Tracey Stewart started CrossFit when Far North CrossFit opened it's doors in Whangarei just over 2 years ago. It didn't take Tracey long to get hooked and in a short space of time she was qualifying for top level competition. Tracey came on board as a sponsored athlete just before her second trip to the Australasian CrossFit Regionals. We're excited to be able to get behind a local athlete and I'm sure with the input of the great coaches at FNCF and her own determination to be 'better, faster, stronger,' there great things to come for Tracey both in CrossFit and the Olympic Weightlifting scene where she made her debt this year.

When competing at top level, it's often the small things that make a big difference to improved performance and gaining an edge over the competition. One of the things that Tracey has found key to making those gains is a more developed view on nutrition. We asked Tracey to put together a few thoughts on her journey and how the way she eats impacts her training and  performance:

"I grew up on a farm where we had a hot cooked breakfast, full spread for lunch, and typically meat and 3 vege for dinner, everyday. We worked hard and we ate good food. Somewhere between years 15-25 my diet was re-defined by whatever I felt like eating. I relied on my natural physical ability to get me through life, I only worked out when I felt like it or when I was training or playing sport. At the time, I didn’t associate my lack of motivation, my swelling cheeks or my fluctuating emotions with the way I chose to fuel my body.

Years 19-24, I typically rolled out of bed into the shower and out the door. My experience with the gym left me bored, I didn’t like reading magazines while cycling away half arsed on the cardio machines. I did enjoy group classes, but there was only implicit competition, no high fives, no talking, just an individual working up a sweat the same way as the other 30+ group class goers. Most of the time I would hit maybe one class 3x a week and spend the other visits working up a sweat in the sauna. Due to Netball, and other social sports I was not knocking on obesities door. To be honest I had a pretty warped idea of what I looked like. I was subject to the same pressure to meet the ideals reinforced by society and marketing about what a girl ‘should’ look like. I was in denial about the fact that I did not match these. In fact, I was quite ordinary."

Enter CrossFit.    

"At first, my motivation was as fluctuant as ever. I managed a few classes a week outside of games and training. Exercise during the weekend was considered sacrilege. My diet was still whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. Minimal thought or preparation went into it."

1st Nutrition Challenge.

"Which I down right refused to participate in. I was still in denial about how what I ate affected my performance, motivation and appearance."

2nd Nutrition Challenge.

"By this time I was training 5 days a week in CrossFit and I was ready.

I only lost 4kg, but my body leaned down and muscles started to pop up in my leg and my arms. My performance peaked so much so that I qualified for the Australasian CrossFit Regionals. My new choice of fuel had to be a part of that. From that point forward I was a convert… 70% of the time. Chocolate cravings were my downfall especially when I cut sugar out.    

Nowdays, my shopping cart travels the perimeter of the supermarket. Fruit, vege, meat, eggs, dairy. That makes up most of my diet, with the odd cheat meal and a beer chucked in for good measure. It looks pretty simple to adopt but this is a lifestyle you have to be ready for. Giving up quick easy junk food is like giving up any addiction. If you are not ready for it, you will fail. This isn’t a 6 week cycle. It’s a whole change of lifestyle and a rethink about how you approach food. I still fall into a few of the same old traps but I’m much more aware of how what I’m eating will affect me in 30min, an hour and a day. 

Before, I lived in that state of bloated belly, low energy and irritable mood swings every waking (and insomniac) moment. I didn’t recognize that I could ever feel any different.

Introducing 180 Nutrition Natural Superfood into my diet has changed things up again.  I look forward to breakfast, my go to start to the day is choc 180, a banana, frozen fruit, milk-blend.  I’ve found when I need to drop weight (recently I had to get under 69kg from 71kg for North Island Olympic Weightlifting Champs) 180 is great as a meal substitute because it keeps me full and my energy up. It’s been a great aid. (I ended up weighing in at 67kg)  I’ve turned into one of those people who packs their stick blender and 180 for all overnight trips. The staff at work pause their conversations while I happily blend away frozen berries at lunchtime. I have to admit that watching them get stuck into a delicious pie does make my mouth water on a cold winters day, but I don’t miss the overwhelming need to nap and lethargic effects afterwards. I am enjoying the evolution from junk food lover to clean food convert, and I am aware there is more to come yet.

The next step is to branch out into a wider variety of recipes using 180. I’m a creature of habit. I like to eat the same things that I know I like so I am excited to try out a few things over the coming months. First on the list 180 pancakes."

Watch this space!