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The CrossFit stimulus—constantly varied high-intensity functional movement coupled with meat and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch, and no sugar—prepares you for the demands of a healthy, functional, independent life and provides a hedge against chronic disease and incapacity. This stimulus is elegant in the mathematical sense of being marked by simplicity and efficacy. The proven elements of this broad, general, and inclusive fitness, in terms of both movement and nutrition, are what we term our CrossFit Essentials.

This article, the second installment in a four-part series on meal timing, discusses the physiological effects of various time-restricted eating patterns. Series author Tyler Hass reviews the scientific literature on the subject and calls for more studies on a wider variety of populations using different intermittent fasting strategies, better quality food, and more effective exercise protocols.

Read MoreMeal Timing: The Fasting Window

“I’m so glad I made that first step,” says Frances Carpenter, reflecting on the transformation she has undergone at CrossFit Inversion in Yorba Linda, California.

Watch Is Franny Fit Yet?

As American waistlines have expanded over the past several decades, so has the amount of time we spend eating. Part one of this three-part series on meal timing summarizes significant research findings related to meal frequency and examines the impact of various eating patterns on health and athletic performance.

Read MoreMeal Timing: Frequency