WHY FLEXIBLE DIETING IS NOW KING FOR PROGRESS, AND PALEO HAS STEPPED ASIDE

In a world where people are slowly becoming switched on to a better definition of health and nutrition, so too does the opinion on fad and alternative dieting methods…

In a CrossFit environment where intensity and frequency of exercise is so profound, the proper nutritional requirements can make or shape an athlete or participant. It just so happened that when CrossFit was first formed there was a brilliant definition of the Nutrition you should follow if you’re taking up the sport:

Eat meat and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch and no sugar. Keep intake to levels that will support exercise but not body fat.
–Greg Glassman,
“What is Fitness?,” CrossFit Journal (Oct. 2002) pg. 1

For anyone new to CrossFit it is more than likely you gave this a shot. more so from a health standpoint rather than actively eating to drive performance, strength and athleticism. I gave it a shot but the restrictive nature of this method of dieting proved too difficult for me and soon after 2 months, stopped caring for it.

This is purely just my opinion on the Paleo diet. By definition, grains, dairy and nearly all starches are outlawed in this method of dieting, and with such an action this forces us to consume carbohydrates via ‘little starch’ and through vegetables. Now, I’m not too sure how many of you have looked into the carbohydrate content of broccoli or aspargus, but for every 100g of each there are 7g and 4g of carbs in 100g respectively. I encourage you to measure out 100g of each vegetable and then assess how this paltry 7g and 4g correspond to your daily carboyhdrate requirements.

You would literally have to eat 500g broccoli for 35g carbs alone, and 1kg of aspargus to get 40g carbs. Not a fun diet to be delving into if you’re caring for strength and performance in a sport. For me, anyway, that is not any fun, the dread of having to munch through that much veg may be real and possible, but I am in no way going to entertain that. Imagine the wreak of your wee too…

For anyone curious as to how Paleo even became associated with CrossFit, one of the leading researchers in the world of the Paleo Diet, Rob Wolf, was initially involved in original nutrition tours that CrossFit hosted. It matched the CrossFit founder’s, Greg Glassman’s, ideals in nutrition and became a go-to diet for anyone looking to become healthy in CrossFit. They both believed that Processed foods and Junk food had no place in society and sought a move to a more whole-food based approach in order to reduce illness, disease and other negative effects from modern day food and agriculture.

To a point, they’re right. Diabetes, hyperglycemia, hypertension and other such illnesses and diseases come as a result of food. It’s when you care more for optimal performance and strength that a diet such as Paleo becomes much more irrelevant.

I’m not slamming Paleo at all, I can certainly see the benefits of somebody using this diet, I’m not here to debunk anything, I’m just starting to believe that this sort of diet goes hand in hand with differing ethical viewpoints such as vegetarianism and vegan, as well as your moral and religious views. And so too do other people believe this standpoint too, check out this article here, as answered by the founding man himself, Rob Wolf, stating the same similarities. I completely agree with his statement that Paleo and Vegan diets are of the same viewpoints and merely an optional stance on nutrition and not the be-all and end-all.

Ever since the implementation of Paleo at the roots of CrossFit, athletes have swiftly moved from this eating regiment to one of a more flexible approach, something I prescribe today in the form of our Flexible Dieting program in prescribing a set amount of Carbs, protein and fat daily. More and more and more people are becoming aware of the inefficiencies a lack of carbohydrate-rich diets give, and it’s becoming ever more so accepted and proven that carbohydrates are necessary to growth, recovery and performance. Every top-level athlete involved in CrossFit early days knew that no-one purely ate this way but quickly became a popular concept around the me’s and you’s of CrossFit and exercise. I’m not attempting to insult anyone, I know I’m not a pro athlete by FAR but I do apologise if you are!

We’re all SO different as individuals and have all developed our OWN tolerance to differing foods, so why blindly seek to follow such a diet accepting this is the best method to grow and perform for you. I beliebe if your ethical viewpoint on food was so profound, you’d already be following something similar to this eating regime.

I’m not preaching to the masses about flexible dieting, but merely highlighting the fact there is more than one diet for your goals, it’s now just becoming a question of whether you want to drive strength and performance, body composition and what eating habits you’re happy to live by.

I hate to flip it on it’s head though… Our bodies are a product of science, I’m a scientist by education, past profession and self-interest, so there’s going to be ZERO creationism coming from me. If you’ve read my past articles you may have encountered the articles on the energy systems of the human body, and the way it has been PROVEN the body reacts and uses carbohydrates , fats and protein for fueling every process (find these articles ath the end of this post). If you have any interest in your sporting potential or the ability to squeeze every ounce of fuel and progress from your discipline, then adequate fueling is a necessity and in today’s hectic lifestyle I challenge you to eat 1kg of aspargus and look at me with a happy, smiling face

From a strength and performance perspective there are only so many carbohydrates you can get from your diet without tapping into easier options like oats, grains, starches and dairy choices.

There are numerous ways to live life with healthy nutrition, it’s just choosing what you want to get from your nutrition, but carbohydrates are always king for progressing.