There’s no denying this. One of the most common reasons why we work out and make positive health changes is that we want to look good physically. There’s no shame in wanting a six-pack, beach-ready body.
CrossFit helps us achieve this. But as you’re well aware, working out alone isn’t enough. You need to complement your training with a sound nutrition plan so you can maximize your gains and be holistically healthy.
There are many CrossFit nutrition plans for you to choose from, so we’re here to provide you with the lowdown of some of the popular meal plans and hopefully, one that is right for you.
1. The Paleo Diet
We can all agree that Paleolithic humans are fitter, stronger and have more energy than the average modern human. After all, our ancestors didn’t have access to sugary drinks, processed food and grains.
Some would argue that ancient humans lived short, violent lives. But they only did so because they were exposed to harsh conditions, elements, war, predators and had no access to modern medicine.
Along with CrossFit, a Paleo meal plan can enable you advantages of both the vitality of the primitive human and the technological advantage of the modern man.
In this type of diet, you’re allowed to eat lean protein, grass-fed meat, fruit and vegetables, seafood, healthy fats, nuts and seeds. In moderate consumption, canola oil and artificial sweeteners are acceptable. Dairy, grains, processed food and sugars, legumes, starches and alcohol, however, are not allowed in the Paleo Diet.
The Paleo diet is relatively easy to follow if you are already eating healthy. If you have previously eaten mostly fast food and processed meals, you’ll find the Paleo diet a bit difficult to follow. If that’s the case, we recommend that you start with easier diets.
In terms of difficulty, the willpower required to fully comply with the Paleo diet is fairly high. So if you’re just an average exerciser, you might want to consider other meal plans.
2. The Zone Diet
The Zone Diet is a high-fat, low carbohydrate diet devised by biochemist Barry Sears. This type of diet is also closely followed by several elite CrossFit athletes.
In this type of nutrition plan, you get to eat five times a day (three meals and two snacks) so you feel satisfied and avoid overeating. You also follow a specific macronutrient (carbohydrate - protein - fats) ratio 30–40–30 for your food intake.
You can use your fist to measure the ratio. A fist full of vegetables for your carbohydrate source, and a meat the size of your palm.
In the Zone diet, you’re allowed to eat favourable carbs. This means the selection of nutrient-dense carbohydrate sources that are usually also high in fiber. Examples include green vegetables, whole grains, etc.
The Zone Diet has a wide range of eating options and few food restrictions. You only need to remember to limit or avoid high glycemic index food.
However, there’s a lot of food measurement involved if you want to strictly follow the zone diet. Following this diet to the letter is complex and requires a significant amount of research, reading, computations and planning.
3. Ketogenic Diet
The Ketogenic diet is derived from Ketosis. This is the state wherein your body is in starvation mode. It actually is a way to replicate the benefits of fasting without actually fasting by limiting (or eliminating) the consumption of carbohydrates and sugar.
It follows a ratio of 75–80% fat, 20–25% protein and 5% carbs (preferably from green leafy vegetables). So you’ll basically be cutting out the carbs in your diet.
The food items allowed in the Keto diet include: bacon, chicken thighs, broccoli, kale or any leafy green vegetables, heavy cream, butter, coconut oil or MCT oil.
The most obvious benefit of the Keto diet is that you get to eat as much butter, bacon and cheese as you want. You can practically consume as much fat as you want until you’re satisfied. After all, eating fat can make you feel full.
The Ketogenic diet also requires a lot of discipline and willpower. Since you’ll be cutting out carbs, you’re cutting your brain’s primary fuel. You’ll also put your health at risk, as consuming just fat can increase your uric acid and cholesterol levels.
Aside from these three, there are also vegan and gluten-free nutrition plans and even intermittent fasting, which is growing in popularity. These will be discussed in another article.
So there you have it! We hope with this brief guide, you will be able to determine the best meal plan for you. Feel free to read more online materials on these CrossFit nutrition plans and consult your doctor on which plan will work best for you!