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Teresa's Split Jerk

Changing Weight 1.0
(The Simplified Version)
by Christian Fox
                Many people start fitness routines like CrossFit because they just plain want to look better naked, this does not escape me. With my being a fitness coach you may be surprised, however, that I see nothing wrong with it. Vanity, if it gets you moving and eating well, is a fine motivator in my book. It does however, frequently shock me when clients kick ass on the training floor only to have their progress toward said goals negated by crappy nutrition. I know, I know, it’s hard work…but it sure isn’t rocket surgery or brain science (haha). Some of the rules depend on where you are with your diet but here are two simple guidelines to help.

       1. Focus first on food quality. What does this mean? A healthy diet should be based around a few components: quality animal protein, healthy fats, vegetables, and fruits.
    A. Quality animal protein – This means “the good stuff” - grass-fed meat, pastured chicken and eggs, wild game, and fresh fish from uncontaminated waters. If you can’t afford or don’t have access to these types of things then you should buy the lower-fat cuts of animal protein to reduce your exposure to “the bad stuff” (and add in extra fats from the following list). Toxins are stored primarilly in the fat and organs of animals, so avoid organ meat from conventional animals as well.

    B. Healthy fats – If you’re getting “the good stuff” then you can get a lot of good fat from the animals you’re eating. If not then add or cook with things like coconut oil, virgin olive oil, fish oil supplements, tinned sardines, and avocado. This is not a comprehensive list, but do make a point to stay away from vegetable oils (except the few listed above) and the fat of poorly raised animals. For some people, nuts and seeds and their butters can be problematic (aside from being a potent calorie source) so it may be best to limit intake or at least keep an eye on any possible negative reactions.
    C. Vegetables and fruits – This is a no-brainer, right? Aside from a few outliers, anything in this category is a safe bet. Prepare them simply, get organic if you can, but don’t stress out about it. Nobody ever got fat by eating too much apple and broccoli.

       2. Focus then on food quantity, or more specifically on caloric intake. If you’ve been eating a diet based on pasta, bread, rice, potatoes, soda, desserts, and take-out, then just focusing on quality at first will help regulate weight. If not, and eventually anyway, you’ll need to change overall intake. Again, not rocket surgery or brain science here.

    A. Small changes in caloric intake while taking longer to change weight are better for long-term weight change.
    B. A lower-carbohydrate diet will help with losing weight, and adding more carbohydrates will promote growth. When going lower-carb be sure to eat enough of them to keep you feeling and performing well. If you always feel sluggish and your performance in the gym is diving add some carbs back in a little at a time till you feel better.
    C. Remember also that changing weight is a process. You’ll need to make constant adjustments along the way. What helped you lose the first 5 lbs will not help you lose the last 5. You’ll need to reduce calories as you weigh less, you need fewer calories to support the new, smaller you. The other side of the coin is gaining weight. As you grow you’ll need to up intake to keep up with the beefier version of yourself.
    D. For gaining mass, liquid meals can be a real help. Try adding milk to the equation and see if you don’t grow.
    E. Alcohol, while it can be extremely enjoyable, is not a desired calorie source. Try and limit intake whether you’re trying to gain weight or lose weight. It has estrogen-promoting effects that will hamper muscle synthesis needed to gain lean mass, and alcohol alone can destroy an otherwise valiant effort at dropping body fat. Beer belly, wine belly, tequila belly, whatever, let less be more. A few drinks can add up fast calorie-wise, so be wise, wise guy.

    Make sense? I know it’s hard to stick to a plan, but if you don’t have a plan you’re lost. So develop your plan and get cooking!

What’s your nutritional plan for the New Year? Same? Different?

Reader Comments (12)

fantastic stuff Coach Fox!

Two quick questions on this topic. First, saturated fats, animal fats. I see that you mention to trim that a bit and go for the other fats. I have seen and read a lot of back and forth on saturated fats. My understanding is that there are some benefits from them. Can you opine on that stuff?

Secondly carbs. lower carb weight loss vs. higher carb growth. My question is as follows: I have read that if you have around a 24 hour period between workouts, that even on a low carb diet, you'll probably have enough meals to fully replace the glycogen in your muscles. Meaning that even if you don't do a sweet potato pwo (which I love to do) that through some kale, collards, etc over the next 3 meals, you should be 100% refuled. Am I right to be looking at this strictly in terms of glycogen replacement between workouts?


p.s. Teresa, that's a nice jerk!
December 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJr
Wasn't able to post yesterday so here's my CFT/Strength Cycle round up. Some great stuff, some frustrations but I'm really happy overall! And super happy to have seen all those friendly faces at the total - it's amazing to think that people come by the gym in their own free time just to offer support during these events. I <3 CFSBK!

Squat: 150, 155PR, 160FPress: 65, 70PR, 75FDeadlift: 185, 200PR, 210PR

Total: 435

I added 35 lbs to my total (8% overall), had an amazing time lifting for a few months with a really fun group of people and got more great coaching from someone who knows how to get people stronger.

Jeremy's strength cycle is totally worth the time away from all the great WODs in group classes and I can't recommend it enough!
December 17, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterariel
Great post Fox. One thing I want to add to the alcohol note. Rob Wolf has a great point on this that you want to do the opposite of everyone else with booze. Normally before drinking people recommend eating starches that sop up the alcohol and allow you to drink more. If you want the pleasure of getting a little tipsy having a low tollerance is your friend. Don't drink too often and one or two drinks are plenty. Also have a drink on an empty stomach and one drink goes a long way. Plus when you are done for the night you eat some food and have some water and you feel better than if you drank more but with a full stomach. At this point I find one cocktail on an empty stomach enough to lighten my mood and loosen my tongue.

Of course this is a dangerous trait when out with coworkers.
December 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMalcolm
Just wanted folks to see this. It requires the latest version of Google Chrome, but it is a really easily navigable dynamic body map. That will make learning bones, muscles and ligaments much easier.

December 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMalcolm
Hi CF, does anyone have any thoughts about boxes in the Chicago area? I'm heading home next week and want to counterbalance the holiday food and booze with a little working out. I'd love to hear about anyone's experiences there. Thanks!
December 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJeff Brenner
Deadlift295x5x1 Really working on these to not get hurt225x5x2 dropped down to work on cues from Margie (chest up/Lift thru heels)Chins3,3,3 (then some negatives)Conditioning7x100m sprints on the minute
December 17, 2010 | Unregistered Commentergabrus
Same question as Jeff above (Xfit box recommendations) but for Northern Virginia/DC.

Much appreciated.
December 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterNick K
My nutrition has really been for shit for WAY too long now. I've made tons of excuses, like "I just ran the marathon so I can eat whatever I want" or "Robb Wolf said Guinness isn't all that bad" or "tostones are a better option than beans, right?." I see myself in Fox's statement about "kick ass on the training floor only to have their progress toward said goals negated by crappy nutrition". Thanks, love. ;)

For me, my nutrition is directly related to poor planning. When I was at my best, Mr. Fox and I would use Sundays to prep large quantities of food for the entire week. The ironic thing is that now that we live 2 blocks away from the gym, we've hardly done this. Our schedules have become quite opposite and dinners are often late in the evening when we're both too tired to come home and cook. And our Sundays, have been all about eating out and drinking.

So, my #1 nutritional goal for 2011 is to cook more meals at home! Quite frankly, I'd love for nearly all of my M-F meals to be homemade. Not only will this save money, but it will help me avoid making poor choices while out.

Goal #2 is to limit booze. I'll first tackle this by having all of January be booze-free. After that, my tolerance should be fairly low again so as Malcolm (and Robb) pointed out, I should be able to feel pretty good with one or two drinks...instead of 5.

Goal #3--when goals #1 and #2 fail and I go on a crazy binge of burgers, fries, beer, nachos, booze, etc., I will not let it snowball! I will chalk it up as a gluttonous cheat, and then refocus on my goals.

Thank you Mr. Fox for the article, and to the MGMT for posing the question about our 2011 nutritional goals!
December 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJess
Jim1 - What I said is trim the saturated fat from conventionally raised animals. If your animals are "the good stuff", then have at it! If not, then get most of your saturated fat from coconut oil and such.2 - If you don't take in many carbs (glucose) then your body will produce glucose via gluconeogenesis in the liver. As a strength/power athlete this is no big deal for performance as glucose is not a primary energy source for you. As a CrossFitter trying to lose weight this may be desirable to a point because your body will convert fat into energy substrate . Keeping it simple, it depends on gow you feel and respond to a drop in carbs, and what your goals are.

Malcolm - good stuff! Be a 1 drink drunk!

Nick and Jeff - CFQ has an link to an iPhone app that lists boxes according to zip. HQ also lists all affiliates. I encourage you to visit whichever box is most convenient. Explore!

December 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterFox
great post, Jess, that resonated a lot with me.
December 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMichele
Came in today to do a little bench pressing; landed up getting some unexpected company from Joe W. who had just finished Fran!

WU: 45x5, 95x5

Work: 125x3, 135x3, 145x3, 155x3, 165x3, then 170x1(PR)

I probably had 170 in me a while ago but had just never tried a single at that weight, so I'll call it a PR for now.
December 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSamir Chopra
Samir, you are a piece of work. Nice going.

Coach Fox, I love the nutrition advice; keep it coming... (uh, but I admit I like to tell bartenders to "keep it coming," too...).
December 18, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTom S.

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