Are Meal Replacement Shakes a “Thing” in the CrossFit World?

meal replacement shake

Jake Maslin, the owner and head Coach of CrossFit Code Red in Hillsboro, Oregon used to offer meal replacement shakes in his Box to supplement nutrition challenges and diet plans.

After the challenges were over, however, Maslin noticed the diet plan didn’t stick and his members stopped using the shakes.

“I don’t think that CrossFit itself or the athletes really need a meal replacement shake. I think it’s more important to teach them how to actually have a good full nutrition program. And I think that’s probably one of the hardest things that we struggled with or any Affiliate has struggled with,” said Maslin.

Amber Cronkhite, the owner and head Coach of CrossFit Press On finds a use for meal replacement shakes for CrossFit beginners and experienced athletes.

Depending on his or her goals, she recommends her newest members start by replacing one or two meals with the shakes, then increase food intake based on how often they are working out.

“As they do more CrossFit and they get into the routine of ‘OK, I’m coming twice a day or three days a week and now I’m doing four…’ as you do more and more, your body needs more food. More fuel,” said Cronkhite. “So, there is a certain point a meal replacement shake is absolutely not enough.”

And the type of shake is very important to her. Cronkhite searched for an organic, all-natural shake before landing on Isagenix.

She understands that a Paleo diet or Zone diet can be expensive and that many members don’t have the time to meal prep for the week, so for her personal life, where she can’t afford to eat Paleo or prepare a meal, she will replace a meal or a snack with a shake.

Currently, Maslin is in the process of creating an accountability-based nutrition program that will ultimately lead to lifestyle change.

“What we’re trying to do as an Affiliate is not necessarily go through these five to eight week challenges, but trying to group athletes up with other athletes to get them to work together as far as sharing meal ideas, recipes and then keeping track of each other,” explained Maslin.

Most importantly, Cronkhite encourages her athletes to listen to their bodies and to not starve themselves, which she believes is a common misconception athletes grew up believing.

“It’s hard to find balance when you have other people and they’re throwing (meal replacement shakes) into challenges,” added Cronkhite. “For me, it’s not about how many inches you can lose, it’s about a lifestyle. It’s about a balance in your everyday life.”

Cronkhite believes achieving a balance and a lifestyle change is the best way to avoid a relapse into poor eating habits after a nutrition challenge. And at a certain point, a meal replacement shake won’t be enough for a CrossFitter, but used as “a complement to your nutrition,” according to Cronkhite.

Hayli Goode is the former digital editor for Peake Media.