Have you ever wondered how much difference it would make if you really gave a solid nutrition plan a try? Here are Dave’s words:
During this past summer, I started to notice that my results seemed to have plateaued. I maintain a log of my workouts each day and was not seeing the regular improvement to which I had become accustomed. In fact, I felt that I had become less efficient with some of my movements, such as burpees. In general I felt stronger, but I became concerned about my metabolic conditioning. Despite training five days per week and even adding in some supplementary strength training and Olympic lifting, I did not feel like I was reaching my potential. Simply put, something just seemed wrong.
Several people at Utility had told me about the RP diet (http://renaissanceperiodization.com). I saw the tremendous results that they were getting, so I decided to experiment and attempt to quantify the impact of diet on my performance. Briefly, based upon one’s gender and weight, and one’s desire to either lose weight or gain muscle mass, the diet template tells you the exact quantity of protein, fat, and carbohydrates you should be eating at specific times of the day in relation to your workout. It definitely requires discipline, time, and planning to follow this program, but I believe the results make it worth the investment. I can also say with complete confidence that I have never eaten as many servings of vegetables as I have in the last three months. There are many diet programs available, but this one worked well for me.
I started the “cutting” program on August 1. Over the last three months, I have gone from 178 lb to about 172 lb. I was initially concerned that I would lose some of the gains I had made in terms of strength. However, during this brief time period, I have been able to increase my personal records in several lifts: strict press from 155 lb to 160 lb; thruster from 175 lb to 185 lb; and squat clean from 205 lb to 210 lb. These were not huge gains, but I had been stuck at those initial weights for most of the year. The most noticeable impact has been on my metabolic conditioning. I am able to handle large volumes of work, and my body weight movements have become much more efficient. I feel like I have more energy, and muscle fatigue seems to be delayed. Recent examples have included: new PR for Annie in 5:45; 10 Rounds of 20 air squats and 1 Rope Climb in 7:24; 2 Rounds of Run 1 Mile followed by 15 Squat Clean Thrusters (135 lb) in 20:54.
Overall, I think I am at my optimal weight for the functional movements that CrossFit entails. I consider it the body mass that my heart and lungs can best supply during times of high metabolic demand, along with the muscle mass required for moving heavier loads. I did not have a specific weight goal in mind when I started, but it is almost like I found my natural “set point.” The diet also helps me make sure that I have the right nutrients at the right time. For example, my workout shake gives me simple sugars and whey protein, which provide for readily available sources of energy during the workout. The post-workout meal then helps to prevent muscle breakdown and begin the recovery process. Finally, the frequency of meals and high protein content provide the building blocks necessary for lean muscle mass, as well as more stable blood sugar levels. At age 44, I know that diet is even more important to me now, than it was ten to fifteen years ago, as I strive to maintain high levels of fitness and wellness.
Sometimes I get a headache thinking about all of the things I need to work on to become a better athlete: strength, Olympic lifting, conditioning, body weight movements, mobility, and now diet. People at work ask me why I am on a diet. I used to have this very long explanation until I finally came up with this one: If I am going to train like an elite athlete, then I need to eat like an elite athlete. Thinking ahead, I know the next thing I need to work on to reach that next level is sleep—if only there were enough time in the day so that I could become an elite sleeper!