No matter how gruelling your AMRAPs are nutrition should never be second to your training.
CrossFit is an intense workout. So, you might think that you can attain the body of your favourite athlete, just by regular workouts. Unfortunately, you are sorely mistaken (and that’s not referring to your muscles which are probably recovering from your last WOD). Diet is always more important, regardless of your training routine. Inadequate nutrition will ruin your hard work at gym. It may also have a negative impact on your performance.
As a general guideline, protein should be lean and varied and account for about 30% of your total calorie intake. Carbohydrates should be low glycaemic and make up 40% of total calorie intake. Monosaturated fats should make up the remaining 30%. It is important to cut out all refined sugar and processed foods. You need to focus on eating good whole, nutrient-dense foods.
Paleo eating plans are usually synonymous with CrossFit. The claim is that we have not adapted to the rapidly changing modern diet. The result is that we are not able to process the food we eat. The Paleo diet is said to work best with our human biology, enabling our bodies to function optimally. This helps to develop lean, strong, healthy and energised bodies. It’s all about eating the type of foods that cavemen ate years ago. This means eating meat (from grass-fed animals), fish, free-range eggs, and chicken. You should also eat lots of leafy green vegetables and fruit. In terms of fat, coconut oil, olive oil, avocado and nuts should be your main sources. Dairy, grains, cereals, and processed foods are excluded in the pure paleolithic diet.
CrossFit is a physically demanding workout. So, to boost energy levels, try to eat more natural carbs such as fruit and vegetables. Also, make sure that your daily calorie needs meets your activity level. A large negative calorie deficit is bound to manifest in under-performance.
Use of supplements in a Cross-Fitters diet
This is where things get confusing. In a pure paleo diet, the use of supplements should be prohibited. Cavemen certainly didn’t use protein powders however they can provide great benefits for Cross-Fitters. For example, whey protein or a protein-carb blend may provide a suitable recovery shake after sessions, casein protein can be used at night for recovery, and workout products containing high GI carbs can assist to increase energy levels during intense training and competitions.
Author: Tanja Schmitz
Founder and Editor of Fitness Magazine. You’ll find her behind her computer or on her bike, dreaming up new ways to improve or create content for you.