“What should I be eating now that I am working out?” We get this question fairly often from our new members. Many new members are just starting their fitness journey or starting again. Going from not working out to doing a high intensity programming is going to be a change. This goes for both how your muscles are going to feel as well as how your stomach is going to feel if you have poor nutrition before the workout. If this is the case, you might find that what you were eating before doesn’t exactly agree with you during your workouts. Stop being the definition of insanity, and consider eating different and/or for your health and goals.
Nutrition is simple. It can be summed up with a simple phrase from the CrossFit Journal, “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”) Although it may be simple, as we all know, it is definitely not easy to follow.
If you are just starting out with a new workout routine and diet, simply trying to follow the idea mentioned above of meat, veggies, etc. is a great place to start. If you are coming from a diet of fast food, processed food, high carb, basically the american diet, you will see big results from just eating real food. For this person, we would recommend that you stop reading here, bookmark this page, and come back when you hit that first plateau. Don’t sweat the small stuff until you get down the basics.
So, you have been following the CrossFit Journal phrase above, but still haven’t reached your goal, or maybe your have hit that plateau and can’t loose those last couple pesky pounds. The next step is to look at the composition of your food. We have all heard that we should be “eating a balanced diet,” but what does that mean? This is going to depend on your individual goals and body composition. There are many great calculators out there that give you recommendations on intake of macro-nutrients (protein, fat, & carbs) and calories, such as IIFYM.
After you get you macro-nutrient composition and calories recommended, the next step is to track what you are eating. There are many great tools out there, but one of the best is to use the app myfitnesspal. Myfitnesspal allows you to add your goals, which you determined before, so that you can see how close to ideal your diet is. For many of us starting out, this usually means we need more protein and less carbs. Tracking your meals is definitely more work, which is why we don’t recommend this for those just starting out, but it is very effective and beneficial. Not only will it help you to get to your goal quicker, but it will also give you a good idea of portion size and composition once you reach your goals. Don’t give up, healthy living is a lifestyle, not a fad diet.