Gather your food and HUNT down your workouts!
Gather your food and HUNT down your workouts!
Ladies and gentleman, boys and girls - we love your questions, and we get them all day long. "What do you eat, when do you eat, what amounts do you eat, what do you eat prior to training, during training, after training……". "What do you train on certain days, how do you do this, that, or the other, how do you build abs, how do you build legs, what about your butt, how do you get that…….."
You get the idea. Over time, we will be providing you with intelligent information to assist you with all of your questions. In this article, we offer very simple, highly effective starting points. Enjoy!
Hunt and Gather your Food. Sort-of.
Traditional Hunter-gatherer societies obtained most, or all food from wild plants and animals, collecting eggs, nuts, fruits, and seafood. Of course nowadays we cannot obtain exactly the same food our ancestors did (and, thankfully for most of us, we don't have to hunt it either). Yet, we can follow a few guidelines to get as close as possible:
1. If you eat a lot of processed food (crackers, gluten-free snacks and cookies, cereals, microwave dinners, pastries, muffins, chips, etc), stop. Your health, and waist-line won't improve until you eliminate these types of foods.
2. For your proteins, choose sources like eggs, fish, meats (grass-fed when possible), vegetable and whey based protein powders.
3. For your fats, stick to fish oil, olive oil, coconut oil, ghee, grass-fed butter, and occasionally, nuts and seeds. Include raw cheese, and fermented foods in your diet.
4. Vegetable and fruit carbohydrates are best. In the cross-fit world, the saying "lots of veggies, little fruit, minimal starch and no sugar' prevails. Stick to this.
Tinker with your "Intra-Workout" Nutrition.
By this, we mean "play around with what you eat/drink before, during, and after your workout, to suit your body and your goals". Of course you hear a ton of general statements, such as "Carb up before all workouts", or, "if you eat fat, you'll just get fat!" There are many ridiculous and oftentimes harmful statements out there, so here are some safe and effective guiding principles:
1. If you have a significant amount of fat to lose, your pre-training meal should be higher in protein and healthy fats, with veggies in the mix. If you are going to be working out really early in the morning, you may benefit from a fasted session. Just grab a cup of coffee and go. During the workout, sipping on an amino acid blend will be highly beneficial.
2. If you are fairly lean and muscular, you can 'afford' a higher carb intake in this meal. Think proteins, a bit of fat, and perhaps a sweet potato on the side. We like to keep the carbs gluten free.
Both camps (lean, muscular, and "with fat to lose") can benefit from supplement combinations including Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs), Creatine, and Glutamine. At the very least, a BCAA formulation should be used (we use Beverly International Glutamine Select as one). BCAAs are commonly used to improve exercise recovery, increase protein synthesis and muscle hypertrophy, and to increase energy levels. Creatine has been shown in numerous studies to increase exercise capacity and exercise performance. Interestingly, creatine may also also reduce the rate of muscle wasting from musculoskeletal injuries, while improving strength in patients with brain and/or spinal cord injuries.
1. For our "with fat to lose camp" - as soon as you put down your last weight, sip on a high quality protein shake, with a mix of either Greens Powder, or actual vegetables blended in. Believe it or not, a shake blended ahead of time with spinach and carrots in the mix isn't as vile as it sounds. The motto for this crowd is "include some protein in each meal, and make sure vegetables are your dominant carb source". This includes the post-workout shake.
2. For our lean mean machines - you can afford a higher hit of carbs AND protein as soon as your last set is complete. Consider a mix including protein powder, and a carbohydrate blend. A good resource to customize these specialty mixes is www.truenutrition.com. Research has consistently shown that a post-workout blend of carbs and protein limits post-exercise muscle damage, while promoting protein accretion (the growth of new proteins, which is very important for building lean muscle tissue).
HUNT your workouts. Choose your strength movements wisely, then train like you mean it, every time!
Most of you have probably heard that 'whole body weight training', i.e., movements such as the squat, lunge, press and pull, are highly beneficial for fat loss. This is correct. You will get much more 'bang for your buck' metabolically when you perform workouts dominated by these movements. Additionally, these lifts are very useful for building strong bones - critical to all stages of life. Many people worry that the squat is 'bad for the lower back' - well, performed poorly, most lifts are bad for the lower back! Sitting all day is bad for the back!
Squatting is necessary for life. Next time someone tells you to avoid the squat, ask them how they plan on getting on and off the toilet without the ability to squat. Bottom line - learn to squat correctly, and train it consistently.
You can structure your workouts around these lifts, then, towards the end, incorporate some of your favorite moves (bicep curls, abdominal training, etc).
We've included pictures of the dumbbell front squat, single arm dumbbell shoulder press, and band pull up. Now, you can begin incorporating them into your weight routine. Please work with a certified strength and conditioning coach (CSCS), a personal trainer, and/or a cross fit level one coach to learn these lifts. They are very safe, but it's always nice to have formal instruction.
Lift One: Dumbbell Front Squat.
Lift Two: Single Arm Dumbbell Shoulder Press
Lift Three: Band Pull Up. Using a band makes the pull up doable for any beginner!
Once inside your gym, warm-up appropriately both physically and mentally. You are there to train, and accomplish your goals. Focus! As Anthony Robbins says, “The path to success is to take massive, determined action.” Turn this mindset on at the beginning of each and every workout.
1. Starting Strength: Basic Barbell Training. Mark Rippetoe and Lon Kilgore.
2. The Essentials of Sport and Exercise Nutrition. John Berardi and Ryan Andrews.
3. Essentials of Sports Nutrition and Supplements. Jose Antonio et.al.
Ashleigh Gass, and Mason Kernan
MS, CSCS, CISSN, *CCN
Cross Fit Level One Certified Coach