Are you the kind of athlete who is serious about what goes into your body and the impact this has on your physique? If yes, then the chances are high that you are closely monitoring your CrossFit diet macros, that is, carbs, protein, and fat. Many athletes have become obsessed with macros, and this has eclipsed a very important sub-group known as micronutrients which are essential for immune function, health, and the overall quality of life. What many people are not aware is that micronutrients play a critical role in assisting your body system to optimize energy levels and boost exercise performance. Foods that are loaded with micronutrients include veggies and fruits. Summer may be beautiful because of the warm and lovely weather, but autumn brings with it its own tidings in the form of micronutrient-rich foods. Therefore, if you want to improve your micro intake and by extension your exercise performance, you have the opportunity to know and incorporate the rich food into your CrossFit diet. Beetroots Beets are vegetables which are crimson-colored and rich in folate, vitamin C, potassium, and fiber. Potassium, in particular, is a key electrolyte that plays a strategic role in nerve signaling and muscle contraction. Because beetroot enhances nutrient and oxygen delivery to working muscles, it beats many vegetables when it comes to exercise performance enhancement. The dietary nitrates contained in beets have a positive impact on the oxygen demand during workouts. The Journal of Applied Physiology published a study which suggested that taking approximately 16 ounces of beetroot juice daily can decrease oxygen demand significantly during moderate-intensity activity. The time to exhaustion also increases and this means you can work out more in the CrossFit gym. Winter Squash Winter squash is rich in vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium, magnesium, and dietary fiber. It comes in plenty during early fall. However, the most interesting bit of winter squash is that it contains pectin which is a soluble fiber that plays such a huge role in the regulation of blood glucose levels. This is important to help you sustain your energy and as such working out for longer hours. This vegetable literally squashes any chance of fatigue that may develop in the middle of your workout session. You can eat winter squash by roasting the seeds or baking them at about 280 degrees Fahrenheit for a period of 15 to 18 minutes. Pumpkin Contrary to what some people have been claiming, pumpkin doesn’t have a single nutrient which is a magical performance booster. Instead, pumpkins contain micronutrients that combine synergistically to give you a milestone in the gym. Pumpkins contain vitamin A, B vitamins, fiber, and selenium, which is an antioxidant. You can roast the pumpkin seeds and consume them while putting the delicious flesh to good use. One of the best ways of eating the flesh is by making it into a pumpkin hummus. This is just because the ingredients you need are garlic, tahini paste, lemon juice, olive oil, fresh pumpkin cooked, chickpeas, cumin, salt, and cayenne pepper. When you combine all these ingredients in a blender and mix thoroughly for 30 to 60 seconds, and after that add a small amount of water, you will end up with pumpkin hummus. There you go! Include these three wonderful vegetables in your CrossFit diet and power through your CrossFit training sessions.
KUNAL JHAVERI | 05 Feb 18
If you are an athlete who frequents the CrossFit gym, then probably you are familiar with a stage known as a plateau where irrespective of how hard you work, the gains are just minimal or even absent altogether. This may be caused by some factors with the main one being nutrition. Normally, your body breaks down muscle protein and glycogen during workouts making your body require carbs and proteins for replenishing the energy stores as well as repairing muscle tissue. There are foods which are recommended for athletes during their post-workout recovery period because they help avail the necessary energy and the amino acids necessary for the repair process. A general rule of thumb indicates that you should consume about 20 to 40 grams of proteins after a workout. Below are foods to include in your CrossFit diet. Chicken Stir-Fry This is an excellent source of proteins and other critical nutrients such as vitamin B and niacin which play an important role in the metabolism of carbs. Pairing chicken stir-fry with white rice which has a high glycemic index enables your body to replenish your muscles with the necessary glucose for energy. So, you must include it in your CrossFit diet. Chocolate Milk Chocolate milk brings in a good combination of carbs, proteins, fats as well as branched chain amino acids. The proteins and the carbs are for tissue repair and energy replenishment while the branched chain amino acids bypass the gut and liver to head directly to the bloodstream where they play a key role in muscle building and muscle maintenance hence a great option to include in your CrossFit diet. Fruit Smoothie Fruit smoothie joins the category of liquid meals which are preferred post-workout foods because they are easily digested as well as quickly absorbed into the body system giving you a ready source of nutrients. To enrich your smoothie, blend yogurt, whey protein, soy milk or skim with high glycemic fruits such as melons and mangoes. Bananas are also excellent because of their potassium content. Egg White and Spinach Omelet Eggs are among the top foods in the provision of protein. Egg protein contains readily utilizable protein meaning it is used efficiently by the body for growth. Spinach, on the other hand, is loaded with phytoecdysteroids and iron. According to research, phytoecdysteroids is a plant steroid which helps in speeding up muscle growth. Toasted Whole Wheat Bagel with Almond Butter Wheat bagels are rich in complex carbs as well as calories. These help in the provision of energy for the body. On the other hand, almond butter is rich in essential minerals including potassium which is responsible for the maintenance of muscle contractions. The monounsaturated fats contained in almond are important in maintaining testosterone, an essential hormone for protein synthesis.  Other foods you may consider to be part of your CrossFit nutrition include salmon, Greek yogurt, and walnuts.
KUNAL JHAVERI | 27 Jan 18
If you are a beginner in handstand push-ups, one of the things you will have to overcome is the fear of turning upside down. Afterwards, you will have to develop incredible control and strength on your upper body to successfully press up and down. It is crucial for you to know the muscles involved during a handstand push-up as this will help you in the course of the CrossFit exercise. The Shoulders During a handstand push-up CrossFit exercise, you are literally standing on your hands with your legs straight up in the air. This means your shoulders will be bearing the brunt of your weight. This is more noticeable as you bend your elbows and press back up. The front of the shoulder cap and other parts of the anterior deltoids are the most used in this position. These are the muscles that connect your chest to your arms and are extremely useful with swinging, pushing, and lifting actions. To work these muscles out so that they can strengthen and bear your body weight, go for overhead presses such as barbell press or dumbbell shoulder press. For effectiveness, including the presses in 2 or 3 upper body workouts each week. Continue adding the weights to allow you to maintain good form. Pectoralis Major This is the biggest chest muscle. It is shaped much like a fan and spans the entire chest wall. The handstand push-up works the clavicular or the upper region of the pectoralis major muscle. Triceps Brachii This is a 3-headed muscle found on the back portion of your upper arm. It is responsible for elbow extension. The triceps brachii engages when you press back up all the way to straight arms down from a push-up. Lateral Deltoid The anterior deltoids are made up of two components: the posterior and the lateral deltoid. When you are doing a handstand push-up, the top portion or lateral deltoid engages to balance out your bodyweight as well as facilitate the press. Trapezius This is one of the main back muscles. It is responsible for stabilizing the scapula which is also known as the shoulder blades as well as keeping your neck in extension. Including the handstand push-up in your CrossFit training schedule ensures that you utilize the upper and middle section of the trapezius. Serratus Anterior This may also be known as the boxer’s muscle. It covers the uppermost ribs, wrapping around from your chest to your back. The main role of the serratus anterior is to stabilize the shoulder blades when doing the handstand push-up. The Importance of Stability in Handstand Push-Up Contrary to what some people may think or imagine, a handstand push-up is more than just muscle contraction. During the move, several muscles come together to stabilize your body. Some of these muscles include the core and all those muscles of the erector spinae and abdomen that run alongside your spine. The engagement of these muscles prevents your body from collapsing at the torso or hips. Your biceps especially the shortest head and the long head of your triceps keep your elbow straight while you are at the top of your handstand. Always remember to start modestly and your CrossFit exercise should be supported by the appropriate CrossFit diet.  
KUNAL JHAVERI | 24 Jan 18
Top performing athletes understand pretty well that nutrition is important if they are to gain a competitive edge over their peers. Through proper and well-planned nutrition, athletes can meet their goals whatever they are. In the 80/20 diet rule, it’s said that body fitness and optimal health is 80% what you eat and 20% exercise. This rubber stamps the importance of diet not only in sports performance but also in our lives as a whole. That said, there are certain foods you should as an athlete. This is because they derail your CrossFit workout performance and set you back. Among these foods include: Diet Soda Diet soda contains artificial sweeteners which have no health benefits to the body. A study was done by Purdue University revealed that consuming artificial sweeteners through drinks such as diet soda can expose your body to health risks and weight gain. Also, these sweeteners are more or less like tricksters to the body because they trick it into thinking that you have taken lots of food thus making it produce insulin for fat storage. Canned Soup The convenience that comes with canned soup makes it a favorite of most people including athletes. However, the bad news is these soups are highly processed and loaded with sodium which takes a toll on your health. Even though the body needs sodium to function well, excessive intake of this mineral through canned soups can have a severe effect on your blood pressure levels. You can opt for homemade soups instead. Rice Cakes Despite the long-held belief that rice cakes are good for snacking, nutritionally speaking, they are empty. These little crunchy snacks will severely affect your blood pressure, and their low-calorie count doesn’t even help in giving you the much-needed energy to fuel your workouts. The glycemic index of rice cakes is 91 which is closer to that of pure glucose which is 100. Foods that are high in glycemic index put your body at risk of developing insulin resistance type 2 diabetes and elevated sugar levels. Sugary Cereals Athletes may be active, but that doesn’t give them the leeway to consume sugary foods including sugary cereals. This is because including these foods in your CrossFit diet spikes insulin levels which in turn prime your body to store more fat. This stresses the body and lowers your overall performance. Intake of sugary cereals raises your blood sugar levels which fall afterward making your body yearn for more sugary foods thereby snowballing your health into a much bigger and unmanageable crisis. White Bread White bread may be popular, but its nutritional content is wanting. This is because the white flour used in making the bread is stripped off its nutrients including fiber, essential Vitamin B, and wheat germ. This leaves behind a processed food product which raises insulin levels when consumed. This is dangerous for an athlete because the dips in energy and the weight gain contributed by white bread can severely affect your CrossFit training schedule. Other foods athletes should put on their must-avoid list include microwave popcorn, granola, alcohol, nutrition bars, pasta, bottled salad dressing, packed deli meat, and pretzels. Instead of craving for these foods, they should look for their healthy alternatives.
KUNAL JHAVERI | 21 Jan 18
In sports, the success of an athlete is determined by numbers of factors, some of which include motivation, training, talent, resistance to injury among others. This means accomplished athletes need to pay keen attention to every factor that influences their CrossFit training performance. Nutrition is a key element in the preparation of an athlete for any competition as well as routine training. The foods athletes choose affect performance directly hence they need to be aware of their nutritional strategies and the foods that will help them meet their goals. In order to have a broad and comprehensive understanding of nutrition as it pertains to athletes, the discussion below has been divided into different topical issues. Food Groups There are three main food groups that athletes should include in their diet; energy giving foods, proteins as well as vitamins and minerals. The energy requirements of an athlete can be broken down into several components including energy for baseline metabolic needs, energy for growth as well as energy for physical activity. In order to meet the energy that is needed for all these processes,  therefore, athletes’ diet must contain sufficient energy giving foods. Athletes require carbohydrates for training and recovery as well as for energy during competitions. The protein requirements depend on the type of exercises and sport the athlete is engaged in. For instance, in strength training, dietary proteins help in enabling the muscles to synthesize certain proteins required to enhance performance. The contribution of proteins in the manufacture of new tissue, repair of worn out tissue and regulating metabolism and the immune system through hormones is critical. CrossFitters should include a high-quality protein diet soon after CrossFit exercise to help in muscle protein synthesis. Vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals help the body in regulating metabolic processes by acting as enzyme co-factors. Some vitamins such as E and K have antioxidant properties which help in mopping up excess radicals hence reducing inflammation during exercises and competitions. Nutritional Needs of Special Populations In athletics, the needs of young athletes and female athletes vary nutrition-wise depending on whether they are training or in active competition. The diet needs of young athletes must be observed both before and during competitions so as to minimize gastrointestinal upsets and dehydration. Avoiding solid foods for about 2 to 3 hours before competition helps, however, the intake of fluids should be encouraged throughout. Because of active growth and the effects of adolescence, young athletes must be given the necessary nutritional support which includes energy, protein and vitamin intake. Female athletes have lower energy requirements because of their low muscle mass and body mass as well as a lighter training load. Their diets should contain lots of iron and less of fats. Types of Workouts Depending on the type of training an athlete is participating in, their CrossFit diet intake changes. For instance, strength training which includes bodybuilding, powerlifting, throwing events, as well as weightlifting, requires a high intake of energy giving foods and adequate high-quality proteins. Power sports which include rowing, swimming, kayaking and track cycling requires moderate to high levels of carbohydrates intake, sufficient fluids, and high-quality proteins. Endurance sports including triathlon, marathon and road cycling requires athletes to have the ability to sustain performance over long periods. The diet here should be rich in carbohydrates to fuel the training phrase, fluids to prevent dehydration as well as high-quality proteins to promote muscle adaptation. In addition to the above sports, special consideration should also be made for aesthetic and weight class training such as gymnastics, figure skating, combative sports, and diving. Carbohydrates help athletes in this category to meet the energy needs for training and competition while fluids help to prevent dehydration.
KUNAL JHAVERI | 14 Jan 18
Carbohydrates are the backbone of sports nutrition. Endurance athletes around the world consume foods rich in carbohydrates to give them the energy to sustain their training over long periods. During CrossFit training, the muscles need fuel, and your brain needs the energy to maintain the focus throughout the training. In many types of sports, low carbohydrates intake is the major cause of fatigue and low performance. Carbohydrate Intake Patterns for Athletes The carbohydrates needs of athletes are tied closely to their muscle fuel costs imposed by the training intensity. Since the training load changes from one day to the next and at different points in the careers of the athletes, the dietary intake of carbohydrates ought to change also in response to the rise and fall in muscle fuel needs. Instead of having a fixed carbohydrate intake target, you should fine tune it to fit your energy budget. Athletes should also target days when they are training hard at high intensity to ensure they have adequate glycogen (muscle carbohydrates) store to fuel their training goals. One of the greatest suggestions to help you monitor your carbohydrate intake is to track your muscle fuel needs to include additional carbohydrate-rich foods in meals and snacks before or after a CrossFit workout. As the training needs increase, your carbohydrate intake should also increase proportionally. Carbohydrates intake targets should be provided in grams relative to the body mass of the athlete instead of a percentage of the total energy intake. The Training Load versus Carbohydrates Intake As pointed above, your training load should determine your level of carbohydrates intake. A light training load characterized by skill-based or low-intensity activities should be supported by 3 to 5 grams of carbohydrates intake per kilogram of body mass. Moderate exercise programs lasting about an hour a day should be supported by 5 to 7 grams of carbohydrates per kilogram of body mass per day. Endurance programs which include 3 to 5 hours per day of high-intensity training should be supported by 6 to 10 grams per kilogram of body mass per day. As for the very high training loads, the carbohydrates intake should be upped to 8 to 12 grams per kilogram of body mass to support the extreme commitment of high-intensity exercise. Many athletes train with low carbohydrate availability particularly when they do their training in the morning without breakfast or when they engage in a long workout without access to sports drinks or foods. When the exercise intensity is low, this may not be a problem. However, when they train more than once every day in closely spaced sessions, CrossFit diet sufficient in carbohydrates is needed to enhance the speed of recovery.
KUNAL JHAVERI | 06 Jan 18
Any effective training must be accompanied by the right mix of nutrition. Much like the unpredictability of CrossFit WODs, diet also varies from one person to another. When you mention fats, people mistake them for unhealthy components which should, by all means, be withdrawn from the diet. The kind of fats which should be avoided at all costs are the trans fats. This type of fats comes in two categories: artificial and naturally occurring trans fats. Artificial trans fats are added to make food taste better. They are tempting but should be replaced with healthier meals. In the body, trans fats raise your cholesterol level which in turn enhances the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and stroke. Trans fats are commonly found in foods such as pie crusts, frozen pizza, crackers, cookies, stick margarine, cakes, droughts and others. The healthiest fats are monosaturated fats and omega 3 fatty acids. The former lower the bad cholesterol while the latter help in fighting inflammation, blood clotting, and high blood pressure. Healthy fats are important for cell growth and brain function. The following are some of the best sources of healthy fats. Tuna, Salmon, and other Fish Tuna and Salmon are known for their omega 3 fatty acids and healthy fats. They help in boosting cardiac health. The recommended intake is approximately 12 ounces a week. This is approximately 2 meals. The reason why the quantity is limited is, the increased intake may expose you to such substances like mercury which are often found in small amounts in seafood. Avocado A medium-sized avocado contains about 23gms of monosaturated fats. Also, it gives you about 40% of your daily fiber needs. Naturally, the avocado is cholesterol and sodium free and contains lutein which is an oxidant that protects your vision. Taking a half avocado at one time is recommended because of the high amounts of calories. Canola Oil and Olive Oil Olive oil contains polyphenols which help in fighting cancer. It also contains monosaturated fats such as oleic acid which plays a key role in strengthening the heart. Increasing the amounts of olive oil in your CrossFit diet boosts the level of serotonin in your blood, a hormone associated with satiety. On the other hand, canola oil has a healthy 2.5:1 ratio of omega 6 to omega 3 fatty acids. This dietary ratio enables you to battle arthritis, cancer, and asthma more effectively. Nuts Getting a quarter cup of cashews, pecans, almonds, or pistachios gives you a good loading of healthy fats. Pistachios have carotenoids, zeaxanthin, and lutein which are important for eye health. Macadamia and cashews contain much fat, and therefore you should watch your serving. Eggs Eggs are famous for their role in lowering bad cholesterol levels. They also contain choline, a macronutrient that attacks the gene mechanism responsible for triggering the body system to store fat around the liver. Other foods containing healthy fats to include in your CrossFit nutrition are Greek yogurt, cheese, coconut butter, chia seeds, nut butter, and dark chocolate.
KUNAL JHAVERI | 29 Dec 17
There has been a misconception about bone health that has led to the lack of concern amongst many people. A majority of people think that bone health is only an issue of the aged. As long as an individual is years away from that age where they need to start worrying about their general body health including bones, there is no point fact-finding on bone health. On the contrary, taking care of your bones is a matter that you need to involve yourself with now. According to research, when a person attains the age of 18, close to 90% of their bones are solidified. By the time they reach the age of 30, the chances of success in bone density enhancements become slim. However, the good thing is nutrition and exercise can have a profound impact on improving and maintaining bone strength. Incorporating Calcium into Your Diet Calcium is simply the backbone of bone health. Science tells us that bones are alive and in the process of constantly remodeling. This happens through the addition and removal of bone tissue in a process known as bone turnover. If you are getting sufficient CrossFit nutrition and your level of exercise is commendable, your body system will consistently add bone material until you attain the age of 30 and beyond. Even though bone turnover starts declining at the age of 30, nutrition and life choices can help support the density, health, and strength of your bones. Your bones are home to over 99% of the calcium in your body. By enhancing calcium intake, you can optimize bone formation and strength. The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for calcium is 1,000 milligrams per day for both men and women. Some of the foods to include in your CrossFit diet include dairy products, soy products, kidney beans, and cruciferous green veggies. Vitamin D Vitamin D plays a supportive role in bone strengthening. It does so by enhancing the absorption of calcium in the body. The richest source of vitamin D is sunshine through its UVB rays. When these rays come into contact with your skin, they cause a series of reactions that culminate in the formation of vitamin D which is also referred to as calcitriol. The factors affecting the absorption of UVB rays include your geographical location, your lifestyle, your skin pigmentation, and usage of sunscreen. Most of the people are vitamin D deficient because they do not get as much time out on the sun and the foods they eat do not have as much vitamin D as the body requires. You may decide to supplement if you find yourself in a situation where your daily vitamin D requirements are not met. Resistance Training Having taken care of diet above, you should finish it up with exercise. Working with weights is an important process in the preservation and enhancement of bone strength. The reason behind this is simple; resistance training is a direct stress-or to your bone system. In order to adapt, your body responds by increasing bone cells which in turn add bone material. Incorporating weight bearing CrossFit exercises for two or three times a week can do the job incredibly well. Some of the workouts to include are bodyweight squats, push-ups, jumping rope, jogging, and walking. The bottom line for adding bone material and enhancing your bone density is to stay healthy, stay active, and stay strong.
KUNAL JHAVERI | 12 Dec 17