One of the original articles written in CrossFit, “What is Fitness,” describes health as controlling our lives through diet and exercise to manage our health markers.
Health markers can be anything from cholesterol levels to bone density, and your exercise program needs to be improving all of these. CrossFit’s fitness goals are to increase work capacity across broad time and modal domains. This is fancy wording for if you run a mile today in 12 minutes and lifted 100 pounds tomorrow, your exercise program should improve both of those simultaneously. If you continue to improve your mile time and the weight you are lifting, you are more than likely bettering your health markers.
CrossFit’s exercise program does it all and is the foundation of what we do, but something we do not talk about enough is how CrossFit views nutrition.
Most CrossFit gyms, ours certainly does, have an unconventional thought to diets and the battle against chronic disease. CrossFit’s view is chronic disease is brought on by the overconsumption of carbohydrates and living a sedentary lifestyle. It is made worse by the common thought that we need low-fat diets and steady-state exercise to improve our health.
CrossFit is one of the few fitness programs to have defined what fitness is, and the first sentence of the definition is not about the exercise but nutrition. “Eat meat and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch, and no sugar. Keep intake to levels that will support exercise but not body fat.”
This doesn’t mean keto or paleo but a clean diet. It doesn’t say count your macros but to eat enough that you can apply yourself appropriately to your workouts and not gain weight. If we exercise with variance and intensity, avoid refined sugars, and limit our carbohydrate consumption in total, you are becoming more healthy.
Health is not weight loss. Health to me is being able to move well, having your cholesterol and blood pressure in check and other like markers under control, all while keeping stress levels low. CrossFit does it all.