Diet Plan To Be Fit

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Diet plan to be fit is important for everyone. It doesn’t matter if you’re an athlete or if you just want to lose a few pounds because you can’t stand the way you look in your jeans. A healthy diet goes a long way and has numerous benefits for your overall health, and it will help you lose weight as well.

Top Fitness Diets

Top Diets for CrossFit Athletes

There’s a lot of noise out there on diets.  It’s easy to get lost in it!  We’ll highlight the basics of some of the top diets CrossFit athletes follow. 

CrossFit is known for cutting through all the nutritional and exercise “BS” and embracing what actually works.  If you’re unfamiliar with the corrupt influences in the U.S. Food and Drug Administration; CrossFit’s founder Greg Glassman has been waging a campaign to pull back the curtain.  Large food companies have unfortunately misled the American public on the healthiness of sugar products and the effectiveness of the traditional Food Pyramid.  Luckily for us, more and more health and nutrition pioneers are paving the way for healthy diets.  Athletes tend to follow what works best. 

With more free knowledge at our disposal, CrossFit athletes and coaches have identified and followed top diets that fuel performance, health, and are genuinely enjoyable.  While many diets can definitely be a fad, we’ll cover the most common diets that CrossFit athletes routinely follow. 

Some of the most popular diet plans include:

  1. The Paleo Diet
  2. The Zone Diet
  3. The If It Fits Your Macros (IIFYM) Diet
  4. The Primal Diet

THE PALEO DIET

Top Diets for CrossFit Athletes - Paleo

Fit for a caveman!

It’s probably the oldest diet of humankind.  The Paleo Diet gets its name from focusing on foods eaten by our ancestors during the Paleolithic Age.  For you history buffs, that’s about 10,000 years ago.  A good rule of thumb is – if it has to be processed, created in a lab, or made with hard to pronounce chemicals, its probably not paleo.  Eating Paleo literally means getting back to what humans lived on for tens of thousands of years. 

Paleo Diet Staples:

  • High fat and protein, but low carbs
  • Quality Meats (i.e. grass-fed beef) & Fish
  • Eggs
  • All Vegetables
  • All Fruits in Moderation
  • Nuts & Seeds
  • Legumes
  • Limited Sugar Consumption
  • Limited or No Dairy
  • No Processed Food

The above is not a comprehensive list, but a good place to start.  To eat Paleo, you want to have 2/3 of your plate covered in plant-based foods and 1/3 in animal-based.  True adherents to Paleo also stick to non-GMO and organic where possible, though this can rack up your grocery bill quick.  There’s nothing wrong with going the more affordable route and buying non-organic.  After all, it’s better to get veggies than nothing at all.  Mainstream research is still non-conclusive about the benefits of organic vs non-organic.

THE ZONE DIET

Top Diets for CrossFit Athletes - Zone

Source: thezonediet.com

The Zone Diet was created over 30 years ago by Barry Sears, a biochemist who’s goal was to reduce diet-related inflammation.  The root of this diet is managing your blood sugar level and intake of “bad fats” to minimize your risk of chronic disease, diabetes, and to optimize mental and physical performance.  While very similar to the Paleo diet, the Zone Diet is more precise.  It recommends tracking your caloric consumption down to grams of protein, fat, and carbs and categorizing these measurements into “blocks”. 

Zone Diet Staples:

  • “Scientific” Diet
  • Count Calories in the form of “blocks”
    • 30% Protein
    • 30% Fat
    • 40% Carbohydrates
  • Eat 5 small meals a day
  • Low-fat Meats
  • Most Vegetables
  • Most Fruits
  • Healthy Fats (defined as Avocados, oils, nuts, seeds)

What is a “Block”?

  • Athletes must calculate their Block Requirements – a combo of lean bodyweight and an activity factor
  • 1 Protein Block = 7 grams
  • 1 Carbohydrate Block = 9 grams
  • 1 Fat Block = 1.5 grams

Athletes should first determine their Zone Block requirements (link in resources below).  From there, total blocks should be allocated according to a 30/30/40 split between Protein, Fat, and Carbs.  Blocks are then spread throughout the day fairly evenly, with larger meals for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and/or post-WOD.  While it takes some time to acclimate to thinking about portions as “blocks”, it is a very effective diet for those pursuing significant body composition changes or advanced athletes.

THE IIFYM DIET

Top Diets for CrossFit Athletes - IIFYM

Same Macros; Steak & Veggies or Flatbread

If It Fits Your Macros.  The diet people love to hate and hate to love.  The premise is; you can eat whatever you want as long as you consume a defined Protein, Fat, and Carbohydrate split that doesn’t exceed your target caloric intake.  Sound like a dream come true?  Check out some of the IIFYM food porn.  It really means you can eat pizza, cake, pasta, etc.  As long as it fits your macros! 

IIFYM Staples:

  • Calculate your Target Calories (to lose, maintain, or increase weight)
    • Protein Requirement = 0.75 – 1g per pound of bodyweight
    • Fat Requirement = Generally 25%
    • Carbs = Remainder of calories
  • No limits on food sources
  • No rules on meal timing

At its surface, IIFYM looks like probably the easiest diet a person could follow.  There are genuinely successful dieters and fitness athletes who swear by IIFYM.  Although, there’s definitely something to be said about getting your calories from fresh meats and vegetables versus pizza and donuts.  Ultimately, dieting is a personal decision.  If a particular avenue helps you reach your goals or makes discipline easier, that’s usually the best diet.  The worst you can do is pick a diet that’s unrealistic for you to follow.  Consistency and discipline is key. 

THE PRIMAL DIET

Top Diets for CrossFit Athletes - Primal

Stick with real, fresh foods

Believe in Paleo but miss cheese?  The Primal Diet is essentially a flexible Paleo Diet.  It was first labeled by in 2009 by Mark Sisson, an author and former distance runner.  The evolutionary science that created the Paleo Diet was brought a bit further up to modern day.  Instead of strictly sticking to the dietary habits of a caveman, the Primal Diet advocates quality and “real food”.  An easy benchmark is if it wasn’t available prior to the Industrial Revolution, don’t eat it. 

Primal Diet Staples:

  • High fat and protein, but low carbs
  • Quality Meats & Fish
  • Eggs
  • All Vegetables
  • All Fruits in moderation
  • Most Nuts & Seeds
  • Legumes
  • No Alcohol or Artificial Sugar (i.e. high fructose corn syrup)
  • Raw and Fermented Dairy Products
  • Natural Sweeteners

Mark Sisson breaks down the difference between Paleo and Primal; “Primal is fluid, not rigid ideology”.  If you have a pizza and a beer, just recognize you’ll probably feel sluggish in the morning.  Realize that nutrition, much like life, is a cycle and a process.  There will be ups and downs.  As long as you have a guiding set of good principles, you’re heading in the right direction. 

STEPS TO CREATE YOUR OWN FITNESS & DIET PLAN

You’re ready to start a new diet or fitness regimen but not quite sure where to begin. It’s a common predicament — with so many different fitness and diet plans available on the internet, the prospect of selecting the right one for you can be intimidating. Each program looks completely different, so how are you supposed to know which one will actually work? 

While many fitness and diet plans promise to deliver exceptional results for every participant, they often fail to live up to their lofty claims. In reality, no good one-size-fits-all approach to dieting exists. A plan that works wonders for one person could prove disastrous for the next. Hence, the need for a targeted system that takes your unique situation into account — a customized exercise and nutrition regimen built with your unique goals and fitness level in mind to deliver real results. 

While it’s easy to understand the need for a targeted approach, you may be overwhelmed by the sheer variety of options available. This information overload can make it difficult to get started. To that end, we’ve outlined some key steps you can take to craft a fitness and diet plan that works for you. 

THE KEY TO HEALTH AND FITNESS

CrossFit is a lifestyle characterized by safe, effective exercise and sound nutrition. CrossFit can be used to accomplish any goal, from improved health to weight loss to better performance. The program works for everyone — people who are just starting out and people who have trained for years.

A woman holds a heavy barbell overhead in a CrossFit gym while several other women behind her cheer for her accomplishment.

THE WORKOUTS

The magic is in the movement. CrossFit workouts are different every day and can be modified to help each athlete achieve their goals. The workouts may be adapted for people at any age and level of fitness.

Pan-Seared Salmon and Asparagus

THE LIFESTYLE

Off the carbs, off the couch. The CrossFit lifestyle — a combination of sound nutrition and exercise — is the key to fitness and long-term health.

A photo taken from below a circle of athletes who are all reaching their hands into the center as part of a cheer.

Foods To Add To Your Gym Diet Plan

There are mainly three macronutrients that play a crucial role in maintaining bodily functions and even promote changes in strength and composition – they are carbs, proteins, and fats and it is essential that we consume all three macros in ample quantities to optimize progress accordingly. Let’s see what are the vital nutrients you must include in your gym diet plan for muscle gain and weight loss.

Carbohydrates

carbohydrates

Firstly, carbohydrates are the primary source of energy for the body and therefore play the most substantial role in fueling exercise. There are two different types of carbohydrates i.e. complex and simple. The names give an indication of the time taken to digest complex carbs that take a longer time period to digest than simple carbs.

Furthermore, complex carbohydrates provide the body with prolonged slow-release of energy and have a great nutritional benefit. While simple carbohydrates provide the body with a short-term, fast releasing energy, they contain little nutritional value.

Therefore, you should consume complex carbohydrates for example whole-grains, beans, nuts, fruits, and vegetables for maintaining a proper gym diet plan.

Protein

Protein

Specifically, the majority of gym-goers will be well aware that consuming protein is important. Likewise, the reason why protein is so important is because it plays a key role in recovery and repair. A gym diet plan must include protein. During exercise, the body is exposed to strains and stresses. This cause damage to occur to the muscles at a microscopic level. So, in order to repair the damage, protein is needed. Without it, recovery periods will be extended and chronic fatigue may become a factor.

Protein is found most highly in animal produce such as lean meats, eggs & dairy. Similarly, it can also be found in smaller quantities in foods such as seeds, nuts, legumes, beans, and soy.

Fats

healthy fats

Fats are often incorrectly seen as the primary reason for fat gain. However, fats are not responsible for this and actually play a key role in the absorption and transport of nutrients. In addition, they can have a positive impact on heart health and hormone production.

While fats can have a positive impact on health, there are several types of fat – some of which are of greater benefit than others in gym diet plans. Recently studies have shown that saturated fats are not as harmful as once believed, you should mainly focus primarily on unsaturated fats. Examples of unsaturated fat foods include avocados, seeds, nuts, peanut butter, fish (salmon, tuna, mackerel), oils (olive, peanut), and soy products that you can include in your gym diet plan.

Gym Diet – Pre-Workout Foods

Focus on carbohydrates as all pre-workout meals or snacks to provide the body with energy to last the full session. So, if energy levels are sub-optimal, then performance will suffer and have a consequent impact on our rate of adaptation.

Thus, to prime the body for performance, consume complex carbohydrates, for example whole-grains, oats, beans, nuts, fruits, and vegetables. Also, be aware not to consume them just before the workout as they take time to digest. The recommendation is to consume complex carbs one to two hours prior to exercise to allow for full digestion.

Next, focus on simple carbohydrates in a gym diet plan as they take less time to digest and provide the body with energy. It may even be recommended to consume some simple carbs during a workout to maintain energy levels and performance.

For example, white bread, jam, granola, cereal, sports drinks, and fruit are all viable options for a pre-workout, energy-boosting snack.

While the focus should predominantly be on carbohydrates, nevertheless it is also important to consume some protein prior to stepping into the gym. So, to support muscle recovery and growth, protein levels should be maintained at a high level throughout each day.

Gym Diet – Post-Workout Foods

The purpose of post-workout nutrition is two-fold, firstly, to promote muscle recovery and secondly to replenish energy. Therefore, the focus should once again be on consuming good quality protein and carb foods.

As previously reflected on, the stress of training causes micro tears to occur to the muscles that must be repaired. So, consuming protein will cause a process known as muscle protein synthesis (MPS) to occur accordingly. It will also begin the repairing process and prevent muscle breakdown.

Furthermore, there is a widely held belief that protein timing is extremely important for maximizing growth. However, a number of recently based studies have indicated that total daily protein intake is of greater importance than the timing.

Therefore, High-protein foods such as lean beef, chicken, pork, turkey, eggs, dairy, seeds, quinoa, and nuts should be prioritized. Also, protein supplements, like protein shakes and bars, can serve as a convenient tool for effectively boosting protein intake.

Carbohydrates should also form part of post-workout nutrition as the energy that has been expended during exercise must be replaced. Your Gym Diet plan for muscle gain must include the necessary nutrients.

Also for a proper Gym diet plan, it is advised to consume protein and carbs together as this will have the most pronounced impact on recovery. Thus, this enhances protein and glycogen (energy) synthesis. Moreover, a ratio of 3:1 carb to protein is prescribed for optimizing recovery.

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