What should my nutrition look like on competition day? What should I eat right before and after each workout?
In preparation for The Festivus Games next weekend, this is the first question of seven that I’m answering to help you prepare for the event:
What Should My Nutrition Look Like?
If you’re working with an RxFIT Nutritionist, you know by now how many calories a day you should be eating. You also should know what the breakdown of those calories should be in macronutrients.
But if you don’t know one or either of these data pieces, simply track your food in MyFitnessPal for the next three days. Average your calorie consumption over those days and make note of it. Then, scroll down to the bottom and click the blue button labeled “Nutrition.” This will show you how many grams of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats you consumed. Average the number of grams from the past three days and make note of it as well.
Which then brings you to the answer — on competition day, your nutrition shouldn’t look any different than normal. You want to consume the same number of calories and the same number of grams of protein, carbs, and fats.
However, what you eat in between workouts will be different than normal.
What to Eat Before Your Workout
In general, eat whatever you’re used to eating before doing a workout. Fruits and other simple carbs are great options because your body is going to pull glucose from the bloodstream to fuel your performance.
If you’re in the habit of eating clean, continue to eat clean. What might be surprising to you is that eating Skittles before one of your workouts isn’t a bad option. However, if you’re not used to eating candy, it would be a bad option.
For simplicity purposes, eat simple carbs from healthy sources 30-45 minutes before your workout. You don’t want to introduce anything foreign into your diet.
What to Eat After Your Workout
After your workout is where you want to eat more food. In fact, you must eat. You’re jitters are going to take away your appetite. Prepare for this.
I personally prioritize protein after each workout. A small salad with chicken or meat is a good option. Filling up a blender bottle with water and mixing in protein powder is also a good option.
Other Points to Consider
Do not skip breakfast. Even if you’re used to working out on an empty stomach, get some food in you. “Athlete Check-In” generally happens an hour or two before the first heat of the first workout anyway, so you’ll be waiting around for a couple hours before you complete your first workout.
Breakfast and dinner is where you’ll get your fats in. Avocados, peanut butter, and other fats are generally healthy options — but recognize that your body won’t be using fat as a fuel source during competition. I have personally found that eating fats in between workouts makes me feel bloated and decreases my appetite even further. It’s better to prioritize carbs before and protein after each workout. Save the fats for the early morning and after your last workout.
Eat simple carbs before each workout. Eat protein after your workout. And then eat a balanced meal across all macronutrients for breakfast and dinner.
These three “rules” will help you tremendously on competition day.
For more detailed information, give this podcast episode a listen from CrossFit Games Coach, Ben Bergeron.