How to Fuel and Refuel for The CrossFit Open

The CrossFit Open is 5 weeks of workouts that will push you to your limits and see how far you can truly go in a workout. If you want to perform at your best, you must first make sure you have all the tools in your belt to do so. Nutrition being one of them. Each and every person must think of themselves as a fine tuned machine (at least that’s what I like to think). In order for the machine to run at its best, you want to make sure you are fueling it properly.

When getting ready to attack your workout, meal timing will give you an extra edge; making sure you have the right amount of protein, carbs and fats at the right time.

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Pre-Workout Meal

You will want to have a pre-workout meal 1-3 hours before for optimal muscle function. This meal should include both high and low GI carbs, that way your glycogen levels (energy in your muscles) get topped off and stay that way. A normal serving of protein, making sure you are promoting muscle synthesis. Fat should be included but at a moderate amount, not too much. Fat slows down the digestion of both protein and carbs so we do not want to over-do it.

My go to pre-workout meal is:

-3 egg whites w/ broccoli slaw

-50g of oats, 60g of blueberries, and 1 tbsp of peanut butter w/ cinnamon

If you can only find a way to get a meal in 30 minutes before… DO IT. The worst thing you can do is not eat before an Open Workout. Ideally you want only high GI carbs (fruit, Gatorade, carb powder source, baby food) this close to your workout with an easily digested protein, I recommend whey protein at this point. Fat should probably be avoided to ensure you digest your protein and carbs as much as possible before the workout.

Post-Workout Meal

Chances are the workouts you see in The Open will be more challenging than your average day at the gym. So the sooner you can start to recover the better. Recovery starts when you refuel your body. First, and most important, carbs. Carbs replenish glycogen stores, especially high GI carbs (again these can be fruit, baby food, or a carbohydrate powder source). Protein should be taken in through whey protein powder, this form is the most easily digested and readily available to our muscles. Fat should be avoided in this meal to ensure adequate absorption of carbs and protein. Typically you want to have this within 20 minutes post workout.

My go-to post-workout meal is:

-20-40g of powdered carb source (about 2 tbsp. of Gatorade powder)

-1 scoop of ascent whey protein

-5g of creatine

Anywhere from one and a half to two hours post workout you should be taking in your second recovery meal. This meal should consist of all whole foods. Protein can be any lean source of your choice. Carbs should be again a mix of low and high GI because chances are your muscle have used up the carbs you took in immediately post workout. Fat can and should be consumed in this meal as well. This will allow your muscles to continue protein synthesis and avoid muscle breakdown.

As always when I talk to people about nutrition, everyone is different and no two athletes are the same. At the end of the day if you have a meal you love to eat before a workout and you know you will perform well, eat it. This is not the time to try some infomercial super serum that gives you super strength. I’ll let you in on a little secret, it won’t work.

Good luck in the Open everyone!

Make today great,