I have learned a LOT about myself and CrossFit in the past 3 trimesters and I want to share because I wish I would have known then what I known now. The first topic I want to cover is the dreaded D-word. "Diet."
I am going to blow your mind right now. Here it is: Eat what makes you happy. I follow that rule. However I mean it in a slightly different sense. Some people will read that and go "fuck yeah, cookies and ice cream for every meal!" No. Just... No.
Not the "happy" I was talking about...
Your food choices should be akin to you as a CrossFit athlete: well rounded. You shouldn't lack in any area nor should you be overly developed in another.
Flexible / well rounded nutrition: exhibit A.
I ate strict paleo for months. I was that asshole who went to birthday parties and ate carrots and drank bottled water because well... I was a dumbass. Don't ever be the person to pass up on cake.
Paleo made me a skinny bitch. I was incredibly thin but I became weak as shit. My performance in the gym tanked and I was moody and miserable. I then heard about this godsend called "Eat to Perform." ETP promises more balanced food and better performance. I followed that for 6 months and went from 190# to 225# = made me a fat piece of shit. I followed their plan and got updates from their MODs but honestly it was way too much food volume for me (especially in carbs) and it showed as I looked like I was goddamn pregnant.
I was crushing heavy workouts but took 20 minutes to do 500 double unders because I thought I was having a heart attack. The plan gave me so much food and carbs I turned into the goddamn Hindenburg trying to move around the gym.
In December I started working with a nutrition consultant (Kylie Gamelier of KG-fit.com) who is helping me find the best balance for me. Read that sentence again and notice what I wrote? The best balance FOR ME. I see it every day, everyone jerks themselves off about diet. I see Instagram and Facebook posts where people try to "outclean" each other on their diets, and say shit like "should you be eating that as a CrossFitter?"
What I do is a modified version of If It Fits Your Macros. I have a prescribed # of grams of carbs, fat and protein a day and I spend them how I see fit while making good choices. Most days I spend 30g of carbs on some rice with lunch. However, occasionally I will use it for a Sprecher's Hard Root Beer. However, I walk around knowing if I spent all 250g of carbs on alcohol I would be a blimp again.
Shit is straight cash homie...
I recently PR'd my deadlift at 500# just a few days after doing 500 double unders in 9:19. I cut my time in half in 6 months while shedding 20#. Have I found the miracle diet? No. I have found the best mix for me right now so I can PR and still lose some weight.
While I (jokingly) hate on Paleo and other stuff, if they work for you that's fantastic. I am not knocking Paleo or ETP. Rather, they did not work for me and my goals. My best advice is keep experimenting.
3 years into CrossFit I am playing with my nutrition constantly to get me the best balance of body composition (so I can some day WOD with my shirt off and not feel shame) and performance (so I can crush those WODs). Track your intake and play with the amounts and you'll be surprised what can happen to your workouts and happiness.
Don't buy into fads, listen to your own body, eat good foods and enjoy yourself (in moderation.) Remember kids, Pop-tarts = PRs!