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Rest Day

Maise the Wonder Mutt wishes you a happy Snow Day! Be careful out there, CFSBK.

  • STORM NEWS: Today's 6 a.m., 7 a.m., and 8 a.m. classes are all canceled because of the blizzard. We'll be running a normal schedule of classes from 10 a.m. onwards. Stay tuned on here and social media (Facebook and Twitter), and don't forget to RSVP.

More Thoughts On Being an Athlete Who Doesn’t Eat Meat

By Whitney Hubbard

I believe that food and nutrition are highly individualized experiences. Yes, there are things we know that work well overall and there are general guidelines that will be effective for a broad range of people. But food is often also a part of the cultural, social, and—yes, for some of us—emotional aspects of our lives. As CrossFitters, we can consider food as fuel. We are asking a lot of our bodies and minds on a daily basis, and it’s crucial to supply that great system with nutrients that support recovery, performance, and overall health. At the same time, I consider a lot more than that with my own eating habits. So, I’ll aim to share my own experience here without speaking for anyone else but myself. 

I became an ovo-lacto-pescetarian (::cue Paleo eye roll::) just over seven years ago. That means I eat eggs, dairy, and fish, but not any other meat. Truth be told, I never thought I’d be any kind of vegetarian for any length of time. I grew up eating lots of meat. My Dad is a self-proclaimed grillmaster, and as a family we regularly enjoyed ribs, steak, pork, chicken, duck, more ribs, burgers, turkey, and... ribs. I remember thinking, “Why on earth would anyone ever want to be a vegetarian?”

Cue some hippie handing me a flyer on the quad at my university, which I happened to reach my hand out for and happened to look at. Long story short, I had never even considered where my food was coming from—how it was farmed, grown, raised, harvested, or killed. After a brief look into the realities of the industrial food complex and “factory farming,” I decided that now was a good time to just try taking meat out of my diet. I was on my own in college anyway and didn’t like cooking red meat, so it seemed simple.

The initial shift meant that I was simply thinking more about what I was putting into my body. I would come home from a long morning of yoga and dance classes and make a three-egg omelet with a few veggies and a smoothie with yogurt and fruit. I cooked a lot more vegetables with every meal and got creative. I was also in college, so I ate my fair share of late night pizza, but overall I started to feel energized. I used to get multiple sinus infections and other fun versions of respiratory illness every winter. I made my nutrition change in first semester of my senior year, and that season I clearly remember making it through without getting sick.

I’ve always been active. I grew up dancing, averaging about 15-20 hours/week in my teens and probably 25-30 hours/week in college. But lifting weights is a whole different story, or at least it feels that way. I’ve become very aware of what I need to recover and perform relatively well, and I know when I’m missing it. Here’s how I approach my nutrition these days.

Prioritize Protein
As a pescetarian and an athlete, the biggest challenge in regards to nutrition is often getting enough protein. If we consider that someone training like we do at CFSBK should eat 1 gram of protein per 1 pound of bodyweight each day, then it will take any kind of vegetarian a good amount forethought, planning, tracking, and variety to get there consistently. Here’s what a good day of looks like for me:

½ cup (dry) oatmeal
1 scoop whey protein powder
1 tbsp peanut butter 

Protein: 34g Carb: 33g Fat: 16g

3 scrambled eggs with bell peppers and onions
2 cups sautéed greens
1.5 cup roasted mixed veggies (brussel sprout, squash, cauliflower)
1 oz of cheese 

Protein: 35g Carb: 38g Fat: 31g

1 cup 2% plain Greek Yogurt
1 cup frozen cherries 

Protein: 24g Carb: 31g Fat: 5g

6 oz Arctic Char (grilled or baked)
1.5 cup roasted mixed veggies
2 cups Kale and Ricotta Salad
1 glass white wine 

Protein: 48g Carb: 36g Fat: 19g

Protein: 141g Carb: 138g Fat: 71g 

So, with my bodyweight hovering around 135 pounds, this is relatively on target for me. I’ve hit my grams of protein for the day. I aim to do this consistently through a variety of sources. It often ends up as 3 eggs at one meal, a big serving of fish at another, a scoop of protein powder sometime during the day, and either Greek yogurt or cottage cheese.

Carbs are pretty good here, too, although this is definitely where I vary. There are days that I feel I need more, and I add them in: black beans and tomatoes with my eggs, more starchy veggies in the mix (sweet or white potatoes), a tortilla or wrap here and there… and YES even the occasional pumpkin muffin! One thing I’ve noticed over time with tracking is that I tend to steer towards more fat than I may need. Fat with every meal generally helps me feel fuller for longer, but is certainly something of which to be conscious. I’m not actively trying to lose any weight, but if I were, this is where I would look first.

Take Care of the Good Stuff
I know when I don’t plan my grocery list, prepare my own food, or even just plan where I might eat a meal out, I can very quickly become one of those “grilled cheese vegetarian types.” So, if I can get a bunch of veggies on my plate at two out of three meals, I know I’m on track. If I can substitute fruit, nuts, and seeds for a scone in the middle of the afternoon, I’m doing well. Bottom line: get those greens and eat real food. Then when you get off track for a meal here or a day there, you know you've still got a good foundation of healthy eating under you.

Variety Is Key
Veggies are not boring. Routine is boring. I’m all for having go-to recipes and meals (hello, Kettlebell Kitchen!!) to fall back on and utilize, especially when you don’t have a lot of time. But that being said, even I get sick of some of my vegetable sides when I eat the same thing over and over. Hate Kale? Try sautéing Swiss chard with garlic and shallots. Annoyed with steamed broccoli? Roast cauliflower and brussel sprouts with smoked paprika instead. No time to cook? Add crunchy bell peppers, cucumbers, and some hearts of palm to mixed greens as an easy side salad. Making a big pot of soup or chili for the week? Throw some spinach in there… you’ll barely even notice it.

Here’s the deepest, honest, scary-to-say-out-loud truth: there are many days that I wonder if I would feel, recover, and perform better if I were eating meat. It’s entirely possible. I’m not a doctor, and I have no formal education in nutrition. I think I’ve developed a relatively healthy way of eating that supports my physical lifestyle and my ethical choices. And, there are some days when I’ve just worked out for 90 minutes, I’m starving, and I think, “Life would be so much easier if I just ate meat!” I might spend less money (fish is expensive!), have more simple meal choices, and not constantly be worried about getting enough protein. I’m the kind of person who never says never. So, it’s possible that one day I’ll go back to eating meat. But my diet decisions involve more than just food as fuel, and if I trade a bit of my athletic potential for making a small difference in the world, well… that’s the choice I’m making today. 

In case you missed it: we interviewed Coach Whitney back in April of 2014 about this topic, too! Read along here.

LFPB Peeps: What lessons have you been learning the past few weeks? How's the Challenge going?

Reader Comments (30)

Wednesday's Programming

Back Squat

Fitness: 3 x 5 Linear Progression
Start a bit below last cycle.
Performance: 90% x 1, 70% x 10

Post loads to comments.

AMRAP 7 Minutes:
KB Swings

Post rounds and Rx to comments.

January 26, 2015 | Registered CommenterDavid Osorio



My deliciously evil plan is now complete! I sent forth my minions across New York, Jersey, CT and parts of Philly yesterday with one command: BUY ALL OF THE LEAFY GREENS!

Hear me now LFPB challengers! If any of you want to claim your precious 3 meal points today you'll have to deal with ME!

Lucky for you, I have but one demand: For the next 24 hours, all of the PVC pipes must be referred to as J-RODs!

You have until 10am to comply. The longer you wait the longer it wilts.

(BTW - Great piece Whit!. 160x3x5 on bench yesterday).

January 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterJay-Star

Thanks for that great article Whitney!

January 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterBreebree

Re. the lessons I'm learning from the LFPB Challenge, I'll just repeat/adapt my post from the challenge forum: For me, it's less of a "what I've learned" and more "what I already knew but have had confirmed." For example, I know that I should spend some time each day doing mobilization and AR work, but knowing it and feeling the benefits from actually doing it are two different things.

The big meta-lesson is also one that I already knew, but have had demonstrated in a concrete way: My attempts to alter behavior patterns are most successful when tied to some sort of minor incentive system. I've found that the daily ritual of putting my information into the tracker and watching the point totals increase has been very useful in remaining diligent. It's not shocking; economists (and behavioral economics-types in particular) are all about influencing behavior by realigning incentives. The only surprise to me is how small a realignment it took to get me on board with the previously unthinkable step of eliminating dairy from my diet. As silly as it seems, I'll have to set up some sort of point/reward system for myself when the challenge is done in order to maintain some of these healthy habits.

Also, on that point, the RSVP system has already helped me drag my ass out of bed and into the gym at least once. Yesterday morning, I was strongly considering turning over and going back to sleep when I remembered that I'd already RSVP'd and would have to deal with that. So up and out I went. I'm not sure if that was the intention, but it worked for me.

January 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterShawn

Great article, Whitney! Eating really is a personal relationship and one that not only directly affects health but also happiness and well-being! Eat whatever works for you and makes you personally satisfied in all areas. If you are pescatarian, do be careful of mercury poisoning. I had a friend actually get it and it's not fun...takes a long time to recover from. Here is a good list/website to consider: http://www.seafoodwatch.org/consumers/seafood-and-your-health

I'm with you on the carbs, Whit! I can't wait to eat eggs with black beans and tomatoes when this challenge is over! That sounds so good right now.

As for LFPB, I was thinking about the dramatic changes in my 'performance' recently (lifting heavier weight, pull ups, etc) thinking my body jumped some kind of strength/psychological barrier or something, when I realized that the only significant change I've made since I started making more obvious gains is to stop drinking alcohol. Holy sh*t! I think it makes a difference! Kind of like weightlifting shoes and bench press. Hm. Lesson learned?

January 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterAllie B.

Anyone have a good foot & knee orthopedist? either local or the city works. Thanks!

January 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterLuca

I remember the QOD at one of my first classes at CFSBK was something like.. how do you like your bacon? I answered that I'd never had it and got literal GASPS of horror from the group lol. Love you guys.

Um I LOVE knowing Whit is a non-meat-eating CFSBKer like me!

Difference is... I happen to be an ovo-lacto-vegetarian who has a mild "allergy" to dairy (which shows through my skin-lovely!) and has a burning hatred for the taste of eggs (I'm so difficult!). It was weird to realize the other day that lately I'm actually about 80-90% vegan. WEIRD.

I've been a vegetarian for about 8 years now for a number of reasons ranging from.. I never liked the taste of meat to... I love animals... and everything in between.

I've never felt like my athletic ability was greatly hindered by my diet- which is significantly less protein heavy than Whitney's diet above. Like Whit said- maybe I'd be a killer athlete if I ate meat but luckily I'm pretty happy with my progress... and I feel like my best self when I'm sticking to the "diet" I think is best for me and my beliefs. I'll sacrifice some overhead strength or kipping pull ups any day for that.

Oh and getting Netflix was the worst thing that happened to me recently- do NOT go down the rabbit hole of health documentaries lol.

Oh and I'm totally going in later to attempt a 3x5 back squat at 160 which is another PR. :) please wish me luck!

January 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterJenny M

great article from whit!!!! glad to see the kale and ricotta salad is getting some love!!!

here's the really simple recipe if anyone is looking
kale and ricotta salad

also maisie <3

can't wait to trek in the snow tonight for pilates and benching! (i do love the snow!)

January 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterCam

Great article Whit- informative, personal, well organized, and not a tad preachy or dismissive. If only all paleo/zone/bacon articles could be so well done.

January 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterNoah

Jay - I took note of the lack of Kale last night at the grocery store.

I remember commenting the first time Whit posted about this and am so glad that there is a round two. I've been an ova-lacto-pescitarian for 15 years (now over half my life), reading this both helps both (1) reconfirm that I can continue by diet as an athlete and (2) reminds me that I can still do more to clean it up, get in all those delicious veggies.

Thanks Whit - I really hope there is a round three of thoughts in the future!

January 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterKayleigh R

10am. BSQ: 135x5 / 185x3 / 215x2 / 245x1 / 275x1 / 215x10. Chest was a bit forward at 275. 215 was tougher than I would have liked.

WOD: 2 burpees into the round of 18. Key for me was keeping the pull-ups unbroken, which I did until the round of 16, which I broke up 12/4.

Finished up with a little rings practice followung Ken's rings class. Those levers are tough. No wonder Ken's biceps are ridiculously huge!

January 27, 2015 | Registered CommenterElliott

Great article, Whit, and some great advice/recipe ideas even for those of us who are not vegetarians!

January 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterLil JB


Dr. Meislin with Hospital for Joint Diseases/NYU Langone, 212-598-7608. I was really happy with his bedside manner and the outcome of the surgery.

January 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterBeccaWolf

Luca, Friedrich Boettner at the Hospital For Special Surgery is a quality knee guy. Foot/ankle - Martin O'Malley, or Jessica Gallina. Good luck.

January 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterTom

Wow Whit, thanks for the article. Thanks for sharing your typical menu and your beliefs with respect to nutrition and training. I always feel boosted when I hear from another non-meat-eater, especially a role model, like you!

After years of feeling like vegetarians were annoying, I realized that eating animals wasn't in line with the way I truly felt about them and I gradually gave up meat. My last meat was a Burger King hamburger in the Berlin airport in 2006! I became the grilled cheese vegetarian you mention for about seven years. I ate lots of nachos, and lots of salads with croutons and cheese! I tried vegan a bunch of times, never lasting more than a month, until it finally took about a year ago. Now I eat vegetables - what a revelation for a "vegetarian!"

Vegetables have more protein than I realized, so key for me is eating a lot of them, and lentils, nuts, beans. A horse is very muscular but has all day to spend in a field grazing, I can't spend all day grazing on broccoli but I spend a lot more time chewing vegetables than I used to! It's work but I find getting the good stuff in crowds the bad cravings out.

I too wonder if I ate meat would my body be different? Would I be able to do a strict push-up? Maybe, but I too am happy with the progress I'm making. I can do a 2 minute plank! Maybe tonight I'll do my first strict push-up in honor of your article. :-D

January 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterColleen M.

Colleen! You can totally do a strict push-up!!!!
Jenny! You can totally do 160!
Y'all will definitely rep the badass vegetarians at cfsbk tonight!

January 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterAllie B.

I'm with Shawn that a small tweaks like having to fill in points on a tracker or having some communal support often really help me straighten out my quality and consistency in nutrition. The LFPB challenge has been going really well for me. I find myself comfortable "indulging" on semi occasional grain products (mostly toast) which personally don't seem to cause me too much inflammation or problems and feel like they've replaced thinking of other processed foods or sugary products as desirable indulgences.

January 27, 2015 | Registered CommenterDavid Osorio

Did the 160# 3x5 I was shooting for in the back squat. Definitely not the prettiest but I'll take it!

In the 7min amrap ..
Got 2 burpees into the 16 round using a 21kg Kb. This was tough but when I totaled how many burpees I did after I felt pretty good about it! Who knew I would consider KB swings a recovery period in a WOD lol

Thanks Allie! Your encouragement is always appreciated!

And colleen you totally can - and a 2 min plank is badass. I can't handle those!

January 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterJenny M

@becca & Tom, thanks for the recs, I'll give them a call

January 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterLuca

Goooo Jenny!!!!!!

January 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterCam

Bench Press: 3 x 5 @ 155#

Monday's WOD, also known as the Shorty Killer: 7:20 w/ 20# ball.

January 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterMigz

Warm up x 3
5 OH Squats 33#
:30 hollow hold
10 ring rows

45x5, 95x5
135x3, 155x2
80% - 160x3x2

7 min AMRAP
Burpees/pull-ups: 2,4,6,8,10,12, and
14 burpees, 8 pull ups

Foam roll lats and t spine

January 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterLauren

Behind neck Press, 3RM, -5%, -10%

HBBS, 3RM, -5%,-10%x3


January 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterJakeL

Big 5:30 with Coach W. My shoulder is finally at a point where I can experiment with OHS again so it's nice to see these in the standardized warmups. Used 33# bar today, maybe 45# next time.

Bench press with Alex and David, first time in a long time. 155#x5x3 felt fine.

For the WOD my goal was to keep the intensity at "medium hard" so I used a 16# ball and didn't go all out on the row. I couldn't find which clock we were using but it went by pretty qujickly. I didn't totally succeed though because I've been coughing a little bit since getting home... hadn't coughed in two days. Sigh.

January 27, 2015 | Unregistered Commenterdave p

Did tomorrow's squat work at 5:30. Yay snow day!

215 for the single, then 165x10, which was surprisingly hard. I got depth on all my reps, though, which is all I wanted.

Finished the round of 14 on the WOD. I didn't rest, I just...went really slowly. And I still felt like a mess at the end. Oh conditioning, how I loathe thee.

January 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterStella

Allie, Jenny, thanks for the encouragement! I think I did a strict push-up tonight but I think my back may have sagged a little too much. I need a witness to make it official!

Jenny, 160# 3x5, Wow, WTG. That sounds so heavy to me, freaking awesome!
Allie, push-ups? Wow, that is serious. WTG!


January 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterColleen M.

Wednesday work on a Tuesday.

3x5 back squat at 195. Felt good and manageable.

Through the 14s on the metcon plus 10 burpees.

Question - nearly everyone in the 5:30 class is on the sweet potato train. Why? Everything I have read says sweet vs regular are nearly identical. What am I missing?

January 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterRyan L

Ryan, I have to admit I've been possibly irrationally on that train myself. I think there's historically been no love for the white potato in Paleo-land, especially with Whole30, which only recently started allowing them. I personally prefer the flavor of sweet potatoes, but as far as I know it's six of one, half a dozen of the other nutritionally.

That being said, I would agree with W30 that, at least the way people cook in this country, we tend to make a lot more "foods without brakes" (that is, the ones you can't make yourself stop eating) out of white potatoes than sweet ones. French fries, potato chips, etc. Of course that is changing, but most of us have more of a history overeating white potatoes than sweet ones. So I think, at least for some of us, eating white potatoes bears more watching because it has more of a potential to go awry (but for reasons of habit, not of nutrition).

I am relearning my love of white potatoes these days, especially potato pancakes. Sweet Jesus, they are good with applesauce on top!

January 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterStella

6:30pm Future Squat w/ Coach Jess Fox

Low Back Squat:
215x5, 235x5, 235x5
I think I went 5# too heavy for e/1

If I do better than you in a WOD, especially if it involves Burpees, please go see a doctor and get yourself checked out. You may not have long.

January 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterChris Yun

5:30 pm

Did Wednesday's programming. So happy I came in even though I had a stomach ache, but exercise cures everything!

3x5 LBBS @135#. After reading Noah's article, I thought a lot about my starting weight for this cycle. I was doing a linear progression HBBS until last April then switched to the Wendler system and LBBS until the beginning of October and then haven't back squatted since. I feel like I'm starting over which is frustrating, but think I selected the correct weight today. Consistency is key and I need to work on that.

Whit, both articles were great and overall I find it really interesting to learn about everyone at the box:) What really resonated with me is how you said in your interiew that you would avoid certain workouts that made you nervous when you started CF. That's me, even 2.5 years in. I avoided snatching for a full year (minus a few WODs here and there) and if I'm tired will avoid going to the gym on any kind of squat day bc squats are difficult for me and take about 4x the energy (mostly mental) compared to other lifts. What I should have realized over those 2.5 years is that it would benefit me more to do those lifts that are difficult, even if I don't add weight, rather than avoid them all together. Then I wouldn't have to drop a significant weight off my squat like I did today. Ugh. Although the RSVP poses some problems (i.e. not knowing how late a meeting will run after work so not knowing what time to RSVP to), the new system holds me accountable for attending class, even when I'm tired and wanting to avoid a lift.

WOD with the 20kg KB. 2 burpees into the 16 rep round. Moved slowly, but consistently.

LFPB Challenge is going ok. I started off strong, then went to Miami for a long weekend, then had my family in town so not only did I not make the best food choices, but I didn't manage my time properly and squeeze in workouts. I'm also working 6 days a week through February which poses a challenge with working out on the weekend. Sundays have been very difficult to get out of bed after a long week! Clothes were getting baggy but now are back fitting normally. I also abuse the fact that there is a 1 item food category. Overall, I've curbed my sugar cravings and sometimes can go so long without eating that I have to force myself to eat so I don't end up binging later. This was one of my goals bc I have a major sweet tooth. I knew this 6 week period would be a busy time for me to behave perfectly in such a challenge, but that's exactly why I participated- I could easily use my busier-than-usual schedule as an excuse to not eat well and skip workouts. I'm not managing my eating and working out perfectly, but I haven't gone off the deep end either!

January 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterKLove

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