Rather than weigh in on a specific nutrition plan, I believe that athletes and everyday Crossfitters will find their best personal solution with the right mindset about nutrition.
The truth is that people out there are getting great results from Paleo, the Zone or some other form of clean eating. There are those who get great results from measuring their macronutrient intake and those who get results from not measuring at all. So considering the expansive variety of successful nutrition approaches, what separates those that work from those that crash and burn? When choosing between various healthy eating plans or performance-driven nutrition programs, your success might be determined more by your overall approach to the role of food in achieving your goals. That is not say that what you eat is not important, but that the plan you choose and how you implement it will be primed for success with the right mindset about nutrition. The wrong mindsets will lead to failure, regardless of how great a plan you have.
I think it becomes clearer if we draw comparisons between a nutrition plan and a training plan. There are things we would never do within a training plan and expect results. In many ways, nutrition and the results we can achieve with it follow similar principles.
Here are my top 5 nutrition mistakes that Crossfit athletes make:
1. Unclear priorities
If I want to improve my snatch, there are certain steps I’d have to take in my training plan to make that happen. My program would be markedly different from one designed to improve my bench press. Likewise, if my goal was to get fit, lose weight or be an active role model to my child, the program would be different. The first of these nutrition mistakes is not programming your nutrition as you would any other fitness goal. Without clear priorities, and linking your plan to your these priorities, you will be less likely to stick to it and worse yet, it is less likely to help you in your goals. Your nutrition is probably something that will evolve alongside your priorities.
When people are new to Crossfit, it is enough to aim for a shift away from standard, mainstream diet habits – cut the sugar, get used to meals without grains and begin to see refined, processed foods as the devil incarnate.
That change alone will, for the vast majority of average newbies, achieve a great deal of results in terms of body fat, muscle mass, better health and increased levels of fitness. If you are shifting towards higher fitness goals – a competitive, athletic aspirations or better body fat/lean tissue composition – your nutrition will need to be tailored to get you there. Proportions of macronutrients (protein, carbohydrate and fat), the timings of meals and variations in these throughout your program as you approach your competition will be different if you are aiming for triathlon, a strongman event or just a hot six pack. Decide on your priorities and make sure your nutrition is a cog in the wheel driving you there, not an obstacle in your path.