The old gym rat adage is that weight loss and general health are composed of 80% diet and 20% working out. I tend to think that number is a bit heavily skewed but I do agree that your diet is the most important thing when training for a specific goal. At CrossFit Verve they agree and spend time teaching you from the time you start the Foundations Course. The two main diet ideologies that CrossFit Verve suggests, to sustain performance and not excess body fat, are the Paleo Diet and the Zone Diet. I will go over the basics of each in the following section:
The Paleo Diet (or the Caveman Diet) is basically a high-protein, high-fiber eating plan. Foods advised to eat on the Paleo diet are the following:
- Fresh lean meats and fish
- Fruits and vegetables
- Healthier fats (Olive oil, coconut oil, avocado)
Foods generally advised against:
- Legumes (peanuts and beans)
- Refined sugar
- Refined vegetable oils
According to Courtney Shepherd (CrossFit Verve Head Trainer), “CrossFit’s most basic nutrition prescription is to eat meat and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch, and no sugar. This basic prescription is meant to introduce individuals to clean eating. This, however, is not Paleo. The paleo prescription has some exclusions. The paleo diet removes dairy, legumes, and grains. These are removed because they are associated with autoimmune diseases, inflammation, and allergies. This is a great place for anyone looking to clean up their diet to start.”
On the Zone Diet, you get 3 meals and 2 snacks a day. Every meal on the Zone Diet has the same proportions: 30% protein, 30% fat, and 40% carbs. To achieve this perfect proportion you are required to way your food on a scale. CrossFit Verve also has a guide that helps break down hundreds of food options into easy and measurable units. Though no foods are “banned” on the Zone Diet, the same ideology in the Paleo Diet is stressed with high protein, high fiber, and healthy fat sources.
Courtney Shepherd says “when it comes to eating for improved performance we introduce athletes to the Zone diet. Zoning is taking your food, placing it on a scale and weighing/ measuring it before you put it on your plate. The Zone diet is based on an individual’s lean muscle mass and the idea being that we eat the appropriate amount of food needed to fuel our bodies, eat to support exercise and not body fat. Bringing the two together can produce optimal performance because now we are eating the right foods in the right amounts.”
Remember when starting a new workout program, you are asking your body to preform differently than it normally does, this means you need to focus on feeding your body clean foods that will help you recover and achieve your goals. You are creating a new lifestyle, so I always recommend being realistic with your goals and make small chances at first so you are more willing to keep them up. As they become easier to manage, start adding in more strict diet plans that will help you achieve your goals.