At CrossFit, we place a ton of emphasis on nutrition; and we should, because nutrition is the building block of any athletic development. As athletes wanting to optimize performance and to stay healthy, nutrition is the key to obtaining both performance and health. Here at Innervate CrossFit, we have
just embarked on the 30 day nutrition challenge (We’d like to think that this 30 days carries over into a habit forming lifestyle). We’re about halfway through the entire nutrition challenge and if some of you have fallen off the bandwagon, get back on! Regardless of how far you’ve hopped off (or stayed on – yay you!), there’s always room for improvement. Note that we haven’t used the word DIET, why? Because Proper nutrition is a lifestyle. Don’t try to fool yourself into thinking that you can get proper nutrition without altering your lifestyle. There is no shortcut: only education and daily consistent sound choices will sustain a lifestyle of proper nutrition. So if you’re thinking you’re going to find information on what you can or can’t eat in this blog post, you won’t, as you can find them readily available at the CrossFitHQ Website. This blog post isn’t going to be so much about WHAT to eat, WHEN to eat but rather HOW to eat clean.
So here are some tips on HOW to keep clean.
1) One Step At A Time
It is going to be a transitory phase (which I hope most of you have conquered!), and it is the transition to eating quality foods that our bodies are made to eat. This is the tough part for most people because grains, bread, and other processed carbohydrates are not in this group. Asians especially are extremely inclined to eating their favourite carbohydrate of choice, rice, because we see that as our staple. Not to mention Chicken Rice, Beef Noodles, Carrot Cake...
The trick is to take it one step at a time. Of course, the best case scenario would be an individual taking an entire 180 degree change and start eating perfectly clean the moment they set their mind to it. But that hardly happens. Even if it does, it is commonly unsustainable. Start by making small, frequent, and sustained changes, for those are the keys to sustainable success in nutrition. A lifestyle of clean eating, which is the end goal, is only attainable and sustainable when you develop a habit for it over time. (If you’ve got a sweet tooth, be sure to check up some healthy sweet paleo treats which are quite tasty!)
2) Get Someone To Be Accountable To
If you’ve got your workout buddy or best friend whom constantly pushes you along in your WODs, share your nutrition goals and habits that you want to form with them. It might seem like a very trivial issue but once that is shared, people will start to encourage (and understand) you a whole lot more.
If someone is doing this WITH you, which is much preferred, both of you can support one another by exchanging clean recipes and share eat-out options which are clean too. The biggest impact would come from knowing that you’re not alone in this journey; that you’re not the only one going through withdrawal symptoms every time you pull over at a petrol station and find a whole row kit kats staring at you by the counter. You can share such struggles with your accountability partner and that takes the whole load off your chest.
A member, shared with us how she saw a chocolate bar laying on the table one day, and she instantly texted Coach Moses to share her trial of tasty temptation. What happened thereafter? That chocolate bar stayed wherever it laid. Untouched.
Stuti 1 – Chocolate Bar 0.
People think that eating clean is a decision, and yes it is. But it is also a very active decision – it takes mental strength to decide to eat clean every day. As mentioned, while you can decide to eat clean one day, wake up every morning without struggle, be and stay on track to a great lifestyle, that seldom happens. Instead, it takes conscious and meticulous planning to transition the “Eat Clean” decision in your head to actually eating clean physically . As the saying goes, if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. What does planning entail? Well here are some scenarios.
“I can’t seem to be able to find any healthy options out there, they’re too expensive.”
Cool, then take matters into your own hands and don’t let circumstances decide things for you. Cook and pack your own meals if you know that wherever you’re going to be is going to either be expensive or have absolutely NO clean food options (Which is unlikely the case). If cooking is not an option (you have no kitchen), well PACK food from places which have affordable healthy options (Such as the market near your house which sells cheap fruits, veges and meat). No excuses there.
“Well easy for you to say, I have NO TIME to cook.”
Firstly, everyone has time, you just need to MAKE time. Secondly, it doesn’t take too much effort, really. Gather some friends (your accountability partner perhaps?), go on a grocery shopping trip on a weekend, and do a meal prep.The meal prep is to help facilitate the cooking of food such that it only takes 10 minutes on the day itself to cook.
That sounds pretty fun to me.
“Okay fine, but I like to eat out with my friends and we always eat at a pizza place and drink a few beers along the way”
So this is where planning comes into play again, you have to plan with your friends, choose a place where they offer BOTH pizza and a clean option too. The few beers? You can easily do without it.
“But I’m gonna get ridiculed by my friends….. Called a spoiled sport and all.”
That brings us to the next point.
4) Learn To Say NO
The magic word is NO. You have to learn how to say no to things which are going to jeopardise your health and nutrition. When people start asking you to eat junk food and keep pushing you to do so,
you must have the strength to say no to them. If they keep pushing you, then well, maybe you need to really think about their friendship. Harsh thing to say? Well, it’s akin to asking someone to take a smoke knowing full well the harmful effects of smoking but hey, it’ll make you feel good for just a bit. Similarly, it’s also like asking and pushing a vegetarian to eat meat, you wouldn’t do that would you? So why would they do the same to you? Your friends will eventually come to a point where they’ll think that you’re the special one with special nutritional needs. That means that they have you in mind when they pick the restaurant options.
Coach Lionel is one of such examples whereby he has his church gatherings and every time he has his small group meetings, there will ALWAYS be food ranging from the fried rice to bee hoon. Church friends always offer him food and Coach Lionel would decline. After 2-3 years, his friends have come to realize, no matter what they offer him, he’s going to say NO to that. So they’ve stopped offering him and instead asked him to prepare his food and pack it himself. This lifestyle is going to be apparent and people will notice it. You’re going to be the odd one out, yes. But, you’re also going to be the special one, a cut above the rest.
5) Have A Good Goal and Purpose In Mind
You need to have (a) clearly defined, written goal(s). You can’t be asked to do this nutritional challenge and expect it to be a smooth ride. For the first 2-3 weeks, it isn’t going to be easy but it is definitely achievable. So have goals in mind and work towards them, pair your nutritional goals with your workout goals and you’ll see results.
Most importantly, have a purpose for your goals and for doing this. It might be a superficial one or a really emotional one. Whatever you think drives you the most, keep that in mind every time you feel tempted to hop off the bandwagon. It takes determination to keep up with this and this is derived from that purpose. It could be how you want to reduce your fat percentage to inspire your son to do the same or to have some abs to let your fiance have an unforgettable wedding photoshoot experience at the beach.
Being forced simply doesn’t cut it. The coaches, your friends and family might push you but if you don’t have it between the ears and within your left chest, then it isn’t going to work long term.
6) Don’t Be Emotionally Attached to Food
I know, that wanton mee is your comfort food. You eat your tub ice cream when you’re sad or stressed and it really helps. We turn to food when we’re feeling down because we feel that food is going to fill that hole in our lives. Well, it’s time to break the emotional connection we have with food. Food is fuel. Just eat it and get on with life. Food is not a way to achieve sustainable and lasting happiness. Happiness is what happens in life when you’re not eating. If you get emotional fulfilment and gratification from food then that is evidence of a hole in your life that you’re trying to fill. Why not fill that hole with like-minded people in CrossFit, who want to grow and improve as much as you do, who are willing to challenge themselves everyday. But you have to start by realizing the situation and accepting that if you want to change then you’ve got to change. Your old dietary habits will just give you your old results.
With the above points, the entire team at Innervate CrossFit hopes that you’re able to stay on track this nutritional challenge and also to continue this lifestyle even after the challenge ends. Eat Clean, Train Dirty Team!