The Open is in full swing, and man, we’re already feeling the wear and tear. We know that you want to bring your A-game, and this means making sure that your nutrition is rock solid. Let’s talk about how you can eat for the CrossFit Open.
Nutrition + The CrossFit Open: How to Do It
One Idea: Don’t Change Anything
One of the most common mistakes that athletes make just before and during the Open is overhauling their training and nutrition. They suddenly start lifting like Fraser, eating like Froning, and going all-out.
The problem, here, is that their bodies aren’t used to that type of lifestyle. And by then, it’s way too late to be making such a drastic change.
If you wanted to make any real changes in order to prepare for the Open, that would’ve needed to be done months ago — not at the 11th hour.
So, if you’re used to skipping breakfast, having a protein-heavy lunch, and packing in the carbs before hitting the gym, then this is probably how you should approach your nutrition during the Open. If you typically have eggs and toast for breakfast, a giant deli sandwich for lunch, and pasta for dinner, then you’ll likely fare best sticking with that.
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This is especially the case if you’re competing in the Open for fun. There’s no need to go and put your body under new and unfamiliar circumstances. All it’ll do is confuse your body more than the workouts already will. Compete how you train.
Now, if you’re still considering tweaking your nutrition, here are a few tips.
Always Think One Day Ahead
We’ll tell you that good nutrition is always important; and as we said, any big changes to your diet should’ve been made months ago. However, we’d also encourage you to pay extra special attention to what you eat the day prior to an Open workout — not just the day of.
This is because within the 24 hours leading up to a workout, that’s truly when your body is storing up, processing, and planning how to use important macronutrients, especially carbohydrates, which will be your main source of energy for those workouts.
It’s one of the most common nutrition myths that we’ve talked about before, and we’re going to bring it up again: You can’t out-exercise a bad diet. If you eat poorly the day before an Open workout, you’re going to feel it. If you eat poorly the day of an Open workout, you’re going to feel it. Of course, you can enjoy your favorite celebratory cheat meal. Just wait until you’ve submitted your score.
If You Don’t Feel as Hungry, There’s a Reason Why
Recovery during the Open is paramount, and this often means that in between those workouts, you’re going to take it easy more than you normally would. In other words, because Open workouts can be so grueling, you’ll likely want to back off of your training slightly, the other days of the week.
This could very likely mean that overall, you’re training less than you usually would. During the Open, this is normal! For most athletes, they’re not going to go hard every day in training, when they’re in the middle of a long competition. They’d burn out in a heartbeat.
So, what do you think this means for your nutrition? Your appetite could possibly go down.
We know that it might seem counterintuitive. The Open typically pushes your body beyond its limits; wouldn’t you want to be eating more?
The Open presents only one workout a week. One. And as we’ve said, your training outside of this workout will probably decrease a little. It makes sense, then, why you might not need as much fuel.
You should always listen very carefully to your body. If it’s crying for calories, then give it calories! However, during the Open, if you’re suddenly not craving your usual midnight snack, that’s okay too. Plain and simple, your body might not need it.
Hydration is More Important Than Ever
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You should always make sure that you’re drinking enough water, of course. But during the Open, it’s going to be even more crucial. And this is because there’s indeed a relationship between hydration and recovery, for a number of reasons.
For starters, water helps to keep the joints lubricated. This is going to be particularly important when you’re feeling sore, tight, and stiff during the Open.
Water will also provide nutrients for your cells and organs, as well as help to flush out toxins and waste.
Third, staying hydrated is vital for better sleep. And sleep is vital for recovery.
How much water you need will depend on a number of factors, including your weight, training level, and the climate that you live in. The point is this: Drink up! A good way to know if you’re getting enough water? Look at the color of your urine. The clearer it is, the more water you’re getting. (Good job!)
None of this is meant to add more responsibilities to your plate. The Open shouldn’t feel like a chore. Rather, look at this as guidance to help you feel amazing and perform well during these very challenging weeks.
More than anything, you can gauge the effectiveness of your nutrition on how you feel mentally and physically. Are you happy, energetic, excited, motivated? Are you feel strong, fast, powerful? If yes, then you’re probably on the right track. Keep going.
Remember what the Open is all about: Having fun. Give it your all and take care of your body, and you’ll be victorious no matter what. We’ll be cheering for you. Good luck!