The Open is happening has been announced to the delight of all CrossFitters around the globe.
For some it may have been a one and done workout while others may clock up a couple redos before the deadline. One thing is certain: as the weeks go by we will all be looking for ways to improve our performance and maximize recovery.
More and more titles are popping up with step by step guides to getting ready for your next attempt, spanning from warm up drills to strategy or even mobility exercises (Make sure you check ours out here
However one thing we are seemingly missing and that is talk around proper nutrition.
First of all, all seasoned competitors know that eating something new and unfamiliar between events at a competition is NOT a good idea and the same concept is valid when it comes to the Open.
Of course paying more attention to how you fuel up and refuel after your sessions during this 5 week period can be helpful (that’s what we’re here to talk about!) but if there’s one thing you should take away from this article is TO NOT make drastic changes now!
Keeping this in mind, we can start looking more closely at what are the realistic things you can do to positively impact your overall performance:
- Have a well-balanced meal 2 hours prior to training, some people might enjoy training fasted: this is NOT a good idea if you’re trying to be competitive. If a full meal isn’t an option reach for a snack with around 30g of fast digesting carbs 1 hour to 30 minutes prior. Liquid foods such as shakes, sports drinks or baby food are digested the fastest. If training really early in the morning make sure you have a substantial meal the night before. It will serve as your “pre-workout meal”, so aim for something containing all macronutrients, with less refined carbs and more slow digesting proteins.
- After training, and even more after an Open workout the focus should be on carbs. Not only are they going to replenish glycogen stores in your muscles, priming them for recovery, but carbs are also your nervous system’s favorite source of energy. The nervous system is heavily taxed in Open style workouts so making sure it gets the fuel it needs can definitely benefit your game. Once again fast digesting carbs are the better option. Fruit, cereal, rice cakes, or the previously mentioned liquid sources of carbs, are all great choices. Eating immediately post workout is not necessary if you aren’t training multiple times a day, not aiming to compete or are going to have a substantial meal soon after your session. However everyone should make sure to have a meal with at least 25g of protein and 30g or more of carbs 1 to 2 hours after training: the sooner the better.
- If you live in a warmer country don’t forget your minerals/electrolytes and for everyone else STAY HYDRATED! It’s not just a trendy slogan: research has proven again and again the strict correlation between hydration levels in test subjects and how well they performed in athletic or strenuous activities.
- Take a novel preworkout you never tried before just prior to your attempt. We each react differently to stimulants and their dosage. This is not the time to find out what works best for you.
- Consume too many fats close to your training sessions, same goes for fiber. Both of them are important in a well balanced diet but you just don’t want them delaying your digestion and slowing absorption of nutrients right before or after working out. Plus, to put it quite simply, it’s no fun to have food jumping around in your belly while you are trying to get through yet another set of burpees.
- Do not eat foods that are raw (yes even sushi) or might not be well cooked. The same goes for anything that’s been in your fridge for probably a couple days too long. This may sound obvious but it’s always good to have a reminder that taking your chances against possible food poisoning is the last thing you want to do halfway through the Open.
And lastly don’t forget to enjoy this Open season. It goes by quick, believe it or not, and stressing too much over what, when and how much to eat is not going to bump you up higher on that leaderboard.
Article brought to you by Progrm author, Alexandra Radini.