“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. Practice and train major lifts: Deadlift, clean, squat, presses, C&J, and snatch. Similarly, master the basics of gymnastics: Pull-ups, dips, rope climb, push-ups, sit-ups, presses to handstands, pirouettes, flips, splits, and holds. Bike, run, swim, row, etc, hard and fast. Five or six days per week mix these elements in as many combinations and patterns as creativity will allow. Routine is the enemy. Keep workouts short and intense. Regularly learn and play new sports.” – Coach GG. Founder, CrossFit
This definition is elegant in it’s simplicity and effectiveness. There are no magic supplements or diet’s. No “holy grail” of the almighty keto fast.
If you want to be healthy, do these things. If you want to feel better and lose-fat while getting stronger, do these things. Don’t eat it if it doesn’t fit into this definition. Don’t build an exercise program around elements that aren’t found in this definition. Not if you truly want progress and results. Not if you truly want fitness and health.
So, let’s break this definition down. What does it mean? What about it is so elegantly simple and effective? Let’s start with the base.
“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.” I can’t tell you how many times I’ve recited that exact sentence to someone asking me how to get healthy. The reality is this. Your meals should be built around lean meats and vegetables. If it’s not one of those things, it shouldn’t be what you’re building your meal around. Period.
Pasta is not a vegetable, Karen. Want something to snack on? Grab some nuts or seeds. Maybe a piece of fruit (real fruit, not your kids banana chips or strawberry yogurt). Almonds, cashews, sunflower seeds. Blueberries, apples, oranges, strawberries, cherries. Real food that came from the ground or a tree.
Little starch = little means not very much. What are starches? Grains. Pasta. Bread, crackers. Some starchy vegetables (potatoes). Beans, lentils and peas. Carbohydrates that, when consumed, will cause your blood sugar to rise more than other carbohydrates (vegetables). This is why it says some fruits. Because even too much fruit can yield a chronic level of elevated blood sugar. What we’re saying here is yes, you can definitely have potatoes, rice, and the occasional grain. But it should NOT be present at every meal, and it should not make up the majority of your plate. That should be made up of mostly meat and vegetables.
No sugar. That doesn’t really need an explanation. Sugar includes anything processed that is sweet. That includes sugar replacements. I promise, you don’t need 5 splenda packets in your unsweet tea. Just put it down and give your body a chance to stop expecting sugar, and you’ll stop craving it. I’m serious. I’m at a point now that I can taste added sugars and even sugar replacements to drinks, and they taste like chemicals. I won’t even consume them anymore because they’re so unattractive. You will get there too, you just have to stop exposing yourself to it every time you put something in your mouth. I used to live on sweet tea and mountain dew. Your tastebuds WILL change if you just give em a chance.
Keep intakes to levels that will support exercise but not body fat. Eat when your body tells you it’s hungry. Keep what you eat under the category described above. Do not eat because you’re bored. Do not snack on processed foods while you’re watching TV. If you want a snack, grab 1oz of nuts and 4oz of turkey. DON’T eat the entire can of planters peanuts and crush an entire rotisserie chicken to yourself.
Moderation is a beautiful thing, as is self-control. It just takes practice.
Practice and train major lifts: Deadlift, clean, squat, presses, C&J, and snatch. Do compound, full body exercises regularly. Learn how to use your body to control and manipulate external loads. This will develop strength, power, endurance, coordination, stamina and flexibility simultaneously. These are the exercises that develop true strength, athleticism and fitness. You will not get a strong core from sitting on a machine, but if you learn to deadlift and squat with correct form, you’ll build muscles, increase your bone density and set your metabolism on fire all at the same time. Your body will thank you, just be sure to respect the movements and learn to do them correctly before adding intensity through speed or loads.
Similarly, master the basics of gymnastics: Pull-ups, dips, rope climb, push-ups, sit-ups, presses to handstands, pirouettes, flips, splits, and holds. Learn how to move and control your body in space. Develop the strength and understanding to move your body how it is intended to move. Don’t be afraid of climbing over a fence, or jumping off the back of a truck bed. Have the ability to pull yourself up and over a wall. Don’t allow your body to become a prison for your desires like the rest of our society as they age. I promise you this. If you don’t continue learning how to use your body, you will lose the ability. It isn’t something that you will inherently keep. It has to be earned.
Bike, run, swim, row, etc, hard and fast. Breathe hard, often. Develop your cardio-respiratory capacity. Develop the ability to run a few miles at the drop of a hat. Learn how to ride a bike, and then develop the endurance to ride that bike for an hour without feeling like you’re going to drop dead. Reward your body with exercise so that it becomes more resilient, because that’s what really matters. Imagine that you have two bank accounts for your health. One account is labeled “healthy me” while the other is labeled “sick me”. In reality it’s a constant choice. Take a second and start looking at your decisions through that filter. Ask yourself “Is this a deposit in the healthy or sick account?” Most people make about 9/10 of their deposits every day into the “sick” account, but wonder why they’re depressed, frequently sick, and unhappy with the reflection in the mirror. It starts with you, and it’s a culmination of a lot of small, consistent decisions.
Five or six days per week mix these elements in as many combinations and patterns as creativity will allow. Routine is the enemy. Keep workouts short and intense. You read that right. Five or six days per week. You have to MOVE, and move OFTEN. You can’t workout 1-3x a week and thing that’s going to change your life. It’s a great place to start, but you can’t stay there forever. We are a reflection of our habits, and what we do often. You have to move. Often. Our bodies adapt to stress, and the more variety we experience the more our body adapts. If you do the same thing every week, our bodies start to adapt to those stresses and eventually, they stop responding with progress because they’re accustomed to the stress we’re throwing at them. You’ll burn more body fat, long term, with shorter and more intense workouts as opposed to long, slow workouts. Imagine your metabolism is a fire. Short, intense workouts regularly is like throwing big, thick logs onto your fire while will burn hotter, for longer.
Regularly learn and play new sports. Once you start developing fitness, USE IT! Get out and try new things. Play. Have fun. Start using your newfound fitness to do things you never thought you would do again, or try things you’ve always wanted to experience. A large part of the value we get from our lives comes from experiencing NEW things. So, put your fitness to the test and get outside. See what your new body is actually capable of and have some fun with people you care about. That’s what keeps you engaged, and makes all of this worth the hard work day in and day out. Think of new experiences as a reward for yourself.
When you get to the point of unlocking your bodies true potential, you’ll develop momentum. You’ll look back to the old you and think “wow, I can’t believe I used to live like that”.
And you’ll never look back.
Find a CrossFit gym. Find a coach. Find some friends. Start getting fitter.