We're going to start featuring some of our athletes with a focus on their approach to dieting. If you would like to ask a specific question or see a certain athlete featured, shoot an email to CrossFitSpartanburg@gmail.com and we'll get on it.
Up first..."Polk County" Emily B (also known as the fittest female in South Carolina for 2015). She's working her way through grad school in North Carolina and getting back on track after a back injury during the Open. She provides some really good insight on her dieting practices below...
How would you classify your diet (Zone, Paleo, Flexible Dieting, Macros, etc.)?
I usually try to count macros through Flexible Dieting. I am pretty lenient on hitting the numbers exactly, but on a daily basis, I try to hit around 190 carbs, 140 protein, and 60 fat. I try not to be too hard on myself over it, but having that goal in my head every day keeps me on track and holds me accountable to what I’m eating.
Would you say your intake is more quantity or quality based?
It is a combination of both! I am not too strict on the quality that I eat; for example, if I want cheerios in the morning or a tablespoon of cookie dough, I’ll eat it. But implementing the “flexible dieting” approach allows me to eat those things in moderation while also not allowing me to go too crazy. Eating fast food or pizza for dinner would not fit into my daily macro allowance, so I generally stay away from those types of foods. Plus, eating healthier foods allows me to eat more throughout the day, and I have a huge appetite so that works best for me!
What does a typical day of food look like for you (types of food and/or amounts, timing around workouts...just a typical diet plan for a regular training day)?
I usually work out in the afternoons, so a regular training day for me usually consists of a small breakfast, usually 1 egg and a cup of egg whites with spinach, onion, and reduced fat cheese mixed in. Then, I usually eat 6-9 ounces of grilled chicken and 200-300 grams of the sweet potato bites from Harris Teeter that are pre-diced with just cinnamon and salt on them. Then, I eat a carb-filled snack before my workout (usually a tortilla wrap with peanut butter, honey, and a banana inside), and I eat a carb-filled snack after my workout or during the workout if it’s a long session. That will usually be something like a bowl of oatmeal or a cup and a half of honey nut cheerios. Then, I usually eat a big dinner like a 93% lean burger patty with cheddar cheese with some sort of vegetables and potatoes on the side. Sometimes, even after all of that, I am able to drink a casein protein shake before bed (or make it into a chocolate casein pudding).
Does your diet change depending on the amount of training that day?
Yes, if I am not working out at all, I eat significantly less carbs (usually 150ish) and increase my fat intake a little bit. If I am working out twice, I increase my carbs a little bit and keep the rest of it the same!
Do you implement a cheat meal? If so...when, how often and what are you eating?
Yes, I am all about a cheat meal! Counting macros every single day works for some people, and they probably have better results from the process honestly, but it drives me too crazy to do it every day. I need a day off once a week to not worry about it. I usually make those cheat meals on Saturdays, and I end up eating basically the same thing throughout the day as I usually do until dinner. At dinner time on Saturdays, I am usually pretty unhealthy. I will eat a burger and fries, or a barbeque plate. A few weeks ago, I had chicken and waffles AND macaroni and cheese… and a few margaritas. When the Crossfit Open rolls around again, I will try to eliminate the cheat meals and alcohol, but until then, I like to keep myself sane by giving myself a night off every week! It doesn’t seem to hinder my progress TOO much, so it works for me.
What are you current diet goals?
During the Open this year, I was dealing with an injury that prevented me from working out very hard for about a month, so I let my diet go along with it! Right now, I’m just trying to reign it back in and start counting macros again. So, for the next few weeks until I get back down to my normal weight, I will not allow myself to eat a cheat meal. But usually, my diet goals are performance-related, because the main thing I’ve noticed while eating healthy is how much more energy I have in the gym. There’s a clear difference when I don’t eat healthy; I feel sluggish and weak!
What is your biggest diet challenge (family, time, prep, etc.)?
The meal prep is definitely my biggest challenge! I can’t stand spending hours on a Sunday prepping all of my meals, so instead, I usually take just 30 or so minutes every night to only prepare the meals that I need for the very next day. That seems way less overwhelming to me than meal prepping every meal that I’ll need for 5 days. It also allows me to eat the foods that I actually want at the time, instead of anticipating what I may end up wanting to eat the following Friday. The other problem I have is becoming too obsessed with hitting the numbers all of the time and being too hard on myself when I slip up. That is why I let myself have a planned day off every Saturday, to give my mind a rest and not let an obsession with food and dieting become my whole life. It also makes it easier to stick with it the rest of the week, because I know a night off is right around the corner.