What I learned After Three Months of One-on-One Nutrition Coaching

Feb 6, 2019 by

For the past three years, I’ve been the editor-in-chief for the Morning Chalk Up. As such, I’ve read and written on a litany of food and fitness underneath the CrossFit sun.

I am by no means an expert, but you could say that I know a fair bit about the importance of nutrition and how to use food to help you achieve your goals.

But writing about nutrition and practicing it daily are two very different things. In order to become more knowledgeable, I embarked on a three-month journey. Adee Cazayoux, founder of Working Against Gravity, agreed to be my guide and one-on-one nutrition coach for this “intensive” undertaking.

After all, how hard could it be? I already eat tons of broccoli. Piece of cake.

Lesson 0: Getting Started.

The very first thing I did was work with Adee to set my overall fitness, aesthetic and physique goals. I gave her a deep digest of what my fitness routines looked like and my goals so she could set up macros goals to help fuel me in pursuit of those goals.

Then she set me loose on Working Against Gravity’s exhaustive learning center — an entire trove of reading material to help you along your journey. Think grocery store specific shopping lists, articles, tips, mindfulness exercises, you name it.

On top of logging and recording what you eat, Adee constantly encouraged me along in the mental aspect, giving me mental cues and suggestions during high-stress weeks.

“Don’t throw in the towel on really tough days,” Adee would tell me. “Instead, focus on making sure one thing gets done. If that’s just making your protein goal, then great. That’s a win for today.”

Like Adee, I’m a founder and CEO and the stress of that job can take a toll. Through the last three months I’ve learned a lot about myself and this process and here are four lessons I’ve learned.

“Don’t throw in the towel on really tough days. Instead, focus on making sure one thing gets done. If that’s just making your protein goal, then great. That’s a win for today.” — Adee Cazayoux

Lesson 1: I have no idea what I’m talking about.

Quick. Grab a sharpie and write this down: “you have much to learn.”

And not just about nutrition, dieting, or whatever you want to call it, but your body, how food changes moods, performance and like a million other things.

I think because we’ve eaten three times a day for the last couple decades, we believe we’re somehow experts on nutrition. It’s that same bro science “ya I got this” mentality athletes often bring to CrossFit stunting our growth. Don’t let it happen. Trust the process.

In reality, I actually ate a very healthy and fairly balanced diet beforehand but that’s no expert, that’s basic Padawan in the Jedi scale folks.

And here’s what happened when I brought that kind of “I got this” thinking to it: “You know it’s going to be a long day when it’s 1:00 PM and you’re already over your fat content by 29 grams.”

That was Day 1.

Learning is good for you. Be a learner, not a know it all.

A screenshot of WAG’s personal nutrition coaching dashboard.

Lesson 2: Be prepared. Grab a parachute before you jump out of an airplane.

Let me share some insight into how to approach something woefully unprepared — read none of the course material, don’t go to the grocery store with a food list, don’t buy any of the support items (measuring tape, scale, food scale, and measuring cups) or download MyFitnessPal.

Don’t do any of those things then show up on day 1.

Congratulations, you are me.

Assuming that this was like everything else — show up, receive my assignment, complete it and go home — I failed to prepare. It’s like showing up to CrossFit in a suit and tie. Did I even bother to stop and think: “how will I track the weight of my food without a scale?” I did not.

Learning — and trying new things — is supposed to be fun, but what isn’t fun is setting yourself up for failure, failing, then adding pressure to the process. Be aware of what you’re trying to do and be honest with yourself and your time. It’s much more fun that way.

It took me a few weeks to catch up, but once I did, the pressure was off and I wasn’t so stressed about it. Do yourself a favor and be ready.

Lesson 3: Know your season.

This one is real simple.

Don’t start an intensive, life and routine altering challenge if you have six vacations planned over the next three months, or a semester of night classes, or something else significant that will take up a ton of your time and add a ton of stress to your life.

Do pick a season where you have enough flexibility to give yourself the time required to change daily habits and routines.

Just like when you started CrossFit, it takes time to adjust physically and mentally, and constantly interrupting that process is going to leave you more frustrated and feel like you’re failing, which gets us to lesson 4.

The journey of a thousand steps starts with one. Your goal should be for these daily disciplines to become your lifestyle not your task list.

Lesson 4: Yoda was wrong. Trying is succeeding.

Everyone knows Yoda’s infamous saying, “Do or do not. There is no try.”

Sometimes, as CrossFit athletes, it’s easy to fall into that mindset.

Repeatedly, I used the words “fail”, “failure” and “failing” to describe how I was doing. Yes, you want to fine tune your numbers to be as close to your intake goals as possible, but missing it doesn’t make you a failure. You’re in the game. Be more positive.

On your first day of CrossFit, were you performing every workout RX? More than likely no. Empty barbell city: population me. You’re not going to be perfect on your first day. Trust the process, enjoy the journey and most importantly take this advice from legendary basketball coach John Wooden — “Be quick but don’t hurry.”

The journey of a thousand steps starts with one. Your goal should be for these daily disciplines to become your lifestyle not your task list.

Conclusion

I think every athlete should work with a nutrition coach at least once in their life. It’s an eye opening experience that will make you a more conscience eater and hopefully create some lifelong habits that will set you up for long term health for years, and isn’t that why we push ourselves through these workouts?


, , ,