Nutrition for CrossFitters Looking to Lose Weight
A few weeks ago, we covered nutrition for performance. Here's some information for CrossFitters looking to lost weight.
From Brad: “For those who are looking to improve body composition (decrease body fat), they may want to look at decreasing carbohydrate intake, especially sugars, starches, and grains. I would suggest getting all carbohydrates from green leafy vegetables such as kale, spinach, brussel sprouts, cabbages, broccoli, asparagus, lettuces, etc.”
Here are some tips from Charles Poliquin about fat loss (see the full article here):
Tip #1: Eliminate All Processed Foods
They lack nutrition, generally contain chemicals, dyes, and artificial additives, and the macronutrients have been modified or are denatured, which means they aren’t metabolized in the same way as if they were in the unprocessed state. Once a grain has been ground up into flour, it’s no longer whole and you shouldn’t be eating it. Similarly, processed protein has been denatured, which means that if your goal is body composition, you need to eat high-quality protein in its most natural form.
Tip #2: Eat Smart Fats
A healthy fat intake is essential for body composition because dietary fat is used to make up the lipid layer of cells, and it is involved in the production of muscle building hormones such as testosterone. Diets that contain 30 to 50 percent fat are associated with much higher testosterone levels in men than low fat diets, which is significant because higher testosterone is associated with a better body composition. Additionally, research shows that in both men and women, eating a diet higher in certain dietary fats is associated with a leaner body composition and less body fat than a diet lower in fat and higher in carbs.
Shoot for a diet with a near equal ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fats. Focus on eating wild fish, grass-fed beef, and wild meats such as elk, buffalo, ostrich, moose, and boar on a regular basis.
Tip #3: Eat a High-Protein Diet: The Quality is Most Important
Eat a high-protein, low carbohydrate diet for optimal body composition and muscle building. For best results, organic meats will provide the largest “bang for your buck” protein. The quality of the protein you eat is essential when it comes to fat loss because you want to get the greatest amino acid intake per unit of energy (calories) you eat.
High-quality complete protein is only available from animal sources because they have an amino acid pattern similar to that needed by the body. Plant-based proteins are deficient in one or more of the essential amino acids, making them low-quality, incomplete proteins. In order to provide the body with adequate amino acids to make a complete protein, you would need to eat more total protein, which would likely raise your overall energy intake.
For best fat loss and muscle building results ensure you eat a high-quality of protein—Poliquin suggests the Meat and Nuts Breakfast to start your day. Supplement with whey protein and branched-chain amino acids to pad your protein intake.
Tip #4: Eat Low-Glycemic Carbs: Limit Carbs to Vegetables and Berries
Eliminate all high-glycemic carbs and eat only low-glycemic vegetables and berries. Vegetables, especially green leafy ones, are highly nutritious, contain lots of fiber, and produce a very moderate insulin response. They are antioxidant rich, and the cruciferous vegetables such as kale, broccoli, cauliflower, and bok choy contain compounds that help the body detoxify and eliminate excess estrogen—this is one reason these vegetables are considered “cancer-fighting” foods.
Blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, cranberries, strawberries, and bilberries are all low-glycemic and high in antioxidants, or compounds such as polyphenols that enhance the production of enzymes in the body that help detoxify free radicals that cause cancer. Compounds in berries and green vegetables are digested more slowly and cause the pancreas to secrete a minimal amount of insulin—the hormone that binds to cell receptors to facilitate the entry of glucose into the cell to be used for energy.
Tip #5: Stay Hydrated: Limit Beverages to Water, Tea & Coffee
Drink adequate water and limit beverages to water, tea, and coffee. Completely eliminate juice, all soda, alcohol (the one exception may be red wine), and any “sports” drinks.
For water intake, shoot for 0.6 to 0.7 ounces per pound of body weight, which calculates to 120 to 140 ounces for a 200 lb man, or 72 to 84 ounces for a 120 lb woman. Naturally, this suggestion may vary based on the amount you sweat, the amount you train, and your personal circumstances. If you are not even close to your water intake goal, start by increasing intake by 4 to 8 ounces a day until you reach your goal.
Green tea and coffee have both been shown to increase insulin sensitivity, and they provide a slight boost to resting metabolic rate. They are rich in antioxidants and green tea supports detoxification. Drink only organic tea and coffee for best results.
Again, if you have any questions about your personal goals and results, talk to Brad. CrossFit can help you get to where you want to be, but you can't ignore your diet!