There’s always a new expert in the field of nutrition, new books, new approaches, and lots of new information. If you are someone who’s looking to optimise health and fitness, nutrition is the foundation of your efforts, but how do you decipher all of that information?
The reality is that there’s nothing new to all the (good) nutrition information. We’ve known most of it for decades. And when you dig in to all the information out there you’ll see that almost everyone who knows a bit about the topic agrees on the most important facts. Your nutrition is almost sorted when you have these factors down.
- Eat well raised sources of animal protein. Even if you are training intensely on most days of the week, you don’t need to consume massive quantities to get your daily protein needs in.
- Eat vegetables everyday.
- Get your fats from animal sources, olives, nuts and their oils, egg yolks (why would you waste the best tasting part of the egg?), and avocado.
- Avoid refined and processed carbohydrates (and other man made products).
- Having a knowledgeable coach is a well placed investment
Keep it simple by getting your ABCs locked down and don’t focus on anything else until you do.
Health and fitness requires a lot of hard work and sacrifice. For those committed to improving themselves daily – like the people we see in our gyms – there’s some risk involved too. You could cut your shin on a box jump, twist your ankle while running, or sprain a shoulder muscle while practising some gymnastics.
You could also get hit by a bus while crossing the road, or by a buck while cycling through the bush. Those are all educated risks.
You can either sit back to become overweight and unhealthy to avoid the short-term risk of a niggle from training, or you can overlook that small short-term risk for massive long-term benefits. Just as you can stay indoors to avoid the world, or you can go on with living your life.
There are some educated risks to leading an active and healthy lifestyle. Every now and then you’re going to pick up a niggle or an injury. So how should you approach training while you are nursing an injury? I see two approaches: the pigheaded approach and the smart approach. Let’s talk about the smart approach because that pigheadedness (that is a word) is what gets you injured.
Tip #1: Pain Free RoM
The most common symptom of an injury is pain. While there are varying pain sensations, pain is inevitable and is a sign of damage. You should never move through pain. This might mean reducing the range of motion (RoM) about a joint for particular movements and in more severe cases it means not moving that joint at all.
At the end stage of the recovery and rehab process you typically have no pain through the full RoM, but as soon as you add load there is pain. RoM is significantly more important than load. Therefore, reduce or remove load to ensure full RoM with no pain.
Tip #2: Seek Treatment & Guidance
If you have picked up a musculoskeletal injury then you really should have already seen a physiotherapist for diagnosis and treatment. If you haven’t then you’re veering towards the pigheaded route. A physio can determine which structure is injured and treat it accordingly. This manual therapy aids the recovery process.
The physio and your coaches will then be able to guide you on what to do in training to ensure that you continue improving fitness while the injured area recovers (as long as you listen). You can’t do this alone or with Dr. Google, neither of you have the relevant skills, education or mindset. Even physios need physios.
Tip #3: Make Strict Bodyweight Movements a Priority
Injuries generally prevent you from moving external loads. Fitness isn’t just defined by how much load you can move, and gymnastics comes before weightlifting in your development as an athlete. So RE-focus your time and efforts on strict bodyweight movements. That means no kipping.
This has the huge benefit of better strength with no downsides. And even though you aren’t doing them, when you do get back to more dynamic movements you’ll be MORE proficient at them thanks to your bigger base level of strength. Yeah, you should be doing that from the very beginning, but one can only lead the horse to the water, yeah?
Tip #4: Prioritise Your Nutrition
Nutrition is the most important aspect of your health and fitness. You need to eat enough to support your activity levels but not body fat. When you’re nursing and injury your activity levels generally drop. If they do drop, you should be eating less. “My nutrition is better when I’m training properly” is just an excuse to stuff your face because you’re feeling sorry for yourself.
Less exercise = less need for calories. More importantly, what you eat directly influences your body’s ability to recover from any form of trauma.
Tip #5: Have a Game Plan
You’ll need to follow Tip #2 in order to have an effective and realistic game plan in place. That’s because the most common behaviour with athletes and injury is returning to their pre-injury levels of intensity as soon as they’re feeling “good.”
You might be completely pain free, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that the injured structures are fully recovered. Soft tissue takes a long time to recover, and you also need to recognise that you aren’t just recovering from the injury itself – you need to recover from the inactivity too 😉
Part of the game plan is continuing to train. One of the most important aspects of rehabilitation is ensuring that other parts of the body and other areas of fitness continue to improve while the injured area recovers. And that is totally doable. Take a look at the Instagram video below of Kevin Ogar. Kevin was a Regional level CrossFit athlete who was injured in a freak accident. He is now bound to a wheelchair, but his fitness has continued to improve – so much so that he is now able to sit in a squat!
Working that #ParaSquat @stouty08 put out last week! Got up to a full 90secs freestanding then started to play around with moving my arms around. Sotz Press, I'm coming for ya. This is some good mobility work for my ankles and hips. My backs been feeling way better since I started playing around with this. @wheelwod @adaptivecrossfit @crossfit @crossfittraining @crossfitwatchtower @progenex @barbellsforboobs @stephthehammer @angel_cfredefined #stillgotaprettygoodlookingsquat #bootygainz? #FullROM #hadtovideotomakesureofdepth #notgoodatfeelingwhenImlowenough #harambereincarnated #shutupmeag
Tip #6: Be Smart, Not Pigheaded
I’ll get going on Monday.
I’ll start when winter is over.
I’m waiting for my friend to start with me.
I need to start that new job first.
Okay, I’ll start tomorrow.
No, you’re just full of excuses and bullsh*t.
Those are just a few of the familiar phrases people say when it comes to making changes that are needed to improve their health and fitness. Not the last phrase, though. That’s me calling them out 😉
Are you one of those people waiting for that perfect time, when all the conditions are just right, to make changes to your nutrition for the better of your health and fitness? Well, that time is either now or never. That sort of all-or-nothing approach (to anything) typically gets us nothing. If you want to make a difference to your health and fitness, truly want to, then the only time to start is now. Here are a few tips to get you out of that stuck feeling.
Change Your Mindset
That’s the first step. There will never be the perfect time to start. I’m not trying to be morbid, but you could be dead before that time comes. So get going on those changes now.
It’s often difficult to get going because you genuinely don’t know what changes to make. Book in for a nutrition consult, sign up for the next lifestyle challenge, and get yourself some books. Support, however, also comes from those you spend most of your time with – friends, family and work colleagues. Tell them about your goals and what you’re going to do to achieve them. Tell them when the going gets tough and share your successes with them because they’ll keep your fire burning.
If they don’t support you or belittle your goals and achievements, delete them.
Just Get Going
You are able to start right now, while reading this post. You don’t have to go to the supermarket before changing your mindset, you just need to change it. Write down your new intentions and post them to places you won’t miss them. They shouldn’t be grand goals and massive schemes, though. Think of the smallest change you could make in the next 10 minutes. Aim to be just 1% better everyday.
Make it a Priority
YOU have to make YOUR health and fitness a priority. IF it is a priority, good nutrition becomes a priority by default. IF nutrition is a priority, making the time to buy, prepare and eat healthy food won’t be a problem. Look at your schedule and find the time.
You are going to have challenges, but what matters is that you’ve started. It’s much easier to prevent a stopped train from moving forward than it is to stop a travelling train 😉
Steyn du Plessis
What drove you to join CrossFit Jozi East?
I won’t say this is necessarily why I joined CFJ East but what will make me stay without a doubt is the coaching and community aspect of CFJ East. Really blew me away.
How long have you been a member for?
Since Jan 2017
Who inspires you?
Honestly, I can’t say that I look to a single person to get inspired by but I rather get inspired by individual stories of success and triumph all around.
What are you doing when you aren’t at the gym?
It’s not always easy living a balanced life and making time for everything and everyone. I love what I do for a living so the biggest part of my time goes towards work. I like being out and about discovering new places. I also took up scuba diving a couple years back so I try to get out for a dive trip whenever I can.
Tell us one interesting thing that people might not know about you?
I’m not too comfortable with heights and I have both bungee jumped and skydived. Talk about overcoming your fears.
What was your favorite childhood T.V Programme?
I might give my age away here but it was Lucky Luke.
If you had to have a super power what would it be and why?
There is only one and it has to be the power of flight. Aviation has been that one thing from childhood that has just mesmerized me. Doing my Personal Pilot License is for sure on my bucket list.
What would your perfect workout be?
This feels like a trick question, not sure that such a thing exist? That being said I really do enjoy Chipper WOD’s.
What has been your most memorable class or session at CFJ East?
The first workout that I could not finish in time. It was a tough one and I push hard but I was left wanting. Just made me realize that no matter how far you have come what “level” you think you are on there will always be room to push yourself even further. That really motivated me to get stuck into it and put in the hard work. You only have one version of yourself you might just as well make it the best one.
What might we find in your fridge at home?
I’m a bachelor so not much… I live healthy so guess it’s the usual stuff like milk, Coke Zero, Protein Bars/Shakes and stuff for making a mean chicken salad. Otherwise it usually food that only requires a minute or two in the microwave.
What Is The Coolest Thing That You Have Achieved At CFJ East?
Definitely snatches!! Never really did them at the place where I trained prior to joining CFJ East and now being able to land them feels pretty good.
What Changes In Your Health Have You Noticed Since Starting?
Without a doubt I am fitter, leaner and stronger than what I was before joining.
List Some Of Your Big Goals.
CrossFit wise I want to be proficient in all the CrossFit movements. Still got a long way to go but I’m ready for the challenge.
The first KitchnBox Lifestyle Challenge of the year is wrapping up. Given the team environment, incentives, weekly challenges and accountability placed on all participants, adherence to the challenge is generally good. However, training consistently, eating well, and maintaining healthy lifestyle habits are much more difficult when the only person accountable is you. And that is why I always say that “the challenge begins after the challenge.”
There are typically two groups of people we see post-challenge. Those that maintain the healthy habits developed during the challenge, and those that don’t. Because of the all-or-nothing sort of people that typically do CrossFit, those that don’t maintain their challenge habits unfortunately lose the plot entirely – there doesn’t seem to be a middle ground.
Here are some tips to help the challengers maintain the changes they’ve implemented over the recent six weeks. The tips are also good reminders for everyone else 😉
- Set TANGIBLE goals
Your goals firstly have to be realistic, simple, and a few. I like to categorise them into body composition, fitness and lifestyle goals. A body composition goal would be losing a particular amount of body fat over a specific duration. A fitness goal is a performance goal, for example, improving a benchmark score by 5%. And a lifestyle goal has to do with what you’re going to do at home to ensure that you maintain healthy habits. For example, lights out at 9 p.m daily or cooking enough food at dinner so that you have leftovers for lunch the next day. Write your goals down and stick them up somewhere you can see them daily. Better yet, post them where many people can see them. The more people you have holding you accountable the better.
- 80/20 works if you’re at or close to your goals
80% of your total weekly meals and snacks must be clean. For the remaining 20%, eat whatever you want. If you eat 21 meals a week that means you can treat yourself in four meals. But, treat yourself in a meal and not throughout a day. Treat days lead you to a slippery slope down to where you were before the challenge.
- 90/10 is needed if you’re still far from an ideal body composition
That’s your reality. Unless you’re in or close to the 12-16% body fat for guys and 14-20% for women, you need to be tighter on your dietary habits.
- Surround yourself with support
If you’re spending your weekends with people on a sugary ferris wheel, your dietary habits are unlikely to improve. By the same token, your friends get it. If you chew their ears off by only ever talking about CrossFit. the challenge and how you eat, you’ll end up with no support ever!
- Don’t “wait for the next challenge”
Yo-yo dieting doesn’t work and in fact does more harm. Moreover, the challenge is not a diet. The purpose of the challenge is to instil healthy habits and kickstart your metabolism, but the only way to keep on improving is to maintain everything you did on challenge. That’s why the 80/20 or 90/10 rules are recommended.
- Book a consult
If something on the challenge didn’t work, or you’ve noticed that after the challenge you just haven’t been feeling good, then book in for a nutrition consult. Nutrition is by no means a one-size-fits-all method. The challenge is essentially a reset button to help us identify which foods are best for YOU and changes often need to be implemented for the individual. Often, the challenge isn’t enough and that’s why we now have one-on-one nutrition coaching plans. Those plans enable us to drill deep down into your nutrition for the best results.
- Beware the post-challenge binge
This point was deliberately put last because it’s the one you’re most likely to remember. I know what you’re thinking: “I’m going to eat ALL the chocolate!”
Through the challenge you’ve made some great improvements to your health and performance. You deserve to reward yourself with whatever your favourite food treat is. But treat that post-challenge cheat meal as part of your 10-20% for the first week after the challenge. That means a cheat meal, not a cheat day. Be careful with anything that has a hint of gluten, and for some of you dairy. It would suck, after having repaired your gut, to have a week of gastro problems. And be wary of sugar and processed foods – those withdrawal symptoms you had at the start of the challenge pale in comparison to what you’ll feel if you binge on these after the challenge!
Now you can look forward to the Autumn Throwdown, possibly some personal nutrition coaching, and buckling down over winter to start working on that summer body 🙂
- Set TANGIBLE goals