crossfit-rock-city

Nutrition

powered by
powered by

“We want our athletes to learn about nutrition in a flexible manner that creates a lifestyle they can sustain.”

- Lori

An Intro To Nutrition

Nutrition is key to your success with CrossFit. We take your nutrition seriously, and want to make sure that you are eating enough of the right foods so that you can continue to improve every time you walk through our door.

Despite what you may think, you cannot out CrossFit a bad diet and you cannot take enough supplements to make up for a bad diet. In fact, working out more when your nutrition doesn’t support you can lead to injury or illness.

Taking supplements on top of a poor diet reduces their effectiveness and ends up wasting your money.

Fortunately, eating for performance doesn’t have to be time consuming, expensive, or confusing. All you need are the basics of what to eat, how much to eat, and when to eat so that you can properly fuel your body for performance and weight management.

What to Eat

Above all else, a healthy diet is one that focuses on eating a variety of real foods. We define real foods as those found in nature like fruits and vegetables, meats and seafood, nuts and seeds, beans and potatoes. Real foods typically have only one ingredient and spoil within days.

Most importantly, real foods are loaded with performance boosting nutrients that keep you fit, healthy, and energized all day. To make sure you eat what you need to get and stay lean and fit, we encourage you to eat a variety of foods from each of the following groups.

Non-Starchy Vegetables:

Non-starchy vegetables include foods like spinach, broccoli, carrots, cucumbers, asparagus, and green beans. These foods should be eaten at almost every meal since they provide all the vitamins and minerals your body needs to function at it best.

Proteins:
 

Protein provides the building blocks we need to build lean tissue (muscle) and increase your work capacity (move faster and lift heavier). Animal products like meats, seafood, and eggs provide the most protein per bite of food. Certain plant foods including beans, nuts, seeds, non-starchy vegetables, and grains also provide protein in smaller amounts than their animal counterparts.

Fruits/Starches:
 

Fruits and starches like potatoes and rice are great sources of carbohydrate which is the best fuel for moderate- to high-intensity exercise like CrossFit. Like non-starchy vegetables, these foods should be eaten at almost every meal. They are especially important to include in the meals before and after your workouts.

Fats:
 

Fat is an essential part of every diet and is often the nutrient that athletes eat too little or too much of. Fat provides energy to support workouts, keeps skin soft and hair smooth, and helps our bodies absorb important vitamins from other foods. Healthy sources of fat include nuts, seeds, avocado and olives.

How Much To Eat:

Once you are eating a variety of real foods, it’s important to focus on making sure you eat enough of the right foods to support your exercise and activity. Eating the right amount of food helps with:

  • Weight management
  • Hunger control
  • Consistent energy levels
  • Overall health and wellness

A common mistake most athletes make is eating too much or not enough of one type of food. Athletes trying to build muscle may overeat protein, the muscle building nutrient. Athletes trying to lose weight may not eat enough fat because fat is higher in calories than other nutrients. Unfortunately, neither of these approaches works as desired. Overeating any one nutrient, including protein, can result in fat gain. Undereating any one nutrient can result in low energy reducing your ability to work out hard or to build lean muscle mass.

We recommend you eat an adequate amount of food from each of the food groups mentioned in the What to Eat Section of this page. Although you may need to adjust your exact portion sizes, a good rule of thumb (pun intended) is to use your hands as a guide.

Non-starchy vegetables:

A serving of non-starchy vegetables is the size of your fist. Try to eat 1-2 fists of veggies each meal.

Protein:

A serving of protein is the size of your open palm (no fingers) and about the thickness of a deck of cards. Try to eat 1-2 palm of protein each meal.

Fruits/Starches:

A serving of fruit is the size of the outside of your fist. A serving of starch is the size of the inside of your fist. Try to eat 1-2 fists of fruit/starch each meal.

Fat:

A serving of fat is either the size of 1 thumb or 2. For oils and other liquid fats, one thumb is plenty. For chewable fats like nuts, two thumbs is more appropriate. Try to eat 1-4 thumbs of fat every meal.

If you are on the smaller size, stick to the lower ends of the ranges above. If you are a larger athlete or have a lot of lean muscle with a high energy output, move towards the upper ends of the ranges above.

When To Eat

Once you have the what and the how much figured out, it’s time to look at when to eat your meals. Most athletes tend to focus on pre-, during-, and post- workout nutrition, so let’s start there.

Pre-Workout Nutrition

Pre-Workout Nutrition

In general, you’ll want to have something to eat 1-3 hours before you work out to ensure you have enough fuel in your tank to make it through. If you eat one hour before you workout, your meal will be smaller than if you eat three hours before you workout. Beware of high fat and high fiber foods too close to your workout too as they can cause you to have stomach problems during your WOD. Focus your meals on carbs, protein, and a small amount of fat.

For those of you that wake up and head straight to the gym, focus more on fluids than on food. If you do have to eat something, keep is simple and small like half a banana or a small piece of toast.

During Workout Nutrition

During Workout Nutrition

For your typical one-hour CrossFit class, you will not need to eat any food. Your body is still fueled from the meal you had before you started. You WILL need to stay hydrated though, so bring a water bottle to the box with you.

For those of you that workout for more than an hour at a time, like going for a run after your WOD or doing a weightlifting class before your WOD, you will need to consume some form of carbohydrate during your workouts too.

Post Workout Nutrition

Post Workout Nutrition

At no other time is your body more ready for nutrition than after you work out. This is not the time to skip out on eating. In fact, that would be a huge disservice to yourself to not eat after you workout. So, if you typically don’t eat for hours after you workout, now is a good time to change.

When we talk about post workout nutrition, we look at three different phases:

Immediate:
Within 15 minutes of your workout ending, you’ll want to consume fluid and carbs. A little bit of protein helps too. Ideally, you’ll want to eat or drink something that is quickly absorbed and doesn’t upset your stomach like a shake or some fruit. The goal here is to get you off the ground.

Initial:
Within 90 minutes of your workout ending, you’ll want to eat a more substantial meal or snack. Try to make sure it includes a variety of foods as you’ll want to have carbs, fat, and protein at this meal. The goal here is to provide your body with the nutrients it needs to refuel and repair (build lean tissue).

Ongoing:
Every meal you eat for the next 24 to 48 hours continues the refueling and repairing process started with that initial meal. So, make sure you continue to eat a variety of foods from the food groups in What to Eat at each meal and snack.

General Meal Timing

General Meal Timing

In general, we prefer you to eat well-balanced, nutritious meals throughout the day versus grazing and snacking on incomplete mini-meals. The benefits of fewer larger meals over many smaller meals include more stable energy, better hunger control, less time spent preparing and eating food, and more efficient fat burning. You should be able to go 4-5 hours between eating meals that do not have a workout between them. So, if you exercise after work, you should eat a large enough breakfast that you don’t need to snack before lunch. If that’s not the case, refer to the How Much to Eat section of this page and make sure you are eating enough of each food group at breakfast.

NWOD U Affiliate

Personalizing your plan

For you to effectively use nutrition as a tool to promote your health and fitness or to manage your weight and get lean, you have to find out what works best for you. There is no one plan or way of eating that works for everyone. That said, it’s nice to have a good place to start. It’s even nicer to have some tools and resources that help you optimize your nutrition. That’s where our partner NutritonWOD can help.

Nutrition WOD is our trusted resource for our athletes. They provide blogs, recipes, and custom nutrition plans that help you crush your workouts and look great in all of your clothes. Nutrition WOD believes in a food first approach and is committed to helping you find success with nutrition.

We love their Macro-Based Custom Nutrition Plan that uses a 3-Phase system to identify areas of improvement, provides you specific recommendations on what to do, and provides training and coaching to help you optimize your plan and stay on track. At the end of their 30-day program, you will know everything you need to know about nutrition and fitness and be well on your way to looking and feeling great.

If you are serious about getting results you can see and feel while training, then we suggest you check out the Macro-Based Custom Nutrition Plan.