Q&A #1 - Nutrition & Performance

What are your three favorite things? It could be people, things, etc.. & what's your favorite crossfit movement?

Oh gosh, that's a hard one. If we're talking things and not people, I'm going to have to go with CrossFit, Reese's cups, and Lululemon! My favorite crossfit movement is probably double under or HSPU only because they're my best movements!

Besides the physical aspect change, what is the biggest and best change you've seen in yourself and mindset over the past few years?

The biggest change I have seen in myself over the past few years is an inscrutable confidence and positive outlook on life. Ben Bergeron defines confidence in the best way I could put it -- Confidence is knowing that giving my best efforts is enough. I try to use every failure as an opportunity. Doing CrossFit has shaped me into a person that is more than just good at doing exercise quickly. The mindset it has given me has helped me excel in other areas of life such as school, creating my own business, helping others with nutrition, and just giving me SO much discipline in every aspect of my life.

What is your biggest struggle?

My biggest struggle is bottling up my emotions and then having a breakdown over something silly because of it!

How do you know when you are training too much and not eating enough? Vs. eating too much and not training enough?

A good sign of training too much and not eating enough (under-recovery and/or overtraining) is a "puffiness" look to your body, regressing gym progress, not feeling recovered, poor sleep, and inability to lose body fat. Those aren't ALL the signs, but probably the biggest ones. Eating too much and not training enough will probably be easier to figure out. You might experience weight gain and discomfort from eating too much. It's hard to tell how each person would know when he/she is eating too much and not being that active.. just be aware of your own biofeedback. :)

At what point does workout inflammation begin to fade and results begin to show? ☺️

Being inflamed all the time isn't necessarily a good thing because it shows your body is not recovering like it should. If you're really sore from the day or two before, inflammation might be there. It might also give you that "puffy" look that I mentioned in the prior question. Drink your water, do your mobility and stretching, and prioritize your recovery just as much as your training and you'll see the results. :)

How do you decide when to do a reverse diet to lean out with body comp changes vs. doing a cut just to cut body fat?

If you've been dropping your calories already and seeing no improvements in your body composition and/or bodyweight, it's likely that the physical and physiological stress being put on your body is keeping you from losing body fat. If your hormones are all out of whack, fat loss will be nonexistent because there are certain hormones that regulate it. Doing a reverse diet at this point will be extremely helpful to get to a higher caloric intake, improve your metabolism, improve hormone regulation, and leaving you in a good spot to start a cut from in the future. 

What amount of protein (% of calories or relative to bodyweight) do you recommend to your clients?

For leaner athletes, I'll stick with 1g of protein per pound of bodyweight. For lean individuals that workout but not as a sport, I'll keep it on the lower side such as 1g of protein per lb of lean mass. Therefore, if a 135lb woman is 20% body fat, she is 80% lean mass. Her protein intake would be 108g. I wouldn't usually go that low, but I'll keep it a little under the 1g/lb recommendation. There are lots of studies that have been done on this subject and you really can't go wrong with either of those. I would say if you're a higher level performance athlete, stick with the 1g protein per pound of bodyweight or a little more. If you're not, stick to the 1g/lb bodyweight or a little less. Just depends on the person!

Do you utilize carb cycling and if so have you noticed any changes with body composition or benefits?

I have used carb cycling in the past in terms of high volume and low volume training days. There is a benefit in performance by pairing higher carb days with the higher volume days, but I did not notice really any body composition changes.

What are your thoughts on a plant based diet?

If you want to eat a plant-based diet, that is great! To each their own. If you are practicing flexible dieting, it's just going to be a little harder to get more protein. I know people that are vegan, vegetarian, etc, that are successful with flexible dieting. You just have to find products that are vegan such as protein powder that works for you.

Were you able to see the results you wanted when carb backloading? And if so, is there a certain percentage for macros to use as a baseline to get the "best" results? (Specifically fat loss)

When I did carb-backloading 4 years ago, it was 50% for potential body composition changes and 50% because I wanted to eat a ton of carbs at night. I think carb backloading can work only IF the macro/calorie breakdown is supporting fat loss. If during the day I am snacking on nuts and meat and veggies, I could end up with super high fat and protein for the day along with a lot of carbs at night which could potentially put me in a caloric surplus. This might not be the answer you're looking for, but the "best percentage" will be whatever works best for you. Trial and error. Some people do better with high fat, moderate carb, moderate protein. Some people do better with high carb, low fat, moderate protein, etc. Here's a source you can look at to read more about carb-backloading! 

What are your thoughts on water loading?

Water loading is a great tool to use when making weight for competitions with weight classes! I actually did this with a client not too long ago for her weightlifting meet. You increase the water intake to about double what the person is already drinking, then slowly lower it as the week goes on, and it helps to shed the extra few pounds of water weight without cutting calories before the meet.

How often do you fast, if at all? And if you do, is it for comp prep?

I don't ever fast!

What are your thoughts on ketosis?

Ketosis is a metabolic process that burns stored body fat when your body doesn't have enough carbohydrate available to use. Trying the ketogenic diet will be hard at first because if you're not used to eating low carbs, your body will not like that at first. After you get adjusted, you'll probably feel like you have more stable energy levels because you aren't getting a lot of insulin spikes from carbohydrates. You might also experience some dehydration since carbohydrates bring water with them into the cells when you ingest them. So with the ketogenic diet, you'll be experiencing lower levels of glucose, leading to released stored triglycerides which travel to the liver and produce ketones which is a form of energy. If this type of diet is sustainable for you, I say go for it. For me personally, I love my peanut butter, but I cannot function properly or perform optimally on a higher fat diet. I'm more of a high carb, low fat, moderate protein person. :)

I've been working out for 1 year and haven't seen real results. What do I change? I live at home and can't change my diet. (I'm vegetarian)

I don't have much information in this question to give you a very specific answer, but all I can say is just keep working hard. It can take more than one year sometimes to see real results. As long as you're doing everything you can each day to get you closer to your goals, you're doing the right thing. 

What made you want to become a nutrition coach and get into counting macros? 

I've been obsessed with fitness and nutrition since I was 14. From researching things and trying different ways of eating, I've just had a lot of experience with all of it and am SO passionate about it. Counting macros has been the best thing I have done for my nutrition and I fell in love with the process and wanted to help others do the same to achieve their goals!

Do you think a CrossFit athletes diet should change throughout the year as far as the off season with strength cycles to conditioning cycles for the open and then during the open/regionals/games?

Yes yes yes, so much yes. After an athlete's season, whether that be the Games season, Regionals season, or even the Open season, there should to be some sort of "break", so to speak. This isn't a time to eat everything in sight, but it's time to eat mindfully and probably a little bit more than you were eating before to help with recovery. Your phase of nutrition at this point is dependent on your goals and where you are in your "season". In the off season of a CrossFit athlete, this is probably the most optimal time to focus on body composition because you're not needing to peak for anything just yet performance-wise. When you're in the phase of your season when you need to peak, calories should NOT be in a deficit or your performance will suffer in the long run. In the off season, if you are doing less conditioning and more strength work, you might actually want to lessen the amount of carbs and increase the amount of fats (but keeping caloric intake the same) because of the change in energy system demands. Higher fats can help with hormone regulation which is very important in an offseason and for strength gains. If you're wanting to gain weight and strength, you'll need to slowly increase your caloric intake to set you up in a surplus. Lose weight in a week? Just add more calories the next week or so until things start moving. That was a super long-winded answer, but I hope it answers your question!

Thanks so much for taking the time to ask me some questions for this first Q&A! I think it's super fun to answer random questions like this so I'll definitely be doing more in the future!

Ashleigh Hubbard