follow requires optimal levels of oxygen throughout the workout, and any lack of iron can impair the capacity of their blood to properly carry oxygen around.
You should also be very careful about acidity levels. Having a diet made of foods that are too acidic can hinder your recovery and increase the risk of getting muscle soreness and cramps.
We’ll never say it enough but fine-tuning your balanced diet can be difficult to do by yourself, so it is way better to have a nutritionist by your side to help you and give you advice.
3- Patience and discipline
Many people still tend to think that making radical changes in their diet is an easy thing, that you only need to push a button to turn your old habits into new and positive ones, but such magic doesn’t exist.
If there is one common trait that I observed among all the athletes that are training, like you, for fat loss and muscle gain, it is discipline.
Athletes that manage to reach their goals are athletes that stick to the changes they make in their diet in the long run.
To do so, you need to understand first that it is all about making new habits for yourself and change your health practices and hygiene of life. No quick and brutal change has ever triggered any durable and long-lasting change in anyone.
4- Hygiene of life and recovery
We just talked about health practices and life hygiene, and that is because it is a fundamental factor. Even with proper nutrition, even with the workout plan of a champion, keeping your life in control and especially your hygiene of life is the cornerstone of the edifice. No matter what you do, if you don’t take care of your own body by letting it recover, if you don’t sleep enough, there is no way that you can keep going for very long, let alone reaching your goals. Your metabolism will suffer, and all efforts you can make in your diet or in the gym will end up completely ruined.
Keep in mind that your eating plan might be even more important than your workout itself. A perfect balance between diet, training, and health practices is the key factor to be a successful athlete. If there are only three things that you should remember today, remember these:
– Show patience and discipline
– Be aware of what your body tells you