Here are 5 reasons I don’t take sport nutrition lessons from the elite:
1) Most of them are young. When I was 25 I could do Judo on pizza and beer. I could eat anything and still stay lean. Didn’t get sore. Didn’t get tired. I also didn’t need to sleep either. Or rest. I could go straight from a 1.5 hour Judo practice to a 1.5 hour Taekwondo class then bike home. Youth is the great enabler. Best hangover cure in the world: being 20 years old again. Rich can eat what he wants because he’s young. Chances are, you aren’t.
2) Elite athletes train like elite athletes. You don’t. Training for the Olympics was Michael Phelp’s full time job. It is not yours. He might be eating 10,000 calories a day but with 3 or more training sessions each day he’s also probably burning 10,000 calories per day. Competitive fighters are like this. They have 2-3 hard workouts per day. They are perpetually fatigued. They need to pack in as many calories as possible between bouts of training just so they can keep going. Unless you work in heavy manual labour all day you cannot eat like this.
3) Genetics. Some people are just blessed. You know that slender friend of yours who can eat anything, ice cream, beer, donuts and still sport a sexy six pack? Genetics. Most of us just aren’t that lucky. We cannot eat crap and perform well. I wish I could but I can’t. You probably can’t either.
4) PEDs. Hate to say it but Performance Enhancing Drugs are rampant at the elite levels of sport. I don’t know that Rich Froning is using, I hope he is not but if he is then he could get great results without having to eat as cleanly as you or I. Change your body chemistry and you too can enjoy gains while enjoying sloppy eating.
5) Longevity. Maybe some people can get away with eating crap and stay healthy into their latter years but can they be sure? You can smoke cigarettes for 20+ years before developing emphysema or lung cancer. The body will only take so much abuse. Sure someone might perform well on junk food today but I don’t like their odds for the future. In the long run I am betting that quality matters!
In Vancouver folks are already fairly nutrition savvy but remember CrossFit demands a lot from your body. If you want to keep healthy and keep seeing progress then you need to be mindful of what you are eating. And guess what? What you eat in private you wear in public. If you are sneaking across Dunbar Street to see Simon at Dairy Queen between WODs or stopping in at Tim Horton’s it will show. If not now, then later.