HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY! We have some of the best moms around at The Point. Thank you for not only being great examples to your children but also to Emily and myself. You are inspiring and make us want to be better parents.
This past 5 months have been very eye opening for me. It all started in January when Emily had bought a macro coaching session with Macroslab and decided she couldn’t do it and handed it off to me. I am not great at asking for help but I jumped in with two feet on this one and I learned so much.
I have been doing CrossFit for almost 8 years and have improved in one way or another throughout my CrossFit journey but there is one thing I never committed to and that is what I ate. My diet usually went from great one day to terrible the next and I figured as long as I work hard enough in the gym, I could avoid being too strict in the kitchen. When I started this macros program I learned how much better I felt in the gym when I was consistently eating what my body needed. CONSISTENTLY! This is the key. I started recording everything I ate and with the help of my coach we worked on hitting the percentages we established. On top of hitting the goal percentages, we also worked to make the foods I ate higher quality.
The program I purchased was four weeks long and I was super strict and I felt huge differences in my performance and I also dropped fat and gained muscle, while maintaining my weight. After the 4 weeks I did pretty good to continue but did miss the accountability that I was getting from having a coach to report to everyday. This is the subject I would like to talk about today and I have asked a couple of people to help me.
Coach JoAnn McArthur
Dan asked me if I’d write up something on nutrition and how eating more, not less, has helped me recently as I’ve focused on this part of my life again. There is so much to say, but ultimately I think the best analogy is that our bodies are machines. Amazing, smart, strong machines that need fuel, and our fuel is food. You would never expect a car to run on water, or an empty tank, and you cannot expect your body to perform on food with no nutritional value, or even the more common mistake I think, to perform by limiting how much you are eating. My most recent nutritionist told me after 2 weeks of great results (eating more than I had daily in probably over a year) “Wow. You must have been starving!” Yes, I had changed what I was eating, but mostly I changed up how much I was eating and how often. My results have been great! I have physically changed in 4 weeks, but I’d say the bigger win is that I’ve mentally changed. I am able to push harder in workouts, and feel more in control of my life. All while eating more of the right things, not less. I’m excited to keep up in this plan and see just how much better I feel by the end of it. Lol, and abs are just a bonus.
One more thing I’d like to add is that I asked for help from someone who knows this stuff. We all know sugar and fast food are junk, but beyond that for most of us our knowledge is limited. Ask people who know. If you are serious find someone to help you and help you stay on track. You still get coached in WODs every single day. We remind you of the basics, and then even as you are working out we remind you again or give you tips to perform better. Ask for help in your nutrition and you will find it’s still challenging, but less frustrating! And I know all of you are up for a challenge!
I also asked Clint Perry about his experience in changing up his diet:
As you know, 2017 was not a great “fitness” year for me. I had turned 40 and was starting to feel my age, but I felt like I was still in relatively good shape. I was doing CF in the morning and jogging at lunch and felt like those things should give me an increase in strength and fitness but I noticed that they seemed to be having the opposite effect. My energy level, fitness level, and strength seemed to be going down by the day and on top of that, it was taking me significantly longer to recover, I was almost always exhausted, I could fall asleep in about 10 seconds (anywhere at any time) and I felt like I was always on the verge of a major injury.
I would wake up in the morning feeling every one of my last four workouts. I kept telling myself “get up, go to the gym, you’ll feel better” but I never did. I would slog through the workout trying my hardest but would always fall short of what I felt I was capable of. In addition, it wasn’t just my metcon/wod performance that was suffering, my PR’s in ALL of the major lifts were retreating at an alarming pace. Back squat…down 70 pounds, deadlift…down 85 pounds, clean…down 40 pounds. It felt terrible, I was lifting heavy three or four times a week but no matter what I tried, the numbers just kept going down.
Finally, I thought, maybe my testosterone was low so I scheduled an appointment with my doc and had some blood work done. The results came back and my testosterone was still really high, he said that low testosterone wasn’t the problem. He asked some questions about sleep, multi-vitamins, activity levels, and all of those were normal. He finally said what I had been dreading “Well, you’re older than you used to be and our bodies naturally start to slow down…” Ugh, it was like a dagger to my heart. As much as I hated to admit it, I figured maybe he was right and this was just a result of my age and had kinda resigned myself to the fact that “this is my life now”.
A couple of weeks later my wife asked me “Are you eating enough?” I told her that “yeah, I think I am” and she said that I should track my eating for a week just to be sure. At that time I wasn’t trying to restrict my calories and I wasn’t on a diet, I ate when I got hungry and stopped when I felt full. However, once I started recording what I was eating I discovered that most days I was eating 1,500 calories and some days I was barely eating 1,300. Someone my size with that level of activity should be eating a minimum of 2,200 calories per day just to stay alive and to repair the damage those workouts were doing to my body. Seeing those numbers brought a lot of things into focus. It explained why I was so tired all of the time, why I couldn’t ever put on weight or get stronger, and why I couldn’t recover.
I quickly started on a diet that would put me in the 2,500-3,000 calorie per day range and I started tracking my progress. Within the first week I noticed pretty dramatic improvements in my ability to recover and my general fitness levels. No longer did I feel exhausted for the entire day and I wasn’t crashing as soon as I got home. By the third week I started to feel really good, I had put on a few pounds and had noticed that I was doing much better in the daily WODs. I had also felt like some of my missing strength was returning.
Now, after a couple of months I have set new, or matched PR’s on my back squat, deadlift, clean, hang clean, jerk, strict press, and bench press. I have gained about 12-15 pounds and I haven’t felt this good for years.
Under the right conditions, the attitude of “get up, go to the gym, you’ll feel better” will help us achieve our fitness goals, but if the conditions are not right, that same attitude can lead to decreased fitness, decreased strength, and an increased risk of injury. Learn from my lousy year and take a look at what you’re eating and how much you’re resting and if they’re not dialed in, establish a plan to get them dialed in so that all of that time you spend in the gym will pay off.
I am so grateful for JoAnn and Clint sharing their experiences. I have been fighting against the whole “diet is 90%…” methodology for too long and am ready to change. Are you? I want everyone to take an honest look at what you are eating and ask yourself, “Is this fueling my machine? Am I putting water in my car or high performance gasoline?” If you are ready to make a change but aren’t sure where to start, ask me or find someone who can put you on a plan that will give you a jump start on healthy decisions.
I have done lots of research and have worked on my own diet and I am ready to help those who would like the guidance. If you are interested then email or message me. I have lots of knowledge on the subject but I am ready to try and put this knowledge into action.
You all work hard in the gym. I see you everyday come in and push your limits. It’s time for you to do your bodies a favor and work hard on the fuel you are giving it.