Someone once said to be healthier its quiet simple, eat less and exercise more. Unfortunately for us we all listened. A level of fitness that classifies us as athletes is the healthiest we could be. To train as athletes we are only as good as our recovery from the last workout. Nutrition is the foundation for that recovery. Eating is how we get our nutrition. So why do we still feel like we need to “starve” ourselves by counting calories? I submit it’s our understanding. Don’t get me wrong, we must burn more calories than we take in to prevent fat stores but what if all calories are not created equal? If all calories are not created equal then where should our calories come from? CrossFit’s prescribed nutrition is this: eat meat and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch, and no sugar. Keep intake levels that will support exercise but not body fat. What, nothing about a total daily caloric intake? How could this be? When we eat as prescribed we are eating nutrient dense foods that, teamed up with exercise and rest, boost metabolism. A high metabolism allows us to eat when we’re hungry and not pay the fat price for it. I’ve seen the confusion and misunderstanding in people’s eyes when I introduce this concept to them so I’ve come up with an analogy I think will help it make sense. I grew up with a fireplace in my home and in most of the homes I frequented. This gave me an understanding of how to build and maintain a good fire. I hope that you can relate. What’s the common denominator for a fire that just keeps going and going? A good bed of coals (our metabolism). To get that first fire going that leads to the bed of coals (our metabolism) we have to work diligently with small amounts of select wood (the right foods at the right time). This is a very crucial and tedious time. Anyone who’s started a fire knows that during this process you can put the flame out more than once. This is also where we lose many people with nutrition. They work hard at it for a period of time and then step on the scales and get discouraged because they haven’t lost that magic number. What I came to realize is the more I stuck with the building process the more understanding I received. So stick with it. Now once the fire is going things get a little easier. Basically as long as you follow some simple guidelines your fire will maintain. Don’t put bad wood (wet or unseasoned) on the fire (this would be your bad foods). They will smother the fire and you have to start over. Don’t put too much wood on the fire. This too can smother the fire but it is usually not as difficult to rectify as bad wood (bad food). And one thing too many people all too often do, don’t forget to keep adding good wood (the prescribed foods). No matter how strong you get the flame going if you don’t add another log your fire will go out. Guess what? It isn’t long before your coals (metabolism) starts showing up. We know what that means. Maintaining the fire is a piece of cake. Mmmmmm a piece of cake, that sounds good huh? We can make really good cake with the prescribed foods but chances are they don’t know that at the birthday party you’re attending. You know, if you have a serious bed of coals (metabolism), when you throw a piece of bad wood (bad food) on the fire now and again it will get burned right up. As long as you keep putting good wood (prescribed foods) on the fire and don’t just start chunking trash onto it, your fire (metabolism) is just about invincible. Once you really get you fire burning the worst thing you could do is stop feeding it. Stop starving yourself. Feed yourself good foods and feed your metabolism. Promote athleticism and health. Stay CrossFit.