CrossFit is known the world over for its focus on providing comprehensive whole-body exercises. Through workouts of the day or WODs and other programs, CrossFit is designed to target all muscle groups and develop total body strength.
CrossFit helps practitioners achieve major cardiovascular improvements through high-intensity programs that promote total fitness, health and longevity. Other outcomes associated with CrossFit include rapid weight loss, better stamina and toning due to increased muscle mass, and improved aerobic capacity.
But how does diet and nutrition figure in all this? Is there such a thing as a CrossFit diet?
Here, you’ll get the lowdown on the best nutrition for CrossFit. This will help in maximising your WODs so you’ll be able to achieve your health and fitness goals and fit into your dream workout clothes.
What is the best diet for CrossFit?
You can do your WODs all day, every day, but you won’t get the long-term results you want if you’re essentially on a bad diet.
Therefore, the best diet for CrossFit is a nutrition program that’s made to help you optimise your WODs as well as ensure your general health.
Optimum nutrition is necessary to reap the rewards of CrossFit. But what do we mean by optimum nutrition? In general, this would mean eating meat, vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, a little starch and absolutely no sugar. Your nutritional intake should address your caloric needs to ensure you are able to perform the required exercises without contributing to body fat.
There’s no one single best diet for CrossFit. However, the Zone Diet comes pretty close, so it’s highly recommended for those in search of clear, sound guidelines on what to eat for CrossFit.
What is the best CrossFit diet plan?
The best CrossFit diet plan starts with a four-week Zone Diet prescription to help you observe, measure, record and use data on your food intake and performance.
Once you’ve implemented this minimum baseline nutrition recommendation successfully during a four-week course, you can tweak the prescribed diet until you achieve optimum health and fitness levels.
The following is an example of a Zone Diet meal plan you can implement during the first four weeks:
Breakfast: For breakfast, you can have a breakfast sandwich comprising:
- Half a pita bread
- 1 scrambled or fried egg
- 1 ounce of cheese
- Plus 2 macadamia nuts
Lunch: A grilled chicken salad makes for a light but filling and nutritious lunch:
- 2 ounces of grilled chicken
- 2 cups of lettuce
- ¼ cup of chopped tomato
- ¼ of a cucumber, chopped
- ¼ cup of chopped fresh green pepper
- ¼ cup of cooked black beans
- 2 tablespoons of avocado
Dinner: For dinner, grill your preferred fresh fish (e.g., tuna or salmon) and use the following as a guide:
- 3 ounces of grilled fresh fish
- 1 and 1/3 cups of cooked zucchini with herbs
- Large salad with a tbsp. of your favourite salad dressing
Snack: Mix up the following ingredients in a bowl and enjoy your first Zone Diet snack:
- 1/4 cup of low-fat cottage cheese
- 1/3 cup of canned (in water) or fresh Mandarin oranges
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoons of slivered almonds
Of course, your nutritional intake should be varied enough to ensure your body receives optimum levels of both macro and micronutrients to support your new caloric requirements.
What is the Zone Diet?
In simple terms, the Zone Diet focuses on low-carbohydrate consumption. It prescribes a specific amount of macronutrients to control blood sugar and fight inflammation which, in turn, can help with faster workout recovery.
People who follow the Zone Diet find it to be less restrictive and beneficial in the following ways:
- It helps keep you off foods with added sugar.
- It discourages the consumption of processed food.
- It provides more flexibility as it does not strictly prohibit specific food groups.
- It can aid with achieving significant fat loss.
- It makes measuring calorie intake simpler and easier.
- It can help reduce your risk of developing chronic diseases, such as type 2 diabetes, obesity and heart disease.
What are zone blocks?
To have a CrossFit-compatible Zone Diet, it is recommended that you get 40 per cent of your calories from carbohydrates, 30 per cent from protein and 30 per cent from fat. However, these percentages are difficult to measure if you don’t have a nutritionist dietician.
To simplify your CrossFit Zone Diet and ensure you have an adequate intake of macronutrients, food is classified into blocks of protein, carbs or fat. These zone blocks aid in promoting nutritional balance in your meals and snacks, such as your ideal breakfast for CrossFit.
These zone blocks for CrossFit and the Zone Diet, in general, are as follows:
- 1 carbohydrate block is equal to 9 grams of carbohydrates (excludes fibre)
- 1 protein block is equal to 7 grams of protein
- 1 fat block is equal to 1.5 grams of fat
The number of blocks you need every day depends on your sex, body size and activity level. In general, an average-sized woman requires 11 blocks of each macronutrient, that is, 11 blocks of carbs, 11 blocks of protein and 11 blocks of fat. An average-sized man would need 14 blocks of each.
You can use the Zone body fat calculator to find out your block requirements or use a CrossFit food chart for counting your blocks. You can then divide your blocks into meals and snacks to achieve balanced nutrition.
What CrossFit diet will get you ripped?
If you’re after a CrossFit diet to get ripped, focus on consuming the right amounts of protein and fat, non-starchy vegetables in various colours and low glycaemic index (GI) fruit as recommended in the Zone Diet. Use the recommended zone blocks for CrossFit to get the best results.
Remember, to have a CrossFit lean out diet doesn’t mean swearing off carbs and fats. Make sure you know your caloric requirements and follow CrossFit protein recommendations, as well as those for carbs and fats. And remember that it’s not all about macros, either.
You need to have an adequate intake of micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) from food, supplement with multivitamins (if necessary) and hydrate with water to optimise fat loss and performance.
Combine the best CrossFit diet to gain muscle with getting a body composition scan to help you keep track of body fat and improve your training plan based on the results. Besides opting for the right diet you obviously need to keep a regular workout routine that includes all of the right exercises, such as the deadlift, the snatch, bench press, the air squat and many more.
What diet complements CrossFit for weight loss?
Your best diet for CrossFit weight loss combines knowledge of the Zone Diet and how much protein, fats and carbs you need daily to perform optimally. To achieve a strong body and toned physique, consuming the right carbs for CrossFit, as well as ensuring you have enough proteins and fats, is key. Avoid sugar and foods containing a lot of it. Nothing wrong with adding a small spoon of your favourite Jarrah honey to your morning coffee, but keep it to a minimum.
Although the Zone Diet is recommended for CrossFit, you’ll find that as you continue and advance in your program, you’ll learn more of what actually works for you.
To get started and receive professional advice on CrossFit, as well as the right nutrition to optimise your performance, please contact CrossFit Revenant.