What is best to eat for performance nutrition?
Before Asking What You Should Be Eating, Understand First What You’re Already Eating
Food Fuels Our Workouts, But Most People Don’t Know What They Put In Their Bodies.
For most newcomers to CrossFit, the primary focus is simply getting into the routine, learning the exercises, and maintaining the motivation to get to the gym multiple times each week. But, inevitably, those who successfully get over that initial hump, the focus starts to turn toward ways to take things to the next level.
Maybe they want to see better or more accelerated signs of improvement. Maybe they are crashing mid-workout. Maybe they are feeling stronger but want to look more fit. Whatever the motivating factor, the key ingredient to reaching that next level is food (pun totally intended).
Of course, this should not come as any surprise to anyone who is making the commitment to getting in shape and caring for his or her body. Food is what fuels us and, as most of us know without reading a lot of scientific studies, if you don’t eat enough of the good stuff and eat too much of the bad stuff, then all the workouts in the world won’t get you where you want to be.
So, when people come to us and ask what they should be eating, we start by asking them one simple question: What are you eating now? And, nine times out of ten, the person cannot really say.
The fact is, most people don’t know what they are putting in their bodies, let alone how much of it. The first thing you should do if you are serious about eating right is to figure out what exactly you’re eating now, on a daily basis. Start keeping track of what you eat for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and everything in between.
The good news is that this is now easier than ever. There are dozens of smartphone apps that help you track what you eat throughout the day. One of our favorites is MyFitnessPal. It has a premium option, but the free option does a great job and makes it very easy to track your meals. It has the calorie and nutrition information for many restaurants and fast food chains. It also contains information for many published recipes. So, if you type in Rachel Ray Curried Carrot Soup, it will find the nutrition facts based on the serving size.
Whether you use an app or just use old-fashioned paper and pencil, the key is simply to track. Tracking food intake alone has been shown to help with weight loss. WebMD recently reported on a Duke University study that showed the power of tracking. Those who only tracked food lost about 5 pounds on average; those who tracked weight first and then added food tracking lost about 6; and those who did both for the entire 3 months lost a little over 6 on average. But some lost much more.
We ask those seeking our advice to starting tracking their food intake for a week or two. Don’t worry about the breakdown of proteins, carbs, and fat, just yet. That will come later. The first step is simply making a commitment to tracking your daily eating habits. That gets you in the habit and it gives you a starting point from which to begin making adjustments.
A big mistake that many people make when it comes to “eating healthier,” is that they throw away everything they were eating (and enjoying) and try to adopt some new diet filled with food they don’t like. Well, how long do you think that diet is going to last?
Many times, people merely need to just have better control over their portions and nutritional balance of their food. People who frequently eat out at restaurants get what has come to be known as portion distortion. They think the massive portions of food served at most American restaurants are normal. Their plates at home start to take on a similar girth.
This is why tracking your food is so important. It is critical to get a handle on what you are putting in your body. Once you have made the commitment to at least one week of tracking every meal, then you not only have a baseline, but you have the information you need to start making an adjustment.
Those adjustments depend on what your goals are. If you are looking to lean out, the changes you make will differ significantly from someone who is looking to add muscle. This is when it’s important to speak to someone at your gym or health care professional who is well versed in nutrition as it relates to fitness and health goals.
But avoid those who hand you a map and tell you that there is only one route from point A to point B. For most, having such a stringently defined plan will only lead to frustration and failure. Instead, seek out experts who hand you the map and show you the many different routes to get to your destination (fitness goal), and then let you decide how to best get there. Remember, this is your body, your goal, and only you can drive there, so you have to figure out which way is right for you.
2019 04 02