CrossFit Open: Pre and Post-Workout Tips!
It is the CrossFit Games Open and for many of you, this might be the only ‘CrossFit competition’ you take part in all year – which means one things…nerves. You are anxious, nervous, excited, ready to poop your pants, all of the above!
And for those of us that are seasoned competitors, I bet you still get a lot of these feelings when that Open workout gets announced and you think about the pain cave you are about to enter and the strategy you will put into place.
There is one major thing we CAN control around the Open and that is how we fuel ourselves for our performance come game day. Unfortunately, what you eat an hour or two prior to that workout is just part of the equation. Pre-workout should be considered for 24-48 hours prior to that workout. Here are some things to start thinking about:
2 Days Out –
- Be careful how much fiber (aka mainly vegetables) you’re taking in. They are great for our body with lots of vitamins/nutrients, but they take a bit for our body to process, break down, and digest. So don’t be stuffing down the veggies like there is no tomorrow thinking we are being ‘healthier’ around the Open. Moderate amounts of 2-3 servings/day for these days leading up should be plenty.
- Stay hydrated. Make sure that most of the day, your pee is close to clear. Water, water, water J
1 Day Out –
- Same rules as above, but now we are also needing to be aware that what we take in now is what our bodies are going to utilize tomorrow for that workout. Make sure you are taking in adequate calorie intake (now is not the time for a huge calorie deficit to try to look shredded or ‘feel light on gymnastics’ tomorrow).
- Consider an additional 50-100g of carbs the day before to help you sleep and to help polish off those glycogen stores for 19.1. Make sure it is easy to digest too, think white rice, sweet potatoes, quinoa, etc. No need to ‘pasta party’ and carb load it up – we aren’t running a marathon, we just need some extra energy fuel sources to help us dig deep tomorrow. This advice is mainly for those that already track their intake and are consistent with their intake levels.
Day of Workout –
- Like we discussed in our previous blog, now is not the time to try to the new BCAA/Pre-Workout your friend Jimmy gave you that makes your ears tingle and your mouth numb. Your heart rate is already going to be high due to nerves, so keep your pre-workout routine the same. If you typically take BCAA’s, then sip on them prior to workout, but otherwise, don’t introduce any new crazy supplements.
- If you don’t normally workout in the mornings, but now the Open is on a Saturday morning, consider even skipping the morning coffee – unless it is far enough in advance (i.e. 3-4 hours) to where it won’t impact as much. This can act as a stimulant to the bathroom situation that will already be stimulated due to nerves.
- Make sure your final meal is finished 2.5-3 hours prior to the workout, and keep it simple including a protein source and an easy to digest carbohydrate source. This will ensure your stomach is relatively empty at 3, 2, 1 GO. If you are working out at 10 am, consider waking up around 6:30-7 and eating some eggs and fresh fruit or a bowl of oatmeal. If you workout in the evenings, consider a lean protein like chicken breast and a cup of white rice. Think somewhere in the range of 20-30g of protein and 40-70g of carbs (ranges vary based on body composition and overall intake levels).
So the workout is done, you are rolling around on the ground, and the last thing you are thinking about is ‘what should I eat to recover’? But your body’s nervous system is at a level of high-stress and taking in something close to that workout can make a huge difference in it’s ability to recover – especially if you’re going to be crazy and redo that workout in 24-48 hours or less.
You may not be super keen on downing a head of broccoli post thrusters and burpees when you feel like you’re going to vomit even an hour after the workout is done, but consider doing something simple like a protein/carb shake, or a protein shake + a carbohydrate food source like a banana, white rice, or even some oatmeal (overnight oats if you want the refreshing aspect of it being a cold-food). Again, a good range is going to be about 20-30g of protein and depending on the length/intensity of the workout, somewhere around 25-50g of carbs.
Taking in something soon after helps your body also blunt the cortisol response from the stress of the workout, which will help kick your body into recovery mode much easier.