Category Archives for "Mash Potatoes Nutrition"

The Role Nutrition Plays in Performance and Recovery

Check out The “Eat What You Want” E-Book to understand nutrition better. With a built-in Macro Calculator, you will have all the tools necessary to getting your nutrition in check.

Check them out here: ⇒ “Eat What You Want”
==============================================

The Role Nutrition Plays in Performance and Recovery

by Coach Crystal McCullough, RN (Find Crystal on Instagram @crystalmac_72 )

You know the old cliché saying of “you can’t out train a bad diet”? Well, it’s true! There are many aspects that go into an athlete’s training and nutrition is one of the most important. What you do inside the gym is only a fraction of what is required of you as an athlete to perform at your best.

What is the point in spending hours on end in the gym trying to reach goals if you aren’t willing to put in the work outside of the gym where you spend the majority of your day? You should be putting as much time into your recovery as you do into your training. One very important aspect of which is nutrition.

I’ve recently heard athletes who have aspirations of competing at a high level for weightlifting, powerlifting, or CrossFit say they don’t have time to cook or keep up with what or how much they are eating. This baffles me. These same people spend 2+ hours a day in the gym training, but won’t take the extra few minutes a day it takes to prep meals or track their daily intake.

What you put in your body on a daily basis will have an affect on your performance AND your health. Not taking in enough calories can cause loss of muscle mass, fatigue, moodiness, slower metabolism, and the list goes on. Taking in too many calories can lead to weight gain and ultimately to chronic illnesses such as diabetes and high blood pressure. With excess calories, normally comes excess refined sugars, which are a huge contributor to obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, and other cardiovascular diseases.

When someone goes from having poor eating habits to exercising and eating higher quality foods, they will often see results. They may not necessarily have to track their macros for the first part of their journey, but at some point, they will most likely need to start tracking in order to continue progressing.

For high level athletes, the difference between a gold and silver medal on the platform, could very well come down to something as simple nutrition. A holistic approach to training would include recovery: nutrition, sleep, massage, chiropractic, mobility work, etcetera. If you want to be the best at what you do, you need to take this holistic approach and what and how much food you put in your mouth is well within your control.

There are those of you that your job is to train. You really have no excuse not to eat right, get proper sleep, and get regular bodywork. This should be considered part of your job. Don’t get me wrong, though, I realize most of us have jobs and responsibilities outside of training. We have kids and spouses and we have to juggle all of this with getting our training in and usually eating differently than our families. It can be tough, but these shouldn’t be excuses. We will make time for the things that are most important to us.

Whether you are a full-time athlete or an athlete juggling a career and/or kids, there are steps you can take to keeping your food intake in check on a daily basis.

1. Have a Prep Day – Decide what you want the bulk of your protein to be for the week, pick a starch (rice, sweet potatoes, quinoa), and vegetables. Pick a day and spend a couple of hours pre-cooking you’re the majority of your meals. This will give you go to meals even on the go and in a crunch.
2. Have snacks readily available – Have protein bars for on the go. My favorite kinds of bars a Oh Yeah! One bars and Fit Joy bars. They have a great macro breakdown. Also, I love rice cakes and peanut butter or an apple/banana and peanut butter.
3. Track It – Use an application such as MyFitnessPal to track your macros. It helps to know everything you are eating and drinking. A lot of times, we don’t realize how little or how much we are consuming until we track it. Also, if we know we have to track it, we might be less likely to deviate.
4. Pre Plan – Don’t wait until the end of the night and go back in to track the current day’s food intake. Put everything you plan on eating into your app the night before or the morning of so you can make adjustments as necessary. Waiting until right before you go to bed to only realize you are short 75 carbs doesn’t do you much good.
5. Research Food Establishments – If you know you are eating out, research the menu of the restaurant and decide what you want to order prior to getting there. This would tie back in with number 4 by pre-planning. If you know you are going to be eating more carbs when you go out, you can be sure to save enough if you plan properly.
6. Forgive Yourself – some times, if we don’t preplan or prepare, we end up overdoing it and guilt normally follows. With guilt, one bad meal turns in to two bad meals and then three. Instead, forgive yourself and move on.
7. Moderation – The great thing about counting and tracking macros is it is sustainable. Pick high quality, nutrient dense food to eat most of the time, and enjoy your favorite treats now and then. I refer back to number 7 when I say that indulging once in a while is ok and you shouldn’t feel guilty about it.

All in all, it isn’t an easy path when you are following your goals of being a high level athlete. Sacrifices are usually made and it isn’t always fun. Keep your eye on the prize and remember, the little things like what food you consume can play a huge role in your performance.

==============================================
Check out one of the Eat What You Want Online Teams:

Eat What You Want (Everything Needed to Perfect Your Nutrition)
Eat and Lift What You Want (Get Your Nutrition and Your Workout Perfected)

Check them out here: ⇒ ‘Team Eat and Lift What You Want’

About the Author:

Crystal McCullough, R.N.

“41-year old Army wife and Mom to a genetic 13-year-old freak. Basketball player turned runner turned CrossFitter turned powerlifter. Crystal has podiumed over the years at 5k and 10k road races and local CrossFit competitions. She is currently a 72k USAPL National Level powerlifter. Her best competition lifts are 145k squat, 77.5k bench, and 170k deadlift. She is an RN with a Masters degree in Nursing Education, a CrossFit affiliate owner, and a Mash Elite Performance coach. She has several years of coaching experience in the CrossFit community and is a life long learner of the art and science of the vast strength and conditioning world. She is currently studying for her CSCS.”

Food Volume and the Energy Density Scale by Jacky Bigger, M.S.

Check out The “Eat What You Want” E-Book to understand nutrition better. With a built-in Macro Calculator, you will have all the tools necessary to getting your nutrition in check.

Check them out here: ⇒ “Eat What You Want”
==============================================

Food Volume:

Let’s talk volume. I’m not talking about training volume. I’m talking about FOOD! For those of you trying to lose weight, drop a weight class, or just lean out. Volume is going to be important for you. Now, what do I mean by volume? I’m talking about the physical amount of food you are consuming in relation to the energy that it provides for you. When cutting weight, it is important to consume foods that are lower on the energy density scale.

“Energy density is the number of calories (energy) in a given amount (volume) of food. By choosing foods that are low in calories, but high in volume, you can eat more and feel fuller on fewer calories.” To put it very simply, a fuller plate, a fuller belly and less over all calories. Fruit and vegetables are great foods to consume that not only add volume to your meals, but also vitamins, minerals and fiber.

Here’s an example:

I took a MP Combat Protein bar with the macro nutrient content of 28g of carbs, 20g of protein and 7g of fat, and turned it a nutritious FULL plate of food. This plate contains 3oz. ground beef (93% lean), 100g roasted red potatoes, 1 zucchini squash (155g), 1 yellow squash (140g) and some mixed bell peppers (55g). The macronutrients are: 27g of carbs, 23g of protein and 7g of fat, basically the same as the macronutrients in the protein bar.

I get it, the protein bar is yummy and satisfies that sweet tooth. However, does it really leave you feeling full and satisfied? It doesn’t for me. Does it have any real nutrition value, vitamins, minerals? Look at the difference in vitamin content of the two above meals. (Nutrition information done using My Fitness Pal, because that’s the way most of my clients count and tracks macros). The micronutrient content of the meal made from whole foods far outweighs that of the protein bar. More volume and more nutrition produces happier bodies and better performance. The plate full of food looks much more appetizing to me than the turd shaped protein bar.

I’m not telling you to never ever eat a protein bar or that I never eat them myself. The point is that whole foods are always the better option when you have the choice. Protein bars do come in handy when traveling or when on the go all day. However, they should only be added into your eating plan once you already have a really good handle on your nutrition and you’re already consuming mainly whole foods.

Don’t just take my word for it though, here’s a couple of research articles to back it up:

Article titled “High intake of fruits and vegetables predicts weight loss in Brazilian overweight adults” – Daniela Sartorelli et al. studied 80 adults who were attending a Nutritional Counseling program. They used a food frequency questionnaire to study their diet habits. This questionnaire was filled out at baseline, and 6 months later. Results showed that the increased intake of dietary fiber from fruits and vegetables was associated with a greater weight loss.

A BMI analysis titled “Comparative Analysis of BMI, Consumption of Fruits & Vegetables, Smoking, & Physical Activity Among Florida Residents.” – Joan S. Goss et al. Compared the BMI of several counties in Florida. This analysis supported their hypothesis that “consumption of three or more fruits and vegetables per day was significantly correlated with lower BMI regardless of smoking or physical activity.” The study found that seven counties with the lowest BMI consumed significantly more fruits and vegetables than the seven counties with the highest BMI. I know that BMI isn’t the best measurement in the world, however, for a general population is still gives us good insight.

If cutting weight, or just trying to be heathier, fill your plates with higher volume foods. Eat ALL the veggies! I know I wouldn’t have survived my weight cut without them, and I promise that yours will be much easier if you add them in as well.

==============================================
Check out one of the Eat What You Want Online Teams:

Eat What You Want (Everything Needed to Perfect Your Nutrition)
Eat and Lift What You Want (Get Your Nutrition and Your Workout Perfected)

Check them out here: ⇒ ‘Team Eat and Lift What You Want’

Fuel Your Body Appropriately: Stop the Madness! by Coach Crystal McCullough,

Check out The “Eat What You Want” E-Book to understand nutrition better. With a built-in Macro Calculator, you will have all the tools necessary to getting your nutrition in check.

Check them out here: ⇒ “Eat What You Want”
==============================================

Fuel Your Body Appropriately: Stop the Madness!

What kind of relationship do you have with food? Is it healthy or unhealthy?

by Coach Crystal McCullough (Instagram: @crystalmac_72 )

My family and I just got back from an amazing week in Nashville with great friends. We went to the CrossFit Central Regional and witnessed some very fit adults compete all weekend and do some very fit things. The top 5 athletes (men, women, and team) punched their ticket to the next level, The CrossFit Games in Madison, WI. It was very motivating and fueled my fire to continue to train hard for my own goals. This last week was not all fun and games, however, as I sat in the hospital room with my very sick father on Tuesday and Wednesday, who is awaiting a major heart surgery. He was supposed to have surgery this admission, but unfortunately, his blood sugar is way too high and they couldn’t safely do the surgery and provide a positive prognosis for his outcome. So, now, he has to go back home and get his blood sugar under control before he can have the surgery that will ultimately save his life.

These athletes and my father are on opposite sides of the spectrum. The athletes are trying to be as fit as possible, while my father is trying to maintain some quality of life. What they have in common is nutrition plays a huge role in their goals. In the United States, we have access to more food in a day than people in other countries might see in a month, even a year. We walk into a gas station and candy bars are staring us in the face, sodas are on the end aisle, and Little Debbies scream our name. There is a fast food restaurant on every street corner and a rainbow colored Frappuccino the size of a small dog. Social gatherings and family get-togethers are centered around food! With all of this access, no wonder we are facing an obesity epidemic in this country. And there IS an epidemic.

The National Council on Aging reports that upwards of 92% of all older adults are suffering from one chronic illness and around 77% have at least two. Heart disease and type II diabetes (both of which are often preventable) at the top of the list of chronic illnesses that are responsible for up to two-thirds of deaths in older adults each year. More shockingly, according to the American Heart Association, childhood obesity has tripled since the 1960s, where, now 1 in 3 children and adolescents are considered obese. It has become the top health concern among medical professionals. This is crazy!! We are doing our children a disservice!! What do you think will be the quality of life for our already obese children when they reach senior status? Stop the madness!!

I will use the analogy of a car. Petroleum is the fuel that we use to run our cars. In order to keep our cars in top working condition, they require quality fuel and maintenance. They also have to be driven regularly in order to keep them running. Now, think about that. Food is our fuel. We need quality food, maintenance, and regular exercise in order to stay in top working condition.

Am I saying don’t enjoy food? NO, that isn’t what I am saying at all. What I AM saying is, on a regular daily basis, put food in your mouth that will support your goals and promote health and well-being. This will look different for everyone. What the CrossFit athlete can and needs to eat to perform at the top of their sport will look much different than what my father needs to eat in order maintain quality of life.

So, how do we reverse the already deteriorating future of our obese youth as well as give quality of life back to our older adults? Here are some ideas I have that might help:

1. Realize where you are on the spectrum – what I mean by this is, if you are an athlete, you are fueling your body for performance. You can eat quality foods most of the time and indulge every once in a while with no issue. If you are suffering from a chronic illness, those indulgences can be detrimental. You won’t have the same luxuries as the athlete.
2. Be an example – as a parent, our children mimic us. Drew just recently posted a picture on Instagram of Rock weighing his strawberry. They are watching and we can teach them so much. Providing our children with quality food is step 1. Teaching them about quality food and how to prepare it is step 2. Showing them how to exercise self-control when we do indulge is step 3. They will carry what we teach them into their adult life.
3. Exercise self-control – when we do indulge, maybe get the Like It size at Coldstone rather than the Gotta Have it. Put it in a cup rather than a cone. Eat two slices of pizza rather than a whole one by yourself. This list can go on.
4. Exercise! – obviously athletes will exercise. It is part of their sport. I’m talking to my kids and my average adults. Get moving!!!

The only way we are going to turn this around and become a more fit society as a whole is to target our kids. They are the future and if we don’t teach them how to be healthy and the importance of wellness and exercise, we are doomed as a society. We can create such bright futures for them!! Let’s GO!!

==============================================
Check out one of the Eat What You Want Online Teams:

Eat What You Want (Everything Needed to Perfect Your Nutrition)
Eat and Lift What You Want (Get Your Nutrition and Your Workout Perfected)

Check them out here: ⇒ ‘Team Eat and Lift What You Want’

Crystal McCullough (Instagram: @crystalmac_72 )

41-year old Army wife and Mom to a genetic 13-year-old freak. Basketball player turned runner turned CrossFitter turned powerlifter. Crystal has podiumed over the years at 5k and 10k road races and local CrossFit competitions. She is currently a 72k USAPL National Level powerlifter.  Her best competition lifts are 145k squat, 77.5k bench, and 170k deadlift. She is an RN with a Masters degree in Nursing Education, a CrossFit affiliate owner, and a Mash Elite Performance coach. She has several years of coaching experience in the CrossFit community and is a life long learner of the art and science of the vast strength and conditioning world. She is currently studying for her CSCS.

Keeping Your Nutrition on Point while Traveling by Rebekah Tilson, MS

Check out The “Eat What You Want” E-Book to understand nutrition better. With a built-in Macro Calculator, you will have all the tools necessary to getting your nutrition in check.

Check them out here: ⇒ “Eat What You Want”
==============================================

Keeping Your Nutrition on Point while Traveling

by Rebekah Tilson, M.S.

Over the past decade, I’ve been slowly and organically transitioning into a clean, from the earth diet. As great as this makes me feel and as much as it’s helped my performance, I would always run into the travel challenge. Caleb, my husband and I do most of our travel via car (believe it or not we actually like being stuck in the same place for hours at a time!). With that comes extended time on the road and food access whittled down to the closest fast food joint or gas station run. After some trial and error, I’ve come up with a fool-proof travel plan for car travel. It takes a lot of planning, but I hope that by sharing my experience it will take out the times when “errors” were apparent.

Two weeks before travel:
I start cooking extra. Extra dinner, extra breakfast bars, extra veggies. We save our old yogurt containers (because they’re big and I don’t mind ditching them when they’re done), so I pack in about a meals worth of each food, put saran wrap over the top before the lid, and label with a sharpie. That last part is huge… somehow as food freezes it all starts to look the same…
Here’s an example of what I cook and freeze starting about two weeks out:
– Salsa chicken (crockpot overnight with chicken breast and a can of salsa)
– Broccoli (baked and spiced with cumin, salt, pepper, chili powder, paprika)
– Turkey (or beef) meatballs (these are so fun to make- mixing turkey, egg, oatmeal, spices, ketchup- yes, ketchup, and using a cookie scoop, place into muffin tins and bake)
*Don’t forget, you’ll need a decent sized cooler for all your food! Ice packs help, too. We find those easier than a bag of ice that melts everywhere.

Also, I swing by the grocery and start grabbing some dry goods. Honestly, I do this all year ‘round as I know car travel will happen at some point and I’m a bargain shopper- when big lots has Krave jerky on super sale, I stock up! Here are my favorite dry goods travel choices:
– Jerky (Krave or Epic are my favorite)
– Epic bars
– Larabars
– Single-serve olives
– Single-serve nut butters
– Whole jar nut butter
– Gluten-free bread
– Via coffee
– Beanitos chips (it always happens that we want something salty and crunchy while traveling, so I throw these in there so we at least get some protein)
– Single-serve oatmeal (Bob’s Red Mill makes a stellar gf oatmeal with chia seeds!)
– Single-serve vegetables (yep, I know, salty as all get out, but in the event that veggies are scarce, I have these as a backup)
– Granola (Heaven forbid Caleb goes a day without his granola! Cascadian farms is our favorite)
– Salad dressing

One week before travel:
Back to the grocery- one of my favorite places to go! This time I load up on perishables… we’ll have that cooler, so I’m not worried about them spoiling:
– Yogurt (always full-fat, always no sugar)
– Eggs (as awesome as it smells, we boil these the night before we leave so we have some protein-packed breakfasts)
– Sealed lunch meat (I opt for carrageenan free, etc. turkey breast- sealed because I freeze this until we’re ready to go!)
– Spinach (for that salad!)

About a week out, I also make my list or meal plan. Yup, I love me some charts. But, this does help let me know if I’ve prepped enough food for myself and for Caleb (who eats for like three people). We typically go out to eat once or twice while away, but again keeping us on budget (yep, we have a travel food budget!), it’s something we’ve chosen not to do every meal. The benefit of this is I also know exactly what I’m eating, my meals don’t have any fillers, and for my gluten (and corn) issue I know I won’t be up half the night with stabbing pains in my stomach.

Writing this, it seems like it’s a lot of work, and on one hand it is. But, having this system, when we’re two days out from our trip, I am not worrying or scrambling to get food together. My dry goods bag is already packed and I have a shelf set aside in both the freezer and fridge to accommodate travel-food only so packing morning-of is a breeze. In addition to the big cooler, we bring a day-lunch pack. This way we can leave the big ‘ol honkin’ cooler back at our hotel and bring only what we need for the day. Other things to consider:
– silverware- we pack some real deal silverware in a mason jar
– paper towels- bring the whole role, I promise you won’t be sorry
– extra container- it will come in handy
– bag clips (2-3)- I use these for something every single trip
– grocery bags- you’ll need somewhere to throw that trash

If you want, you can even sit down before you leave and calculate macros, divide food up into individual servings and freeze. I track as I go, because sometimes I just don’t know if I’ll be in the mood for meatballs or salsa chicken!

I’ve created a check list below to help you out on your next trip. Feel free to duplicate and add in things that you like to bring as we all have our daily staples. I hope this helps on your next trip!

==============================================
Check out one of the Eat What You Want Online Teams:

Eat What You Want (Everything Needed to Perfect Your Nutrition)
Eat and Lift What You Want (Get Your Nutrition and Your Workout Perfected)

Check them out here: ⇒ ‘Team Eat and Lift What You Want’


Meal Planning and Flexibility by Emily Drew Mash

Check out The “Eat What You Want” E-Book to understand nutrition better. With a built-in Macro Calculator, you will have all the tools necessary to getting your nutrition in check.

Check them out here: ⇒ “Eat What You Want”

Meal Planning and Flexibility

One of the questions I get so often when talking about meal planning is: What if I don’t want to eat what I planned when I get to Thursday night?

Well, I’m with you! I enjoy eating, and sometimes I want to eat a certain kind of food, or something spicy, or sometimes I crave a big salad. Sometimes I suck it up and eat what’s planned and wait until the following week to incorporate my craving. Often, I try to turn the ingredients I have into something that I want to eat. So, here is how I meal plan and stay flexible.

Every household is unique and so each meal plan should be created to fit the needs, tastes, and goals of those in the house. The key to meal planning is to make it work for you and your family. Include ingredients that are in season or on sale. Plan meals that you enjoy. Make your meals something you look forward to eating during the week. On weeks that you are busy, plan meals for the crockpot. Make it work for you.

Our goals at the Mash house are simple: eat for health and support our training. None of us has any food allergies or aversions, so we eat a large variety of foods. When I plan our meals, I use a simple outline: protein source, a vegetable or two, and a complex carbohydrate. I usually don’t plan the fat because I cook with olive oil (oo) or coconut oil. Sometimes this outline is just as simple as it sounds: Chicken breast, green beans, brown rice. Sometimes I turn this outline into a casserole: eggs + ground beef, peppers + mushrooms, potatoes. Travis is a meat-and-potato kind of guy, so we do eat red meat and potatoes often.

I keep our kitchen stocked with staples that I don’t necessarily write into the meal plan. Then, when I’m hungry for a certain type of food, I use these ingredients to modify. Here’s a list of the staples I use the most:

• Onions
• Garlic, fresh and powder
• Basic seasonings: cinnamon, cumin, basil, oregano, rosemary, etc.
• Coconut oil and olive oil
• Apples and bananas
• Frozen berries
• Dried beans and lentils
• Eggs
• Protein powder
• Peanut butter
• Honey
• Vinegar: white and balsamic
• Salsa
• Plain Greek yogurt
• Ketchup, mustard, and mayonnaise
• Chicken stock and vegetable stock

Here are some examples of how to make a basic meal plan and alter it to your tastes. Some of the basic meal plan ingredients we use are: Chicken, Brown rice, Green beans. You could really combine these ingredients so many ways, but I’ve given you our favorites.

Option 1: Curry Chicken

Toss the chicken in curry seasoning and drizzle with olive oil. Bake the chicken in the oven. Boil the rice on the stovetop and sauté the green beans.

Option 2: One pot chicken and rice

Using a Dutch oven, brown the chicken in a little olive oil. Set it aside. In the same pan, brown an onion in a little olive oil. Add garlic and the dry rice and cook until the rice is slightly brown. Add in liquid and chicken. Cover and bake in the oven. Steam the green beans and serve on the side

Option 3: Grill: Key West Chicken

Marinate the chicken and grill it. Make a green bean salad, which can get fancy, but the base is green beans with olive oil, white vinegar, salt and pepper. Add any other fresh vegies you have: onion, tomato, cucumber, black beans, corn…

Boil the rice on the stove top.

Option 4: Mexican

Cook the chicken with a jar of salsa. A crockpot works best for this with boneless, skinless breasts.

Add garlic powder, cumin, and tomato sauce to the rice for a Mexican flare.

Sautee the green beans with an onion and garlic. Season with cumin, salt and pepper.

Option 5: In the oven: Honey Mustard chicken strips

Cut the chicken into strips and marinate in mustard and olive oil. Bake in the oven until done. Mix mustard and honey for a dipping sauce.

Roast the green beans with olive oil, salt and pepper.

Cook the rice in the oven.

Hopefully this helps make meal planning work for you. It doesn’t have to be plain and boring, or elaborate and fussy. Just be creative and do what works to help reach your fitness goals.

For more recipes, food, and lots of pictures of the Mash boys follow me on IG @emilydrewmash

==============================================
Check out one of the Eat What You Want Online Teams:

Eat What You Want (Everything Needed to Perfect Your Nutrition)
Eat and Lift What You Want (Get Your Nutrition and Your Workout Perfected)

Check them out here: ⇒ ‘Team Eat and Lift What You Want’

Should I Take Supplements? by Crystal McCullough, RN, MSN

Check out The “Eat What You Want” E-Book to understand nutrition better. With a built-in Macro Calculator, you will have all the tools necessary to getting your nutrition in check.

Check them out here: ⇒ “Eat What You Want”

Should I Take Supplements?
By Crystal McCullough, RN, MSN
Give Crystal a Follow on Instagram ==> @crystalmac_72

This is a question I get asked a lot from my athletes both on-site and online. The simple answer is ‘it depends’. That’s really not a simple answer, I know. One rule of thought should always be FOOD FIRST. If you are not getting an adequate amount of something from food, then supplementation may be an option. Don’t look at supplements as a way to replace food, but rather as in addition to.

First and foremost, it is important to understand some basic principles of nutrition: macronutrients and micronutrients.

As you may know, we at Mash Elite have a nutrition program we call Eat What You Want and it is based on macronutrients (macros). Yes, our program is called Eat What You Want, however, our philosophy is nutritious, whole foods a very large majority of the time, but being able to sneak in an indulgence now and again. This allows for sustainability and no shaming of yourself when you enjoy a treat.

The three macronutrients are protein, fat, and carbohydrates.

• Protein has many roles in the body. When it comes to muscle, it is needed for muscle repair and growth. The amount a person needs is usually around 0.7-0.8g/day per pound of body weight. Good sources of protein would be meats, eggs, and legumes.

• Fat is not the enemy at all. On the contrary, essential fats play a huge role in cell function. Dietary fat is the main fuel source during low intensity training. On top of this, you have Omega-6 and Omega-3, where both are needed in a good balance. Omega-3 is actually an anti-inflammatory!! Good sources of dietary fats would be avocado, nuts, seeds, and oils such as coconut oil and olive oil.

• Carbohydrates or carbs are not the enemy either! Carbs are the main energy source during high intensity training. Good sources of carbs would be sweet potatoes, rice, quinoa, fruits, and green leafy vegetables.

Protein is normally a constant based on body weight while fats and carbs can be manipulated based on which fuel source an individual reacts better to. The key is not to any one macronutrient out. Your body needs all three.

What people sometimes fail to remember are micronutrients. Micro means we need them in small amounts, but if we are deficient, the body is hugely affected. Examples of micronutrients are iron, calcium, magnesium, vitamin A, vitamins B6 and B12, vitamin C, biotin, riboflavin, etc. The best source of micronutrients is whole or real food! I’m sure you can guess that iron would come from red meat, beans, and dark green leafy vegetables. Calcium would come from dairy and vegetables. Vitamins and minerals are found in your green leafy vegetables.

If you are eating a well-rounded, wide variety, nutrient dense diet, you can get everything you need from simply eating food. Where supplements would come in is if someone were deficient in a micronutrient and needs to take a supplement. One instance would be with vitamin B12. For someone with a medical condition called pernicious anemia, their body does not absorb B12 very well and they have to get injections of B12 regularly. This is just one example.

That was just a quick lesson in some basics of nutrition without too much science behind it.

Now, you need to understand what your goals are and where you are health wise. Are you an athlete? Are you a weekend warrior? Do you simply train to look good naked in the mirror? Do you have a chronic disease? Depending on your goals, you may or may not need supplementation.

As an athlete, there may be supplements that someone with a chronic illness may not be able to take or vice versa where someone with a chronic illness needs to take a supplement while an athlete doesn’t need it. That is where the ‘it depends’ comes in.

For all intents and purposes, this article is focused on what a healthy individual, more so an athlete could be taking and what I might recommend to them.

Supplements I might recommend:

Fish Oil – I would actually recommend this to anyone. This is the only supplement I would do that with. You have the Omega-3’s: DHA and EPA, which are essential fats. It can be found rather inexpensively in your health food or even grocery store. You have both liquid and gel cap form. As I said before, it is found to have anti-inflammatory properties.

Creatine – it is actually a substance that occurs naturally in meat. Storage of creatine occurs in the muscle. It helps with short intensity forms of exercise. An example would be a 1-3 rep max on a lift. The idea behind creatine is you will see an increase in performance in these smaller rep ranges of high intensity lifting and over time, strength will increase. Creatine is relatively inexpensive and you can find good quality fairly easily. The most recommended form is creatine monohydrate and dosage is 5g per day. You can take it pre- or post-workout. I put it in my coffee in the morning and I’m done for the day.

Beta Alanine – it combines with another substance in the body to form something called carnosine and is stored in the muscle. This supplement is best used when doing lactate work. The down side to beta alanine is that it causes an itchy sensation and a lot of people don’t like that feeling. The recommended dose is 3.2-6.4g/day, but it can be reduced to as little as 0.75g if the itchiness is bothersome. It is found in a lot of pre-workouts. However, research has found that it is best taken during or post-workout so the muscles are primed to absorb the beta alanine since it is stored there.

Powdered Protein – there is a window of opportunity post-workout for optimal absorption. You should take in a 1:2 ratio of protein to carb. So, you would take in 25g of protein and 50g of carb as an example post workout. Many people can’t stomach a real meal post workout. The alternative would be a 1:2 ratio of a protein powder with a carb source. Personally, I prefer Whey protein, which research shows as higher quality than other types, but soy is an alternative for anyone with sensitivity to whey.

BCAAS (branched chain amino acids) – amino acids are the building blocks of protein, so they are good for muscle repair and growth. Research has shown they have a positive effect on lactate and endurance training. When taken post workout, it has been concluded in some studies to help with muscle soreness and fatigue.

If you look at the list above, three of the supplements are commonly found in pre-workouts…….my personal go to pre-workout is caffeine, i.e. COFFEE!!

I am not advocating for any one brand over the other. Maybe except for BiPro Protein because it tastes delicious, is tested and USADA approved, and they support the Mash Mafia Strength Team!

The question now is do you ‘need’ any of these? The quick answer is again ‘it depends’. As athletes, we are going to have inflammation. It is much safer and more beneficial to take fish oil than it is to take an NSAID daily. This is the one supplement I DO recommend to athletes. For the rest of the supplement list, if you are willing to spend the money, you might see some benefits to using any or all of these supplements. For anyone that feels they may have a deficiency, consult a physician and get blood work before taking any micronutrient supplementation.

About the Writer:

Crystal McCullough BIO

40-year old Army wife and Mom to a genetic 13-year-old freak. Basketball player turned runner turned CrossFitter turned powerlifter. Crystal has podiumed over the years at 5k and 10k road races, local CrossFit competitions, and most recently competed at the Arnold 2016 XPC Powerlifting Finals as well as USAPL Raw Nationals 2016 in the Open division. Her best lifts are 145k squat, 81k bench, and 162k deadlift. She is an RN with a Masters degree in Nursing Education, a CrossFit affiliate owner, and a Mash Elite Performance nutrition coach (among other stuff). She is a member of the Mash Mafia Powerlifting team and is currently studying for her CSCS as she prepares to move to Winston Salem with her family in May to join the Mash Mafia crew on a full-time basis.

==============================================
Check out one of the Eat What You Want Online Teams:

Eat What You Want (Everything Needed to Perfect Your Nutrition)
Eat and Lift What You Want (Get Your Nutrition and Your Workout Perfected)

Check them out here: ⇒ ‘Team Eat and Lift What You Want’

Sources:
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19352063
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12701815
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3374095/
https://nccih.nih.gov/health/omega3/introduction.htm
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24435468

1 2 3 5