Nutrition Challenge Coming Soon!

by Admin | December 31, 1969 | BLOGS | 0 Comment

Written by: Cara Clements

In many ways, the Nutrition Challenges at Outsiders are two of my favorite times of the year (including our Open season, Memorial Day Murph and the Christmas Throwdown, to name a few others!). It is a time when members of our community come together to continually learn about their bodies and how to best fuel themselves for not only our WODs, but for life.

We have all loved and read Colette’s blog on Perfect Practice and The Secret Sauce - and in many ways, these two concepts apply to our own nutrition. Now I am not saying that throughout the Nutrition Challenge you are going to eat perfectly everyday (but that would be AMAZING - and maybe a game winning score!), or that it is not going to be challenging - because you are adapted to the current way that you eat - but I am saying that if you make nutrition, a foundational aspect of our sport,  a priority in your life, practicing perfection in every class will become so much easier. The intensity of your WODs will easily increase, because you have fueled your body with the foods that it needs to push harder.

In many ways, we don’t talk about nutrition enough. We discuss it during the initial 1:1 foundations course, during our nutrition challenges and occasionally in class, but maybe not enough for you to truly understand the impact nutrition plays on getting that 1st pull-up, stringing 10 together in a WOD, that first muscle up, or a PR in your clean or snatch. If you have been working hard on these types of movements with no change, it may be time to take a look at your nutrition as the next way to get there.

The one thing we have said time and time again, is that you can’t out train a bad diet - but what does this really mean? Let’s break it down quickly!

Do you remember this pyramid? It is actually on a poster in our classroom.



As you can see, nutrition is at the bottom of the pyramid - with good reason! Without a strong foundation of nutrition, your metcons (WODs), gymnastics and lifting will, simply put, not be the best they can be.

As we learned in the CrossFit Level 1 course (our CrossFit certification to become a coach), if one of our athletes is consistently coming to the gym, working hard, completing WODs with a good intensity, but are not seeing all the gains that they believe they should - it will likely boil down to a nutrition problem. Nicole Carroll (you may remember her from the Open!) says this much more eloquently than I ever could in this video! You can not out train a bad diet. As an athlete, you will never reach your maximum potential if you eat like garbage! Its sad, but true - and I know from personal experience.

Nutrition at Outsiders, and for me specifically, has been a never ending journey. When I started at Outsiders about 5 years ago, our first Nutrition Challenge was the Whole 30 Program. I know many of us have completed Whole 30’s both with Outsiders and also outside of the box, which is great. I truly believe that if you are eating the high quality foods, you have made a HUGE change in your lifestyle and your body is feeling the benefits. When I completed my first Whole30 I felt AMAZING. I lost of a few pounds and definitely started to understand the types of foods that best benefit me and that I should be eating. I adopted a paleo lifestyle for the next several years, and just like your WODs may suffer if you don’t have a strong nutritional foundation, my body started to suffer from this type of diet and it was extremely frustrating to me. I couldn’t understand why I was not getting any leaner or lighter while eating a clean, paleo diet. I had since gained the pounds I lost back - plus some. It was time to take a look at what was going on.

Around this same time, Stan, Jess and I started to talk about the next Nutrition Challenge. To give you an idea, I wasn’t even a coach at the gym at this point, but always interested to know what was coming down the pipeline and of course, offer my (sometimes unwanted) opinion! Crossfit and what we were eating was always a part of our conversations, so it was only natural that they ask me to pilot a nutrition program with them that not only looked at the TYPES of foods we were eating (Whole 30), but the AMOUNT of food we were eating (Zone). And not to steal this from Colette, but this combination really is the Secret Sauce when it comes to nutrition!

The first thing we did in this pilot program was to start tracking what we were eating in a regular day of our paleo lifestyle. We used an app call MyFitnessPal and loosely added the foods that we were eating for about 3-4 days. When we took a look at our results, things became very clear, very quickly! Taking a look at our macronutrient ratios, about 50% of my diet was from fats - and the rest was split between carbohydrates and protein. Immediately I realized that I was not eating a very balanced diet. Stan and Jessica had similar readings, so we knew we were onto something.

A quick background on the macronutrient (so we are all on the same page). Macronutrients (macros for short) are the three nutrients your body uses to produce and store energy - including the energy needed for exercise. As mentioned above, the macros that we measure are the Fats, Carbohydrates and Protein in each type of food.

Each macronutrient contains energy, which is commonly measured in calories:

Protein has 4 calories per gram.
Carbohydrate has 4 calories per gram.
Fat has 9 calories per gram

As you can see from the above calorie in-take, eating a high fat diet equals eating A LOT of calories! And could have explained why the results I thought I should be having simply weren’t there! MIND BLOWN.

For the next several weeks, we started to use containers (that we still use today) to measure our food. This meant that we were eating MUCH more vegetables, as well as a starchy carb and protein at each meal - with just a tablespoon of fat. Goodbye to the delicious PaleOMG recipes, and the bacon on my cheeseburger - and cheese for that matter! In some ways, cooking became simpler because I just had to cook lots of veggies, some potatoes and a protein. No more recipes.

We continued to enter our food intake in the app and saw a big change in the ratios of our diets. There was a shift to much less fat - about 30% - and more carbohydrates at 40%. We also saw the shift in how our bodies were looking, but more importantly how my body was feeling and performing at the gym. I think during this initial shift in my diet I lost about 6 pounds and I knew - this was the way I needed to try to eat in order to have the best results for my body.

This shift in how I eat happened about two years ago - and I still try to eat this way. Last year I dialed it in even more intensely and I now use a food scale to measure all meals that I make at home. This includes anything from the 15g of half and half I add to my cup of coffee to the 4 ounces of chicken I eat with my lunch. I now know what works for me, and Outsiders helped me to figure this out.

I hate to sound so cliche, but it really is true that nothing worth it will come easy. If our WODs were easy, everyone would be doing CrossFit. If looking at the quality and quantity of the food you eat was easy, obesity wouldn’t be so prevalent in our culture.

Our Spring Nutrition challenge will do just that - it will challenge you. But the amazing thing is that we have an awesome community that will be doing it together. You will have the resources and support to be successful - and you won’t be sorry!

Challenge # 1 - before our challenge even starts - start keeping a journal of the foods you eat. You can use an app if you want, or you can just jot it down in a notebook. Even becoming more aware of what you are putting in your body is a big step in what we will be doing.

In the meantime, keep an eye out for additional details about this upcoming challenge!

Also, here is part two of Nicole’s nutrition chat - worth watching - but I warn you she does say the F word!

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