We continue with our three part series on giving you the lowdown on one of the fastest growing sports in the world, CrossFit. In CrossFit South Africa – All You Need To Know (Part 1 of 3) we looked at what is CrossFit, where to train, and getting started. Now we look into CrossFit and diet, gear and accessories, and some dos and don’ts of CrossFit…
CrossFit and Diet
As we all know, or should know, you can’t out-train a bad diet. Getting the right food and nutrition is vital in gaining the right results in weight-loss/gain, strength and energy.
The paleo (paleolithic) diet, is a nutritional plan based on the ancient diet that humans consumed during the Paleolithic era, before the development of agriculture. It’s seen as the healthiest way you can eat, because its dietary methodology works with your genetics to help keep you lean, strong and energetic. Robb Wolf, a former research biochemist and one of the world’s leading experts in Paleolithic nutrition, shows how research in biology, biochemistry, Ophthalmology, and Dermatology, indicates that our modern diet, full of refined foods, trans fats and sugar, is at the root of degenerative diseases such as obesity, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, depression and infertility. The CrossFit-Paleo connection was inspired by Robb Wolf, and because of the positive and measurable results, CrossFitters generally apply it.
When it comes to supplements, the most important are Magnesium and Zinc which aid in performance and recovery, Vitamin D which aids in muscle weakness and more, and finally Omega-3 (essential fatty acids) which aid in reducing inflammation and have many other health and even cognitive and behavioural function benefits. We’ve noted that Pure Pharma is one of the best suppliers of these three supplements and even sponsor some of the top CrossFit athletes, worldwide, which says a lot.
Various stores sell food which is “paleo friendly”, however there is a great online store – SA Health Shop – which sells health foods, supplements (like those from Pure Pharma), and other great CrossFit/health/training related product. Check it out.
Basic principles how your diet should look:
Eat meat and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch, and no sugar. Protein should be lean and varied, accounting for around 30% of your meal. Carbohydrates should be mainly low-glycemic and account for around 40% of your meal. Fat should be mostly monounsaturated and account for around 30% of your meal. You should eat three filling meals a day, and acceptable paleo snacks are optional between meals.
See what Robb Wolf says about the paleo solution, in this video:
CrossFit Gear and Accessories
This is possibly the easiest part of CrossFit. All you need is a comfortable pair of sneakers, shorts/longs, and t-shirts to train in. You can eventually start getting more specific accessories and gear as you go along, like long songs (for rope climbs), compression apparel, wrist braces, gloves (we found motocross gloves work great), Olympic weightlifting shoes, etc. All these extras are optional though.
When it comes to sneakers and gear, three brands stand out when it comes to CrossFit, especially in South Africa. They are Inov-8, Reebok and REBEL Elite Fitness. Inov-8 offer one of the best natural running shoes around, specialising in technical running products, and have brilliant CrossFit specific ranges too. The ranges which most CrossFitters use are their minimalistic ranges, which you can see by clicking here and here. Reebok is already well known, and are the current main sponsor in CrossFit (internationally), which has a basically reignited their brand through aligning itself with CrossFit. Reebok offer different products, from shoes to apparel, and you can see more about that by clicking here for men and here for women. REBEL Elite Fitness, on the other hand, are leading suppliers of quality CrossFit and exercise/fitness equipment – so if you’re looking to buy equipment (like speed skipping ropes, rollers, etc.), or you’re starting up a CrossFit gym, these are the best guys to contact.
Some Dos and Don’ts, and Etiquette of CrossFit
It’s easy to get caught up in the hype of CrossFit, especially when you get started, but one thing you do not want to become is that douche in the box who everyone wishes would rather join the Jocks at the local “normal gym”. So, here are some valuable pointers to avoid that happening:
Firstly, never let the workouts fool you. If it looks too easy, don’t carry on about how you’ll “smash this workout”, because it is probably far from easy and you’ll likely leave with egg on your face. Just always give it your best shot.
Don’t argue with your judge or trainer in competitions and workouts. You’ll eventually compete or do workouts where a judge or trainer watches you and if they say you did not complete a movement or rep correctly (known as a “no rep”), just redo it and move on. Everyone gets nailed on it. Form is important, and this will teach you that in no time.
Don’t ever, ever, do bicep curls. They are not a functional movement. This is not Jersey Shore – when will you ever do a bicep curl in life? Unless you curl your shopping bags, in which case you’re probably an unaware-douche.
Never make fun of anyone at the CrossFit gym, but rather push each other – especially those struggling. One day it’ll be you struggling and encouragement will get you through it.
Don’t cheat in a workout. You’ll eventually get called out and look like an idiot. If you have to do 100 reps of a movement, do ALL of them.
Don’t become a chalk whore. The CrossFit gym is not a party at Charlie Sheen’s place. Use chalk when you need it, and as much as you realistically need. No more. The opposite applies too, don’t NOT use chalk – it’ll be at your detriment. PS. Your clothes will look like you’ve lost a food fight in a bakery, but that’s ok.
Pack your weights and equipment away. Make sure you leave the gym neat after your workouts. Also help others pack their stuff away, if you’re already done with yours – remember, CrossFit is also about community.
Don’t abuse the equipment – it’s great getting a new personal best, but slamming, dropping and throwing your equipment in frustration or excitement is not cool. That does not always apply to barbells with bumper plates (rubberised weight plates), as they can be dropped, but not slammed.
Prepare to sweat like a ginger kid in an adoption line, but make sure you clean up after yourself if you leave a puddle of hard work on the floor or equipment.
Don’t distract your fellow CrossFitters by talking the ass off a brass monkey. There is nothing wrong with asking questions, etc., but certainly do not distract others from their workout.
Check out this hilarious video on bad CrossFit etiquette:
In the third instalment of “CrossFit South Africa – All You Need To Know“, we’ll talk about misconceptions of CrossFit, CrossFit terminology, and motivation…
Together with Inov-8 and REBEL Elite Fitness, we’re giving away a R2 200 hamper to one guy and one girl, respectively; consists of one pair of Inov-8s, Pure Pharma O3 (Omega fish oil used by all top CrossFitters) and a REBEL Enduromax high speed skipping rope. We are also giving away a R9 500 hamper to one CrossFit box; consists of one Olympic bar and one full set of rubber bumper plates (2x 25kg, 2x 20kg, 2x 15kg, 2 x 10kg, 2 x 5kg). Note: the CrossFit gym does not need to be an official affiliate.
How to enter? (You can gain multiple entries by entering on this article even if you entered via our last article/post!)
Simple! All you need to do is comment below and give us your thoughts on this CrossFit feature, or tell us about your diet, the gear you use, or dos and don’ts in CrossFit (even tell us a comical experience with CrossFit “etiquette”). Include your gyms name (e.g. CrossFit Jozi) and they’ll automatically be entered into the competition for you to win them the R9 500 equipment hamper from REBEL Elite Fitness – be your gyms new hero and do it!
Make a point to follow Inov-8 South Africa and REBEL Elite Fitness:
Inov-8 Facebook: Inov-8 South Africa Fan Page
Inov-8 Twitter: @Inov8SA
REBEL Elite Fitness Facebook: REBEL Elite Fitness Fan Page
REBEL Elite Fitness Twitter: @REBELFitness