What Diet is the Best?

What Diet is the Best?

I imagine many people ask themselves this question. We are all seeking some higher level of fitness and health. Some of us act on it more than others, but I would imagine that all of us think about our health to some degree. And where do we start? Usually with exercise or nutrition. We seek out health “experts”. We seek advice from others. We read books, or talk to a doctor. There are many ways that we try to find the best nutrition advice. Unfortunately, there are a lot of people out there who are willing to take advantage of our desperate need to be the healthiest we can be.

I remember some of the most popular diets in the past from low fat to low carb. Remember the Adkins diet? Carbs are bad!!! Today we see similar diets just rebranded. Keto and Carnivore, Primal and Paleo. We also see things like The Mediterranean diet and Whole 30. There is an endless amount of fitness gurus pushing all kinds of diets. One popular thing you will hear from these people is that in order to be healthy or in order to lose weight you need to change the quality of your food. Whenever I hear that my first question is always “what does that mean”? The quality of my food? Does that mean some of my food is bad quality? If so, bad quality in what sense? Like is my food unhealthy? What does unhealthy mean? Is my food not safe? Will it kill me or will I get sick.

The quality of your food must be addressed. We must understand what this means. The quality or health of your food is subjective. It is not based in any facts. What is based in facts and scientific data is the safety of your food. That is how you need to think about food. Is it safe or not. Now I’m not saying a that better food choice is NOT an apple over a snickers bar, but making that choice is much more complex for people. In terms of health we can’t just think about our physical health but also our mental health. I bet if I asked you if a Snickers bar was unhealthy you would most likely say yes, but what if I told you I only had one piece of candy a year and that was a Snickers bar. Would you consider that being an unhealthy part of my diet? See, perspective is also another factor in this equation.

It is strange to hear many of these gurus talk about the quality of your food. All they do is try to convince you that something is bad and that it will cause Cancer and they have successfully inserted the fear. Here is a list of all of the things I have heard are bad for you. Carbs, fats, meat, supplements, the inside aisles of grocery stores, oils, vegetables, fruit, sugar, salt…the list goes on and on. If we listened to all of these gurus we would be eating nothing! Everything we eat at some point or another has been told to us that we should avoid it. How can a person live like this?

Ok, so if we shouldn’t listen to these people how should we approach our diets? That is a great question. One that can be answered simply like this…It depends. Diets and nutrition is so complicated and different for everyone. Any of these fad diets can work depending on your goals and depending on your tolerance of them, but what we must understand is that they are all doing the same thing. They are just trying to get you to cut calories. If your goal is weight loss then these options could help, but certainly don’t believe that they are some magic pill. A diet that works for me may not be sustainable for you. The key to a successful nutrition plan is something that allows you to reach your goal and is sustainable over a long period of time. You should enjoy your food and never feel like you are sacrificing the things you love because our sanity also matters.

If you are finding the health and wellness world confusing when it comes to your nutrition then my advice would be to seek out a registered dietician who can give you accurate information. They are well trained and use scientific data to help you formulate a plan. It is certainly difficult to to sift through all of the information we see on the internet and people can make some compelling arguments. However, you will find most never cite sources or data, or if they do they give you brief snippets of a study that has a completely different outcome than what you are being told. It is pretty easy to cite a source with an attention grabbing headline. These people know you won’t look the source up and dig into the research. We think we are doing research when we follow these people, but we don’t realize that we are being fooled into buying something.

I know none of what I am saying is some clear cut approach to health. We have to recognize that many options exist and they all can help in some way. We just have to understand our minds and bodies. We have to understand our habits and routines. Once we know what works best for us then we can hopefully have success. 

*Please be careful when choosing where to get your advice from. It can be very difficult and harmful.*

Good luck!


I’ve thought a lot about preparation in the past few weeks. In this profession I discuss all kinds of goals and options to getting people fit for life. When you think about goals you think about some thing, whatever that is, that is in the future and has an end point. Many of the goals I hear from people are around losing weight, getting fitter, feeling stronger, looking better, having more energy, etc. Every single person I talk to has some goal that they want to come quickly and they have this vision of themselves after achieving it. However, in the past two years, because of my current health condition, I have realized that fitness and training is about so much more. As I think about preparation I am reminded of the whole purpose of CrossFit. It is something that is discussed at great length, but is the first thing people lose sight of when they start CrossFit. We are told in our level 1 trainer course and in our CrossFit level 1 textbook that we want to put the nursing home off as long as possible. That is our preparation.

Think about anything that you prepare for. There is a process involved. Sometimes it is a pretty extensive process and other times it is very minimal. The amount of work you put into that process depends on many things. It can be very complex and requiring a large amount of prep time. It could be something small. Or it could even be that you care very little or a lot about something. So it doesn’t just become the complexity of what you are preparing for that causes you to work hard, but is is also how much that end result means to you. As I observe my own life and those around me I see that that there are many things we prepare for, but none of that seems to be preparation for disease or old age. I think this is because it is hard for us to wrap our heads around disease and old age. If we think too much about it we can easily become depressed. Now, many of us prepare for things like retirement where we will save our money. The government  somewhat helps us out with this, but how many of us prepare our minds and bodies for old age? We get so caught up in our daily lives, of the things we think are important, that we never stop to think about our lives 20, 30, 40 years from now.

I have unknowingly been preparing for a battle with disease for the last 17 years. I started my fitness journey in 2005 after realizing I wouldn’t live long if I didn’t start making changes. I worked very hard, every day to change my life around. I don’t think anyone in my family truly understood how afraid I was of disease and how motivated I was to avoid it. It became an obsession. That is why in 2020 when I found out I had stage 4 Cancer I was so devastated. I was at a loss for words. I couldn’t understand what had happened because I had worked so hard. I was angry, sad, and depressed. Mostly because I felt like I failed. Yes, I was scared for my future and leaving my family behind, but I also felt like a failure. I asked my wife how could this have happened. I did everything right, or at least I thought I did. That’s when everything changed! She said to me that while everything I did to prevent this didn’t work what it did do was prepare myself for this battle. I was shocked by what she said. It all became so clear. I am a man of faith and really did question God when this happened to me, but after what she said to me I realized I have been preparing for this moment that God laid upon me. We can’t see our future. We don’t know what will happen, but we can always plan for the worst.

My routine for years was to wake up at the same time every day, go to work, eat 4-5 meals a day focusing on high quality meals, very few snacks, drink less alcohol, cut out soda, no fast food, work out twice a day. Day in and day out I did this. At first it was tough, but after a while it became who I was. I thought this routine would prevent me from becoming ill for a very long time. It didn’t. But what it did do for me was show me the path to fighting a deadly disease. For the type of Cancer I have I am considered very young. I have youth on my side, but I also have a healthy body and an obsessive routine to staying fit. It took years to develop this.

I see people come and go from my gym all of the time. We discuss goals and I help them on their fitness journey. For some it sticks and they become as obsessed as I am, for others they have a hard time fitting CrossFit or even any type of fitness into their daily routine. Why is this? On the surface it is different for everyone, but I think it goes deeper than that. They just don’t make it a priority. Why? Because they are so focused on the NOW. They haven’t visualized a future of disease, medication, hospital visits, weak bones, sore muscles, the inability to get up and down, having someone take care of them and wipe their butts every day. That is a hard thing to visualize. I imagine it is just like a 20 year old seeing themselves at 40 and thinking it is so far away and I have plenty of time to fix that so let’s have fun now. Yes, for many of us old age is far away, but for all of us a crippling accident or some disease could be tomorrow. You just never know. We give ourselves the best chances against accidents or disease by being young and by being fit. We cannot change time but we can change our bodies.

You never know what will come in the future so you must make fitness a priority. No one wants to have someone take care of them. No one wants their children or family members to put them into a home. We can easily block out disease as something that won’t happen to us, but we know for a fact we will get old. In the last 120 years we have increased the average life span by 40 years. 120 years ago it was in the mid 30’s. You had to worry about death then, just as you do now, but you certainly didn’t have to worry about all of the ills that go along with old age. Now you do. I recently saw a 90 year old woman on Instagram do a somersault. If my disease goes away and I live a long life I also want to be able to do a somersault at 90. Imagine feeling 20 years younger at that age. It is possible.

As I continue to meet people that want to join my gym and discuss their fitness goals, I will talk to them about preparation. Don’t focus on the day to day routine with fitness. Don’t focus on the soreness you will feel. Focus on the amazing challenges that await, the new opportunities you will have, the energy you will feel, the better quality of life and most important of all the preparedness you will have to fight the inevitable. It is time to prepare ourselves for battle!

“The State of Being Fit…”

“The State of Being Fit…”

This is the definition you may find when you Google Fitness. 

We know who you are. 

You’re the stay at home mom with three kids who would more than anything love to be happy in your body and have the energy to keep up with your daily tasks and kid’s activities. You are the 9 to 5 career oriented person who wants to escape the stresses of your daily life and feel better. You are the former athlete who hasn’t been competitive in some time and would like to regain that competitive edge. You are the person who loves the outdoors or plays pick up basketball at the local church and feels like you are losing your ability to enjoy these activities. You are the person who wants to weigh the same as you did in high school.

There are many more people like the ones mentioned above. All have different goals, but all are hoping to achieve the exact same thing…An optimal level of fitness.

Each of these people may or may not have tried to achieve a high level of fitness in the past with varied success. All most likely have joined a gym and tried some new diet in order to regain what they once had when they were younger. Some have had success, some have had many failures. None understand why things work or don’t.

Let’s talk about what all of these people have in common and that is an optimal level fitness. Why is it that achieving an optimal level of fitness is so hard? The long answer is very nuanced. There are many reasons why it is hard, but a simple answer can be that most people don’t understand what it means to be fit. Most fitness disciplines don’t understand either. It is very challenging to apply a regimen for achieving optimal fitness if we cannot define what fitness is. This can lead to that constant wheel spinning in our pursuit.

So, how should we define fitness? The answer can every simple, but first let’s look at a few different types of athletes and let’s see how “fit” they appear to be. 

Let’s first talk about the Marathon runner. This person runs 26.2 miles. That is quite a long way for a human to run. The average global time to complete a Marathon is 4 hours and 21 minutes. That is a long time to do any activity and we should view this person as fit, but what about their overall fitness. How well does this person perform when it comes to lifting weight? Do they struggle to move heavy objects in their daily lives? Do they struggle in pulling or pushing their own body weight? The answer is most likely yes. We should imagine that a fit person can do these things well yet we recognize a Marathon runner as struggling to perform these tasks. So are they fit?

This person performs three lifts over and over again. The Squat, Deadlift, and Bench Press. They train relentlessly to get as strong as they can in these three lifts so they can perform well in competition. However, I bet if you ask any Power Lifter to run a mile they would struggle. Actually, prolonged periods of cardiovascular training could even be detrimental to their success in the the three lifts they compete in. So are they fit?

Finally, let’s talk about the Tri-Athlete. They Bike, Swim, and Run. They have to be competent in all three of these. Each of these activities requires a high level of skill to achieve optimal results. These people can perform these tasks for a long period of time. Much of their training is designed to be the best they can be at each of these activities. They perform these tasks over and over and most likely have coaches or programs they follow to become more efficient. But do they work on their strength, power, flexibility, etc.? Are Tri-Athletes fit?

If you are paying attention you will see that these three athletes most likely have some kind of deficiency when it comes to their overall fitness. And there is good reason for that. These athletes are training for competition and they are trying to be the best at one or a few skills. In order to do this they have to ignore other skills that the human body possesses. This is likely due to a lack of time to train these other skills, most likely due to those other skills not benefiting them in their performance or even reducing their performance.

As a person who is not competing in a sport and just wants to be as fit as they can you must understand what fitness is so you can find a program that delivers on that. So let’s define it better. Fitness is the ability to increase your work capacity. In other words, how much work can you do? More specifically, how much work can you do across a variety of activities and time domains. As you increase the amount of work you can do you increase your fitness level.

This what CrossFit tries to do. Our adaptation is to increase your work capacity in every way possible and not try to specialize in anything. The moment we specialize we change from training for fitness to training for sport. There is nothing wrong with this if you are. High level athlete or competitor, but most of us are not and we just want to feel good and look good. We must be competent in Strength, Power, Speed, Endurance, Stamina, Flexibility, Balance, Accuracy, Coordination, and Agility. As CrossFitter we relentlessly pressure optimal levels in all of these without sacrificing any of them. To do this takes time. We are trying to take our fitness bank and make deposits to it every day in hopes that our account grows over time and we build that bank as high as it can go.

Building a high level of fitness will hopefully allow us to feel better, look better, and have more energy.

The 10 General Physical Skills and Why They Aren’t the Most Important When It Comes to Training

The 10 General Physical Skills and Why They Aren’t the Most Important When It Comes to Training

There are ten physical skills that the body possesses and they are broken down by their response on the body.

Endurance, Stamina, Strength and Flexibility are Trained skills. Meaning they are skills that provide a measurable organic change in the body.

Coordination, Agility, Balance, and Accuracy are practiced skills. These skills are measured by changes in the nervous system.

Finally, Power and Speed are adaptations of both.

These skills are what we work on every day in our gym. We use a variety of movements and workouts to increase our performance in all of these skills. We try to do that without focusing on any one skill specifically. We feel this gives us the best opportunity to increase our fitness in the most efficient way possible. That said, training one or a couple of these skills more frequently than others is not necessarily a bad thing. We just recognize that focusing more on specific skills is sport.

Take, for example, a Marathon runner. They are certainly focused on Endurance and Stamina, as well as Speed. The other skills, however, tend to take a back seat or are not even trained at all because the focus is to optimize the most important skills for that sport.

Another example I like to use is the Power Lifter. This person is focused on Power and Strength and not so much anything else. Again, this training is for competition and can be viewed more as a sport rather than a fitness discipline.

As CrossFitters the results produced by these specified training methodologies are not what we hope to achieve because of their specificity. Our goal is a more well rounded fitness adaptation. We aim to be overall healthier and fitter than we were before so that we can achieve and optimal life. That is not to say that training for sport cannot happen. We certainly can train for sport if that is something we enjoy.

As a matter of fact, CrossFit is also a sport. If you ever observe a sport specific CrossFitter you will see that they have to put in more time than the average Joe in order to achieve optimal levels of fitness in each skill. What I mean by that is they must be better than others in those skills not necessarily competent for their overall fitness.

These skills and the way we train them in CrossFit are necessary for our health and a hopefully disease free life but they are not the most important skill.

Consistency is a skill that can be trained. Think about all of the things you do in life. All of those things from fitness to sport, from sleeping to cooking, from driving to playing with your kids can all be trained to optimize results. The best way to train anything is to be consistent in that training.

We understand that failure happens. We can never “get” something the first time we try it but we can train it over and over again so that we can improve it.

As a CrossFit coach the biggest obstacle I see to a successful gym member is their consistent approach to training. I can tell within a couple of weeks whether a new member will last or not. They must fall in love with training but they don’t realize the only way to do this is to show up as much as they can for the first two to three months. They have to develop a habit even when the training is the hardest and it is the hardest in the beginning.

As a gym owner my mission is to train consistency. A coach trains physical skills. An owner trains mental skills. How do we get a new member to overcome those life obstacles that prevent them from getting into the gym? That is the million dollar question and the one we constantly have to work on.

As a member when you first come to our gym we try to hammer home that this type of training, as with any training, is hard. It is certainly physically hard, but it is the mental part that is the hardest to overcome. It is easy to make excuses to not show up. We find excuses to not do something every single day. We have to recognize when we are doing this and it is of the utmost importance to have a plan to combat this.

Our mission is to help our members through this process. We understand it is difficult, but we are here every step of the way to assist you.

God Bless!!!

How to Choose the Best Energy Bar

Do you feel overwhelmed by how many protein/energy bars there are on the market?! What ingredients should you be looking for? Which should you try to stay away from? Today I’ll be sharing some tips to make your shopping a whole lot easier!
Navigating the Food Label

NUTRITION FACTS – This is where macronutrients (protein, carbohydrates, and fat) and their amounts are listed on the back of the label. While all three of these macronutrients are important, the necessary amounts vary from person to person depending on health status, lifestyle, and activity level. Certain micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) are also listed on the food label. If a food contains 10-19% of the daily value of a nutrient, like Vitamin C, it is considered to be a “good source”. If it contains 20% or more, it’s considered an “excellent source”. Look for bars with at least 4 grams of protein (ideally >10 grams), and if you plan to use it as a pre or post-workout snack, at least 20 grams of carbohydrates.

THE INGREDIENT LIST – Before I look at the nutrition facts, I first inspect the ingredients. This will tell you where those grams are coming from. For example, are the grams of sugar coming from whole food sources like dates? Or from refined sugar and corn syrup? And are the fats coming from whole food sources like nuts and seeds? Or hydrogenated oils?
I recommend avoiding bars marketed as being ‘low carb’ or ‘low sugar’ before workouts as they often contain artificial sweeteners, sugar alcohols, and synthetic fibers that can cause GI issues (bloating, gas, diarrhea) mid-workout. Tolerance level of artificial sweeteners and sugar alcohols will vary depending on the athlete.
Ingredients are listed in order by weight. Heavier, denser ingredients will be listed first followed by lighter ingredients. For example, ½ cup of brown rice syrup weighs the same as 2 cups of oats, so even if a product uses more oats than brown rice syrup, the syrup will be listed first due to weight.

Look for Whole Food Ingredients

What’s it mean when I say look for ‘whole food’ ingredients? Here are some examples:


  • Dates
  • Dried unsweetened fruits
  • Whole-grain sources like oats, brown rice
  • Pea protein
  • Brown rice protein
  • Egg whites
  • Whey Protein Isolate – Whey is derived from dairy. Whey protein isolate has a higher protein to carbohydrate/fat ratio compared to whey protein concentrate. Thus, making whey protein isolate a higher quality protein source.
  • Nuts
  • Nut butters (ex: peanut butter, almond butter)
  • Seeds
Ingredients to Avoid
Gastrointestinal issues may occur when a product contains additives and artificial sweeteners, preservatives, etc. This is especially true for athletes suffering from digestive disorders such as IBS.
Ingredients I recommend avoiding include:

HYDROGENATED OILS – Used to extend shelf life, this type of fat has been shown to increase LDL (“bad”) cholesterol while actually lowering your HDL (“good”) cholesterol, and have been linked to cancer. You find hydrogenated oils in products like packaged cookies, candy, crackers, etc. but can also see these oils in performance bars. Instead look for monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats like nuts, seeds, and nut butters.HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP & ADDED SUGAR – It’s important to know that sugar has many, many names – there are over 60 synonyms for added sugar. Again, it is important to read the ingredient list because companies and manufacturers will use multiple names in an attempt to disguise how much sugar is in their product.

ARTIFICIAL SWEETENERS & SUGAR ALCOHOLS – Companies can get away with labeling their product ‘sugar-free’ or ‘0g added sugar’ by using artificial sweeteners (Sucralose, Aspartame, Acesulfame Potassium) and sugar alcohols (Erythritol, Xylitol). Artificial sweeteners in excess can have a negative impact on the gut microbiome, which plays a major role in your immune system and brain health. Instead, opt for energy bars with sugars such as honey, brown rice syrup, coconut sugar, or date sugar.
SYNTHETIC FIBERS – Synthetic fibers like soluble corn fiber and inulin may also lead to GI distress, especially in athletes with IBS. Fiber is essential for proper digestion and maintaining blood sugar levels. Opt for natural sources like fruits and vegetables, oats, flax seeds, and chia seeds.
A few brands to check out that I often recommend to clients include:
GoMacro, Larabar, RXbar, Perfect Bar, Health Warrior, EPIC, and Picky Bars

Energy bars definitely come in handy for athletes trying to put on weight! With how calorie-dense most bars are, it’s an easy way to get more calories in without feeling overly full. Just 2 Perfect Bars = 640 calories! But you can also see now why eating too many can make weight loss more difficult.Bars can be a convenient snack between meals, when you’re on-the-go or pre/post-workout, but they shouldn’t replace an entire meal and I don’t recommend them for every snack multiple times a day. Opt for whole food snacks like a banana with peanut butter, or an apple with hard-boiled eggs.

Want to try making your own energy bars at home? Try this recipe for my Snickerdoodle energy bars!

Angie Asche is the owner of Eleat Sports Nutrition. She is a registered dietitian, sports nutritionist, and personal trainer that provides nutrition counseling virtually to professional athletes across the country. You can follow her on social media here.

My First Ever Blog Post…

My First Ever Blog Post…

With a newfound career, the launch of our new website and new direction of our gym I wanted to share some thoughts on this journey and how we got here. In 2015, I distinctly remember watching the CrossFit Games on TV. Seeing what humans were able to accomplish during these grueling workouts gave me a new perspective on life. At that time I had been doing my regular workout routines at the gym. 10 years of lifting weights 3 days a week, cardio 2 days a week, and anything else that qualified as being active was something I was dedicated too; however, once I saw what these athletes were doing at the Crossfit Games I knew there was more potential to unlock. Heading into the gym for the first time after seeing the Games I asked the owner whether getting CrossFit in his gym was something he had thought about. Fortunately for me he had and was already prepping the gym to bring in a local CrossFit gym to take up the back space. Before I get into that though I want to backtrack to a couple years prior…

I actually had heard of CrossFit before and was getting a little bored with my current routine. I decided to contact a local CrossFit Gym (CrossFit Perrysburg) and see what they had to offer. I went through two free sessions to evaluate my movements and to work on some mobility. I liked what I had done and asked about their membership pricing. I was floored at the prices they were charging. I certainly couldn’t afford it so I didn’t sign up and went back to my regular routine. Little did I know that price should never come between you and your fitness goals. Everyone needs a fitness coach and the best ones are certainly worth the price.

Back to my “second” CrossFit experience. CrossFit Crowned (formerly CrossFit Perrysburg) was now moved into the gym I was at and I noticed that it was the same people I had worked with a couple years prior. I couldn’t help but be amazed with all of the things the athletes at this gym were doing. I would continue to do my regular routine as I watched in awe at what the “CrossFit people” were doing. I knew then I had to join. I went home one night and told my wife that I wanted to try this out. There was a fee for personal training to get me ready for classes, and it was expensive, but nothing was going to stop me this time. I think my family gave me some money for my birthday so I could try it out. Upon my first hour of training not only was I hooked, but I had learned more about the body and how it is supposed to move than I had in 4 years of training for high school sports, 10 years of working out at the gym, and even a personal training certification I had acquired a year prior. I remember thinking everything I had learned before was wrong. CrossFit was the answer and I needed to continue to seek out more information and more training. After my PT sessions I told my wife I needed to try the 3-month commitment. It was expensive, but she could tell how much it meant to me. So…I joined. I loved every second of CrossFit. The workouts were intense, but really fun. I felt I was doing things I had never even dreamed of doing. In the first month I came home and wrote down all the goals I had for myself. Those certainly included fitness goals, but one of those goals was going to be the toughest to achieve…become a gym owner by 2018. My friends can probably tell you they remember seeing that on my refrigerator. I had to do this. Fitness was my passion and I finally had a roadmap to achieve my dream. The big question to answer though was how…

As I continued to try and figure how to make my dream come true an opportunity all of a sudden presented itself. Friends of ours who owned part of the CrossFit Crowned asked if I would be interested in buying out their share of the gym and become part owner. I thought…”this is it!” I could now see a way through. I was so worried that I would need to start a gym from my garage in order to make my dream come true. That thought weighed on me because with so much to do in a situation like that where do you start. Now I didn’t have to worry about that. So many thoughts went through my head on how to make it happen and also what it would take. So, I jumped right in. Once I made the decision to move forward another opportunity presented itself. During our discussion of buying out a portion of ownership in the gym the majority owner gave us news that he intended to leave in the next 18 months and wanted to be bought out as well. What an opportunity I thought. I could own this whole gym myself and finally my dream would be fully realized. This was it…again! How could I make this happen…again! Well I did, I found a way. It has been challenging, stressful, and a fun ride to this point. This whole business rest on my shoulders now and I can’t wait to get to work…though, I have been working pretty hard already preparing for this.

Now that I am here I can’t believe it. I want to thank my family who has been instrumental in making this happen. Without their support I couldn’t have done any of it. I also want to thank each and every member of CrossFit Crowned. Every member has been so gracious and kind during this transition. They have put their trust in me and I pray each and every day I can deliver on the promise I set out to make…Get people fit! That is the number one goal. Every decision I make from here on out is to make people better than they are today. I will work hard to make sure the service that CrossFit Crowned provides is the best around. I will deliver the results, all I ask of my CrossFit family is one thing…JUST SHOW UP. We are here to help as long as you are here to get better. We’ll be here every day thinking of you!

God Bless,

Matt Williams – Owner of CrossFit Crowned