Nutrition Guidelines

Spring is FAST approaching which means it’s almost time for tank tops, short shorts, bikinis, and Chubbies. You’ve been working hard in the gym but have you been working hard outside the gym?


We recently completed a four-week Nutrition Challenge which saw a group of members overhaul their lifestyle and eating habits. Their results included:

    • loss of excess fat
    • increases in energy
    • increases in recovery
    • increases in performance and strength
    • increases in sexiness*

(*increases in sexiness have been unconfirmed)

Since we’d love to see all of our members get the most out of their training, for them to feel great, and for them to be proud enough to show off their hard work all summer long, I’m going to share our Nutrition Challenge plan with you! This four step process of weekly additions and removals which build upon each other will get you headed in the right direction as we start the new season. Take a look at the attached Nutrition Challenge PDF then read through the following directions which were provided to participants and you should be all set!


A couple things to remember before you begin:

“You are what you eat.”

    • As straight forward as this is, it is completely true. From a biological perspective, your body literally becomes what you put into it; proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals are assimilated into tissues to maintain your body’s integrity. From a practical standpoint, if you eat sh*t you’re going to feel and look like sh*t (because, well, you are made of sh*t).

“You can’t out work a poor diet.”

    • I can’t stress the previous point enough so I will say it again in a different manner. If you think that working your ass off in the gym is going to allow you to eat whatever you like whenever you like then, unfortunately, you are sorely confused. I wish it worked that way but not even CrossFit gives you that license to kill.

You don’t take responsibility for your actions and that’s why this is all your fault! Well, you’re a mama’s boy who’s too chicken to sing in public!

    • Ok ok this doesn’t EXACTLY apply but I was on a roll with quotes and this was the only thing I could think of. Regardless, whether this has to do with your health, diet or anything else in your life, for the most part things don’t just happen to you. YOU are in charge of what YOU DO and what happens TO YOU. It’s a sad and sometimes painful truth but once you realize that the result of your actions is what happens to you then you control the ultimate power in your life.

“Knowledge is power.” / “Give a man a fish and he’ll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and he’ll eat for a lifetime.”

    • Two-for-one! Changes in lifestyle or habits require the act of acquiring knowledge. Whenever you have a greater understanding of the situation at-hand, you will be poised to act on it and change the course of the future. So get your learn on!

“Will this help or hurt my progress?”

    • Ask yourself, is what I’m doing right now ultimately going to help me get closer to where I want to be?

“Drastic results require drastic measures.”

    • I don’t know if this is an actual quote but I’ve taken to saying it recently. Your results depend on your commitment. Question: “How many cheat meals should I eat? How frequently can I drink each week? When can I have dessert?” Answer: As many as allow you to get you where you want to be as soon as you’d like to be there. If you have a long way to go to get where you want to be, you’re gonna have to do a lot of things you don’t normally do to get there.

“Do what you’ve always done and you’ll get what you’ve always gotten.”

    • Building off the previous bullet point, if you’re not where you want to be then you’re gonna have to start doing things you’ve never done before. Likely things you don’t necessarily WANT to do….

“Do the things you have to do when you have to do them so that you can do the things you want to do when you want to do them.”

    • I stole this from Jimmy John’s walls a long time ago so it’s funny that I’m using it for nutrition. Nonetheless, it’s absolutely still true (for many things) and continues to build off the previous points. If you want results, you’re gonna have to do things you don’t normally do, for as long as it takes to get you where you want to be. Want to have that cupcake/beer/burger/pizza every once in awhile and still look like a f’ing rockstar? Well, you’re gonna have to make some sacrifices in your current life so you can have that in the future. Once you’re where you want to be, it’s that much easier to maintain what you’ve achieved.


Got all that? If so, YOU CAN DO EEEEEEEEEEEET!


If you’re still not motivated to take control of your eating and convinced that you can do it, then read these (even if you’re ready to crush it, still read these):


Ok, now read the Nutrition Challenge presentation:


At this point, you know what to eat and how to construct meals (whole meals of real food based around an animal protein source, a fat, and vegetables of all kinds of colors – YES, IT IS THAT SIMPLE).


Now that we’re armed with motivation and information, here are our goals. They are two-fold:

  1. Eat the right KIND of food (so we can change your taste for real food and begin feeling the effect of real food on your body)
  2. Eat the right AMOUNT of food (depending on your goals and activity level)

Luckily, our bodies have gone through an incredible process of evolution where if we take care of 1. it will automatically aid you in adjusting the quantity of food you should be consuming because it will start correctly sending the right kinds of satiety signals to your body and brain!


So, how do we go about getting there? For the next four weeks, do your best to follow the instructions in the Nutrition Challenge presentation but each week, above all else, include and exclude the following while building on the previous week’s suggestions:

Week 1


    • alcohol
    • pop (including diet pop)
    • other liquid calories including fruit juices (not including pre-/post-workout drinks)
    • refined sugar (sweets, desserts, etc.)
    • basically: don’t drink your calories and don’t eat sugar


    • 8 to 12 glasses of water per day (this isn’t nor does it need to be precise – just drink water at every meal and throughout the day)

Week 2


    • processed food (fast food, anything which comes in a package, has a criminal record, etc.)
    • snacks (things eaten between planned, whole meals of real food)


    • whole, real food: protein, healthy fats (eggs, avocados, etc.), green and cruciferous vegetables at every meal

Week 3


    • grains
    • pasta
    • dairy
    • legumes (beans, peanuts, anything in a pod)
    • soy


    • sweet potatoes, white potatoes, or white rice at dinner on workout days while avoiding starchy and sugary carbohydrates at all other meals

Week 4

    • adjust caloric intake on workout days (more calories and more starchy carbohydrates) vs. non-workout days (fewer calories and fewer to no starchy carbohydrates)
    • select grassfed meat and wild-caught fish


If you’d like to give this Nutrition Challenge a try, do your best to stick as closely to it as possible and let me know if you’d like to have your food log reviewed. I’d be happy to work something out. Good luck!


I am not a doctor. I am not a nutritionist. Follow my advice at your own risk.

If you have a known disorder or disease, please consult certified professionals so that they may assist you.

by admin in Coach's Tips

8 Responses to Nutrition Guidelines

  1. JJ Christopher

    Coffee/caffeine consumption:

    I touched on this briefly during the Nutrition Challenge presentation but I don’t necessarily put a limit on coffee intake.

    Instead, I’ll offer up this advice which may help you curtail your caffeine abuse: try to time your coffee breaks with once in the morning about two hours after waking (if you tend to wake up around 6 am give or take an hour) as well as once in the early afternoon. This isn’t precise since we all wake at different times so you’ll need to play with the timing but these periods will coincide with peak cortisol (stress hormone) levels. Timing your coffee intake with these periods will maximize the effect of coffee as well as prevent you from spiking cortisol at other times of the day and disrupting your body’s natural hormone cycles. Over time, look to decrease the amount of coffee consumed at those times and potentially eliminating it on days it’s unnecessary.

  2. JJ Christopher


    One thing I touched on during the Nutrition Challenge regarding sugar is that it often comes in many different forms. Sometimes it is literally called sugar, sometimes it’s called juice, sometimes it is natural, sometimes it is even organic….the bottom line is that sugar is sugar regardless of what it’s called. Your body doesn’t necessarily know or even care where it comes from because it treats them all exactly the same way. Below is a list of commonly used names for sugar which are meant to fool you into thinking that it’s something other than what it is or that it’s healthy because it comes from a source such as agave:
    • agave nectar
    • barley malt
    • beet sugar
    • blackstrap molasses
    • brown rice syrup
    • brown sugar
    • buttered sugar
    • cane juice crystals
    • cane juice
    • cane sugar
    • caramel
    • carob syrup
    • caster sugar
    • coconut sugar
    • corn sweetener
    • corn syrup
    • corn syrup solids
    • crystalline fructose
    • date sugar
    • demara sugar
    • dextran
    • diastatic malt
    • diatase
    • ethyl maltol
    • evaporated cane juice
    • fructose
    • fruit juice concentrates
    • galactose
    • glucose
    • golden sugar
    • golden syrup
    • high-fructose corn syrup
    • honey
    • invert sugar
    • lactose
    • malt syrup
    • maltodextrin
    • maltose
    • maple syrup
    • molasses syrup
    • muscovado sugar
    • organic raw sugar
    • oat syrup
    • panela
    • panocha
    • confectioners’ sugar
    • rice bran syrup
    • rice syrup
    • sorghum
    • sorghum syrup
    • sucrose
    • sugar
    • syrup
    • treacle
    • tapioca syrup
    • turbinado sugar
    • yellow sugar

    Regardless of what they try to call it, AVOID IT.

  3. JJ Christopher

    Processed, natural food:

    A good question was raised regarding processed food and what that consists of. More or less, stay away from items which do not occur in their natural form or contain chemicals, flavorings, colors, preservatives, etc. Sometimes food does indeed come in a package because they need to be sold that way (to keep the items bunched together, protect them from contaminants, etc.) or because they are made from natural ingredients but combined into a form other than how they may naturally occur.

    For instance, one of our members was using paleo wraps to help create her meals. These wraps are perfectly acceptable since they contain only three naturally occurring ingredients: coconut meat, coconut water, and coconut oil. Those ingredients have been processed but only in the sense that they have been combined together in a different way than they are naturally found.

    As you can see, there are some grey areas but use your best judgment by reading the ingredient labels so you know exactly what you are putting in your body. After reading the ingredient list and you still aren’t sure, feel free to ask (although if you’re not sure still, it likely isn’t real).

  4. JJ Christopher

    If you’re still wondering how to structure your meals throughout the day, here’s another way to look at it:

    For nearly every participant (except those solely looking to gain weight/mass), it should look like the following:
    • morning and mid-day meals: protein + fat + vegetables so: (eggs, chicken, fish, beef, etc.) + (if fat is not coming from the protein source: eggs, avocados, some nuts, etc.) + (vegetables)
    • evening meals: same as above EXCEPT for some starches on workout days ONLY (remember: carbohydrates are NON-ESSENTIAL nutrients – you don’t need them ALL the time, especially if you are not working out that day)

    • if you are looking to lose fat (and possibly lots of it), starches (rice and potatoes only) should be kept to a very small amount at dinner on workout days OR at dinner only every couple workout days to make sure you are replenishing muscle glycogen stores

    • sugars, breads, pastas, grains, etc. at all (fruit is ok in very small amounts, preferably only before or after your workout – otherwise, you don’t need it)

  5. JJ Christopher

    This is how we closed out the Nutrition Challenge (a lot of this I’ve already said in the above post):

    Before we officially close out this Nutrition Challenge, I’d like you all to read the below article. This is basically an extension of the thought processes, behavior patterns, and habits we’ve been trying to establish throughout the course of these past four weeks. The process of improving your health and fitness takes deliberate thought, action, and sacrifice but it doesn’t mean that you are stuck eating rabbit food for the rest of your life.

    Directly below are my two favorite quotes which also reflect this thought as well:
    • Do the things you have to do when you have to do them so that you can do the things you want to do when you want to do them
    • If you do what you’ve always done you’ll get what you’ve always gotten

    Essentially, if you are not currently where you want to be (in whatever it is that you want in life), continue working hard and making sacrifices NOW to get yourself where you want to be. Once you’ve worked your ass off to get there, it is SO much easier to maintain that new status quo while still enjoying the simple pleasures of life every now and then.

    So, ask yourself this: is this where I want to be?

    Now read this:

  6. Cisco Juarez

    JJ and D St. Fam,
    This challenge definitely helped me on my approach to fueling my body. I’ve maintained an 80/20 and occassionaly strict paleo eating lifestyle for over a year already and it’s been great for me.
    The approach that JJ encouraged me to do, eating my carbs after a workout, definitely helped with removing any carb craving I would typically have in the morning. My body now only cares for protien and fat in the morning for breakfast which carries me through to lunchtime without having to snack in the late morning. Whatever carb I ate the night before refilled whatever glycogen was depleted and gave me enough energy to get through the day and eventually through the WOD in the evening.
    I now take my protien shake within 30 minutes of working out and will have my meal, which includes quality carbs, about 30 to 60 minutes afterwards.
    A very important thing I also realized was that I wasn’t eating enough in the morning which caused me to snack throughout the day and slowed down my progress.
    Overall the challenge helped with understanding how to better fuel myself in order to cut some fat and have the energy for the evening WOD. If you’re struggling with your eating habits it will affect your performance in the gym, try following the principals laid out in the post.

  7. Burkey

    I second Cisco’s thoughts! I’ve always eaten fairly well and dropped pop/sugary drinks about 10 years ago, but I didn’t know how to eat/plan meals for the workouts I was doing and was feeling drained after classes. I’ve never done anything like CrossFit until I came to DSCF so this challenge was really helpful as a crash course for how to eat properly and support my new workout habits.

    While it’s not easy and takes extra time, I definitely suggest making these changes. Dropping pop/sugary drinks & processed foods, planning proper meals and eating breakfast have been the most beneficial changes I’ve made to my diet and really, they aren’t as difficult as I expected. I follow a mostly paleo diet during the week, but on weekends break the rules and still feel great/am seeing weight gain, which is something I have struggled with for years.

    If you’re also somebody who knows zero things about proper meals and recovery for the type of workouts we do, definitely talk to JJ or one of the coaches because it makes a much bigger difference than you’d think. I feel a lot better overall with these changes and have noticed improvements in my workouts, too.

  8. Kimi Robo

    This nutritional challenge was perfectly placed and scheduled at a time in my life. After the holidays, I was riding the struggle bus hard. I decided to jump start my paleo lifestyle and dropped weight quick! After starting the nutritional challenge a month later, I started to realize where I was still slacking, not pre-planning, where I could cut out more or tweak things to my workout schedule and lifestyle. My boyfriend and I went to the nutrition lecture together because he saw the success I had in January doing my paleo thing and wanted to jump on the bandwagon.

    In the month of February, he lost 15 lbs following the paleo lifestyle, with the feedback and comments from JJ, and working out about 3x a week. Like i said earlier, I had a successful and drastic January, but February during the nutrition challenge lost another 4lbs, and figured out my new lifestyle.

    I want to thank JJ for putting together this program, answering mine and Matt’s stupid questions, and helping us develop a healthy new lifestyle. I’m not where I want to be yet, but because of JJ, I have all of the tools I need to get there!!!