The essay below was authored by me and it was was posted via 321 Go Project a few days ago. Due to the fact that we get questions daily concerning “nutrition for newbies”, or just “how to nutrition” I thought it a good idea to re-post below. Email me if you have questions.
The following is authored by me, published via; 321 Go Project.
A CrossFit affiliate is like a lighthouse during a midnight hurricane. You can barely find it, your not even sure it’s real, but it is the only source of hope surrounded by unruly chaos. In the land of misinformation, the light of CrossFit is brightening the sea so others find their way home.
Recall for a second your level one certification. For many of us, it was our first true CrossFit experience. Remember getting dosed with “Fran”. Remember who your flowmaster was? Remember Tabata squats? I’m sure we all have our certification war stories that sound a little more exaggerated every time we tell them, in fact, I think my certification “Fran” time was 1:29, at least that’s what it felt like?
Five years ago, when I took the CrossFit level one certification, some things were very foreign to me while others were very familiar. I had been “personal” training for over five years so instructing a group was awesome, but very different. Muscle-ups were a parlor trick for little guys, and PVC pipe was, and still is, awkward. But that pyramid, our CrossFit hierarchy of training, now I got that. Especially its foundation-nutrition. Something I started doing from the very first day of my career in human engineering. Something I have experimented with, messed up on, and refined over the last twelve years of training athletes.
1. You’re already an expert
If you’re an expert at anything in life, most likely it’s eating, breathing, and sleeping.
Therefore, when it comes to food, you’re an expert. If your a fat expert, look at what you’re eating, guess what, it makes you fat. End the experiment that teaches you how to gain weight because almost every American has that one figured out already. Now, become and expert on how to be “not” fat. Simply, make a change, then watch what happens.
This simplicity pisses off the “nutritionists” everywhere, but screw them if they get in the way. I have been doing this for long enough to know that most communities are not in need of detailed plans with creative timeliness, and fancy advertisements. They are in need of the very unsexy basics, and the basics are meat, nuts, seeds, vegetables, little starch no sugar, no alcohol.
If you are left wanting after the first step that is totally cool, contact someone like me who can take you further down the rabbit hole of food. However, you’re still eating lucky charms for breakfast, then you don’t need a guru, you just need to put down the damn spoon.
2. Always be on
You cannot create other lighthouses if you don’t turn your light on, and keep it on. If you’re not entirely on board with the truly healthy lifestyle of CrossFit and the eating that goes with it, then you’re doing a disservice to your athletes. In my humble opinion, it is your duty to “always be on” when it comes to food and training. Why would anyone ever follow or listen to anything you say if you were anything less.
If you really want to help your community and make your box the beacon of hope it should be, then you need to understand that you’re more than just a guy with a tattoo who can do a million pull-ups. You’re more than a woman with a passion to help other women realize strong is not only very sexy, but very healthy. Your, like it or not, are an example of health, and the foundation of our health model is nutrition. Better to be the example of what to do, then what not to do.
Maybe your Johnny six pack no matter what you eat, good for you, now man-up and stop being a douche. Take responsibility for the athletes you stand in front of who aren’t so lucky. Even if you think you “don’t have to be so strict”, as what some of your athletes do, your wrong. You need to be the most strict, the biggest food nazi, the most unforgiving.
Interestingly, when it comes to everything training, people get this and put up no arguments. But when it comes to their food, even trainers, even owners get defensive. We always defend our addictions. How could it be anything less than addiction? Why would anyone argue that doing anything that makes us less than 100% of awesome was ever acceptable unless we are, at least in some way, addicted to it. If you’re still fighting me on this, you’re wrong. Refer to step one, eat only meat, nuts, seeds, and vegetables. Once you leave rehab, this conversation will be easier.
3. Get the facts
CrossFit affiliates gather data. With enough quality data we can choke out the misinformation clouding the skies of our world today. Don’t be shy, be bold.
The following information should be gathered within the first week of CrossFit;
Pictures: Front, profile, and rear for women(for some reason chicks care about their buts). As naked as possible, doesn’t do much good in a sweatshirt.
Weight: The scale is not one tool, it is immersed in a variety of tools, but it is still necessary.
Body fat: Even if you have never been taught this, it is not hard to learn. This video can show you just about all you will need to know, and the formula is available if you email us here (321 email here).
Full lipid panel
Full thyroid panel
Glucose panel w/H1ac
This is about as good as it gets when it comes to serving another human. I can’t tell you how many times this simple step has saved someone pain and suffering in the long run. It’s one thing to come to terms with the realization of having a big fat ass, but it’s very different staring at a metabolic panel proving that you’re a stones throw away from the grave. And talk about a lifelong friendship when they get those troublesome biomarkers tested three months later only to find that you, CrossFit, and not eating like an addict truly works…shocking.
CrossFit is synonymous with challenge. Everyday CrossFitters differentiate themselves from their ability to become uncomfortably challenged everyday, it’s what makes us so cool. It’s the “challenge” that can catapult your box into food freedom.
Maybe your first food challenge is an amalgamation of weight loss, biomarker, and body fat adjustments. Maybe it’s appearance, and body fat, or performance and weight loss. Whatever it is, set a date to begin a challenge that you yourself will follow and mercilessly promote. Four to five weeks is long enough to see awesome results, and enough to bribe some followers into never ending the “challenge”. It’s only a challenge until it becomes a “lifestyle”.
In fact, if your challenge ends with a “cheat” meal as a reward, then you lost the challenge. The point is to eliminate addiction, to gain followers for life, not to suppress bad habits until a deadline. That is not how we teach CrossFit. CrossFit never ends, so why must our food plan?
The challenge is nothing more than a fun way to introduce athletes to a new aspect of life, or to add motivation to a crowd. The goal is to show everyone that eating for life, performance, health, and appearance, is no challenge at all, it’s just a shift in priorities. We are taught food is a priority based of emotion, when the reality is food is a priority based off energy and nothing more. True food freedom is exactly that.
After your first and most important challenge, beware of being that guy. The guy beating the dead horse.
A so called “challenge”, or competition of a different sort every so often is great to get the newbies in the game, but don’t expect the lifers to fall for the same re-packaged Christmas present from last year. Emerson said, “imitation is suicide”.
After your initial challenge get creative. Weightless, all Paleo, muscle gain, strength gain, performance increase are all good to toss out periodically, and if you work it well, they can be layered into your box’s programming.
Lastly, never fear picking a mascot for a challenge. For instance, someone who is really, really overweight joins your box. Assign them one accountability partner. After they have got their feet wet when it comes to eating, base an entire box wide challenge off of the drastic need for this one person to change. It’s one thing to fail yourself, it is very different animal to forgo the success of another because you have a sweet tooth. How selfish are you?
5. Food logs
Lastly, don’t trust anybody. We are, all of us, habitual liars when left to our own devices. With most of us, that device is food.
Use a website like Fat Secret to log your food, and be diligent. Not being able to honestly weight and measure a simple thing like Calories is the same as putting random weights on either side of your bar, cheating reps, and writing the wrong time on the whiteboard.
After you have diligently logged your eating, others may then follow suit making your life a lot easier, even if your life isn’t nutrition like mine is.
After you glance at someone’s day to day eating, you don’t have to be some silly guru to say, “you will lose that giggle when you lose the reese’s cup”. Not only does this come into play for accountability purposes, but it goes with the whole leading a horse to water thing. Today, there is not a single athlete at our box that blames any lack of results on anything but themselves. The proof is staring them in the face every time they log; cake, ice cream, beer, grains.
As an added bonus, a diligent food log is great for someone like me who may be able to recognize a deficiency should one arise. The amount of times I have been able to save someone time and money by simply looking at their food over the course of a few weeks is worth more than the time it takes to log what goes into their mouth.
In truth we started with this sort of nutritional adherence from day one, and it has only gotten more and more strict as the years go by. It has to, we keep learning and experimenting and we always will. It may be difficult at first to about face 180 degrees, but all you need is one follower besides yourself, one success story to stand behind. Pick a sacrifice, and cut the fat.
Ignore those individuals who say that they don’t want to preach a certain method of eating to their athletes. All they are really saying is, “I don’t want to be told what to eat”. We prescribe a very specific way to workout and become very fit, so how can we not prescribe a very specific way to eat that correlates alongside it? After all, it’s the foundation. It is our duty. The very simple food method we adopt isn’t based on any “one” theory, it is based off the best of every theory. Basically, just like our workouts, we “do only what heals”, and “never what hurts”, when it comes to training, food, supplements, drugs, and the like.
Don’t let lack of experience get you down, simple start eating the way CrossFit has told us for years; meat, nuts, seeds, vegetables, and then lead others down the same path. Leave the fancy stuff for the guys like me who enjoy it, and remember boxes of today, are the hospitals of tomorrow. If you’re not guiding your athletes on how to eat for health, then who is?
Clean and Jerk Cluster
*Recover precisely (15) seconds between singles. A “set” is (5) singles. There are three total “sets” consisting of (15) total reps.
**Rest (3) minutes between sets.
8-Alternating Turkish get-ups 35/55
12-Burpees box jumps
4-Alternating Turkish get-ups.
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