Bergeron’s podcast is always on my weekly To Do list. I really enjoy the variety of topics, his no bullshit approach to everything, and his knowledge of our sport and what athletes need to succeed. This episode was good for a basic kick in the pants about getting on nutrition….something that I have definitely let slide recently. It’s funny how life seems to go in waves of dedication. Well, my life at least. I’ll be on a super high of eating well, tracking macros, avoiding excess sugars and alcohol, and I watch with pride as my body leans out. Other times, my attention to macros seems to slide but I’m hitting it hard at the gym and seeing some strength gains. That’s when I look in the mirror and start nitpicking as the soft spots start coming back. It’s rare that those two happen at the same time which is baffling to me! Because I always feel and perform better as an athlete when my nutrition is on point (or at least getting close to on point) and my workouts are consistent and challenging. So why is it so hard to make those waves of dedication happen at the same time?
Pretty sure this could turn into a 10 page essay on mindset and the need for laser focus on a goal, but that’s a whole other blog post. Since both hubby and I are at a point where we need to reel in our nutrition, I’ll focus on that because today’s podcast was a great starting point for getting back to basics.
Highlights from “Fueling the CrossFit Athlete”
My thoughts are in ITALICS
The 3 basics of nutrition if you just walked off the street into the box:
- Eat real food
- Not too much (no snacking)
- Mostly plants (veggies at every meal)
I’m listening to this podcast while eating my 1/2 container of Noosa yogurt and store bought granola. Not real. No veggies. It’s a good serving size for my morning wake up snack, but it never keeps me full. It’s also convenient, which has become my downfall in several aspects of life.
Nutrition for Xfit athletes:
- Start with first three
- 33% carbs, 33% fat, 33% protein (general numbers)
How much does nutrition matter? Looking at our sport, which of these is the most important: strength, skills, or conditioning? Answer is conditioning (aka Metcons). Metcons stands for Metabolic Conditioning. Metabolic is your ability to use food as energy. That’s what our sport is. How good are you at taking the food you’ve eaten and turning it into movement.
I had never really thought about it that way. Go to the gym. Lift stuff. Jump on stuff. Get strong. Get better. Go back to the gym. Lift heavier stuff. Jump on stuff faster. Get stronger. Get more better. Repeat. I feel stupid typing this but even though I know nutrition is important and I know it’s fuel for everything I do in the gym, I never really connected it as one of the fundamental aspects of what I do every day.
Ideal body fat percentages for competitive athletes are around 11% male, 16% female. Our sport demands leanness. The goal is to cut body fat and you do that by cutting carbs. When you get down to or below the ideal level, then we tweak for performance. Get lean. Once you’re lean, you can focus on performance.
Bergeron did say that those were numbers he has seen consistently in practice, and they are definitely a plus or minus a few based on the athlete. He spoke of several ways to get your body fat checked, but he said kinda the easiest way is to look down….can you see your abs? If you can see your abs you are pretty lean. His point was that if you look at pretty much every athlete at the Games, we all marvel at their abs. They are all extremely lean. I tell everyone that I have a gorgeous six pack (I do, I can feel every single outline and ridge of all 6….they’re stunning!) I just keep them protected under a layer of fat. While slightly funny and super relatable by many, that’s dumb. I can’t sit here and complain about wanting to look lean and joke about living a lifestyle that doesn’t get me closer to my goals.
Add in good carbs: banana, rice, sweet potatoes, oatmeal (good sources at every meal to ensure athlete gets good energy at every meal)
1. Carb supp: Fast, clean energy before a workout. He mentioned CFNE sells the UCan carb supplement.
I know absolutely zero about carb supplementing so there is nothing I could say that would be remotely intelligent on this topic. I hear “carb supplement” and my brain automatically goes to “more sugar”. Definitely need to do more research on this. I did look up UCan on Amazon and it’s not crazy expensive. There are little individual drink packets that I might try and see how those effect me.
2. Creatine (5g a day, monohydrate) Don’t need to time it before or after a workout, don’t need to do a cycling on phase, don’t need to wean off. Everyone should be taking it just like protein.
I’ve heard lots and lots about creatine but again, something I know little about. Anyone recommend a good creatine supplement?
- Casein (slow release, more absorbed)
- Whey (really fast, but less absorbed) good for post workout, isolate or hydrosolate, don’t get a concentrate b/c it’s usually a cheaper/lower form with more lactose and ash instead of whey
This one seems like a no-brainer. I just need to get better at drinking my protein shake after a WOD. And focusing on whey protein instead of casein.
4. Caffeine: 120-220mg (essentially a cup of coffee). Positive effects: delays fatigue, lowers perceived exertion, increases focus. However, if you are a caffeine drinker throughout the day, taking some before a workout won’t do you any good. Go off caffeine completely to reset your baseline, then you can get started again for workout benefits. People do need to be aware of how much caffeine is in their cup of coffee however. Grande Starbucks Blonde Roast has over 400mg of caffeine which will give you the negative effects instead of the positive.
I was so excited to hear that coffee was a good source of pre-workout caffeine that I almost spilled the second cup of coffee I was drinking! Yeah, pretty sure I drink too much coffee during the day for this to work for me. Maybe a reset is needed? Let me ponder this over another cup of coffee….
5. There are others, but these 4 are the ones that really move the needle. Too many people just jump on taking the “it” supplement without even knowing if they need it. Example for a woman, “Oh you do Paleo? Well you need to be taking more calcium supplements.” How do you know? Only way to tell what your body is lacking is to have a blood test.
You should be taking Fish Oil. You definitely need a B Complex. Turmeric is something everything athlete should be taking. I’ll admit, I hear things like that and I load up my Amazon cart with the cleanest source of whatever “it” is and start taking it. I used to have a row of various vitamin supplements on my window ledge in my kitchen and it would take two handfulls of pills and a gigantic glass of water to get all the supplements down. I stopped taking pretty much all of them, not because I wised up and did something crazy like research for myself or ask my doctor. No, I stopped because I would forget. And it was getting expensive! I do feel better when I take fish oil so if I remember I take a few of those. But I suppose I really should break down and ask my doc for a blood test.
Do you need to work with a nutritionist? Mmmmm…maybe. There are lots of nutritionists who don’t really know what they’re doing. But if you can find one that is an expert and knows how to work with your body then it could be a huge benefit.
Bergeron said that Mat Frasier doesn’t work with a nutritionist but that his other Games athletes do. I know that I’m not in a position athletically (or financially) to need a nutritionist. Honestly, I’ve had the pleasure of working with some awesome trainers and nutritionists in the past and I know what I need to do. I know which macros have worked for me in the past. I know how to prepare a good, well-rounded, well-sourced meal. I just haven’t had the drive to get back to doing it every day. There’s always an excuse: kid activities, gym commitments, job demands, sleep is apparently important, I just don’t feel like it, etc. And at some point, my desire to change will become greater than my excuses. It’s coming, it’s going to have to because I’ve got goals I’ll never reach unless I change.
I’m going to pour another cup of coffee and ponder this.