So I've been doing Crossfit for about year now (I started late July of last year). Crossfit has transformed my body (hello traps and lats). However, I have hit a point with Crossfit that I'm realizing working out alone isn't going to help me achieve my goals. I desperately want to be able to lift heavier and just have more endurance and strength throughout workouts. I knew my diet was a major factor holding me back from this. Let's get real personal, I'm 5'2". I weighed 110 pounds up until my 26th birthday. In 2016, I switched some medication and gained 10 pounds. I've been weighing roughly 120 pounds since then. When I arrived back from Rome, I realized I had dropped nearly seven pounds, and felt incredibly weak. This was when I realized, I needed to supplement my workouts with an adequate diet. I want to be strong, and fit. Being lean isn't necessarily my main focus.
I looked around for the "perfect" diet for me. I didn't want to lose weight, I wanted to gain, but healthy mass, not fat. My gym started an RP Challenge in April. I knew would be traveling in May and wasn't quite ready to commit to this diet. What is RP, you ask?
RP, stands for Renaissance Periodization. This diet is from what I can tell, relatively new. It's highly promoted in the Crossfit/Weightlifting industry. RP is an individualized diet/exercise program designed to help you "cut" (or lean out) or "mass" (gain muscle/mass). It works in conjunction to your workout program. To get started with RP, you buy a template online. Each template is specifically designed for your body and your goals. RP is designed to be no less than a 90 program, with new "cuts" or cycles occurring every few weeks. RP is very stringent. You have to eat certain foods at certain times of day. It's designed to give you optimal fuel for your workouts. RP is a pretty serious commitment, but can bring you great results if you stick to it. Our gym has divided up into teams and are competing against each other for prizes and bragging rights. I am still learning to "clean" up my diet (getting rid of fast foods and processed foods), so I wasn't quite ready for RP. I hope to be able to do it later in the year and document my results.
Paleo is probably the most popular "Crossfit" diet. Paleo is essentially the "Caveman" diet. It is designed to rid your life of processed foods and eat foods straight from the Earth. One of the pioneers of the Paleo diet is Dr. Lane Sebring, The Paleo diet includes lean meats (even those of wild animals), nuts, fish, eggs, fruits, and root vegetables. The Paleo diet excludes dairy (a staple in my life, unfortunately), salt, processed oils, processed grains, and refined sugar. I've wanted to go Paleo for a while, but I am not sure I can go cold turkey excluding those foods from my diet.
Growing up my mom was a single mom. Between baseball games and practices with my brother and cheerleading with me, our diet was more grab and go. We were not healthy eaters growing up. Most everything we ate was processed. (I loved me some Beanie Weenies out the can...haha). Trying to transform my diet to a more mature, whole diet has been hard. My current goal is just to try and avoid as much processed food as possible.
Whole30 seems to be the latest craze in dieting and healthy eating. Whole30 is similar to the Paleo diet, with more food restrictions. With Whole30 you cannot eat or drink: sugar, alcohol (a major game changer for me!), grains, legumes, dairy, carrageenan, MSG, or sulfites, You also can't recreate "junk" food with healthy ingredients. Whole30 is designed to be done for 30 straight days. It is not designed for as a weight loss program, however, most people I know who do the program and do it right experience some type of weight loss. Whole30 is not for me, at least at this point in my life. I enjoy eating out every now and then, and having a drink or two. Being that restrictive on my diet, may not be the best fit for me mentally. Whole30 can cause some people to experience some psychological and mood problems due to the restrictive nature of the diet. Unlike RP, with Paleo and RP you do not have to weigh or count your food.
Recently, I started tracking my macros. I used Macro Calculator on IIFYM.com (IIFYM stands for it If It Fits in Your Macros). This calculator gave me the amount of Fat, Carbs, and Protein I should eat each day based on my goals and how much you work out. It is referred to as Reverse Dieting, because you can essentially eat what you want as long as it fits within your Macros (Carbs, Protein, Fat) for the day. It is very similar to RP, with RP being more targeted as to what you can eat and when you eat it throughout the day.
I've been tracking my Macros for about 10 days. I've noticed it's impossible to track on the weekends, if you go out to dinner or have a couple drinks. However, for me, I want to focus on controlling what I eat Monday-Friday for now. Obviously, you can tell I am not hyper-intensive about diet. My philosophy on it all is balance. Eat well and enjoy life. I will say I have noticed a change in my workouts since I have begun tracking my Macros and thus eating more. I haven't jumped on a scale lately so I do not know my weight, however, last week we tested out on some of our lifts and I PR'ed or tied my PR with all of my lifts. I am noticing I am stronger and have more endurance throughout my workouts. Below are some photos of when we tested out these lifts.
Overall, I think you should chose a program that fits within your lifestyle. Even if it is not an actual diet program, but rather just cutting out processed foods, eating less fast food, or dining out less. I think there is a happy medium out there. I think you truly can enjoy being healthier.
Haley Parler Moore
Charleston resident. Digital Marketer. Crazy Crossfitter. Bulldog Mom. Gamecock fan. Constantly clad in Lululemon.