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Nutrition & Diet: It is important to compliment your workouts with good nutrition. Your body needs the right kind of fuel to power through your WOD’s! Here are some tips and tools:
The recommended diet plan for CrossFit athletes is The Zone Diet. It was developed by Dr. Barry Sears to reverse cellular inflammation, which 90% of Americans have high levels of, and can lead to weight gain, disease, and minimizes physical performance.
CFC is here to help you simplify and stay motivated on the Zone Diet. The importance of a healthy diet to coincide with your CrossFit routine is vital. Notice we said “coincide”, and not “supplement”. If you’re truly serious about your fitness goals, you must be serious about both diet and exercise.
WHAT SHOULD I EAT?
ZONE DIET PRINCIPLES
- Balanced Nutrition: Each meal should maintain the 40-30-30 ratio for carbs/protein/fat
- Use the ‘Block’ system to help measure and stay on track with the 40–30-30 ratio. A block is 7g of protein, 9g of carbohydrates, and 1.5g of fats.
- Eat 5 times per day. 3 balanced meals, 2 snacks.
- Don’t let more than 5 hours pass without eating.
- Target calorie intake should be 500 for meals and 100 for snacks.
- Drink 8 glasses of water each day.
MORE ON BLOCKS…
9 grams of carbohydrate = 1 block of carbohydrate
1.5 grams of fat = 1 block of fat (There is an assumption that there is about 1.5 grams of fat in each blockof protein, so the total amount of fat needed per 1 block meal is 3 grams.)The meal plan file below is a great starter guide to learn about blocks:
1.) Find your body type to determine your block requirement
2.) Take a look at the block chart to see how much of some common foods are equal to one block
3.) View your respective meal plans to get an idea of how meals are constructed
What Is The Paleo Diet?
Building A Healthy Paleo Diet
Lean proteins support strong muscles, healthy bones and optimal immune function. Protein also makes you feel satisfied between meals.
Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables are rich in antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients that have been shown to decrease the likelihood of developing a number of degenerative diseases including cancer, diabetes and neurological decline.
Healthy fats from nuts, seeds, avocados, olive oil, fish oil and grass-fed meat
Scientific reaserch and epidemiological studies show that diets rich in Monounsaturated and Omega-3 fats dramatically reduce the instances of obesity, cancer, diabetes, heart disease and cognitive decline.
Top 7 Supplements for Athletes – Primary Supplements
Omega 3 Fatty Acids (Fish Oil) are probably one of the most commonly used supplements on the market today and for good reason. When high quality fish oil is taken in large enough amounts, it provides the biggest bang for the buck as far as supplements are concerned. Most people know about the improved cardiovascular health and function, improved lipid profiles (lower triglycerides), improved brain function and mental acuity, and its powerful anti-inflammatory properties without harmful side effects like over the counter products. But what people don’t know is that every fish oil isn’t made the same. Depending on the size, type, or natural habitat of fish used and how it was processed can determine the quality and levels of toxins present. So besides looking for the cGMP seal, look for brands that use small, cold-water (near the polar ice cap so it is more pure) fish like anchovies or sardines vs. larger fish like tuna or those harvested in warmer waters. On the label, impurities are stated – look for those measured in parts per BILLION not parts per million. Athletes and those with body composition goals should start with 3,000 mg of fish oil spread out in 2-3 servings (it only lasts in the body about 8 hours) and work toward taking up to 6,000 mg per day.
B-Vitamins increase energy production and are neurotransmitter cofactors so they help improve our mood, and they help us detoxify which we need after exercise (and binging). The process of building and repairing muscle (processing protein) depletes B-Vitamins so if you’re lifting heavy or damaging your muscle tissue in your workouts or job, you need to take extra B-Vitamins to help the rebuilding (strengthening) process because you are burning through them at an alarming rate. Look for Riboflavin-5’-Phosphate (B-2), methylcobalamin (B-12), Pyridoxal-5’-Phosphate (B-6), and Benfotiamine (B-1) on the label as they are the absorbable forms your body can use. Avoid any of the B Vitamins in the hydrochloride (HCL) form form as it is cheap and unabsorbable by your body. Definitely take this supplement in the morning as the B-12 will keep you awake. Don’t be afraid to take thousands of the US RDA. Your pee may be yellow, or even orange, so don’t freak out but I noticed that once I switched to non-HCL forms of the B-Vitamins, my pee was actually less yellow which means I was absorbing more!
Magnesium is probably one of the top three recommended supplements for athletes as it is an essential element in biological systems and most athletes are likely deficient. I’ve seen recent studies stating that 85% of Americans are deficient and we all know that most Americans most certainly lead the typical sedentary, American lifestyle so imagine the deficiencies in the trained and even arguably over-trained population. Magnesium is important to athletes because it regulates heart rhythm, allows muscles to contract and relax properly, reduces blood pressure, and is necessary to produce ATP (the main source of energy in our cells) which must be bound to a magnesium ion in order to be biologically active. Check your bottle to avoid Sudden Poop Onset (SPO) here: Supplements based on amino acid chelates, such as Mg glycinate and Mg malate are much better tolerated by the digestive system and much more absorbable by the body the other (cheap) forms of magnesium such as Mg oxide or Mg carbonate. This is best taken post-workout on an empty stomach. Sedentary individuals need 600 mg a day and larger athletes in heavy training mode could do up to 2,000 mg a day.
Vitamin D is more like a hormone than a drug. It is produced by the body when exposed to sunlight and most of us don’t produce enough (25,000 iu/day) even if we frequently are out in the sun. It would take you prancing around, practically naked for a couple hours a day to produce those levels of Vitamin D and most Americans are deficient. Vitamin D level is measured by hydroxyvitamin D – the chemical form – in the blood and “normal” levels are stated to be 35 but that is considered by many to be a “maintenance” level and that levels upwards of 70-90 are ideal, especially for athletes (mine was at 35 when I was tested last Octber). Besides working with calcium to improve bone density, Vitamin D helps reduce inflammation, risk of colon and breast cancer, improves mood and upper respiratory health by aiding the fight against infections from viruses and other pathogens, and allows the brain to release melatonin so we can fall asleep easier – like when you’ve been out in the sun all day and are tired as soon as night falls. This is why Vitamin D is most effective when taken at night, about an hour before bedtime and liquid drops taken sublingually are the best form especially if you can hold the liquid under your tongue for 30 seconds before swallowing so it can really soak in and start to work before it has to be digested. According to Dr. Robert Seik at Triton Nutrition, Vitamin D supplementation up to 30,000 units to be safe and there are European studies that show 150,000 units for three days to treat upper respiratory tract infections that may be viral in nature.
Protein, if taken within 10 minutes of training, will reduce the amount of stress hormones (mainly cortisol) released! This has a huge implication on belly fat (no pun intended). But don’t overdo it – 20-30 grams per hour is the maximum a body can digest and you only need .8-1.4 grams of protein per 1 kg of lean mass each day. Too much protein leads to body acidity which leads to many other problems. But the right amount of protein – besides providing energy – repairs tissues and reduces muscle soreness. Protein should be eaten – from primarily animal sources – throughout the day and most certainly within 10 minutes of training. Whey protein is a highly marketed protein and is fairly inexpensive so it is frequently used by athletes. Many, however, have an intolerance to whey such as gas, bloating and postnasal drip. Soy protein is not a good option because 100% of soy is genetically modified and it is very low in branch chain amino acids which are necessary to build muscle. It increases estrogen levels in the body – the opposite of what someone trying to build strength wants – and many also have a food intolerance to soy. Casein is dairy derived so if you have an intolerance to whey, you may have an intolerance to Casein as well. Vegan protein that combines a wide variety of sources can be good options because they are less likely to produce allergies. Remember, only 20-30 grams maximum at a time!
Vitamin C needs to be complexed to carbs to increase absorption so you don’t get SPO and you know what I mean if you’ve ever taken high doses of Vitamin C to “beat that cold”. That diarrhea is caused because the body is flushing out what it can’t absorb in the small intestine (your Vitamin C in the improper form). Vitamin C is mostly present in fruits – which contain fructose – thereby allowing your body to absorb the nutrient. If you are watching your sugar intake, there are products out there, like Bio Energy C, that use Ribose instead so you can avoid the insulin response associated with fructose intake. Ribose has also been proven to reduce oxidative stress (damage created by strenuous exercise) and aids in the removal of lactic acid as does Vitamin C so you get double bang for your buck with this product. Triple if you count the no SPO. But that’s not all! Vitamin C aids the production of our old friend, ATP, helps wound healing, and is a cofactor to building collagen and repairing muscle. The US RDA is 90 mg which is enough to prevent “index” diseases like scurvy. Athletes and other special populations should take a minimum of 4,000-8,000 mg a day and upwards of 16,000 mg a day as it is very difficult to overdose on Vitamin C. During and post-workout are the optimal times to take Vitamin C. You can even make your own energy drink with it and a few other, common ingredients!
~Courtsey of CrossFit Invictus