How to eat to perform better at CrossFit

Lifestyle Guidelines for General Population Clients vs Athletes

A breakdown of how different lifestyles should look depending on your clients’ goals.

Your general fitness clients training to “look good naked” should not be living the same way as a client seeking to be a competitive athlete. There are significant differences in the way you approach and consult with each individual and the different principles they follow.

One of the big points for discussion with our clients is what we call, “Basic Lifestyle Guidelines” or BLGs. BLGs are a holistic approach to nourishment that focuses on contributors to overall health. This is an all-encompassing phrase that looks at daily hydration, food hygiene, sleep hygiene, daily activity, self-reflection, and daily stress management. The list below is an encompassing view of what makes up the BLGs.

The list below is an encompassing view of what makes up the BLGs.

Basic Lifestyle Guidelines

  1. There are 24 hours in a day; apply work and rest appropriately
  2. The earth spins, and the sun and moon correlate with our energy patterns; we need sun exposure, we sleep with the moon
  3. You will one day die; get over it and get living
  4. Water, moving blood and proper digestion are essential daily routines
  5. Water; ½ of someone’s body weight in ounces per day, as a starting point
  6. Recovery; Blood flow facilitates recovery and healing faster; get moving every day
  7. Going to bed and waking up at the same time every day to maintain great circadian rhythm
  8. Digestion; Food is a 36-44-hour investment, sit down, CHEW your food, enjoy your food, set the phone aside and have a conversation

Download a printable version of the BLGs here.

For long-term health and fitness, dialing in these key points can go a long way for the average person. The rapid pace of our society takes our focus away from the simple things that our body still appreciates and longs for: rhythm, movement, nourishment. Don’t underestimate the importance of the basics when it comes to getting general population clients the results they need.

(Note: The BLGs are the cornerstone of the OPEX education system and every piece of our teachings directly relates back to these guidelines. If you’re looking to utilize fitness program methodology that follows these guidelines, check out the Coach’s Toolkit. This will give you a small taste of the OPEX Assessment and Nutrition Guidelines, as well as how we utilize all that information to create an individual program design.)

So, what’s different when it comes to high-level athletes?

Now let’s look at the 0.1% of individual’s who will compete at the highest level in competition. They are chasing their maximum physical potential. With that quest comes a shift of focus from simple/foundational principles to more specific performance driven concepts:

Athlete Lifestyle Guidelines

  1. Water; 60+ % of your Bodyweight in ounces per day
  2. LOWER all inflammatory foods, ANYTHING that causes GI disruption.
    – Add curcumin/garlic/turmeric to your foods
    – WATCH spicy foods on the gut
    – NO COFFEE after 12 p.m. (When drink coffee in the morning, eat protein directly after.)
  3. Vary proteins and vegetables as often as possible.
  4. CHEW until your jaw gets tired; 30+ chews per bite! Taste the food/break it down/digest it/utilize it
  5. Sit down, take 5 deep breaths before, and chew at least 30 times per bite when eating – eat with others, NOT electronics (Enjoy your food, take it easy while you eat, digestion is king when we talk macros)
  6. ADD in a salty snack before bed (plantains/avocado oil chips) This needs to be at least an hour before bed as the body needs to break down and start digesting.
  7. Meditative Breathing; AM or PM – Once rising out of bed or before bed (get prepared for your day)
  8. Lower stress on your overall system; less light at night (TRY to get AWAY from your phone before bed – 60 to 90 min of NO light)
  9. Sleep; (Sleep from before 10 PM to 5-6 AM daily) in a completely blacked out, cold room. Look into blackout curtains and sleep the entire night with no interruptions.
  10. Go to bed and get up the same time every day – 8.5+ hours is the magic number of dark, uninterrupted sleep.
  11. Sun; allow for 45 minutes of direct sunlight. (Best time between 10am-3pm)
  12. Hygiene; turn the water cold for the last 30 second of every hot shower.
  13. Blood flow is the master of recovery – do it daily and frequently – move to recover! Self-Myofascial Work, Cryogenic-Therapy, PT or Chiro work, “Around the World” Movement sessions, etc.
  14. Know why you are doing what you are doing – HAVE vision, STAY aligned with the goal FOR YOU of having a healthy Central Nervous System, GOOD hygiene practices, BETTER digestions and ongoing training success.

In closing, addressing the small things that go unnoticed by more novice coaches will have a profound impact on one’s health and fitness.

Instruct the client to move daily, drink water, sit down and chew their food, get some direct sunlight, go to sleep with the moon and wake with the sun. Knowing where the client sits on the continuum with regards to goals and purpose which will help direct your focus.

If your client falls into the category of someone who is chasing their maximum physical potential, you must dial in the specifics to ensure short and long-term success. At the end of the day, always remember that it’s not the training that gets them to the top, it’s the ability to adapt to that stress. If they can’t recover appropriately, they will not adapt to the stress and will not reach their potential or goals.

The great thing about the Coaches’ Toolkit we mentioned above, is that the guide teaches you the principles of individual design. This means that whether your client is more of a general population client or seeking to be a competitive athlete, you can learn something from the Coach’s Toolkit, download your free copy today.


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