As a coach, “what do you eat?” is one of the questions I hear most often. Whether in the gym or at my daughters soccer game, people always seem to be searching for the secret diet that actually works! Is there one particular diet that works best? Is there a diet that works best for CrossFit? Do all the coaches follow the same diet? I need GAINS, how do I get them!? I don’t have time to cook, how can I still eat healthy?
The key to health and wellness is comprised of many elements but there’s no disputing that diet plays a major roll. Diet to a human is much like fuel to a machine. If you drive a high performance vehicle that requires premium gas, you absolutely have to use premium gas if you expect the vehicle to perform as it should. Using cheap 87 octane fuel would decrease performance and ruin the engine over time. If you care about your vehicle, you take care of it and use the right fuel. If you care about your body and want it to perform over time, you care about the fuel! The question is, with all the diets out there, which one is best? Keto, Paleo, Low Carb, No Carb, Caveman, Intermittent Fasting, The Zone, Nutrisystem, Weight-watchers, South Beach, Atkins, and the list goes on forever!
Is there one particular diet that works best? The answer is yes… and no. Some of us have allergies to tree nuts. Some cant eat eggs. Some don’t do well with dairy. Whatever you can or can’t consume, the point is there isn’t one diet that is best for everyone. There is however one diet that works best for you. The trick is finding that diet and making it the way you eat, not just a diet you’re temporarily on. A few tips in staying disciplined over the long haul:
1. Don’t eliminate the things you love! If you can’t stand the thought of never having bread, allow yourself bread. You just have to decrease the amount and frequency. You currently have bread every day, two times a day. Take small steps and cut back to 1 slice two times a day. After a week cut back to 1 slice once a day. After another week cut back to 1 slice 3 times a week.
2. Allow yourself a cheat meal. Think of it as a reward for staying disciplined throughout the week. Or maybe a reset to shock the system. However you think of it, a cheat meal can provide just enough of what you think you’re missing if used wisely. In my experience, even my cheat meals have gotten healthier.
3. Change your mind set. The food you put in your body is really just fuel. Eat what you need and nothing more.
Is there a diet that works best for CrossFit? Do all the coaches follow the same diet? Again, yes and no. Below are each of your New Era Coaches brief description of the way they eat. You’ll see that for most, it’s lean protein, healthy fats and non processed carbs. You’ll also see that it isn’t the same for everybody!
We asked our coaches about their diet…
Ashton: I do not follow a specific diet but I always try and make sure I incorporate a protein, vegetables, and a complex carb with each meal if possible. I eat pretty clean during the week, but still allow myself to have a cheat meal on the weekends. It really is all about balance!
Dustin:My diet is currently focused on eating real food on a consistent basis. With my current goals, all of my meals throughout the day will consist of some sort of protein (6oz), 1.5 cups of carbs and 1 cup of veggies. Also throughout the day I will have multiple snacks which might consist of rice cakes with almond butter or a handful of mixed nuts, always paired with another protein shake. Also 1 time per week, I will have 1 CHEAT MEAL.. not a cheat day 🙂 in order to shock my metabolism. I have found that this will leave me with never going more than 3 hours without consuming food, in order to keep my metabolism moving all day long. Eating consistent and healthy choices everyday has helped fuel me for my workouts and in the process I have been able to gain lean muscle while burning body fat.
ErikMonday through Saturday I to eat 5 to 6 meals a day, drink only water (roughly 1 ounce per pound of body weight) and what I eat depends a little on what the day entails. If I know I’ll be burning more calories on a specific day I’ll increase my fat for breakfast and overall calorie intake. On a rest/recovery day I do the opposite and decrease. Each meal contains protein carbs and fat. The protein is beef, chicken, fish, eggs or bacon. The carbs are fruits or vegetables. The fat is oil (olive, avocado or coconut), butter, nuts/seeds or avocado. Monday through Friday I stay as disciplined as possible then allow myself some freedom on the weekend. I’ve dabbled in a lot of different diets and what works best for me are these 3 things: Timing of meals – no more than 4 hours pass without a meal (with the exception of sleep). Quality of food – lean proteins, minimal to no processed carbs. Quantity per meal – 6-12 ounces of protein, 1 handful of fat, 4 handfuls of carbs.
Michael: All of my meals consist of meats and veggies. 6-8oz of meat and a few cups of veggies every meal. I include carbs in my post-workout meal, and the amount of carbs depends on the amount I trained. I have a few snacks throughout the day which consist of a quick protein shake with some nuts.
Rich O: Being healthy is not washboard abs and having a perfect diet. Health is a balance of being aware of what it takes to be healthy and living fully enough that you’re not a health fanatic, where you let health consume every other aspect of life.
With that being said I try to stick to whole foods that are as minimally processed as possible and eating what my body needs on any given day. I try to rotate the type of meat I’m eating as well as rotating through the fruits and vegetables that are in season. But of course I like exploring popular restaurants in other cities or countries that I visit and when I’m in town I like to have the occasional pizza or burger maybe some craft beer.
Chris:My wife and I have 3 kids and finding a consistent diet regime can be very challenging. Moderation has been a key word that I’ve implemented into my nutrition lifestyle. I still eat pizza, have dessert, and enjoy the foods I like but do so in moderation. For the most part I try to eat a lot of protein and minimize the amount carbs and sugars I consume. If I’m preparing for a competition I will monitor what I eat more carefully and sometimes work with a nutritionist to help maximize my performance and recovery.
Emily: My breakfast is 1/3 cup oatmeal, 1/2 cup of milk (instead of water), 1/3 cup of frozen berries, cinnamon, and a spoonful of peanut butter. My post workout snack is a protein shake with a fruitLunch consists of 2-3 eggs, spinach, a tortilla or slice of bread. My mid day snack is generally peanut butter again with rice cakes or slice of bread. Sometimes I’ll do 1/3 cup of trail mix (Kirkland brand—m&m’s, almonds, peanuts, raisins) Dinner is some sort of bird— 4-5 oz of chicken?or turkey. I’ll even do tri tip in the crock pot. Potatoes, or sweet potatoes, asparagus or cauliflower/broccoli.Late night snack (if I’m up late working, or just hungry before I go to bed) Protein shake with peanut butter or blueberry fiber muffin and a spoon full of peanut-butter.
John:I follow the Zone Diet as it applies to my fitness goals and requirements. I eat meat, vegetables, nuts, seeds, very little fruit, very little starch and very little sugar. I currently consume eighteen blocks as my zone prescription and my food quality is important. I prefer to eat grass-fed/free-range protein sources and local produce. I also include fermented items that aid in digestion like sauerkraut and kombucha. While I rarely eat bread, pasta, cereals or sweets…I do enjoy a cheat day from time to time that include those foods.
Katie:I have been Vegan (plant-based) for about a year and a half now. I try to stick to whole foods, but I also love my pizza, burgers, Oreos, and ice cream on occasion. I drink about a gallon of water a day and recently have been trying to stay away from caffeinated/pre-workout drinks. As far as my eating schedule goes, I eat when I’m hungry.
Nikki: My diet isn’t earth-shattering; it’s pretty simple…Most often, my breakfast consists of a protein shake blended with a lil coconut milk and a couple handfuls of spinach. For lunch, if I’m not finishing off left-overs, ordering ahead for pick-up is one of my favorite go-to options. Dinner is fairly simple: I try to have a plate of mostly veggies with some protein (& occasionally red wine). I enjoy snacking on (don’t laugh) rice cakes with some almond butter. I also always have dark chocolate (85-90% coca) for when I need a lil something…stashing reserves both at home and at work. And although not mentioned, I do enjoy some bread from time to time. Haha
When eating healthy I like to stick to a well balanced diet of protein, complex carbohydrates, and vegetables. A perfect day of eating for me would be eggs and bacon for breakfast, chicken and rice for lunch, and steak/chicken, vegetables, and potatoes for dinner.
-Article by Erik Lott