For anyone, nutrition is the most important aspect of your lifestyle yet is also the most overlooked. Whether trying to live a healthy life, change your body composition, or improve performance in Crossfit or any other sport, the way that you eat will dictate your progress.
Macronutrients are what make up calories. They are protein, carbohydrates, and fats, each contributing a certain amount of calories per gram in foods. The majority of body composition changes happen because of the balance between energy taken in (food) and energy used (exercise/lifestyle), however the ratio of these macronutrients also play a significant role in your progress.
Your body primarily uses carbohydrates as fuel. Many “diets” promote a low-carb approach for quick weight loss. While this is one way to limit calorie intake which should result in losing weight, it is not a maintainable lifestyle that will result in long term success. Severely limiting carbohydrates can be extremely detrimental to your performance physically and mentally in life and especially in your sport.
Another energy source used by the body comes from fats. Fats can only be used by your body if there is also carbohydrates available for use (it helps convert it into a usable form of energy), another reason low-carb diets aren’t ideal. Low-fat diets are another common trend that can result in weight loss, again, from limiting calorie intake. These types of diets often work better because they can be maintained longer and fats have a higher calorie-per-gram so less has to be actually cut out to have an impact (more bang-for-your-buck as they say). However, ridding of all fats, especially healthy fats such as Omega-3, can negatively impact your health and your performance as well. Another role that fat plays for your body is to help transport and store important vitamins that help your body function at it’s peak, which is obviously important if we also want to perform at our peak. Fats also are a key to nervous system health and productivity. High intensity exercise has a very exhaustive effect on your nervous system so it needs to be able to stay healthy and recover effectively in order for you to play your best and simply function well throughout your day.
Lastly, protein. Most health-conscious people understand the importance of protein and aim to eat as much as possible. Proteins help to build and maintain muscle, it is the building blocks of all the hard work put in during your training sessions. However, we have a limit to how much protein our bodies can actually use. Proteins also have calories-per-gram that impact our total caloric intake and when they make up too high of a ratio of your total calories, you are missing out on calories that should be coming from carbohydrates or fats to provide more fuel so you feel more energized and can expend more energy (for weight loss) or put in more work (for muscle gaining or performance enhancing).
The balance and ratio which macronutrients should be consumed is highly individualized. It depends on current lifestyle factors, body weight, body composition, activity level and your desired outcome goal. If you have any questions, reach out under “Contact” and I’d love to help!