Nutrition comes first for CrossFit athletes

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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) -- CrossFit athletes from across the world are coming to Madison to compete in the CrossFit games August 1st through the 5th at the Alliant Energy Center. And these athletes are fit not from their exercise routine, but the nutritious diet they eat.

According to Chardae Mara, CrossFit Nutrition Coach and registered nurse, a well-balanced diet is a high priority to CrossFit athletes. This diet, for example, could include meat, vegetables, nuts, seeds, some fruit, little starch and no 'added' sugars. She also said it's not about restricting certain foods from their lives, but the amount of variety in their diet.

"If you eat the same thing over and over your stomach gets pretty good at digesting that. Throw something new in there, add some fiber with some broccoli, try something different like an eggplant for the time. Your body has to come up with a new way to break it down so it challenges you a little bit more and keeps you healthier," Mara said.

Mara said that thinking about balancing your plate with carbs, protein, and healthy fats such as 1/2 veggies, 1/4 meat and 1/4 a less processed carb can help when starting to take a step toward bettering your eating habits.

And for Marcha Van Glaadnen Weijgel, a CrossFit athlete who traveled all the way from Amsterdam to compete in the women's 50 to 54 age category, said changing your nutrition routine can also increase athletic performance.

"Sometimes athletes just stay at a certain level, they train and they train hard, but they need to change something in their nutrition schedule," Weijgel said. "If you adjust small things, then you can go up again in progress."

At the CrossFit games event there will be an opportunity for attendees to take a CrossFit workout class for themselves.