The more I think about CrossFit competition the more I like to compare it to a track & field meet. It is due to the fact that athletes would compete in multiple events in the same day. With Surf City Civil War coming in 3 days, I’m sure some of you had already started to think about what kind of foods to bring on the competition day to help you refuel and re-energize. Unless you’re a veteran at competition and already know your body well enough, it is not easy to figure all this out on your own. And we have not even mentioned about supplements yet.
Before diving in any further, here are 2 rules to remember:
- It is highly individualized. If it works for you then great, it may not work for your teammates.
- It is not the time to try something new and different.
Alright, let’s move on.
- Stay hydrated - unlike sports that involved weight classes such as weightlifting, poI werlifting, MMA; you are not required to weigh in. That means there’s no reason for you not to keep drinking water from the night before until your workouts are done. Especially when the event is held outdoor, the importance of hydration can’t be overstated. When you wait till you feel thirsty, it’s already too late. Sure, the excitement of the competition may make you want to go to the bathroom even more. However, being dehydrated will have a lot of negative effects on your nervous system and may even stress your adrenal gland out more than necessary. Don’t worry about feeling bloated as long as you keep sipping on water.
- PaleNO? – see what I did there ? Ok, this is where I’m most hesitant to write about mainly due to how deeply the Paleo diet has ingrained into CrossFit. Please read this part carefully! I do not generally recommend Paleo diet as competition day fuel mainly because how much energy it takes to digest Paleo foods and how long it takes to absorb those types of foods as energy. Nuts have way to high in fat and can’t absorb well between workouts while fruits are too high in fructose to be used as muscle glycogen. Meats take too long to be digested and with such high protein, it takes away the energy which you need for the workout to digest the foods.
- Sweet and FAST - When I was lifting at USAW nationals this year, my coach had me sipping Gatorade and nipping on Mike n’ Ike every 10 seconds during my session…While CF competition is formatted differently than a USAW meet, the principle here is to restore glycogen in your muscle cells as fast as you can after an event. All foods that have high fructose corn syrups as sweetener should be avoided because they do not go straight to your muscle cells. I would recommend drinking your carbs right after each event. You have a few options to choose from – Vitargo, ATP mechanix post workouts, and a more readily available Gatorade.
- Keep up your protein – Obviously eating meats is not the most efficient way to get your protein in, that’s when whey protein powder will come in handy.
- What about solid foods? - If you’re able to tolerate solid foods, then it’s not a problem. Stick to what you know that does not make you feel bloated and weigh you down. I would recommend white rice, potatoes and sweet potatoes as a part of that. They have all the fast acting carbs that can be easily broken down and stored in your muscles to keep you going.
The key ingredient to be successful at any competition is having fun. Plan a little ahead with all your foods and supplements but don’t let it keep you from enjoying the events! Good luck competitors!