Before Chanukah, we were discussing the different methods of CrossFit. Until now, we have mainly written about different types of movement that CrossFit employs to achieve a broad base of complete and total fitness. This week, we will shift to nutrition, and discuss its role, in a crash course. Read on.
Do I need to evaluate my diet?
Yes. CrossFit is an exercise and nutrition program, and if you do not address nutrition, you are essentially rowing with one oar in the water. You cannot out-exercise a bad diet. To reap the full rewards of the CrossFit program, work out regularly and optimize your nutrition.
Movement—you are moving your physical being, so it’s clearly important. But all that is powered and controlled by everything that’s inside your body, whether it’s at the level of basic life—the life of the cells—or on the other end of the spectrum to the highest levels of optimizing performance and disease prevention, it’s all controlled by metabolism, and metabolism is controlled by the food that we consume.
CrossFit Founder Greg Glassman called the CrossFit approach “contrarian,” partly because the food and beverage industries would have you believe all that sugar in your Coke isn’t a problem as long as you exercise. “It’s wrong on a fundamental, scientific, chemical level” he explained.
Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas in response to carbohydrate consumption. It’s responsible for storing energy in cells and regulating blood sugar, and you need it to live. But if you produce too much insulin, cell receptors no longer respond to it, allowing blood-sugar levels to rise and setting the stage for a host of health problems, such as Type 2 diabetes, thickening, hardening, and loss of elasticity of the walls of arteries, (Arteriosclerosis) organ failure and death. “You can see that the way to get your insulin level too high (hyperinsulinism) is to eat too many carbohydrates,” Glassman said in a 2007 lecture.
“You have to control carbohydrate intake—carbohydrate drives insulin, insulin drives disease”, says Coach Glassman. ‘Off the couch and off the carbs.’ It’s not saying that just getting off a couch is the solution, and it’s not saying get off all carbs, but on a relative level, most people suffering from chronic disease are spending a lot of time on the couch, and they’re eating an overabundance of starchy carbohydrates.”
Effective nutrition is moderate in protein, carbohydrate, and fat. Forget about the fad high-carbohydrate, low-fat, and low-protein diet. Balanced macronutrient and healthy nutrition look more like 40 percent carbohydrate, 30 percent protein, and 30 percent fat. Dr. Barry Sears’ Zone Diet still offers the greatest precision, efficacy, and health benefit of any clearly defined protocol. The Zone Diet does an adequate job of jointly managing issues of blood glucose control, proper macronutrient proportion, and caloric restriction whether your concern is athletic performance, disease prevention and longevity, or body composition. We recommend that everyone read Dr. Sears’ book Enter the Zone.
What is CrossFit’s diet prescription?
The short answer: 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.
To get to the same endpoint, these are effective nutritional strategies for avoiding heart disease, death and misery:
1) If you could not have harvested it out of your garden or farm and eaten it an hour later, it is not food.
2) Shop around the perimeter of the grocery store, and do not go down the aisles.
3) If it has a food label on it, it is not food. You do not see that on the chicken. It is not on the tomatoes. But it is on the chips and cookies.
4) If it is not perishable, if it says, “Best if used before 2021,” it is not food.
Sound simple? It is. Easy? It’s not. People love added sugar and starchy carbs. But more on that next time. Have a great week! Remember: “Get off the couch and off the starchy carbs.”
The information provided in this article is for educational purposes only. Rabbi Fitness LLC is not a doctor. The contents of this article should not be taken as medical advice. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure any health problem– nor is it intended to replace the advice of a physician. Always consult your physician or qualified health professional on any matters regarding your health and/or engagement in physical activity, especially if you (or your family) have a history of high blood pressure, heart disease, or if you have ever experienced chest pain when exercising or have experienced chest pain in the past month when not engaged in physical activity, smoke, have high cholesterol, are obese, or have a bone or joint problem that could be made worse by a change in physical activity.