Top 10 Rules of Optimal Nutrition:

1. Eat Food First
A food first approach to eating is highly recommended. Consuming fresh quality foods will provide essential nutrients for optimal health and performance. You CANNOT supplement a poor diet.

2. Determine energy requirements
Calorie requirements are based on your goals, body weight and activity level. If the goal is fat loss, you must be in a calorie deficit.

3. Choose a diet pattern that suits you
Whether you’re trying to lose weight, build muscle mass or increase performance, your diet patterns should essentially suit your lifestyle and goals. Whether you eat 5-6 small meals or 2 larger meals each day is irrelevant once daily calorie intakes are in line with your goals.

4. Choose quality produce
Avoid cheap processed foods and choose fresh high-quality ingredients from local sources, where possible.

5. Protein in every meal
To promote muscle growth, aid recovery and reduce hunger levels, quality sources of protein should be consumed at every meal, including snacks.

6. Eat a Rainbow
A range of colourful fruits and vegetables should be consumed throughout the day. Each colour contains an array of vitamins and minerals essential for health and wellbeing. Aim for 5 portions of fruits and vegetables daily.

7. Drink (Water)
Hydration helps regulate and facilitate key bodily functions. Dehydration can negatively affect both health. Aim to drink to thirst and always carry a water bottle with you throughout the day.

8. Don’t Fear Carbs
Carbohydrates are essential for energy and are specifically required for high intensity exercise. It’s not carbohydrates alone that causes weight gain, it’s over-eating in general.

9. Adherence and Consistency
Ensure a high level of adherence and be consistent in what you do each week. You won’t see noticeable change straight away, it takes time.

10. Supplement ONLY With Prescription
Should only be prescribed when necessary, you cannot supplement a poor diet. The main aim is to get the food right first and if supplementation is still required, this can be prescribed. Often people over rely on supplements at the expense of real food.

Foundations of Food – Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates – Fuelling Your Body Right.
A common misconception amongst Crossfit athletes, is that you must eliminate or reduce carbohydrate intakes in order to lose body fat or enhance performance. Carbohydrates are the predominant fuel source when exercising at high intensities. Whether training or taking part in a competition, it is important you arrive fully fuelled and ready to go. Considering Crossfit is performed at high intensities, it seems counterproductive to remove them or to exercise with low carbohydrate availability.

Foundations of Food – Protein

What Is Protein?
Made up of smaller molecules called amino acids, proteins provide the basic building blocks of muscle. Proteins are constantly being synthesized (created) and degraded (broken down) in the body. It is therefore important to ensure that you regularly ingest a source of protein to aid recovery, strength and keep you full for longer.

How Much Protein?
As a general guide, ingestion of approximately 25-30 g protein, consumed every 3 hours throughout the day is optimal. This means every meal or snack should contain a decent portion of protein. Foods containing approximately 30 g of protein can be seen in the table below.

What Type of Protein Should I Eat?
Sources should vary as much as possible depending on individual preference from lean white meat such as chicken or turkey, white fish such as cod or haddock, red meat such as steak or mince, oily fish such as salmon, tuna or sardines, amongst other sources such as milk, eggs, nuts and greek yoghurt. This allows for a variety of vitamins, minerals and healthy fats to be consumed in addition to the actual protein content itself.

Source Serving to consume ~30g
Chicken 1 large chicken breast (120g)
Turkey 1 1⁄2 breasts
Pork 1x 120g pork loin
Beef Rump Steak 1x 120g rump steak
Beef Steak Mince 100g of beef mince steak
Smoked Salmon 5 slices (100g)
Salmon Fillet 1½ fillets
Eggs 5 medium eggs
Greek Yoghurt 270g
Full Fat Milk 1.5 pint of milk
Beef Biltong 50g

Foundations of Food- Fats

What Are Fats?
Fats have gotten a bad rap in the past but, fortunately not all fats are harmful. In fact, certain fats are absolutely vital for optimal health and simple everyday functioning. Healthy fats play important roles in controlling inflammation, supporting the immune system, optimizing brain function and boosting hormones.

What types of fat?
‘Healthy’ fats are predominantly found in non-animal sources like avocado and nuts, but can also be found in oily fish like salmon or mackerel. Omega 3 is typically found in oily fish and helps to optimise cognitive function, reduce inflammation and maintenance of skin and bone health. Saturated and trans fats should not make up the majority of your daily fat intakes. Saturated fats include animal fat, whereas trans-fats are predominantly formed when fats are fried. Although small amounts of saturated fat are essential for testosterone support, trans-fats should be avoided where possible.

Type of ‘Healthy Fat’ Examples
Monounsaturated Avocados, Olives, Almond Nuts, Peanuts, Hazelnuts, Macademia Nuts, Pecan Nuts, Cashews Nuts, Natural Nuts, Butters, Olive Oil
Polyunsaturated Walnuts, Sunflower Seeds, Sesame Seeds, Pumpkin Seeds, Flaxseeds, Salmon, Tuna, Mackerel, Herring, Trout, Sardines

Hydration

Hydration for Performance & Health
Our bodies are made up of 60% water which plays a vital role in supporting various functions in the body; muscle function, cognitive function, digestion and temperature regulation.

Hydration for Sports Performance

When we exercise, we lose essential fluids and electrolytes which puts us at risk of dehydration if these fluids are not replaced. To determine optimal hydration always remember to:

  • Carry a water bottle
  • Drink to thirst; sipping water throughout the day
  • Check hydration status regularly

As there is a great deal of individual variability, it’s important to assess your own individual hydration status regularly and adapt your drinking to ensure optimal hydration.

How do I assess my hydration?
The ‘urine-test’ is an easy but effective method to determine hydration. The lighter the colour indicates you’re hydrated.