We CrossFitters love what we do! Training at the gym is the easy part- but what counts the most is what we eat outside of the gym. Nutrition and training cannot be separated. Regardless of your goals, the two work synergistically. Whether you’re trying to lose fat, gain muscle, improve athletic conditioning, or whatever, you will get less than optimal results without paying attention to both.
Greg Glassman created a pyramid of hierarchy, in terms of health and fitness, placing nutrition at the base. The base of the pyramid acts as structural integrity for the remaining structure above it, which in this context supports our training: met-cons, gymnastics, weightlifting, and sport, respectively.
“Each level builds on the level below it,” explains Nicole Carroll, director of CrossFit Nutrition certification. “If your nutrition sucks, these things will not be where they could be if it were more solid.”
Nutrition is an intriguing and complex beast; good nutrition can mean different things to different individuals. The variance of what works for some and doesn’t for others is vast! What does work for the entire population, however, is cutting the crap and eating REAL food.
“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.” –Greg Glassman
Regular consumption of processed foods and excess sugars throws our hormones out of whack- particularly those that control our appetite and dictate hunger and satiety. Eliminating junk food and sugar will help get your appetite back on track via hormone balancing. This will enable you to become more in tune with what your body actually needs and when it needs it. Additionally, you’ll become aware of what foods really make you feel good, which is total nutritional freedom in my mind!
So, where do all of these protein supplements come into it?
Rule number 1- they come into it when your base nutrition is sound. Not before! I can’t stress this enough. If you’re regularly putting garbage into your body, buying and consuming supplements will be a complete waste of your money. Supplements are exactly that- a thing added to something else in order to complete or enhance it. In this case, we’re aiming to enhance the benefit gained from our nutritional intake to optimise your general health and training. Get the basics right first, then investigate how you can strengthen it.
What is it and when should I consume it?
The protein supplements we stock at Niche consist primarily of whey protein isolates (WPI), plus the Pre and Post workout blends. Whey protein is a by-product of cheese making and is considered a complete protein as it contains all 9 amino acids. WPI is further refined, meaning it contains only trace amounts of lactose and fat, which eliminates intestinal upsets and is absorbed quickly and easily.
Adding WPI to your food intake is a great way to get adequate levels of protein in your diet, which is 0.8-1g/kg body weight for healthy, active adults. WPI consumption is particularly helpful if you don’t eat a great deal of meat or other natural sources of protein. It’s also handy to add to meals if you’re looking at hitting particular macronutrient ratios.
In terms of the blends, True Post also contains WPI. Other key ingredients include creatine (read our previous blog post on the benefits of creatine, here), carbohydrates to facilitate protein absorption, glutamine for muscle recovery, plus other important amino acids.
Post-workout nutrition has three main purposes;
• Replenish glycogen to replenish your energy stores.
• Decrease protein breakdown by increasing muscle size and quality.
• Increase the rate of protein synthesis, which repairs any damage to the muscles caused by the workout.
True Post really is a great blend to achieve all of this! However, whilst the above list would be wonderfully helpful, your overall performance in the gym is going to heavily depend on the nutritional quality of your diet. If you’re fuelling your engine with junk, then supplementing is not going to compensate for this. If you are eating well, then this stuff is gold and you will soon experience vast improvements, not only in your performance but also in your recovery time.
So, what are you eating? Do you consider it to be healthy? Do you value your nutrition as much as Glassman’s pyramid recommends? Do you use protein supplements around training times or as part of your daily food intake?