Nutrition & Recovery during the CrossFit Open

January 29, 20190

Lately I have been seeking additional knowledge to increase my impact in working with athletes. Of these, I would recommend checking out the Performance Nutrition Manual by BoomBoom Performance. These resources, paired with my own experience, led to the creation of this post to share with those whom are partaking in the 2019 CF Open.

Primary goals are to be eating enough to be properly fueled / energized going into each workout and that you are adequately recovering between workouts. Some items to consider regarding nutrition:

  1. Keep Carbohydrate Intake Up – This is the main source of fuel for high intensity exercise. The Glycolytic Pathway is utilized to break down carbohydrates to produce more ATP (Energy) to fuel performance.
  2. Exercise Programming – If a 1RM is called for, make sure to get some fats in prior to the workout, preferably in a meal earlier in the day. Understand that this lift will completely empty your tank. Therefore, ensure to get in carbs and proteins after that workout to begin the restoration process.

Next is recovering from week to week. The competitive atmosphere and extra intensity level (stress) of participating in the Open means a high impact to your CNS (Central Nervous System). Thus, it is important to have parasympathetic inputs to counterbalance the high stress load.

Immediate / Post Workout Strategies:

  1. Put a lot of focus and time into a cool down. This could be more basic movements, mobility, or even 10 minutes doing steady state cardio to bring your system back down to baseline levels.
  2. Foam rolling (best at the end of a workout), Percussion Therapy (Theragun, Jigsaw Massage), Muscle Stim Devices (PowerDot, Compex)
  3. Post-Workout Nutrition, specifically high-glycemic carbohydrates. Cyclic Dextrin, very quickly absorbed and can be added to a protein shake. Followed up with a whole food based, balanced meal within 1 – 3 hours.
  4. Contrast Shower – Slowly turn the shower water down to as cold as you can stand it and bring it back up. Repeat for 3 or 4 cycles. Ice baths, and cryogenic therapies fall under this category as well. There is a documented physiological and neurological benefit to these approaches.

Also, do not overlook or forget about proper hydration and electrolyte balance. Studies have shown that athletic performance can decrease with just a 1% dehydration of body weight. Make sure to hydrate often throughout the day. Adding Himalayan sea salt (1/2 tsp) to your water post workout can aid in restoration of electrolytes. There are also products such as FitAid designed for this purpose. I will let you conclude as to where drinking beers fits within the strategy of optimal performance / recovery (hint….it does not).

Lastly, you will be going all out over the course of 5 weeks during this endeavor. Make sure to adequately eat throughout the week, get proper sleep (8-9 hours preferably), and listen to your body. This means taking days off during the week, if needed, to allow your body to fully recover before then next Open workout.

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