COMPETITION NUTRITION FOR CROSSFIT

Nutrition Coaching

Posted on July 24, 2023
Posted on July 24, 2023

As CrossFit athletes ourselves, we know that if we’re spending a lot of time in the box but not thinking about what is fueling that work, we’re leaving a lot of gains on the table. So today, we are looking at competition nutrition: what are we doing to prepare for it?

One of the biggest factors that can make or break your competition performance is how you fuel your body throughout the day, and the last thing you need is your nutrition holding you back after all the hard work you’ve invested. So, here’s what you should know about eating for competition days.

(oh, and if you’re just here for our FREE COMPETITION NUTRITION GUIDE? You can get that sent directly to ya right here 😏)

1. YOUR MACROS MATTER…SOME MORE THAN OTHERS

As you might know, the food we eat is made up of three macronutrients: protein, carbs and fats. Foods are sometimes one or the other, but often a combination of all 3 in different amounts.

Protein, from sources like meat, eggs, tofu and kwark. is our building block macronutrient and it’s made up of amino acids. Protein plays a major role in building strength in the gym and muscle recovery on your rest days. If you want to be strong and invincible for a competition, it’s a top priority to make sure you’re getting enough protein day to day. And during the competition, they can help you to bounce back from the physically demanding workouts thrown at you!

Dietary fats like oil, nuts, cheese and avocado are wonderful foods that promote the growth and development of cells, providing energy and transporting and absorbing vitamins, amongst other vital functions. But – and this is a big but – while critical for your day-to-day health, fats slow the digestion of protein and fats and so they’re not so helpful on game day itself. While you don’t need to avoid every single gram of fat on competition day, try to avoid bringing fat-dominant foods like those listed above.

And ah, carbohydrates – your brain and body’s primary energy source and your best friend during competition – and the fuel to your fire. Carbs are stored in your muscles as glycogen and eating enough of them in the right proportion will keep your muscles feeling strong and fresh through the exertion ahead. We get carbs from things like fruits and vegetables, bread products, rice, potatoes, oats and more.

When it comes to competition performance, they are the most important macro to get right.

In day-to-day life, we generally want to prioritize slower-digesting carbs that keep us feeling fuller longer and our energy balanced over a longer period of time, like whole grain bread and pasta, as well as things like quinoa, beans and legumes. But before and between events, we want to fill up on easily-digestible carbs that go to work fast to replenish energy to light a quick fire for your next event. In that case, we want to reach for ‘performance carbs’ like bananas, white bread and instant oats, for example.

And remember, it takes 24+ hours to refill your glycogen stores, which means that if you want to be “topped off” for your first event, you need to make sure you’re eating enough carbs 24-48 hours prior to the event – not just on the day itself!

2. MEAL TIMING CAN GIVE YOU THE EDGE

Whether you’re competing first thing in the morning or under those “Friday Night Lights”, dialling in your timing will give you an extra edge when you’re getting ready for a challenging workout. This means manipulating the amounts of proteins, carbs and fats you eat – and when you eat them – to ensure optimal performance.

For a multi-event competition day, here are a couple of things to consider:

Pre-competition: eat a good breakfast!

Once we walk into that venue, it’s not uncommon to feel some nerves and lose that morning appetite. It’s important to start your day off strong with a balanced meal of a significant source of carbs with some protein and a little fat and fibre about 3 hours before your first event. Examples of pre-competition nutrition could be Oatmeal with berries and a peanut butter + protein smoothie or scrambled eggs and tomato on a bagel.

During the competition: don’t forget about those carbs!

30-60 minutes out from your first event we want an energy top-up, but with less time to digest, stick to those quick ‘performance carbs’ that can get to work in your system right away. This could be something like half a banana and some fruit juice

Immediately after every event, consider refuelling as quickly as possible to give yourself the longest possible time to digest. Think of things like another serving of oatmeal, a pre-made pancake or a simple sandwich of white bread, chicken and mustard. Protein is also a good addition here. If you are reaching for a shake, we recommend whey because it is also faster digesting. And again, Fat should be mostly avoided.

If you have 2+ hours between events, be sure to top up your energy again 30 minutes out with another sip of juice, some melon or a couple of pieces of candy – quick energy to go!

And if you know your nerves tend to be high on competition day, create an easy backup meal plan in case you can’t get your ideal meals down. Think about things like pre-made smoothies or calorie and carbohydrate-dense snacks like dried mango.

3. NOTHING NEW ON GAMEDAY!

If you take only one thing away, let it be this: lean on the foods that have served you well during your training and events so far, and avoid anything (yes, foods, drinks and supplements!) you haven’t tested before on the competition day itself.

While many foods can be ideal fuel in theory, that may be different for you in practice, and none of them is worth risking stomach upset before you hit the competition floor. If you are curious about how a particular food or drink will work for you, remember: training is our learning ground. We spend countless hours practising movements and skills for the competition and we should be practising our competition nutrition, too.

At Rebel, we help our athletes set up a test day in the weeks leading up to the competition to run through their personal fueling strategy and ensure that any new food or drink choices they want to try work well for them when they’re out there on the floor.

In fact, we’ve got a FREE COMPETITION GUIDE available for download for just that reason.

No surprises on the way to that podium, okay?

 

That’s we’ll friends, that’s it – looks like you’re ready to hit the competition floor! If you have any additional competition nutrition questions or would like some support around perfecting your performance nutrition, you can always get in touch with us here.

Good luck out there, we’ll see you under the lights!

PS: Don’t sleep on that free competition guide, friends – it’s full of gooooood stuff. 

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