When I first started noticing the CrossFit craze about 4-5 years ago, it seemed like everyone in the community was eating “Paleo.” Time went on, and it seemed that more and more athletes were switching from Paleo to Zone, or even better – they were “zoning paleo.”
Today, a few years later – it seems like I rarely hear of or see pictures of meats and nuts, seeds, fruits or vegetables. Instead, I can’t help but notice that common nutritional practices have taken a sharp turn, so far that doughnuts are now recommended as “proper fuel.”
Wow – from paleo to doughnuts – talk about confusing! This begs the question, how should YOU be eating?
While I can’t necessarily provide all the answers in this short blog, I do want to take some time and explain the current dietary craze, and help you determine whether its right for you.
The term for latest dietary trend is “flexible dieting” or sometimes you will hear “IIFYM – If It Fits Your Macros.” To be perfectly honest, I don’t even consider this a type of diet as much as I consider it a nutritional concept.
While flexible dieting is new to the CrossFit culture, it is not at all a new concept.
In large part it can be explained as follows: “eat whatever foods you want, as long as you hit your prescribed number of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats for the day.”
And no, they do not exclude any foods – doughnuts, ice cream, and pizza are all acceptable.
Sounds fun, right?
Maybe Rich Froning has been tracking all of that peanut butter and jelly over the years, and has secretly been fooling us?!?!
All kidding aside, let’s dig a little deeper and see if this is the right protocol for you.
First and foremost, if you are even considering flexible dieting, you must be prepared to track your macros. This means spending a few minutes daily inputting your foods into an app like MyFitnessPal to ensure accuracy in hitting your macros. Please note, I do not say that to make tracking your foods seem tedious or laborious, I simply want to ensure that you realize it is truly step 1.
I will argue that whether you want to try flexible dieting or not, EVERYONE should try tracking their food intake for 2-3 days, just to see where they truly sit. Do you know how many calories you eat? Do you care? If you are concerned about improving your aesthetics or performance, you better know and you better care!
Second, understand that not all of your calories will be coming from the “fun” foods like pizza and doughnuts. This happens for two reasons:
1 – The one number that is rarely spoken about is fiber. In a proper flexible dieting set up, fiber intake will also be tracked to ensure adequate intake. This eliminates the idea that your carbs can come strictly from pop tarts or doughnuts.
2 – Macros are like a bank account. If your bank account is large, you can spend lavishly – right? Correct! Well if your macro numbers are high, you can probably get away with fitting more “fun foods” into your day. However, just like not everyone is rich, not everyone has a high count for their macros. No this doesn’t exclude ice cream from your diet – but it does mean you can probably only enjoy a spoonful – which honestly seems worse than none at all
So assuming that you are willing to track your food everyday and you can adhere to the numbers, you can flexible diet. Flexible dieting WILL work for you, and if structured properly will give you the physique you are chasing.
But will that physique produce a sub 2:00 Fran? WIll it help you PR Helen?
Ah – now we are asking the real questions!!
If you ever been to a Dynamic Nutrition seminar, or seen us speak publicly, you will know that we emphasize food quality in reference to performance enhancement. While we are in the process of performing actual studies using blood testing to prove this, we certainly are of the opinion that a high quality, nutrient dense meal pre workout will lead to better results than a sugary, dense “meal” like a doughnut (given this time is not isolated relative to the previous 24-48 hours being crappy.)
However, while our emphasis has always been, and will continue to be, on food quality – we do recognize the need for balance, and this is where I feel there is a Flexible Dieting has an application to you – the CrossFitter.
As stated above, I firmly believe everyone should know where they sit calorically (and subsequently, with their macros). This will help you accurately track progress (or lack thereof), and help you make an assessment as to what needs to be done moving forward to continue making progress.
If you know your macros, and eat with an emphasis on quality during the critical times (pre workout, post workout, etc..), you should have some wiggle room for a treat or two here or there. Maybe its at night, or maybe its on an off day, or maybe you have to wait until your refeed day – this will vary from individual from individual.
What I do NOT recommend is using 60 of your 100 grams of carbs on a doughnut preworkout, then using your other 40 on ice cream post workout. Not only will you not hit your fiber number, but you will also be left hating life the rest of the day, and most likely with some intense carbohydrate cravings due to your blood sugar being completely wrecked from the two major insulin spikes around training, and nothing else the rest of the day.
The reality is I could go on for days about the application of Flexible Dieting in CrossFit, but you probably don’t want to read much more.
I. Dynamic and Mobility Prep Warm-Up: Lifestyle + Fitness Phase Prep
3 Minutes of the Zone 1 Work
3-5 Minutes of the following:
3 Sets of the following Run By Coach Warm-Up:
20 Second Row
Rest 10 Seconds
20 Second Front Lean Rest
Rest 10 Seconds
20 Second Airdyne
Rest 10 Seconds II. Phases Strength and Conditioning: A. Lifestyle Phase Bend Intense + Upper Body Pull/Upper Body Pull Assistance + DB Bench Press Intense + Single Leg/Core
A. Deadlift, 5 sets of 3 reps @ 60% of your max, rest 45 seconds between sets.
Look at 1 Rep Max Score from January 7th
B1. Ring Rows Elevated Cluster, 4.4.4 reps x 3 sets, rest 1 minute between sets.
You perform 4 reps, then rest 15 seconds, 4 reps, rest, continued.
B2. DB External Rotations @ 30×1, 8/each arm x 3 sets, rest 1 minute between sets.
C1. DB Bench Press, 10-12 reps x 3 sets, rest 1:30 between sets.
Go up in weight from last week
C2. DB Walking Lunges @ 11×1, 8/each side x 3 sets, rest 1 minute between sets. B. Fitness Phase Upper Body Press Vertical + Single Leg/Upper Body Row + Aerobic High %
A. Strict Press, 5-6 reps x 3 sets, rest 1:30 between sets.
No Legs with this movement
B1. Barbell Box Step Ups @ 20×1, 8/each leg x 3 sets, rest 1 minute between sets.
Moderate Weight, you may go up in weight
Men Use red box, and women 12 inch box
B2. DB Powell Raises @ 30×1, 8/each arm x 3 sets, rest 1 minute between sets.
C. 8 Sets of the following @ 90% effort:
Row 200 Meters, rest 60 seconds between sets, keep track of times and write down.
Every other week same row sets or increase row sets or increase row distance C. Competition Phase Overhead Squat + Muscle Snatch + Clean Deadlift + High Skill Gymnastics Duration
A. Overhead Squat, work to heavy set of 10, 15 minute time limit.
B. 3 Position Clean(High Hang-Mid-Thigh-Below Knee), 65%-70% x 4 sets, rest as needed between sets.
C. Clean Deadlift Cluster, 115%, 1.1.1 x 3 sets, rest as needed between sets.
12 Minute AMRAP of the following:
15 Chest to Bar Pull-Ups
5 Thrusters @ 165 lbs/115 lbs
20 Cal Row Post Comments to Group Page.