Why Food Comes First

We have discussed how important food is on our blog before but I don’t believe we’ve ever referenced the man, myth and legend himself, Coach Greg Glassman. In the early days Coach Glassman used to write every entry for the CrossFit Journal. He started what ended up becoming the greatest compilation of fitness articles and op-ed pieces ever assembled. 

Anything related to fitness, health, or nutrition and you can find it in there. Unbiased and unrivaled in terms of superiority. I’ve never read an article in there that wasn’t correct.

One of the original journal articles, which I’m sure will win a Nobel prize one day, is the world renowned “What is Fitness?” article. In this article Coach Glassman asks a very simple but revolutionary question, What is Fitness? The article begins to dissect what it means to be fit and who exactly is fit. But, there’s a very specific part which I would like to discuss today and that is Coach Glassman’s “Theoretical Hierarchy for Development”. 

When trying to make someone fitter, Coach Glassman knew that there was a very direct path to follow in order to make sure athletes develop at the correct rate. His pyramid for development is as follows:

At the base of the pyramid, as you can see, is nutrition. It is the foundation for how to develop an athlete. If an athlete is consuming junk, they’re performance is going to most likely be junk. This pyramid works like any other, every level affects the subsequent levels above it. An athlete will not likely maximize the results of their efforts unless their nutrition is in order. The key is the diet we advocate: meats and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch, and NO sugar. While also ensuring that the athlete keep intake to levels that support exercise and not body fat. Can you eat too much of real, whole foods? Yes. 

Food, like training, is a constant process. We will very rarely have someone come in that can perform a kipping pull-up and snatches in a workout with no problem. They’re going to have to practice the skills involved in order to develop those movements. The same rings true for nutrition and even though it is the easiest aspect of training to learn, it is often the most difficult to implement. But, make no mistake, improvements in performance will not come about without constant refining of one’s daily diet. 

It is simply the way training and adaptation works.