It’s that time of year again for CrossFitters where we all get the opportunity to test the fitness we’ve been working on year round. You’ve been pushing your physical capacity limits and now it’s time to showcase your fitness. Many Crossfitters just like you have been working their butts off to be able to perform, but many fall short of one critical piece of the puzzle – nutrition.
It’s no secret that in order to be able to perform at your maximum capacity, you need to have the adequate fuel to be able to do so. However, nowadays with so much confounding information being thrown at you, it’s difficult to filter through fact or myth, especially at a critical time in your training regimen like the open. Here are some basic nutrition guides that anyone can adopt (Paleo, vegetarian, IIFYM, etc) that will help you get though the open, performing at your best.
Regardless of what the mainstream fitness media tells you about not eating carbs to get your six pack, you need to eat carbs in order to perform at your best. It’s a fact. When consumed, carbohydrates enter your bloodstream by being broken down and is stored as glycogen. Glycogen can be thought of as the gasoline for your engine, and without that fuel, you cannot perform at your maximum capacity and your score will suffer. So how much is too much? There’s a line between eating carbs for fuel and indulging on pizza and cake, but a general rule of thumb is that for individuals training around 4 times a week at a healthy body weight, eating 1.5g/lb of bodyweight is adequate fuel for performance.
Eating the day of: Before the WOD
In an ideal scenario, you want to consume a fairly high carbohydrate meal between 1 to 2 hours before you do your workout. The carbohydrates in this meal should come from a slow releasing source, so oatmeal, beans, brown rice, sweet potato, or whole wheat pasta would be your best option. The appropriate quantity varies from person to person, but it would be best to get around 1 cup of one of these sources. If you’re an early bird and will be tackling the open in the morning, it’s difficult to get a heavy meal in at 6am. As an alternative you can “carb load” and have that carb heavy meal the night before.
Eating the day of: After the WOD
Your post workout nutrition is just as critical (if not more) than what you eat the other 23 hours a day. Right after you finish the event, you want to be able to get a source of quick digesting carbohydrates with some protein. If consumed within around 20 minutes of your workout, the carbohydrates will go straight to your muscle groups utilized to be stored for fuel for your next workout, while the protein will be used to repair the muscle damage illicited from the intense session. For example, 1 or 2 scoops of a carbohydrate drink accompanied with 1 scoop of whey isolate protein would be optimal if consumed within that 20 minute window.
Good luck to everyone in the open. This is a time for fun, community and hard work. Don’t let your nutrition bring you down!
Jordana Romany is a Nutritionist with a BASc in Nutrition from Ryerson University. She is the Wellness Coordinator at Centennial College in Toronto, Ontario. Jordana is a CrossFit Coach and Nutritionist at CrossFit Markham and Reebok CrossFit East Woodbridge. She is also a member of the 2014 CrossFit Games Canada East Regional’s CrossFit Markham team.