One of the most overlooked influences in being a top CrossFit athlete is diet and nutrition. Some athletes seem to think you can exercise a bad diet away. For the very elite CrossFit athletes, diet is as big a part of their regime as the workouts and all of the other physical aspects in CrossFit participation. We asked Sydney CrossFit Trainer Karl Robertson for his views on what he believes constitutes a good CrossFit diet.
Don’t get too scientific about it – just follow some basic principles
In my view you don’t need to calorie count or obsess over portion control. Keep it simple and be sensible. Use quality food and avoid processed foods. Stay away from fast food and use ingredients in your meals that have a lot of nutrients. Use some supplements if you want to but don’t make them the focus of your diet. A lot of the foods you eat while you are doing CrossFit should be considered good for recovery so ingredients like fish, beef, eggs and chicken should feature heavily in your diet because of the protein that they contain which promotes muscle recovery.
Every human being is unique. Use what works for you.
People all have their own body efficiencies, cravings, habits, metabolisms, allergies and hormone levels. Individuals need to find their own dietary solutions and what works for them. Employing a dietician isn’t a bad idea and don’t be afraid to experiment a little. It is not enough just to design a great nutrition plan. You have to be able to enjoy your nutrition and it needs to be maintainable. There isn’t much point in designing a great nutrition plan if you are unable to stick to it after a week because you hate eating the food you have planned to eat.
Eat plenty of vegetables.
With the exception of potatoes and can really eat as many vegetables as you like without affecting the rest of your diet. And you should. Vegetables are the best natural source for vitamins and minerals. Moderate your intake with vegetables that are high in carbs.
Manage your fruit intake
No athlete should go overboard with fruit. There is a bit of a myth that fruit can be treated the same way as vegetables and you can eat as many as you like with no negative impact which isn’t true. While fruit is good for you, a lot of fruits contain high levels of sugar and carbs so they should be eaten in moderation, probably no more than 2 or 3 pieces of fruit a day. Again, it isn’t a bad idea to consult a dietician to plan the fruit component of your nutrition plan.
It is okay to cheat a bit.
Some athletes allow a cheat day every week. Others allow a cheat day every month. It is generally a good idea to follow the following rules with cheats:
- Don’t go overboard. For example, if you cheat with a pizza night, control your portions. There is no need to eat a whole pizza.
- Don’t cheat for the whole day. Just cheat with one thing during the day if possible.
Lastly the key to finding your perfect nutrition plan is experimentation, but try to find your base plan first and then experiment with little modifications as you go. Research online and look at the diets that some of the top athletes use. They will have done a lot of your research for you. Good Luck.