When you think of your fitness program, you probably think of things like conditioning, bodyweight exercises, weightlifting, and expressing your fitness through sports like skiing, climbing, and biking. These are all important pieces to the puzzle, but if you think this is all you need to live a fitter, healthier life, then you’re on your way to a lot of disappointment and frustration. The CrossFit Pyramid does consist of Sport, Weightlifting, Gymnastics, and Metabolic Conditioning, which are all important, but the most essential piece to our fitness journey is Nutrition, which sits at the bottom of the pyramid for good reason - it’s the foundation of health and fitness.
If you’re at NoCoast and working out consistently, you’re already heading in the right direction towards a fitter and healthier lifestyle, but an exercise program will only get you so far. In order to see continued long term change and success, a good nutrition plan can’t be ignored. Most people see a lot of success on our program within the first 3 months and these gains may continue for up to a year or longer. At some point, it’s common to hit a wall or start to plateau. For those of you who have been with us for a year or more, you may know exactly what I’m talking about. If you’re having a hard time keeping your energy up, recovering, gaining muscle, or losing bodyfat, you need to pay attention!
*** If you haven’t gotten to this point yet, you still need to pay attention, because it’s coming!
Here are five reasons to clean up your diet and make nutrition the foundation of your fitness lifestyle.
1. Repairs and Builds Muscle
Cleaning up your diet and fueling with quality protein is what your body needs to repair and build muscle. Not only will this lead to strength gains, but it will also help you avoid muscle breakdown and potential injuries.
*** It is important to include a little bit of protein at every meal throughout the day (even breakfast!) And without a doubt, you should be refueling your body with protein post workout - within 15-30 minutes.
2. Your Body's Source of Energy
Consuming the right, quality carbohydrates is how your body makes glycogen. Glycogen is our main source of energy. Not all carbs are created equal; knowing the difference between low, medium, and high glycemic carbs is your first step to meeting your body composition goals. If your goal is to lose body fat, than low glycemic carbs are your friends and medium and high glycemic carbs are your enemy. If you have a high activity level and you’re not trying to lower your body fat percentage, then your diet can be made up of low and medium glycemic carbs. Dense, medium glycemic carbs supply a lot of energy for you to burn.
*** Like protein, you should include some carbs at every meal. You also want to refuel your glycogen supply post workout with some carbs - again, within 15-30 minutes.
3. Helps Lower Inflammation
High quality foods such as grass fed meats, cage free eggs, and organic fruits and veggies are your first step towards lowering inflammation in your body. Adding daily fish oil supplements will also help to lower inflammation and keep all your organs functioning optimally and it will even speed up recovery between WODs.
*** We recommend 1500 mg of omega 3 per day in the form of fish oil.
4. Change Body Composition
I touched on this earlier in the article, but it’s worth mentioning it again: Nutrition, combined with a good fitness program, is the only healthy way to change body composition. Depending on your body type, you may have a tough time losing body fat or you may have a hard time gaining muscle. Working out on it’s own is not enough for some people to make these changes. Knowing how your body reacts to food is the best way to meet your goals. Start approaching food as drugs. You wouldn’t open your grandma’s medicine cabinet and pig out on all the fun treats she has, just like you shouldn’t open your pantry and pig out on processed food.
5. Genetic Potential
What we’re asking you all to do through our program is a must if you want to meet your true genetic potential. Would you have survived in the “caveman era?” Would you be the one eating or eaten? Everyone of us was originally build to survive to some degree in that world, but with social change, comes genetic change. Understanding the role diet plays is the most important part of a fit lifestyle and unfortunately, a lot of what we’ve been told by government, lobbyist, and dumbass educators in the past is dead wrong!
“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.” Greg Glassman