We are four weeks into our 60 Day #KingfieldStrong Challenge which means at the end of this week, participants will be halfway done.
We’ve been thoroughly impressed with the questions they've raised about how sugar, alcohol and otherwise “junky” foods fit in their lives. We believe many are using the Challenge as a jumpstart to an entirely new eating pattern that will serve them for the long term - which is very rewarding to witness.
Last week we shifted focus to stress management and and were reminded that without proper attention to this area, we’re ignoring a critical piece of our progress toward health and fitness goals. Check out last week’s blog if you haven't yet and begin incorporating simple yet effective techniques for decompressing and reducing overall stress you might be experiencing.
This week, it seems only fitting to shift back to nutrition. This is the first week of the CrossFit Games Open, and we wanted to provide some bonus information on how to fuel around your training to optimize performance. While some of you may be invested in the Open workouts and look forward to them year-round, others are just looking to get the most out of what you put your bodies through in and out of the gym. Let’s face it, some of these soul-crushing workouts we do have lingering effects. Often times, we can mediate these effects with proper nutrition strategically timed around our training. So we’ve drawn up three simple tips to keep you up and running throughout the day, whether you’re trying to crush a PR, keep up with your kids, the dog or stay sharp at work as you make a name for yourself in your career. #KingfieldStrong is not limited to the gym.
Three Ways to Fuel Your Performance
Be Carb Smart
For high intensity CrossFit workouts, we need to consider how to best utilize macronutrients - protein, carbs and fat - from food so we come into workouts with energy, ready to take down whatever is thrown our way. We can achieve this by bookending starchier carbs such as fruit, starchy vegetables (think potatoes, pumpkin, corn) or grains around your workouts.
Example. You plan to work out at 5 PM or 6 PM. Your day might look like this:
7 AM Breakfast: whole eggs + non-starchy vegetables in an omelette topped with cheese. Aiming for a mix of protein, healthy fat and carbohydrates from primarily non-starchy vegetables
12 PM Lunch: leftover spaghetti squash + meatballs. Add full fat Greek yogurt, salad greens with avocado, nuts/seeds or full fat cottage cheese if you're feeling hungry. Fat containing foods keep us full and satisfied between meals. Aim for a mix of protein, healthy fat and carbohydrates primarily from non-starchy vegetables.
2:30 PM Snack: deli meat + apple. Aim for protein and starchy carbohydrates at snack time as this is a great time to top off fuel for muscles going into your workout. 1 piece of fruit, ½ cup of rice, 1 medium baked potato are great, quick absorbing carbohydrate sources that fit the bill. They usually fit in that sweet spot about 2 hours after lunch, and 1-2 hours before your workout- however this is highly variable and should be experimented with.
5 PM WORKOUT TIME! Train like an animal cause you’ve got energy to spare going into the workout.
7 PM Dinner: ground turkey stir fry + cubed sweet potatoes + non-starchy vegetables cooked in olive oil. Aim for protein + healthy fat + starchy carbohydrates to initiate an insult response necessary to put carbohydrates, or town, vitamins and minerals away into muscles post workout. Cook with healthy oils or otherwise ensure you're getting some fat in the form of nuts, seeds, coconut, avocado, dairy products, etc. to balance blood sugar and keep you food and satisfied heading to bed.
Manage your blood sugar
Proper blood sugar management can be difference between calm and hangry, productive and crashing, full and satisfied between meals and chasing cravings. It's the difference between buzzing through a workout and bottoming out. Aim to eat at least every 4 hours for great blood sugar management. Bonus: eating every 4 hours sets you nicely up for 4 meals per day - one of which can be a pre or post workout snack that serves for fueling and recovery.
Part of great blood sugar management is wrapped up in meal timing, but also in the choices you make at meals. Focus on having balance in macronutrients- protein, healthy fat and carbohydrates form fruits and vegetables over processed, packaged and refined grains which send blood sugar on a roller coaster - sharp spikes and steep falls.
Experiment with bedtime snacks
This will likely be highly individual so feel this out for yourself. Whether or not you add a bedtime snack will depend on your goals.
We know that sleep influences athletic performance so getting quality zzz’s should be a priority. Some people find adding a snack of healthy fat + carbs before bed helps them fall asleep and stay asleep better than going to bed on an empty stomach. Some find that eating a protein rich snack does just the same.
If you workout early and don't have time to get much food down before you leave the house in the morning, bedtime snacks a perfect to serve that muscle fueling function that we discussed above. Consider a protein shake + fruit, a couple hard boiled eggs, fruit + peanut butter, steel cut oats + heavy cream before bed.
Note:it's not recommended to eat carbohydrates alone, especially at bedtime because blood sugar spikes and subsequent drops can wake you in a sleep cycle or cause you to be very hungry in the morning.
In the end, your best source of knowledge is you. Everyone’s body is different so a specific recommendation isn't our goal. Our goal is provide you the framework and let you add the finishing touches. Test out these tips and figure out what works for you! If you have questions, please ask and we’ll help you refine your approach.
Best of luck in the Open! See you this week!