The CrossFit Fitness Pyramid: The Foundation is Nutrition
Optimal fitness cannot be achieved simply by working your heart out in the gym five or six days a week. Your physical activity, athletic performance, and recovery from exercise are enhanced and built upon the food you eat.
Opinions on what constitutes a healthy diet are wide-ranging and contentious. Athletes are not required to follow a special diet, but they need to eat with more discipline than a nonathlete. Judge your nutritional intake on the merits of how you feel, how you look, and how you perform in all facets of life. Proper nutrition is a lifestyle–only education and sound choices every day will sustain a lifestyle of proper nutrition. At the same time, realize that nutrition shouldn’t become an obsession that inhibits your daily life–it is okay to let loose from time to time.
A Couple Basics
Hydration: You need adequate fluids before, during and after exercise to help prevent dehydration and improve performance. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends that you drink roughly 2 to 3 cups of water during the two to three hours before your workout & drink roughly 2 to 3 cups of water after your workout for every pound of weight you lose during the workout. If you are exercising less than 60 minutes, water is generally the best way to replace lost fluids.
Meal timing: Large meals–Eat these at least three to four hours before exercising, Small meals– Eat these two to three hours before exercising, small snacks– Eat these an hour before exercising. To help your muscles recover and to replace their glycogen stores, eat a meal that contains both protein and carbohydrates within two hours of your exercise session if possible.
Popular Diets in the CrossFit Community
Zone: A calorically restricted diet that balances the intake of fat, protein, & carbohydrate (macronutrients), believing that there is an optimal quantity you will thrive on. You should strive to keep intake to levels that will support exercise but not body fat. The Zone diet is primarily concerned with controlling your hormones. Hormonal balance affects important components of wellness: body composition, energy utilization, blood chemistry, and much more.
The Zone diet neither prohibits nor requires any particular food. It is based on a block system of measuring food proportions. A block is a unit of measure used to simplify the process of making balanced meals. When a meal is composed of equal blocks of protein, carbohydrate, and fat, it is made up of 40% carbohydrate calories, 30% protein calories and 30% fat calories.
Paleo: Paleolithic nutrition is based on the premise that modern humans are genetically adapted to the diet of their Paleolithic ancestors, and therefore that an ideal diet for human health and well-being is one that resembles this ancestral diet.
Foods that are allowed include:
Grass-produced meats, fish/seafood, most fresh fruits and vegetables, eggs, nuts and seeds, some oils (olive, walnut, flaxseed, macadamia, avocado, coconut). Foods you may not eat: grains (wheat, oats, rice, etc.), dairy (milk, cheese, yogurt, whey protein, etc.), legumes (peas, beans, peanuts, etc.), potatoes, refined sugar.
World class fitness in 100 words
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. Practice and train major lifts: Deadlift, clean, squat, presses, C&J, and snatch. Similarly, master the basics of gymnastics: pull-ups, dips, rope climb, push-ups, sit-ups, presses to handstand, pirouettes, flips, splits, and holds. Bike, run, swim, row, etc, hard and fast. Five or six days per week mix these elements in as many combinations and patterns as creativity will allow. Routine is the enemy. Keep workouts short and intense. Regularly learn and play new sports.
~Greg Glassman, founder of CrossFit