The Pyramid

Coach Sam here (it’s about food – of course, it’s me!)

That’s the “CrossFit Pyramid” above, or more specifically, the hierarchy for the development of an athlete – the recipe for success. Here at the box, you do all of the stuff listed on that pyramid EXCEPT nutrition. “EXCEPT THE NUTRITION”. And regardless of how we attack it, it’s always the hardest. At the box, you don’t have any marketing of bad exercise habits, poorly designed movements, or bright colors telling you to sit and rest. I’m trying to liken food marketing to your exercise program and doing a poor job at it! LOL.  When you’re at the grocery or market – I feel like there are bright lights above packages saying “Buy me! I’m healthy”.  End caps full of the deal of the week that happens to be something that’s highly palatable, highly processed, and guess what, ON SALE.  You don’t have any of that at the box – exercise is easy. But looking at that image above, it’s not the most important in your health or your fitness: your diet is.

If you want to lose weight; if you want to do better in your workouts and desire to get stronger; if you are feeling lethargic or tired all the time; if your joints are achy and your body doesn’t feel good…I firmly believe you should look at your lifestyle first. Improve what you have control over before you start shelling out money and time for someone else to fix it.

I sent out a Diet Basics email last week. I believe understanding WHAT you eat is important – and what it’s doing FOR you. Food is medicine. Food is fuel. Food should be pleasurable. It shouldn’t cause disease, weight gain, or addiction. And guess what – it can do all of those things. It’s a very powerful tool. I recently read this: Sugar causes more deaths than heroin. Believe that? And technically death rates from diabetes is greater than death rates from heroin addiction. Yikes!

As I ramble I guess I should give you one piece of information you can chew on and maybe use…and I have no way to just pick one so I asked Ed to give me his two cents.  Here’s what he said:  “Eat more protein and eat fewer carbs”.  Eek! He said it, not me!  But from what we “guess” about you guys, it’s probably spot on.

As I mentioned in the last nutrition “briefing”, protein is of primal importance. For a woman – about 4-6 ounces per meal is a solid quantity – 3 times a day plus. For a man, 6-8 ounces.  Seem like a lot? If you train with us, if you’re over 50 and don’t have end-stage renal disease or a medical reason not to consume ample amounts of protein – it’s not. Our rule of thumb for getting stronger and even losing weight is to consume 1 gram of protein per pound of ideal body weight. The low end: 0.75 grams of protein per pound of body weight. Get your calculators out (or log into MyFitnessPal) and start calculating up what you’re doing!

By eat fewer carbs, we’re talking about less starchy junk/processed crap, not just straight sugar. All carbohydrates are broken down into sugars. All starches contain more carbohydrate than non-starchy vegetables. And we’re really not talking about non-starchy vegetables and fruit. We’re talking about bread, rice, pasta, muffins, dessert, ice cream. You may say: then what will I eat? If these foods have become staples in your diet, daily, then it’s time to restructure your thought process on WHAT is actually a healthy diet.


The best books for understanding the original human diet, in my opinion, are Robb Wolf’s first book The Paleo Solution, and/or Loren Cordain’s The Paleo Diet. And before you get yourself all up in a tizzy, NO, I’m not saying eat a strict Paleo diet (or maybe I am :)…but for most of you you can’t – it’s too restrictive, you like your bread, alcohol, oatmeal, etc.  I get it. Me too (us too, including Ed).  BUT, if you know the why’s, it makes making good food choices easier. These are good books on why. Ed and I eat bread occasionally, oatmeal, and rice and potatoes every day. We’re not strict Paleo. BUT, having been that way for years, we do know the feeling of low inflammation and high energy…if you’ve never done it you should. It’s liberating for your health. But for now, get educated.