For true CrossFit aficionados, following a back-to-basics Paleo diet goes hand in hand with your devotion to the program's grueling mix of powerlifting, plyometrics, sprints, and gymnastics.
Paleo diets are based on a simple premise -- if the cavemen didn't eat it, you shouldn't either. The Paleo diet encourages you to load up on vegetables, protein, and some fruit, all while eschewing grains, legumes, dairy and processed foods. When paired with the CrossFit program, say countless devotees, you will get lean, very lean, be incredibly fit, and feel great.
Yet at this point, Paleo diets haven't yet drawn much attention of scientific researchers. One tiny study that looked at weight loss found that 14 participants lost an average of about five pounds after three weeks on a Paleo regimen.
For CrossFit affiliates around the globe, about 90 to 95 percent abide by the Paleo diet, according to Robb Wolf, author of The Paleo Solution and former CrossFit nutrition advisor.
Originally CrossFit pushed the Zone diet, which advocates a ratio of carbohydrates, protein, and fats, often requiring measuring out food beforehand. But Wolf soon began promoting his Paleo diet in CrossFit seminars, and "its popularity in the community spread like wildfire," writes blogger Fitbie. "Whereas the Zone adherents exactingly measure out their food, the Paleo lifestyle doesn't explicitly regulate portion size at all. In other words, it's a lot easier to follow."
Still, the winner of the 2011 Reebok CrossFit Games, Rich Froning, is said to have one weakness: he doesn't follow the Paleo or the Zone diet, opting for a more relaxed approach. "During the day, I just eat peanut butter and milk, which gives me protein and fat, and also Progenex protein shakes," he told Australian Men's Fitness magazine. "I eat most food in the evening -- steak and chicken, with frozen vegetables and maybe a sweet potato."
Coming up, watch the world's fittest compete in the Reebok CrossFit Games, taking place July 13-15 in Carson, California. http://games.crossfit.com