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4 Basic Nutrition Steps for New CrossFit Athletes

By February 17, 2019No Comments

“I just started CrossFit, I need help with my diet”

I hear these words frequently, and with several new members in the gym starting 2019, it warrants a quick post on getting your food intake dialed in.

It’s normal to crave more and different foods when starting exercise activity that includes weight training at a high intensity.  I’ve heard a lot of new people say they crave meat after just a week of doing CrossFit.

This is normal – your body wants to repair itself, and needs protein to do it.

So we will start there – protein intake.

  • Step 1 – Learn to count how many grams of protein you consume each day (we call this tracking).

To help you track your protein intake you can use an app called MyFitnessPal that is free.  It is very user friendly, and shouldn’t take long to learn.  For a short 5 minute crash course on using MyFitnessPal, click this link:   MyFitnessPal Intro

  • Step 2 – Start eating .7 to 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight.

If you weigh 150lbs, eat between 105 & 150 grams of protein.  If you weigh 200lbs, eat between 140 & 200 grams of protein.

For a lot of people this will be a big increase.  In my experience people think they eat a lot of protein.  I’ll ask, “How much protein do you get at breakfast?” and a common response is “Oh, I eat lots of protein, I had an egg.”

One egg has 6 grams of protein, so if you’re going to get in 150 grams of protein and you start your day with ONE EGG, you’ll have problems reaching your total for the day.

Here’s a cheat sheet on adding up your protein for the day –

1 Large Egg – 6 grams of protein
4 ounces of Chicken – 25 grams of protein
4 ounces of lean ground beef – 23 grams of protein
4 ounces of fish – 25 grams of protein
1/2 cup cottage cheese – 15 grams of protein
2 tablespoons natural peanut butter – 8 grams of protein
Whey protein, 1 serving – 24 grams of protein

Of course, the MyFitnessPal app will add all this up for you, you just have to figure out how much you’re eating.

To do this, buy a small food scale.  They’re around $15 dollars on Amazon.

If you don’t have a scale or are eating out remember this rule of thumb – 4 ounces of protein will be about the size of the palm of your hand. Think about the size of a chicken breast or hamburger, this will be around 25 grams of protein.

We’ve covered how much protein to eat base on how much you weigh, and how to count it and add it up.

Now for a plan on reaching that number…

  • Step 3 – Begin your day with a meal that is high in protein.  Knock out at least 30% of your protein intake at breakfast.

If you weigh 150lbs  that means 45 grams of protein or more at breakfast.

Here’s an example-

2 eggs – 12g protein
1.5 chicken sausage links – 22g protein
2 ounces cheddar cheese – 12g protein

That makes a nice sized omelette that has 46 grams of protein.

Of course you can vary it or change it up to foods you like, and make quantities based on what you weigh, this is just an example.

Here’s an example of what I do in the morning.  I’m have a hectic life like a lot of people, coaching classes, getting kids to school, morning meetings, etc.  It’s not always easy to make that big breakfast, so I substitute it with a protein shake.

3 eggs – 18g protein
2 ounces cheddar cheese – 12g protein
1.5 serving whey protein shake – 36g protein

That’s 66 grams of protein which is just right for a 200lb guy.

Now you’re on your way to that goal for the day.   You’ll still need to be intentional about what you eat at lunch and dinner and what you snack on, but getting it started right at breakfast will be a big help.

  • Step 4 – Eat this much protein every day, including the days you don’t train.

This should help you reach your fitness and body composition goals.  Its a solid prescription – 3+ days of CrossFit per week AND enough protein intake to fuel your workload.

The above steps are just the beginning – If you need additional help with your nutrition, guidance is available.  R5 Performance is an off-shoot company of CrossFit Lynchburg created to serve the nutritional needs of its members.

Here’s what you will receive out of a 3 month commitment:

-You will learn the basics of nutrition
-You will be given a nutrition blueprint to help you meet your body composition goals
-You will be held accountable

Email for more information.



Jerrod Ruhl

Author Jerrod Ruhl

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