“How should I eat to get the most out of my training?”
I have heard some version of this question more times than I can count. I have asked this question many times myself! Training is hard, and the last thing any of us want is to have our hard work negated by a crappy diet.
But where to even begin??? Thanks to the internet we have access to more information about any topic you can think of. Nutrition is no different. A quick search of “what to eat to lose weight” will immediately return THOUSANDS of results; many of which will tout bulletproof ways of getting to your dream body in 6 weeks!
Sign me up right?! The problem is that the quality of most of this information is garbage. I hate to burst any bubbles, but there is probably not much chance you will accomplish any training goal in just a few weeks. There is no such thing as a shortcut to six pack abs.
Even if we get to quality, research backed, and time proven information it can often be overwhelming. Trying to take everything in all at once is like drinking from a firehose. And even with solid info many blogs and sites will still focus way too much on tiny details. It’s all too easy to miss the forrest for the trees when it comes to how we eat.
Macros, Paleo, Keto, Carnivore, Meal Timing, Plant Based, Intermittant Fasting…you get my point? Those are just the big ones I can think of off the top of my head. What really works, and what do you need to focus on?
Renaissance Periodization, a highly respected and successful coaching company, has created this graphic to help us understand what really matters with respect to our nutrition.
As you can see the base of the pyramid is CALORIE BALANCE. More important than where your food is sourced from, what fad diet you follow, what your macros are, is at the end of the day how many calories are you consuming compared to how many calories you are using.
It’s a simple equation. If you eat fewer calories than your body burns in a day then you will lose weight. If you eat more calories in a day than your body uses then you will gain weight. It starts as simple as that.
If you are brand new to this whole nutrition thing then start right there and don’t go any further down the rabbit hole. This is the first thing that we need to nail down. Calorie balance will be the base of your nutrition no matter what else you do. Calories in, Calories out.
Where do you go from here? Well that depends on how dialed in you want to get. The first step is to figure out what roughly your daily calorie needs are. Again this is extremely individualized and ultimately comes down to your goals.
I recommend starting here: https://www.precisionnutrition.com/nutrition-calculator
This is a helpful tool that will get you started. Precision Nutrition will take you step by step through this calculator and will generate a full report for you which will list the rough number of calories that your body needs to accomplish your goals.
The tool will also provide a recommended macro nutrient breakdown, but for now remember that your goal is calorie balance! If you have a solid understanding of the basics feel free to play around more with the calculator. Anyone who is new should stick to the foundation!
I also highly recommend keeping a food diary of EVERYTHING you eat on a daily basis. There are many apps for this right on your phone. I personally use the free version of MyFitnessPal, but you should shop around and find the one that works best for you.
A food diary is essential to keeping track of that calorie balance regardless of your chosen diet style.
Here’s another pyramid I would like you to keep in mind:
In the 2002 publication “What Is Fitness?” CrossFit suggested a theoretical hierarchy for the development of an athlete. This hierarchy starts with nutrition and moves to metabolic conditioning, gymnastics, weightlifting, and finally, sport.
Nutrition is the foundation of the pyramid. The quality and constituent elements of an athlete’s diet influence metabolism and therefore the molecular foundations of muscle, bone, and the nervous system. Long-term training depends upon a solid base of nutritional support.
Just like calorie balance is the base of our nutrition pyramid; nutrition itself is the foundation of our athletic development pyramid. You will only truly reach your potential when you construct your foundation properly.
Begin with basics, then worry about the little details. Get better every day CFB Crew.
DID YOU KNOW?? We have our own Registered Dietician in house??? Work with Coach Mallie Shirk and take the leg work out of your nutrtion journey!
If you would like to learn more about CFB’s Nutrition Coaching Program please reach out to me at [email protected]