Putting All the Pieces Together

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I haven’t seen any posts here lately, so I thought I’d throw in a little refresher, in case people are needing it…


How To Eat

Since you’re here reading this, we’re going to assume that
you’ve got one big piece of the fitness puzzle nailed and are CrossFitting

Now, if you want your performance, health, fitness, energy
levels, and body composition to reach—or even approach—their potential, the
other, even bigger, more foundational piece is diet. No surprise there.

crap, you mean I have to go on a diet?

Not exactly. “Diets,” in the
usual sense, tend not
to work
. What does work is keeping a close eye on overall consumption
(calories in) AND balancing your macronutrient (protein, carb, fat) intake

Most of you probably know what this means: yes, you have
to get your carb intake under control. (And, duh, you have to get overall intake
under control: Calories in/calories out. Basic laws of thermodynamics. You know
the drill. As someone in the gym said the other day, sometimes what you gotta do
is "Put down the fork, dammit.")

So is this a fad? Do I have to go
“low-carb”? Are you going to make me do that Atkins thing?

No, this
is not a fad; this is a rebalancing of intake to what the human body needs,
wants, and functions best on—and has for millennia, up until the advent of
large-scale farming and (over)processing of grain, supermarkets, and
(over)packaged, convenient, flavor-“enhanced” “food products.” And what that
looks like in this day and age is making sure you consume enough protein and
getting a grip on the carbs. You need them—especially if you’re CrossFitting
and/or doing other strenuous activity. In fact, you need roughly 40% of your
daily caloric intake in the form of carbohydrate. But if you’re not as lean as
you want to be, and you’re not just plain eating too darn much food), it’s
probably largely about unfavorable carbs. (I know: sigh.) They’re good
(addictive, even), they’re everywhere, and, in a lot of cases,
we’ve been told they’re healthy (because, hey, they’re low-fat!


Why the

The best nutrition plan is one that balances
macronutrients in a way that promotes all-around health, keeps hormones at
beneficial levels, fuels athletic performance, and supports appropriate bodyfat

The best guidelines we’ve found for balancing it all out are
those described in the Zone “diet.” Thinking of food in terms of macronutrient blocks
is an easy and convenient way to look at it.

A “block” is a unit of measure used to simplify the process
of making balanced meals.

7 grams of protein = 1 block of protein
9 grams of
carbohydrate = 1 block of carbohydrate
1.5 grams of fat = 1 block of
Each meal or snack should be composed of equal blocks of
protein, carbohydrate, and fat. (When this is the case, 40 percent of its
calories come from carbohydrate, 30 percent from protein, and 30 percent from
fat—this is the ratio we always want to keep.)

How many blocks you should
eat per day (and per meal) varies according to your build, sex, body fat, and
activity level. Most men will need from 15 to 20 blocks per day (of each
macronutrient) and most women from 10 to 14 blocks. There are complicated charts
and calculators for determining exactly what your personal block prescription
should be, but we can do a pretty good job of eyeballing it for you. As with
most things, you can try a certain set of inputs (block prescription), stick to
it for a while, and then adjust accordingly based on outputs (your body and


Oh, and
P.S., no one’s going to make you do anything, diet-wise. Mistress
, general smart cookie and one of our favorite online fitness colleagues,
says it well:

Welcome to your new mantra:
You have to do it
Nobody else will do it for you.
You make your own choices–every time you put something in
your mouth, every time you belly up to the bar, and every time you check your
fnish time at the end of a workout. No one else can do “Fran” for you (well, not
if you want to reap the benefits, anyway). And no one else can fix your
nutrition. All there is to do is take couple deep breaths and dive in. You
know how to do that.
-compliments, Carrie Klumpar, CrossFit East Side, writer and motivator extraordinaire

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