Nutrition for CrossFit: An Overview of the Paleo Diet

by Gabriel Simon

What is the optimal nutrition and food for CrossFit, and what is the Paelo Diet? Read this article and find out!

Sliding my tray along the line, I am bombarded by the overwhelming number of choices that stretch out before me; from bacon to bagels, pancakes to potatoes, and waffles to watermelon, choosing a nutritious breakfast seems like an impossible task. What does it mean to have a balanced meal? Is one type of food a better option? What does “healthy” even mean?? And most important, what is the best kind of nutrition for CrossFit? What kind of nutrition will help us best recover from our workouts?

Good questions! Nutrition is confusing, and seriously, all the advertisements we are showered with everyday don’t help. Let’s face it- as a nation, we need help. With the convenience of McDonalds on every corner, it’s no wonder we struggle with an obesity epidemic. Luckily, the world of CrossFit is different- it tries to steer its athletes in a healthy direction by endorsing the “Paleolithic diet”, also known by its shorter form, the “Paleo Diet.” Based on the patterns of our ancestors, the Paleo Diet encourages the types of foods we were originally designed to eat in exchange for its greasy, insulin-spiking counterpart. Put very simply, the Paleolithic nutrition follows this saying: “Eat meat and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch and no sugar. Keep intake to levels that will support exercise but not body fat.” (CrossFit Journal, September 2002, “The Garage Gym”)

nutrition for crossfit

Loren Cordain expands on this by giving us 7 general rules to follow (check out her book here):

1. Eat a relatively high amount of animal protein compared to that in the typical American diet.

2. Eat fewer carbohydrates than most modern diets recommend, but eat lots of good carbohydrates from fruits and vegetables, not from grains or refined sugars.

3. Eat a large amount of fiber from non-starchy fruits and vegetables.

4. Eat a moderate amount of fat, with more good (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated) fats than bad (saturated) fats, and nearly equal amounts of omega 3 and omega 6 fats.

5. Eat foods with a high potassium content and low sodium content.

6. Eat a diet with a net alkaline load.

7. Eat foods rich in plant phytochemicals, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

Following these guidelines gives us a steady flow of energy throughout the day, and “supports exercise but not body fat.”

How to find or prepare Paleo foods

What have we learned so far? Vegetables, eggs, meat, nuts, some fruit, and properly balanced omega 3’s and 6’s are better options, while grains, refined carbohydrates and unnatural sugars are sub-par. Sounds pretty easy, right? Well, unless you are keen on eating raw meat (please don’t do this…), the Paleo Diet takes much more preparation time than the average American diet. A “Paleo-ite” learns to buy and prepare in bulk.

Luckily, there are companies that focus on the CrossFit community and its needs for health and convenience.

Some of my favorite products can be found on Amazon:

Coconut flour: For it’s health fats, high fiber content, and delicious taste, I love coconut flour in my baked goods!

food for crossfit

Click here or on the picture above to purchase.

Quest Bars: These are the only protein bars I will eat. With an amazingly short ingredient list (the strawberry cheesecake flavor: whey protein isolate, milk protein isolate, prebiotic fiber, almonds, water, erythritol (an all natural sugar-free sweetener), freeze dried strawberries, natural flavors, lo han guo (another plant based sugar-free sweetener), and stevia, these bars blow any other bar out of the water. My favorite flavors include the chocolate brownie and the cinnamon roll!

snacks for crossfit

Click here or on the picture above to purchase.

And finally, there are a lot of great Paleo cookbooks out there! There are a lot of very creative cooks out there that have generated some incredible recipes. Just look at paleo cookbook on amazon, and you’ll see an incredible array of recipes that will satisfy any taste. I highly recommend Loren Cordain’s book (she gave the Paleo guidelines I mentioned earlier).

paleo for crossfit

Click here or on the picture to purchase.

Eating a Paleo Diet may seem like a lot of work now, but in the long run, the way it benefits the body is worth the effort. It is, without a doubt, the best form of nutrition for for CrossFit. So ditch the Subway foot longs and dig into some steak and salad- your body will thank you!

  • http://www.paleoaholic.com/ cavewoman diet

    You will find many health advantages in Paleo diet. One is that it can benefit you to lose weight given that the Paleo weight loss program is naturally low in carbohydrates meaning it features a low caloric count. Low amounts of carbohydrates are also shown to cut the risks contributing to heart illnesses. One more advantage would be that the weight loss program is naturally rich in fiber. Fiber lowers chances of diabetes and heart diseases.

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