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What are CrossFitters eating to look like the cast of 300?

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created March 22, 2013 at 2:42 PM

So maybe it's because the games are coming up or because I've noticed more of them at my gym, but some of these guys are huge and it doesn't make sense to me. Granted, there are a lot of "average" sized men and women doing CrossFit but some of them are ripped beyond belief. I don't think they're eating a high fat diet either.

I've tried to apply LeanGains macro cycling to my CrossFit workouts but it becomes very difficult given the variety of workouts you can encounter on any given day. For example, yesterday was - nutritionally speak - a training day with a surplus of calories. I went to the gym and it was a mobility day where we worked on ankle and hip mobility followed up by some muscle ups and double unders. Since LeanGains is built around a very structured 3 days on and 4 days off schedule (more recovery than work is key in addition to the fact that you need to eat more days in a deficit than in a surplus to cut fat) focused on Bench Press, Deadlifts, and Squats I don't know how successful I'm going to be. I try to just do my heavy lifts before the WOD.

Now I'm digressing. Back to the point. What do you think the best of the best are eating? Zone? Modified paleo? Bro science protein shakes six times a day? That or maybe people who are genetically just in the zone are drawn to CrossFit, not the other way around, if that makes sense?

Thanks for any feedback!

5e5ff249c9161b8cd96d7eff6043bc3a

(4713)

on March 22, 2013
at 06:11 PM

This is a great post. Nice to hear that it's not a 6 week (or whatever short time frame) transformation for everyone.

Ebb10603524dd22621c1155dd7ddf106

(19150)

on March 22, 2013
at 05:03 PM

From what I understand, "targeted fat loss" doesn't actually exist. Overall fat loss and "targeted muscle gain", does exist. As I near my goal BF%, the targeted muscle gains become more apparent. (As an aside, next time consider commenting on my answer, as opposed to opening a new answer box for the main question. Not a big deal, just keep it in mind.)

D05f3050dc3d973b8b81a876202fa99a

(1533)

on March 22, 2013
at 03:34 PM

This has been my experience too, I "fell off the wagon" for months and I'm back up at 20 or so bf%. I was getting abdominal definition a la LeanGains and down from 185 to 155. Now I'm at 190. I definitely hear you on maintenance over repair. I've had to learn that the hard way.

D05f3050dc3d973b8b81a876202fa99a

(1533)

on March 22, 2013
at 03:00 PM

Desmond - I have that book. I agree with most of it, but in certain circumstances I think added protein is good. For example, if you're in an energy deficit that's pretty deep protein is low cal compared to fat and aids in preserving muscle. I wouldn't want to push all the way down to 80 grams like Pilon says you can. Also, I remember reading something about potential anabolic effects at 200+ grams but I would never eat that much in a day. Ha.

86c97b2779feab3c330f5e1c5fea7e25

(2312)

on March 22, 2013
at 02:58 PM

Similar to EatStopStop, Brad Pilon has some interesting data that "gorging on protein" is not necessary to to build muscle. It's Called "How Much Protein". Just wanted to throw that out there, interesting read

D05f3050dc3d973b8b81a876202fa99a

(1533)

on March 22, 2013
at 02:54 PM

I think you might be right. I would imagine that if you're an "average" sized guy with less than ideal genes in terms of body composition or your natural tendency to be anything less than shredded would get get you really small eating in a deficit and probably chubby, but with muscle, in a surplus of energy.

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Ebb10603524dd22621c1155dd7ddf106

(19150)

on March 22, 2013
at 03:27 PM

I finally have found the light at the end of the tunnel regarding (as far as I want to be/look) shredded. I do think I have good genes overall (never really get fat-fat, but hard to lean out), and for me the secret was basically nearing a near-shredded state on the long-tail of my fitness endeavor.

What I mean by that is this: if Martin Berkhan was my personal trainer, okay, maybe I could've done it in 6 months. However, I guarantee you that I would've been miserable doing it. But, 3-4 year into eating healthily, and 18 some odd months after a surgery I needed (which was to correct an issue that was stopping me from working out -- even walking regularly), I'm finally entering into the "shredded zone". For me, this is about 10% BF - I'm 14%ish at the moment. In terms of BF%, that's actually still a ways to go, but if I look at the last 18 months, 90% of my obvious transformation has happened in the last two months! However, those two months would simply not have happened for me if I hadn't spent more than the last year with results that were at best "Well, I feel kind of better and stronger, I guess", and definitely not externally obvious. Funny enough, I lost 50% BF in that time - 28% to 14%, and while I could tell when I was naked, it's not like my co-workers really noticed. (Again, which I can thank my genes for, since I definitely had put on lots of body fat, but it was "even" across my body.) Monthly tape measurements inspired me enough to keep going - losing in the right spots, and gaining in the right spots, no matter how little meant progress.

In that large window of time, my eating was 95% paleo v2 / perfect health diet. I rage against people here who use the word "cheat" to mean "falling off the wagon", since during my getting fit time, I tried various actual cheats to get me fitter, quicker. Nothing helped - not IF, not BCAAs, not supplemental protein. (Reintroducing starchy roots and tubers did help somewhat, though.) Not even CrossFit helped - nothing against it, it's just not for me. (HIIT, outdoors running and heavy weights helped a bit, too.) My diet would've been 100% if I didn't experiment with supplemental products.

As far as diet goes, I specifically eat a paleo-ified version of Perfect Health Diet (which really isn't hard to do). Basically, it's PHD, but I don't monkey around with rice (much) and never added sweeteners. 3/4-1 lb of varied animal sourced foods (meat, fish, eggs) a day, but I don't focus on the meat, I focus on all the things that complement it. I really strongly believe roots and tubers are vital to muscle gain.

Now, I have an Apollo's belt forming. I can see the muscles I'm already happy with under my arms and chest only need to sneak through a thin layer of fat, and they'll look "shredded". All the things that people want for vanity, I'm finally getting. But it took a long time. But during that time, I was happy.

Did I get the short end of the stick genetically? Ehh, maybe, but I really don't look at it that way. I suppose I envy the people that get ready for summer fitness starting in March. For me, I suppose that would mean starting in the March of the previous year.

Having taken so long to get to where I am, though, has made me very aware of the cost of repair versus the cost of maintenance. I'm looking forward to maintenance and small gains -- repair has been much to costly and took much too much time.

So, I hope this story inspired you a little bit, if it didn't answer your question directly. Learn from your peers, keep on keeping on, eat healthy and you'll get there.

5e5ff249c9161b8cd96d7eff6043bc3a

(4713)

on March 22, 2013
at 06:11 PM

This is a great post. Nice to hear that it's not a 6 week (or whatever short time frame) transformation for everyone.

D05f3050dc3d973b8b81a876202fa99a

(1533)

on March 22, 2013
at 03:34 PM

This has been my experience too, I "fell off the wagon" for months and I'm back up at 20 or so bf%. I was getting abdominal definition a la LeanGains and down from 185 to 155. Now I'm at 190. I definitely hear you on maintenance over repair. I've had to learn that the hard way.

2
800e726cb5dff569fd8edf604c3e2793

on March 22, 2013
at 02:51 PM

It's mostly down to genetics. Some guys are genetically predisposed to grow huge muscles, some aren't. Diet-wise I think it's all pretty standard -- gorge on protein to build muscle (not that this will contribute to your life expectancy), drive down your body fat % to look ripped.

D05f3050dc3d973b8b81a876202fa99a

(1533)

on March 22, 2013
at 02:54 PM

I think you might be right. I would imagine that if you're an "average" sized guy with less than ideal genes in terms of body composition or your natural tendency to be anything less than shredded would get get you really small eating in a deficit and probably chubby, but with muscle, in a surplus of energy.

86c97b2779feab3c330f5e1c5fea7e25

(2312)

on March 22, 2013
at 02:58 PM

Similar to EatStopStop, Brad Pilon has some interesting data that "gorging on protein" is not necessary to to build muscle. It's Called "How Much Protein". Just wanted to throw that out there, interesting read

D05f3050dc3d973b8b81a876202fa99a

(1533)

on March 22, 2013
at 03:00 PM

Desmond - I have that book. I agree with most of it, but in certain circumstances I think added protein is good. For example, if you're in an energy deficit that's pretty deep protein is low cal compared to fat and aids in preserving muscle. I wouldn't want to push all the way down to 80 grams like Pilon says you can. Also, I remember reading something about potential anabolic effects at 200+ grams but I would never eat that much in a day. Ha.

0
0f950f339fea496e6111b69d02be93bd

on March 22, 2013
at 04:48 PM

So greymouser, how do you target "areas" for body fat lose? I thought fat lose was going to be proportional per say instead of loosing here and gaining there

Ebb10603524dd22621c1155dd7ddf106

(19150)

on March 22, 2013
at 05:03 PM

From what I understand, "targeted fat loss" doesn't actually exist. Overall fat loss and "targeted muscle gain", does exist. As I near my goal BF%, the targeted muscle gains become more apparent. (As an aside, next time consider commenting on my answer, as opposed to opening a new answer box for the main question. Not a big deal, just keep it in mind.)

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