“How Nutrition Can Change Your Life, Not Just Your Weight” by Cathy Cruz, M.S. Nutrition & Integrative Health
When we talk about nutrition, we often think about it in terms of what goes in versus what we burn through exercise and activity. While caloric intake IS important, it’s even more important to understand how the quality of our food plays a significant role in various aspects of our daily life. Proper nutrition can impact your mood, improve your sleep, and help you achieve new personal bests in your favorite sport. The right foods can either enhance and hinder your body’s ability to recover from demanding workouts (psst-like CrossFit).
Any CrossFit athlete will recognize the word “macronutrients” thanks to popular nutrition plans like RP (Renaissance Periodization) or IIFYM (If It Fits Your Macros). Macronutrients refer to carbohydrates, fats and proteins found in food. Keeping a close eye on these three while preparing your meals for the week can provide impactful change on your overall body composition. Prepping your meals and timing them around your training schedule helps you get the most out of tough workouts and hard work. So, it sounds like there’s something to this macronutrient thing, right? Right!
There’s another part of nutrition that sometimes gets overlooked, though, and that’s micronutrients. Where MACROnutrients are the carbs, fat and protein, MICROnutrients are the essential vitamins and minerals needed for special body processes. While usually only found in trace amounts in our food, micronutrients are incredibly important, and NOT having them can actually lead to serious health consequences. For athletes regularly training at a high intensity, supplementing with micronutrients, via vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants can help reduce recovery time and get them back to training hard. Micronutrients help to promote cell growth and tissue repair, as well as producing enzymes to enhance digestion so you can reap the rewards from eating all those healthy macronutrients!
While many healthier food options will provide these helpful micronutrients, we may still need a bit more, especially if we are putting in work at the gym. Supplementing your water with electrolytes like potassium, magnesium and sodium can provide an athlete with minerals that work together to do things like stimulate your muscles to contract, help them grow, and effectively convert glucose (from food) into energy (for kicking butt in a WOD). One of my FAVORITE ways to get these important micronutrients into my diet is with an electrolyte supplement like NUUN or Ultima Replenisher. Thse flavored supplements are added to your water and not only taste REALLY good, but are made without artificial sweeteners, so you’re hydrating and helping your body! Another tip- A great DIY way of enhancing your water for your workout (especially on HOT days) is with fresh lemon, cucumber and mint.