The most frequent question I get asked is: what do you eat? To say my diet has been a long journey is an understatement. That said keep in mind we are all different and what works for me may not work for you.
My dietary journey began when I got involved with CrossFit in 2010 at age 46. I was at a weight that I wasn’t comfortable with. I wasn’t concerned about how I looked; it was more about how I felt. I was tired, my joints hurt and I thought I was done ever being really active. I also knew if I did not make some changes it was going to get worse. Looking back my diet was a lot to blame – it was terrible. I had no clue what I was eating, where it came from, what was in it or really anything about it. I had a general idea about carbohydrates, protein and fat, but not really a grasp on what they meant to my body.
My coach recommended the Paleo diet. My husband and I both became strict Paleo students and learned much about our country’s food supply. We learned how proteins, carbs and fat work within our body to produce energy, develop muscle, and control weight gain or loss. I went from 145 pounds to 120 pounds in a year. I was really lean but losing my strength, and I had to make a decision on what type of athlete I wanted to be. As with most females, all of my life I was taught to be thin. My muscular build from being a gymnast was often ridiculed in junior high and high school. The thought of putting on more weight to gain muscle was very foreign to me, but in order to be able to compete at the level I wanted to be I needed to eat more. I increased my protein, fat, veggies and fruit in order to gain good weight that would help me grow stronger. I put on 10 pounds in a year and the extra food intake gave me the boost in energy and strength that I needed.
In 2013 I qualified for the CrossFit Master Games, and boy, did the training get rough! I had never done two-a-days in my life. As a gymnast we would train long hours but much of that time was spent on skill development and perfecting routines – plus I was 30 years younger when I was a gymnast. The increased training took its toll. I began to lose weight, energy and strength, and could not physically eat anymore than I already was. I tried adding oats and some dairy back into my diet three weeks before the CrossFit Master Games, but it backfired. It was just a digestive nightmare and as a result I placed 19th. I knew I had to figure this out and dial in my diet.
After the 2013 CrossFit Games I added grains back into my diet, but opted out of dairy. I got my weight up to 130 pounds. I made sure to eat more carbs before every workout, and followed up each workout with more carbs and protein. I placed 3rd in 2014 and 5th in 2015. I weighed 140 pounds for the 2015 CrossFit Games and knew once again I had to dial in my diet and reduce weight this time around. After much experimenting I have found that my ideal competitive weight is 130 pounds. This last time I reached out to Renaissance Periodization (RP) for help in losing those 10 pounds, but not losing the strength.
The RP Strength Diet Templates and corresponding education helped me tremendously in understanding how much timing affects my energy levels and body maintenance. Each template is specifically designated for the time, type, and duration of my training. I love the templates because they give me one less thing to worry about. Plus I don’t over eat the carbs or fat like I used to do in 2015. One major take away for me personally was that when training cuts back, the carbs and fat need cut back as well. It’s hard to do – I was eating 200 grams of carbs in the midst of my two-a-days, but then after that on my days off I was only allowed 65. Yes, you read that right. Nothing ground breaking, but that is how you keep the weight off in the off-season. No brainer, right? But still hard to do.
I have been able to maintain 130lbs since 2015 and keep myself at a competitive, comfortable weight year round by using the RP Strength Diet Templates. Below are links to RP Strength, they really work, I promise, and I highly recommend Nick Shaw and his staff.
RP Diet EBook
RP Diet Templates