Video Article

Combining the CrossFit training methodology with a diet of meat and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch and no sugar brings “a jet stream of adaptation,” says CrossFit founder Greg Glassman.

In the pyramid Glassman created, nutrition is the foundation, with met-cons, gymnastics, weightlifting and throwing, and sport following.

“Each level builds on the level below it,” explains Nicole Carroll, director of certification. “If your nutrition sucks, these things will not be where they could be if it were more solid.”

Likewise, Glassman says CrossFit favors Barry Sears’ Zone Diet “because it does give me accurate and precise prescription for caloric intake and, more importantly, the exact levels of macronutrient that I can start at.”

Likewise, trainers and coaches can make informed decisions on how to tweak an athlete’s diet for improved performance, he says.

CrossFit HQ trainer Pat Sherwood says nutrition isn’t an either/or aspect of training.

“It’s not quality or quantity. It can and it should be both.”

5min 14sec

HD file size: 108 MB
SD wmv file size: 62 MB
SD mov file size: 37 MB

Please note: These files are larger than normal Journal videos. For smoother viewing, please download the entire file to your hard drive before watching it (right-click and choose Save Link As...).

Additional audio: CrossFit Radio Episode 203 by Justin Judkins, published Dec. 21, 2011.

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32 Comments on “The Foundation Is Nutrition”


wrote …

Thanks for putting this compilation together!

I've been planning to convey the importance of nutrition to a group that I workout with and this video does an amazing job of communicating the fundamentals.


wrote …

Powerful... "If it's got a good label on it, it's not food."


replied to comment from Daniel Thomas

lol, or a "food label"


wrote …

This video alone sums it all up. I don't know if it's possible to download or not but this should be made free to allow us all to share it with everyone and spread the word. Very cool stuff

I also heard this explained by the late great Jack Lalanne and he said "if man made it, don't eat it


wrote …

This video alone sums it all up. I don't know if it's possible to download or not but this should be made free to allow us all to share it with everyone and spread the word. Very cool stuff

I also heard this explained by the late great Jack Lalanne and he said "if man made it, don't eat it


replied to comment from Rich Robichaud

It's a free video! Aka download and share away!

All calorie counters should at least watch the 10 seconds given to Gary Taubes. He's too good!


wrote …

Just curious as to why we haven't seen any more of John Berardi on the CFJ for several months now (since late 2011)?? Anyone else wondered that? Hmmm.


wrote …

Berardi is ultimately an energy balance (calories in/calories out) guy. He's not as hard core on it as some but it seemed to be where the "buck stopped" from the stuff he did on here.

Can't float Taubes and him out there. I'm a big fan of Taubes personally. I think that calories do matter ultimately, but most people are not trying to turn their 6-pack into an 8-pack. Taubes' approach is going to help far more people.


wrote …



wrote …

I was just asked a question about the difference between the zero diet and the paleo diet? Any thoughts


wrote …

"If it's got a food label on it, it's not food."

Damn. No more eggs, coconut milk, ground beef, tomato paste...



wrote …

I thought that in the very same lecture that they took that bit from Gary Taubes, he described his ideal experiment as showing that it's not quantity that matters, but quality. He then went on to describe the reasoning behind it. Just a quick look through the athletes pages on the games site with the question about how they eat, I don't see any zone. As Bill Bowerman said, "if you have a body, you are an athlete." They basically said in this video that athletes don't eat zone because it's not advantageous.


replied to comment from Seth Stadick

Amendment, they don't say in the video that athletes don't eat zone because it's not advantageous, I read that into an above comment and thought it was in the video when I wrote mine. That said, after watching the video a second time, check out the slide behind Taubes's head as he's talking.


wrote …

This is a great package of videos that I watch all the time, nutrition is everything!!


wrote …

What Berardi offers is a balanced research based approach to performance nutrition that acknowledges the advantages and disadvantages of many different approaches to nutrition and that people respond differently to different dietary interventions. He does not cling stubbornly to specific diets or philosophies which makes me wonder if he has fallen "out of favour" in the Zone- and Paleo-philic CF world? (he wouldn't have been the first). If so, that indeed would be a pity. I sincerely hope I am proved wrong......

As Confucius once said: "Mind like parachute, must be open to work".


wrote …

I think most people's views on nutrition tend to be quasi-religious. The best approach is to rely on good science and personal experience. Eating real food is a no-brainer. I think a Paleo-type approach works well because it avoids processed food. Other people do well on a modified low-carb diet. It is important to get a sufficient amount of high quality carbs if you do any amount of met con work, unless you enjoy waking up with leg cramps every night. The only criticism I have of CF is that the commercial arrangement with The Zone means you are hearing a paid endorsement, not necessarily objective scientific fact. I'm not aware of a single independent study supporting Groves's theory. And the whole weighing of food seems neurotic and unnecessary.


wrote …

What has happened to Nick Massie? I really enjoy his cooking videos, and my kids enjoy his recipes too. When they watch Nick's videos with me, they will eat the meals that I replicate, because Nick is a cool looking dude, so it must be cool to eat Paleo, right? We miss you Nick!


replied to comment from Tim Barnes


I agree with most of your points, but CrossFit does not have a commercial arrangement with the Zone.

40/30/30 is not a magic formula for all people and all cases. The point is that measuring and tinkering with macronutrient ratios helps people discover the intake levels they perform best at.

You mentioned carbohydrate levels, for example. Most people have no idea how many carbs they're eating until they start measuring their intake. Broccoli, bananas, and peaches all contain carbs, but they have very different carbohydrate densities.


wrote …

This is the best compilation of nutrition info on CFJ!


replied to comment from Julie Jacobs

Check it out:
Project should be up and running by June 1st.
Thanks for asking!


replied to comment from Tony Webster


I agree with your statements. Berardi has real experience with top level athletes that require different needs than the average CF'er. Performance is a variable with nutrients and exercise only being part of the equation.

The TRUTH is that most overweight people will experience major weight/fat loss and emotional / energy boost by eating a real, clean Paleo, Pescatarian, or even Vegan diet. It all goes back to Real Food. Some can tolerate dairy and grains better than others.

The Zones is a Commercialized business that has over-complicated the notion and basic point of eating real foods and balancing Blood sugar levels/Insulin.

If an athletes performance is declining it may be over-training, lack of sufficient calories, nutrients and rest, all or some. Peak performance requires fine tuning the variables stated.


wrote …

None of the video works anymore:(


wrote …

Videos do not work on this post. Hope they are fixed soon. :)


wrote …

Videos not working for me either today.


wrote …


I can not watch/download the video, could you provide some help?
Thx, greets,


wrote …

Is anyone else having problems viewing videos


wrote …

Nope, not working for me either.


wrote …

Video still not working.


wrote …

No sugar refers to added sugars, right? If so, then how many grams of sugar from natural sources should one consume per day?


replied to comment from STEVE & KATHY BRADLEY

The best answer is probably to point you at The Zone.
That is as close as there is to a recommended guideline for macronutrient ratios and amounts.

You can find numerous references to it in various CF Journal articles, including this one, but the inaugural article is in Issue 21 of the Journal, titled (CFJ Issue 21: Zone Meal Plans). Also take a look at the video series that EC Synkowski did a while back. They were titled "Simple Nutrition".


replied to comment from Craig Massey


wrote …

Great video! I've been super strict on Zone for quite some time now. Noticing HUGE differences in all aspects of life, inside as well as outside the gym. More mental focus and clarity, more energy throughout the day, and a new total outlook in general. On the downside, it is really expensive and time consuming to eat clean and healthy! I spend several hours Sunday and Wednesday preparing my food for the week, but the outcome it totally worth it.

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