The Crossfit Open season is 1 week away! You’ve been training hours in the gym in preparation for the next 5 weeks…but what have you been doing outside the gym to ready yourself? Within the next 2 months of weekly, intense workouts, how you’re eating between workouts, the morning before the workout, and after you complete the workout, will have a very important impact on your overall performance. Your training will be changing to ensure you’re well-rested and ready to hit the workout hard, so just the same your nutrition should be catered towards peak performance.
Unfortunately, if you’re hoping to lose 10lbs to gain some movement speed or gain 10lbs to gain some strength, you’ve missed your window of opportunity for this Open season. But that doesn’t mean that for the next 5 weeks you can’t begin on a path to perform to your highest potential this year and have a strong start going into Open 2018! In the past year, since 16.5 (the last workout of the 2016 season), I have dropped about 15lbs while maintaining (or improving) all of my strength. At the start of the 2016 season, I knew my performance could benefit by being lighter but it was not the time to start any extreme calorie cutting for weight loss. So I just used the 5-weeks to dial in my nutrition habits and eat a healthy, balanced diet that I could carry with me going into the next season of training. Now, one year later, I’m glad that my consistency and persistence has paid off and I am feeling more prepared for the 2017 season! With that said, the time-frame of the Open is the perfect start to implementing new healthy habits and balancing your macronutrient intake. You will have 5 weeks of organized, planned programming at your gym around the Open workouts and lots of hype and inspiration all around you from fellow gym members, and the entire Crossfit Community, so making new health commitments won’t seem so difficult with so much motivation all around you!
So what can you do RIGHT NOW? You still have the opportunity to improve your eating and influence your performance throughout the next 5-weeks! Begin by noticing how the things you eat make you feel during your next workout as we lead into the first week of the Open. Oatmeal for breakfast before hitting the 9am has you feeling energized compared to the day before when you skipped breakfast? Now you know what you should be eating on Friday a few hours before coming in to hit 17.1! There are lots of different options, but at this point in time you should really mostly stick to foods that you know you enjoy, can digest well, and help you feel good and strong! Also use these 5-weeks to focus on all of the meals you’re eating and how they make you feel. Awareness and mindful-eating will have positive impact on your diet!
On the day that you plan to complete the workout, your carbohydrate intake should be slightly higher than other training days. As carbs are our main energy source, we want to have plenty readily available to use during the high-intensity workout. Especially if you’ve been cutting calories back (in the longer term) in an effort to lose weight, you should definitely consume slightly higher amounts (don’t go crazy now) so that you are energized for the workouts!
The high-intensity workouts coming up are going to have quite the toll on your body also. We are going to be encouraged to push a little harder, lift a little heavier, and move a little faster than we are used to and comfortable with on the normal training day. With that extra stress on our bodies, we will definitely be feeling it! During the 5-weeks, eating natural sources of anti-inflammatory will be very important for your health and happiness! Some great sources include, garlic, ginger, turmeric, pineapple, nutritional-yeast, green-leafy vegetables, fatty fish/fish-oil pills, berries, tart-cherry juice. Adding as many of these foods to your diet as you can will help your body deal with impacts of the increased intensity!
After you complete your Open workout at Friday Night Lights, you might be tempted to go out to celebrate another week accomplished with some beers and unhealthy foods. While celebrating your progress and success is absolutely important, how you recover immediately after this workout will have an impact on how your remaining performances go. Consuming those anti-inflammatory foods mentioned earlier will be important, as well as replenishing your body with some carbs and proteins. Carbohydrates will help your body recover its exhausted energy sources while protein will rebuild and repair any damaged muscle cells from working so hard (normal and healthy with intense exercise). Staying hydrated (with water, not with beer) will also help you recover quickly so that you are feeling rejuvenated the next day and your remaining training days leading up to the next workout rather than completely beat-up and needing to rest and skip training days. One beer won’t have much of a negative impact, so feel free to indulge, but excessive consumption will actually cause additional inflammation in your body as well as dehydration and poor nutrient absorption.
Use the 5-weeks of the Open this year to not only PR your workouts and lifts, but to also PR your nutrition! You will have unlimited support and motivation all around you from your local community as well as the entire Crossfit Community as we tackle the next challenging 5 workouts. Take it from me, you won’t regret improving your eating habits and in the long-term you will be SO happy that you started now!
For more help with exactly what you should be consuming prior to your Open performances or throughout the entire 5-weeks, feel free to Contact me!