|With all this crap out there, it's tough to know good from bad. Research!|
Last night I put this into practice. I was asked by a client for the best option for post-workout nutrition. Right away I went to my usual answer of Carb and Protein, but I found myself wondering if that was truly the case. I did a little research on Robb Wolff's blog with the help of CrossFit Central's nutrition guru, Crystal Nelson, and found that the answer is not as straight-forward as previously thought. Let me try to explain. If you don't "get it" after my attempt, or even if you do, you should all read Robb's take and start a routine of reading his stuff often. He is truly at the top of the field!
It turns out that the answer really depends on the individual's current health status and/or fitness goals. When you think about it, it should make sense that when discussing such a detailed topic, there is no "cookie-cutter" answer that fits every individual.
To make this simple, let's split the answer into two options which have differing circumstances:
|Chris Spealler - This guy can afford some carbs in his life.|
Person B: A stud CrossFit athlete that is already very lean - let's say around 10% or less - who's goal for the same challenge is to improve overall performance and maintain(possibly slightly lower) current body composition.
As you can probably guess, the optimal post-WOD nutrition for these two individuals will be....different! Again, it all depends on the current health status and/or the goals of that individual.
Let's start with Person B. For this athlete, the best option for post-WOD nutrition is quickly and easily digestible CARBOHYDRATES and PROTEIN within a 30min window. In my opinion, coconut juice/water and a whey protein isolate are ideal for this situation. Definitely pay attention to the ingredients in both items, but especially the protein. Often times the protein powder is sweetened using artificial crap that just messes up the system.
The reasoning behind this nutrition is that because the individual is already in "good shape" in regards to his body composition, he can afford to ingest more carbs than an individual that is trying to lean up. Also, and probably more important - this guy is an ATHLETE. His goal is to optimize his performance. There is absolutely no way that this can expect to effectively improve his performance without including at least a relatively small amount of carbohydrate in his diet. This is especially important when the athlete has just completed a burner of metcon, say "Linda". Glycogen stores are severely depleted and need to be restored ASAP for proper recovery. The protein piece should be pretty obvious, right? Your muscles have done a lot of work and the fibers that make up that muscle have been damaged. The protein should be quickly(within 30min.) taken in so that the rebuilding processes can begin ASAP = fast recovery for the next big WOD!
In the case of Person A, which most crossfitters fit the description, the answer is to quickly ingest some form of PROTEIN and then some good FAT. This result was new and surprising to me last night after researching the topic, but makes perfect sense now. Person A simply cannot afford more carbs in his diet. When general fitness and decreasing body fat are the primary goals of the individual, carbs, even good carbs, can make this process more difficult. Protein is still an integral part of the recovery process and needs to be ingested ASAP, whereas the Fat will slow absorption and prevent an insulin response. For this reason, I recommend taking in the protein first, followed soon there after by a good fat source.
|A picture of performance? NOT!|
Now, it will do you no good to pretend that you are a stud athlete when you are actually a average crossfitter. What are trying to accomplish? What are your goals? That should point you in the right direction. On the flip-side, if you're already at 8% body fat, don't be an idiot and try to lean out further. At this point you will only mess yourself up and severely inhibit your performance. Be honest with yourself!
Hopefully this has given you all some insight into the complex nutrition picture. Furthermore, I hope it inspires you all to take responsibility for your health and nutrition. The information is out there!!! You have to take an active role and go find it!