Everyone knows that if you want to lose weight, you’re going to have to incorporate a good diet and exercise together. That’s pretty much a given. But did you know if you incorporate two very distinct lifestyles together you could see mouth-dropping results? They’re called the Paleo Diet and Crossfit.
Yes, the two on their own are great ways to work toward your health and fitness goals, but when combined it seems the match was made for each other.
One reason Crossfit athletes are fans of the Paleo diet is because of the way the foods make them feel and how it prepares their bodies for the intense workouts. If you eat a bowl of ice cream or a cheeseburger just hours before your WOD (workout of the day), there’s a good chance you’ll be best friends with a trash bin and won’t be able to finish the workout. People have noticed that when they stick to their Paleo diet, not only will they be able to finish the workout but they’re also able to get through it much easier and push themselves harder.
Andrew Manser, a Crossfit gym owner in Hollywood, says he’s been doing Crossfit and variations of Paleo for the past five years and highly recommends the combination.
“They’re recommended together because Crossfit in general has very intense training, and you need a diet that supports maximum health and recovery. The Paleo diet has a focus on ‘anti-inflammation,’ and it teaches your body to use fat stores for energy.” He continues, saying that after 4-5 days of strict Paleo he immediately notices higher energy levels and a greater sense of well being. “I’m able to push harder (in a safe manner) during my Crossfit workouts by lifting more weight or going faster,” he said.
When your stomach isn’t having to focus on digesting dairy and wheat (two items not on the Paleo-approved list), it’s using body fat as its fuel. This will then cause you to have more energy to train and recover, and it’s also the time when the fat begins to fall off. A couple items that are on the Paleo-approved list are fruits and vegetables. When consuming these complex carbohydrates, your insulin and hormone levels are controlled, which then improves athletic performance. And trust me, you’re going to need all the help you can get to make it through this popular sport no matter how physically fit you are.
Chrissy Henry, co-owner of Jax Strength & Conditioning CrossFit in Jacksonville, Florida, says that when she speaks nutrition with her athletes she asks them, “Are you putting good gasoline in your tank?” Chrissy also told us that with Crossfit, “we’re asking our bodies to work extremely hard for different durations at a time. The workouts are varied and intense. If we want to ask our bodies to perform a task well, we must feed it well.”
The Paleo Diet essentially only includes foods that were developed before agriculture, which is why it’s also know as the Caveman diet. The foods are very natural and include things like fruit, vegetables, nuts, meats, fish and eggs. It does not include any processed foods, grains, dairy, beans, redefined sugars and more. This diet is very low-glycemic, and though insulin is an essential hormone for life, high glycemic carbohydrates produce inordinate insulin responses which can eventually lead to high cholesterol, obesity, high blood pressure and even mood dysfunction.
In my personal opinion, the Paleo diet is a way to get people started on a healthy eating track who don’t know exactly where to begin. By going natural and staying away from processed foods, one can make a large change with that alone. If an intense program like Crossfit on its own or in conjunction with a strict diet like Paleo isn’t for you, there are many other options to try. In the end, training hard and eating a healthy diet go hand in hand.