"Simply eat a full serving of meat protein, a serving of starches or fruit, and a good portion of vegetables. Eat this 3-4 times a day (3 for girls/4 for guys). Eat real food! No snacking in between meals. That's it. Yes, it's that simple. Do this and you will see results!"
This is for those of us who want to be able to see in our physical bodies, how hard we have been working in the gym. If you are trying to gain weight, this article is not about you. If you are successfully following the RP Strength Diet or something similar, and enjoy it, this article is not for you either. Keep that up!
Nutrition is a topic that seems to get overlooked far to often when it comes to exercise, in our case CrossFit. We think that if we just keep eating the way we always have and start this exercise program, we will lose weight, right? Thats possibly true, to an extent. But what happens when you stop losing weight or stop seeing changes to your body a few months into it? Many of us try to simply work harder and end up over training. I've said this before, but coming in 4-5 days a week and working out for an hour IS ENOUGH to get you looking the way you want to look IF you take your diet as seriously as you take your workouts. Working out without changing your diet to compliment it is like rowing a boat with only one paddle in the water. You just seem to go in circles. Think of the way you eat as a way to show off how hard you have been working; your diet is the way to reveal the hard work that you've been putting in at the gym.
The problem is that we don't want to change the way we eat. We like starches, and sugar, and fried foods, and we don't want anyone to tell us that we can't have it! And on top of that, it can get way too complicated trying to count calories and macros, and figure out what time of the day to eat, and whether fats or carbs are bad, and when is it okay to eat carbs, and can I eat before I go to bed? And then we mess up and decide its okay to fall off the deep end with our diet because we gave in to the one Cinnamon Roll so we might as well spend the whole week enjoying Ramen Noodles and Captain Crunch because that will somehow help us get motivated to do better next week. And 2 months down the road, we still haven't seen changes and get discouraged because we've "tried so hard." There has to be a simpler way, right?
The Simple Way
I'm a huge advocate of the RP Strength Diet. Many of our athletes have done it, including myself, and had some amazing results. It works, no doubt. And if you enjoy the process of the RP Diet, by all means keep doing it! But if you don't enjoy counting macros and meal prepping, it can get a little complicated. So let's simplify it. Let's simplify eating into something that can be done fairly easily without all the calorie counting, timing, and stress. Eating should be enjoyable, not stressful.
Simply eat a full serving of meat protein, a serving of starches or fruit, and a good portion of vegetables. Eat this 3-4 times a day (3 for girls/4 for guys). Eat real food! No snacking in between. That's it. Yes, it's that simple. Do this and you will see results!
Meats - Try to eat chicken, fish, turkey, eggs, or plant based protein. Eat 4oz for Women and 6oz for Men
Starches/Fruit - Each meal should have a serving of carbs. Good starches include rice (brown and white), potatoes (sweet and non), whole wheat bread or pasta, and any kind of fruit. Keep these serving portions to about the size of your fist
Vegetables - There are almost no limitations to the amount of vegetables that you consume. Eat them and eat a lot of them!
NO SNACKING! - This is where you get into trouble. This also throws your body's metabolism off. Eat your meals, avoid snacking in between.
This sounds too simple to work, I know. But it does. Just try it, and enjoy the process.
But what about...
What about my workout carbs? Don't I need carbs for energy?... Yes you do. But you don't need an excess amount of them if you are looking to burn body fat. Keep it simple. Eating like this will give your body enough to keep it from starving, but not too much to where you don't burn any fat.
What about protein? Is that enough for me?... Yes, it is enough protein. Is it enough to maximize athletic performance? No. But we aren't concerned with your athletic performance right now as much as we are your body composition. And in the long run, lowering body fat to improve body composition is going to improve your athletic performance more than making sure you get your protein goal each day.
What about my protein shakes?... Sure. A protein shake after your workouts is good! This is the only acceptable snack.
What about my strength? Won't I lose my strength?... No, if you lose 30lbs and are finally able to do a pull-up, I would consider that getting stronger. Even if you can't deadlift the same weight as before, the idea here is about being a well-rounded athlete.