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CrossFit Nutrition: Fundamental Rules To Follow

Crossfit is one of the greatest fitness movements of the last decades and attracts new sports enthusiasts year after year.

But those who do Crossfit not only go to their physical limits but should also aim for a diet that is in harmony with the sport. In this article, you will find out what the optimal Crossfit diet looks like and what you should pay attention to.

*Disclaimer - Please note ICON Nutrition is in not affiliated to or endorsed by CrossFit Inc. Views of this blog are of our own opinion and love of the sport of CrossFit*

What role does diet play in Crossfit?

Crossfit combines different disciplines and sports. Important requirements for a CrossFitter are among others:

  • Speed
  • Agility
  • Maximum strength
  • Strength endurance

With the Crossfit exercises, you reach your physical performance limit, because your muscles have to do unusual work - this requires an adequate diet.

But the optimal diet in Crossfit, for example, is different from that in bodybuilding. While the bodybuilder wants to achieve a massive body and as much muscle mass as possible, a cross-fitter needs flexibility and speed, which is why the diet has to be differentiated.

In short, the crossfitter should have the following nutritional requirements:

  • It should give him strength and energy for upcoming workouts
  • It should be suitable for building muscle
  • It should be suitable for high training intensities and support the regeneration phases

What crossfitters should pay attention to in their diet

Over the years, many forms of nutrition have temporarily established themselves in Crossfit. While the Paleo Diet was initially very popular, the Zone Diet later proved to be the optimal diet for many cross-fitters.

However, a diet that has to be followed exactly is not absolutely necessary in order to be successful in Crossfit.

We show you which aspects are important in nutrition and which points should not be neglected under any circumstances:

  1.  Calories: Energy in the form of calories is one of the most important aspects of the optimal Crossfit diet. The perfect calorie intake depends on the training goal (losing weight, gaining weight, or maintaining body weight). Those who want to gain weight and increase their strength should aim for a slight excess of calories, while a calorie deficit is necessary for fat loss. 

  2. Distribution of macronutrients: Carbohydrates, proteins, and fats are the so-called macronutrients, which should be consumed in the correct proportions. Proteins are the most important building blocks for every crossfitter, as they are necessary for building and maintaining muscle. Furthermore, we do not recommend a low-carb diet for crossfitters - instead, you should rely on complex carbohydrates in order to have enough fuel for intensive workouts. The supply of healthy fats is also essential in order to maintain an efficient and healthy organism.

  3. Timing and frequency of meals: Opinions differ here - it used to be assumed that 6-7 small meals spread over the day are optimal. Today we know that a few large meals bring the same success. A constant protein intake distributed throughout the day is less important than many claims, as the body can continue to feed on its ingested macronutrients many hours after the last meal.

  4. Supplements: Another controversial point is supplements such as creatine, protein powder, or amino acids. While one crossfitter relies on as many supplements as possible, the next one completely dispenses with additional products. The fact is: with a balanced and protein-rich diet, no additional supplements are required.

Incidentally, the Crossfit diet applies to both men and women - there is no differentiation in the principles of nutrition.

Example of a nutrition plan

There are numerous ways in which you can shape your diet in Crossfit. Concrete nutrition plans are rarely found in Crossfit (unlike in bodybuilding).

Instead, certain principles of nutrition are observed, which concern the distribution of macronutrients as well as permitted and prohibited foods.

An example of a diet from the Zone Diet, which many crossfitters practice:

  • Macronutrients: 40% carbohydrates, 30% proteins, 30% fats
  • Prohibited foods: All foods with a high glycemic index are prohibited (foods listed according to GI)
  • Preferred foods: All foods high in protein, unsaturated fatty acids, high in fiber
  • Meal frequency: 3 main meals and 2 snacks
  • Calories: slight calorie deficit (can be varied depending on the training goal)

Using these rules, you can now put together your own Crossfit nutrition plan, in which you have plenty of scope for your own ideas, possible recipes, and food choices.

Tip: Crossfit means a lot of protein - but the Crossfit diet also works vegetarian or vegan! With legumes, you can easily meet your protein requirements without fish and meat, for example.

Final Words

If you are serious about Crossfit and want to achieve regular success, you cannot avoid a well-thought-out and planned diet. Crossfitters have to find a balance between high-energy and light food in order to both master the intensive workouts and to maintain their own speed and flexibility.

Finally, we would like to give you three tips for the optimal Crossfit diet:

  1. Under no circumstances combine your Crossfit workouts with a so-called crash diet, which is based on the intake of extremely few calories. Radical weight loss and intense workouts do not go together!
  2. When it comes to carbohydrates, rely more on whole grain products - these contain complex carbohydrates that can be optimally used by the body.
  3. Make sure you get enough protein! We recommend an intake of 1.5 g protein per kilogram of body weight. If you can't do this with a conventional diet, a protein powder can help you.

Further Reading -  Best Supplements For CrossFit