With the CrossFit Competition season starting this week and many of our athletes participating in the CrossFit Open, possibly for the first time, we as a staff wanted to speak a little on how and what to eat to perform your best.
CrossFit Competitions and events like the Open are such a great way to test our skills that we’ve been working on in the gym while at the same time having a little fun! It’s important to make sure we’re properly fueled and prepared so we feel our best and don't feel too full, too hungry or have to scramble around looking for food on the day of a competition.
Here’s a few ideas to keep handy as your competition approaches to feel game-day ready!
It takes food 1.5-2 days to fully make its way through the body, so it’s key to start paying attention a couple days before your competition or event. You know your body best. You know the foods that make you feel like Usain Bolt vs what foods make you feel like a couch potato. Make sure you quit eating anything that might upset your body, or have noticed make you feel more sluggish, a couple days before the event.
We should be fueling ourselves with well proportioned carbs, proteins, and fats at least 2-3 days before the competition, as well as properly hydrating.
CARBO-LOAD! Our High School coaches were on to something in high school with all their carbo-loads they hosted…minus all the pizza and pasta they stuffed us with! Carbohydrates are made of glycogen which fuels our muscles for strenuous activity. You should be getting at least 40-55% of your daily caloric needs from carbs a few days leading up. This doesn’t mean eat all the pizza you can (unless that’s your Usain Bolt food) Here’s some favorable carbs you may consider to increase as you approach competition day:
- Sweet potatoes
Protein should consist of 30-35% of your daily caloric needs. Getting plenty of protein will help keep your muscles building and strong while training. Shoot for 4-8oz of chicken, beef, turkey, shrimp, etc to all your meals 1 day before competition (remember if there’s meat that makes you feel lethargic, shy away from that)
Don’t overdo these leading up or on competition day. Fat makes you feel full, and while that may seem good, it can cause you to feel lethargic. Keep this to 10-15% leading up and on competition day(s).
Electrolytes / Water
Water is crucial leading up to competitions. We produce a lot of sweat in the course of 1 day (or multi days if a 2-3 day comp) so we need to hydrate! I’m not talking about slamming 5 cups of water before bed because you forgot…I’m talking 80-120oz of water per day, spread out 1-2 cups at a time throughout the day.
Besides water, we should be supplementing with electrolytes (or plenty of salt).
Electrolytes help muscles contract/relax, hydrate you, regulate blood pressure, regulate pH in the body, aids in muscle cramps, and much more!
If you haven’t yet, check out Thorne’s Catalyte!
Ok…the day has arrived. “I feel too nervous to eat” (you’re not alone;)) Even though it’s hard…get some calories in your body. Start off your day plenty early in order to get a good solid breakfast in. Here are some breakfast examples:
- *Banana, toast, egg, slice of ham, tomato and spinach
- *Yogurt + fruit + egg
- *Bagel + 1 Tbsp peanut butter + ½ protein shake
- *Oatmeal + egg whites + 1 Tbsp nut butter
- *Waffle + scrambled Eggs + fruit
Depending on what time your events are will dictate when and how much you should eat. Don’t eat immediately before an event. If you don’t have much time, shoot for quick carbs, think sugar. (Fruit, dried fruit, fruit snacks, etc.) This will be just a little jolt of sugar for your muscles to use up. This should not make you full at all. Try to eat as soon as you get done with a workout, that way you give yourself enough time to digest before your next event. Aim for at least 1 hour to digest before your warmup time. If you don’t have much time, a couple bites is better than none at all. Here are some comp day snack ideas:
*Protein powder with a serving of fruit
*½ turkey sandwich
*½ banana + string cheese
*Protein bar + fruit
*Fuel for fire
*Lean protein + potatoes, rice or pasta
TREAT YO-SELF! Indulge a little, you deserve it! Just be sure to be kind to your body and eat slowly. Make sure you’re still hydrating after the competition, and be careful with alcohol consumption as it can sneak up a little quicker than normal as your body is most likely already dehydrated from your event.
CrossFit Competitions are a blast and a great way to show off all your hard work in the gym daily. Being prepared and having a plan with our food will help you maximize your performance and feel your best for the big day!
Sarah's Big 5 Do's and Don'ts
*Eat plenty of clean protein, carbs, and fats
*Eat foods you know agree with your system
*Have food/snacks easy and at the ready
*Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!
*Eat a little even if your not hungry
*Do not try new supplements close to competition
*Do not drink only liquids or protein shakes
*Do not over-caffeinate
*Do not assume your comp location will have food. Be prepared and bring food
*Moderation with post event alcohol