Today we're starting a series into each of our coaches nutrition - why we eat the way we do, what we normally eat, how we do it, and... A day-in-the-life with photos.
This week Coach G goes deep. If you want to jump to the photos, scroll to the bottom. Enjoy!
It's October 2009 in a CrossFit in Knoxville, Tenn. I'm desperate to increase my total squat, bench press, and deadlift, but no matter how diligently I work, my lifts got worse instead of better.
I felt weak. Like hitting brick walls, getting-run-over-by-a-train kind of weak.
It didn't make any sense.
Over the previous few years I'd lost and re-gained the same 10 lbs again and again.
I'd tried everything to lose weight: running 1/2 marathons, eating less than 1000 calories per day, taking 3+ classes in a row, taking Phentermine, at-home dumbbell strength training, eating six small meals per day, trying Atkins, eating super low fat, step aerobics, etc.
You name it, I've done it.
It all worked... to a certain point. I would lose 5-8 lbs. and then struggle, struggle, struggle to eek out two more by adding more of whatever I was doing...
... more dieting.
... more exercise.
... more guilt when failure piled upon failure.
But I needed to lose 20 lbs in total. If it took 10-15 hours per week to keep 10 lbs off of my body, how would I ever lose 20???
That's when I was introduced to CrossFit.
In only 4 hours a week I could maintain 5-8 lbs. of weight loss with a mix of strength training + high intensity interval training. Yippee!
But when I wanted to get stronger I ran into problems...
The transition into raw veganism from vegetarianism took two years in my quest for the healthiest way to live.
The trouble was that ...
- My weight loss stalled six months prior... but the raw vegans told me I wasn't trying hard enough
- My strength gains plateaued even though I followed a solid strength building program
- And my adult acne, mood swings, dental health, energy levels, gut-wrenching PMS, all-things-digestion, and willpower were erratic at best and in the tank most of the time.
Desperate in more ways than one, I took a dare from my coach and decided to prove him wrong by eating animal protein and fat for a month.
At first I ate canned tuna with an entire Tablespoon of olive oil. *gasp*
When I was still hungry, my coach said, "Eat more, even more fat. Eat some bacon and eggs."
I remember feeling guilty for eating fat and certain my body would soon blow up like a balloon.
But a crazy thing happened.
Within days my strength improved.
In a couple of weeks five pounds disappeared.
Within two more weeks five more pounds fell off, my skin was clear for the first time in my life, the hangry disappeared, no more PMS, and my mood was stable.
Things I thought were normal in my personal digestive process - weird bloats and, um, (yep, I'm going there) stinky gas and bowel movements - turned out to be an easily avoidable option.
Oh, and I added 20 lbs to my squat, 10 lbs to my bench press, and 25 lbs to my deadlift.
HOW could food do all that???
Over the next year I lost a total of 30 lbs of fat and kept it off effortlessly - only training 2-4 hours per week at most and eating as much as I wanted.
No headaches, guilt, or deprivation required.
While my eating has evolved over the past 7+ years, the nuts and bolts remain the same...
Here's what I eat and how I do it.
What G Eats:
Typically I eat based on food quality in the following order:
- Grassfed, wild meats/fish + organ meats
- Organic non-starchy veggies + starchy roots & tubers
- Some beans & grains - rice, mainly, but the occasional oats
- Some dairy - raw cheeses, some grassfed non-homogenized dairy
- Some organic berries + apples
- 0-2x per week - hard cider or tequila, some dessert, or pizza
I've made these choices based on how I feel after eating (energized or sluggish) AND how I feel before the next meal. It's not worth it for me if I feel like I "have-to-eat-immediately-or-I-will-die-or-kill-someone" before the next meal.
How I Do It:
I'm lazy so I'm going to eat whatever is in front of me. Because of this, I've structured the defaults in my life to be choices that make me feel good.
- Batch Cook potatoes + burgers/chicken/fish 1x per week (1 hr)
- Fill in with baby greens or veggies of choice.
- Plate = Meat + Non-Starchy + Potato
Willpower is a finite resource I choose to use in other areas of my life, so there is never any candy, cookies, alcohol, or ice cream in my house unless I am prepared to eat/drink the entire thing, guilt-free.
I love sushi, cereal, and ice cream. And cookies. And you better believe I eat plenty of all of those, but I now connect my choices with the consequences
A Day-in-the-Life of Coach G's Eats:
In case you're curious about how this looks, here is the reality of my food from this Wednesday:
3 eggs + sweet tater + butter
Sushi, because, why not?
Pre-Workout Shake: Whey + 5g Creatine + 1/2 scoop dried sweet potatoes
Leftover Whole Foods buffet: Swordfish, sweet potatoes, zucchini, greens, + plantains
Greens + Sweet Potato + Butter + Pork Chop
Nom nom nom. 3-4 squares because a client gave me this most ridiculously chocolate.
In sum, I eat the way I eat because I effortlessly maintain a lean body without counting, measuring, or weighing my food. It is the best bang-for-my-buck for health, energy, and performance. You've seen how I do it and a normal day in my life.
In the comments below, share your questions and one surprising thing that stuck out to you.