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  • Phil Gephardt

Guide to a Lean Body


Guide to a Lean Body

As an owner of a CrossFit gym, one of the most common questions I am asked is “How do I cut down on my body fat”? This is a fair question, as studies have shown that carrying an excessive amount of body fat is one of the leading causes of diabetes, heart disease, cancer and death in the “Western” world. Today I want to focus on some very basic points, and for many of you these will only serve as reminders.

Six Packs are made in the Kitchen

While it is not necessarily in my best interest as a CrossFit gym owner to tell you this old adage, “You are what you eat”. Most of us know the basics. Stay away from trans-fats, soda and fast food. But I want to take you through some other brief nutrition pointers:

Lean Beef is good, Don’t fear it: Lean Beef is loaded with things that are conducive to lean muscle gain. While low in calories, lean beef packs a mean punch, providing your body with Vitamin B, Zinc and Iron, as well as a tremendous amount of amino acids.

Eat Vegetable, a lot of them: Vegetables often get lumped in with fruits on the thing we all know are good for you. While fruit is good to a point, vegetables should be eaten without any remorse. Eat like a rabbit if you want. Vegetables provide a tremendous amount of nutrients per ounce, and have a fraction of the calories. Vegetables are typically loaded with fiber which improve your digestive track, low in calories per ounce, full of vitamins and minerals and will fill your belly. When combined with amino acids, they will improve your digestion so that you will get the most bang for your buck on essential proteins.

Plus, they are fun to eat. Who doesn’t like the crack of a raw carrot? Some squish, some peel, and some can be grown in your backyard!

Log your carbohydrate intake: So often, CrossFitter’s tell me how healthy they are, and proceed to tell me all about their fruit and whole wheat intake. Remember, carbohydrates that don’t get used as initial energy are going to be stored as fat. This includes fruit and whole wheat. Sure, fructose is better for you than sucrose, and usually comes with vital vitamins and minerals, but don’t over do it. Likewise, whole wheat (including whole wheat pasta and brown rice) provides you with more fiber than regular refined white bread and will thus, digest more efficiently, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t still carbohydrates.

Cut Out Wasted Calories: Ensure you are not overdoing it on wasted sugars, in fact, if you can, try to cut something you know is bad, out of your diet. For me, it was soda. Sometime in high school wrestling, I cut soda out of my diet completely for my freshman year of wrestling. I did this because I knew soda had wasted calories, and I had also heard that the carbonation in soda had dramatic effects on my cardio. After the season, I tried to go back to drinking soda, but I had lost the taste for it and I never really drank it again since. The amount of calories wasted on soda can now be used on protein. If you consider one-can of coke, is the same caloric intake as 3-ounces of beef, the decision from a lean-building perspective is clear and obvious.