It’s an exciting time of year if you’re competing in the Crossfit Open! New members are enjoying a new and crazy experience of throwing down barbells and hitting PRs, or maybe getting their first muscle-up!
As a dietitian, I often see new crossfitters grossly overestimate the amount of energy they expend. Their recovery meal turns into another “recovery” meal later that night or sometimes someone might think that they “deserve” a treat because they worked hard or hit a PR.
If you are a competitive athlete and are following a program that is tailored to have you peek during the open season, your nutrition should also be periodized around this. So, what does this mean?
During the open, your training volume is decreased in order to keep you in good condition for the open workouts (especially if you plan to give it a second shot!). Strategizing your nutrition on a day-to-day basis can help accommodate this decreased volume. Try to aim for simple carbohydrates before your open workouts and recovery with a complete protein and another simple carbohydrate. Fueling your body with fats is not ideal, as carbohydrates are our primary source for fuel and fats will slow this absorption in our small intestine. Fats should be had later in the day after you have already completed the workout and recovered properly. On days that you are resting, your nutrition should be reflective of that decreased expenditure. I would also recommend stopping your creatine cycle (if you are on one) in order to decrease water retention and let you feel a little faster in those metcons. Other things to look out for are supplements that have the “trusted by sport” symbol on the container so that cross contamination does not become an issue if you are planning to make it to Regionals or the Games. There are other ways to have your own supplements tested by shipping them to labs that can do this for you (email me for more information about this).
HOWEVER, if you do not currently have a good foundation on nutrition and are trying to commit to better habits, the above approach may not be right for you… yet. Instead, maybe learning how to fuel your workouts and recover is a good starting point and learning how to create healthier and more balanced meals/snacks.
Creating a nutrition plan, whether its for the newest gym goer, or the elite crossffitter, is something that should be individualized and collaborated with the client to discuss their goals, needs, and yearly training plan (YTP).
Goodluck in the Crossfit Open everyone, see you on the leaderboard!
Jessica Roy, RD