Why Care About Nutrition

By on July 15, 2014

doughnutIn a society where it’s normal (and easier) to have a doughnut for breakfast, or stop at Taco Bell for lunch, why should we fight the current to pay attention to our nutrition choices? Why care? Isn’t that why we go to the gym five times a week? For most of us, there has to be a pay-off. To shed some light on those mysterious benefits everyone on the band(food)wagon seems to rave about, several veteran CrossFitters were asked a question: “Why is nutrition important to you and your fitness?” Most that have been in the fitness world for any extended period of time will not be surprised by, and may have experienced, these things themselves. If you fall into this category, prepare for some over identification.

 

I find that people who maintain some level of fitness and have not taken a drink of the proverbial nutrition Kool-Aid fall into two categories: 1) Those that are new to the world of fitness and just haven’t reached this point yet and 2) Those that are NOT new to a fitness routine, but haven’t found the right reason to change, what are to many, a collection of firmly rooted dietary habits (This is probably more likely, and in my opinion, the more difficult of the two to tackle). So let’s open some eyes on why you should start paying attention to your food choices, and how those changes might benefit you.

 

likedislikeYou can learn what foods your body likes and dislikes. Did you know your body has an opinion on food? It does, and I’m sorry to say that it doesn’t always agree with YOUR opinion. David Short, police officer, CrossFit athlete and Level 1 trainer, states, “I definitely notice a difference when I don’t eat correctly. I tend to feel sluggish when I don’t eat enough calories or eat more “junk” food.” Dave brings up a HUGE part of approaching nutrition. Pay attention to your body. It will tell you things you need to know. Whether you’re feeling tired or energized, notice your sleeping patterns have changed, or can see that goal six-pack better during your morning pre-shower routine, your body is giving you signals on how it is functioning. Food is fuel, and like a car, you can tell when you’ve just put regular in a diesel engine. Start learning these signals, and you might find your food choices play a bigger role in how you feel than you think.

 

You might believe that your eating habits are healthy, and satisfied complacency invites itself to stay for a while. It’s a WHOLE WHEAT doughnut, and whole wheat is good for you…right? Nutrition is a MASSIVE topic that is constantly evolving, meaning that staying on top of information is more necessary than you might hope. Britt Chamberlain Crowe, CrossFit athlete and Level 1 trainer, reflects on how reassessing her food choices helped alter some detrimental habits for the better, “There is a lot of misinformation out there regarding what is good for you […]. I became more interested [in] the topic as my fitness training became more serious and I initially wanted to learn how to properly fuel my body for performance. However, in turn it helped change some of the disordered habits I had created with food in the past.” Finding the right set of nutrition habits for your body and lifestyle can be like serial dating, and doing a little homework to narrow down the prospects is a good idea. In the end, you may (and probably will) find that there are food choices you thought were right, but aren’t. Never stop educating yourself.

 

Some of us (Particularly in the CrossFit, weightlifting and strength communities) care more about our numbers in the gym than on the scale. Nutrition is performance’s business partner, and when nutrition isn’t pulling its weight, performance starts to complain. If you’re training without regard to your nutrition, you likely have some untapped displays of awesome stored in the tank. At worst, you’re fixing for an injury, because you aren’t giving your body the fuel it needs to repair itself and sustain your level of activity. Tiffany Malstrom, CrossFit athlete, explains, “I can tell a distinct difference in my lifts, cardio and overall conditioning when I stray from clean eating. It slows me down, weighs me down and zaps my energy.” “Clean eating” can mean different things to different people, with some benefitting from more restrictions than others. Patrick Curtis, USAW sports performance and club coach, CrossFit Level 1 trainer and World Kettlebell Club trainer, states, “ After a lot of experimenting and trying different things I came to the conclusion that […] the cleanest, highest quality foods are the best for me and my training goals. […] I have found that my best training results in [weightlifting and CrossFit] ha[ve] come directly from a very strict Whole 30 lifestyle with zero cheat foods or meals. “ Patrick highlights the primary point: Any hypothesized results need a good experiment to test them. Put on your lab coat and get to testing.

 

Nutrition reaches beyond the surface. It can do more than change your performance or your weight, it can change your LIFE. Timothy Adams, USAW Level 1 and CrossFit Level 1 trainer, explains how nutrition has grown into something beyond simple food choices, “I have seen, felt and lived the effects of an unhealthy lifestyle and consistently bad dietary habits. Turns out those effects cut deeper than I thought initially, affecting my confidence and happiness right along side my physical health. To me now, a better diet is simply a choice I make to help control the way I feel, inside and out, instead of letting it hold me back.” The decision to make nutrition a priority may begin with a small change; the elimination of a bad habit, or vow to create a good one. Where it leads is as unique as the individual. The results can be life-altering. Only you can find out how, and only you can take this journey. Why should you care about nutrition? Because you, like everyone who shared their stories here, deserve to have your own!

Lindsey Earl

Lindsey Earl

About Lindsey Earl

Lindsey Earl is a CrossFit Level 1 Trainer at Titan CrossFit in Baltimore, Maryland, and student in Eastern Michigan University’s Master of Science in Dietetics program. She believes that every person deserves to achieve any potential they desire in life, and that a healthy mind and body are crucial to making this happen. She seeks to guide people to health through nutrition and fitness education and counseling.

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