With the CrossFit Open here and 16.1 in the books, I thought I might take a moment to share some nutrition strategies to help make this your best Open yet!
As some of you may know, I recently had a baby and am not yet cleared to work out. This will be the first Open that I will miss since its start in 2011. Although I don’t get to participate, I am still at the gym cheering on our members! It’s definitely a different feeling for me this year.
For most of us, the Open is about being the best athlete that you can be, competing against yourself, getting in that last rep when you don’t think you can, pushing to a point that you never thought you could, and of course the smiles, cheers, and community. It is truly an amazing time!
Anyone who has done the Open knows that every rep counts. I remember I redid one Open workout for 2 extra reps and that pushed me up an additional 337 spots in Western Canada. With the right mindset, proper rest and nutrition strategies, you will be surprised with how much more you will be capable of doing. If you ask any high level athlete about their best moment in their sport, and they will tell you it was accomplished through how much they slept or what they ate – both elements that contributed to their success.
My hope for you is that you get to know your body so well that you’ll know exactly what to do to perform at your best. It’s not about taking a magic pill that will help you get the best score in your region or the world – it’s about collecting data on yourself, so you can compete at your best.
Here are my Top 6 Nutrition Tips for success:
1. It’s a marathon, not a sprint
Understand that the Open is 5 weeks. What you eat day-to-day matters. When you are doing an Open workout and pushing yourself to the point where you feel that lactic acid burn, you are now relying on what you ate 2 days ago. It is not enough to just eat well the morning before the workout – you need to eat well each day! This will also help you to stay healthy and last the full 5 weeks.
2. Stay hydrated
When you are dehydrated, you deplete your glycogen levels (stored energy) at faster rate, making it harder to push out the extra reps in the final seconds. Make sure your urine is a pale yellow before testing the workout. Learn more hydration tips for exercise here.
3. Don’t be afraid of carbohydrates
High quality carbohydrates (rice, quinoa, sweet potatoes, yams, potatoes, fruit, etc.) are going to fuel you during these high intensity workouts. Now I am not saying you need to “carb load,” but ensure you’re having at least 1-2 servings (for women) or 2-3 servings (for men) with a balanced meal the night before you test the workout, as well as the morning of and lunch if you are doing your workout in the afternoon.
I recommend these balanced plate standards as a useful memory tool.
Breakfast: 1/4 starch, 1/4 fruit, 1/4 protein, 1/4 dairy (or sub for protein if you don’t tolerate dairy)
Lunch and dinner: 1/3 starch, 1/3 vegetables, 1/3 protein
4. Stick to safe foods
This is not the time to try “curry in a hurry” before you test the workout. Stick to safe foods that you know work for you. One of my favorite pre-workout breakfast meals is oatmeal with peanut butter and a mashed banana, and 1/2 scoop Biosteel whey protein with 1 cup milk and 1 cup water.
5. Get to know yourself
Journal and track your workouts, food and training for these weeks to see what works for you and what doesn’t. For myself, I know exactly what I need to eat to help me perform at my best. It’s a very empowering feeling. The truth is I can tell you the world’s greatest foods to eat, but you know your body best.
6. Take supplements if needed
I am a big fan of supplements. They often help to give you a slight edge. However, if you feel you need a supplement to perform better, chances are your diet needs some tweaking. Take a look at your benefits plan and see if you have coverage to see a dietitian. Supplements are meant to add to a healthy diet, not replace. A good supplement schedule is individual to the person and training.Lastly, remember to have fun, do you best and try to be a little better today than you were yesterday. Good luck to everyone competing this year!
Lastly, remember to have fun, do you best and try to be a little better today than you were yesterday. Good luck to everyone competing this year!