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Week one of the CrossFit Open is done. For some members this was the first fitness competition they have been in for many years. Competition brings a more intense workout, the desire for a top score, the crowd cheering you on and pushing yourself beyond the regular Friday arvo WOD. So how do we prepare for game day, what should our nutrition look like on the day and what should we be eating in preparation. I was picked up by one of our CrossFit Kids athletes at Friday Night Lights eating chips and dips 10 minutes before my heat. I had not eaten since lunch time (11:00am) and was starving, my game day preparation was not on point and it is a topic I would call myself a novice at best. In the past I have been known to grab Maccas breakfast on the way to a CrossFit comp and wonder why I had a splitting head ache directly after I finished an event. Since Friday Night I have been studying over strategies for game day preparation.

Carbo Loading

Carb loading is old teaching and it was what I was told as a junior athlete and as combat soldier, that we need to load up on carbs days prior to competition or an operation. The idea is our bodies main fuel source is carbohydrates and we need to stock up for the ultimate performance. Otherwise we will be depleted and hit a wall. But what we leave out is our requirement of the other two Macro Nutrients, Protein and Fats. The idea that all our body needs is carbs as fuel is wrong. The other problem is the dense in carbohydrate foods that are recommended, breads pastas and rice lack in micro-nutrients, our vitamins and minerals. Our bodies are well tuned machines, that have excellent methods of storing and creating fuel. The idea that we need to indulge ourselves in carbohydrates days before exercise for us to perform is wrong. I strongly suggest you read the CrossFit Journal article Carbo Load of Crap. The author interviews a doctor in exercise physiology, who stats he was a big part of the problem. In the 70’s and 80’s supporting Carbo loading and sugary drinks during exercise, to only find himself with Type 2 Diabetes. He now supports a low carb high fat diet.

https://journal.crossfit.com/article/carbo-load-of-crap-2

Pre Game Snack

We do need to eat, going into a competition starving like I done on Friday Night is not a good idea. Carbohydrates will assist in short burst of intense exercise, Protein will help your body in recovery and Fats are an excellent source of slow burning energy. So having a balanced meal 2-3 hours before exercise is ideal. Also small snack 45-60 minutes out, like fruit, yogurt and nuts will give you the short burst of fuel.

https://games.crossfit.com/article/fueling-open/open

Recovery

For thirty minutes to hour after exercise our bodies metabolism is at its highest. Our muscles are screaming for fuel. This is why the protein shack was invented. They are a toliberable meal to have directly after intense exercise. I know i was not ready to eat for at least 60minutes after 20.1 and shake would have gone down a treat. Saying that, nothing is better than whole foods. If you can stomach a meal 30 minutes after a WOD then eat real food filled with all our Macro and Micro Nutrients

Prep and Recovery

What is most important is that we are eating a well balanced diet and avoiding high GI carbs. On game day (Friday Night Lights) have a big lunch with heaps of veggies or salad. Have a snack before you turn up or have one ready to eat during the athlete briefing. If you can eat directly after a WOD, well Friday Night Lights has you covered, but if it takes over an hour before you can tolerate food, have a shake ready.

I highly recommend watching the CrossFit competitors nutrition lectures, presented by Mat Chan former Games athlete.

https://youtu.be/QXW09bi3Tps

Also see link to ABC‘s catalyst program on low carb high fat diets and open your mind to the idea of fats being healthy.

https://www.abc.net.au/catalyst/low-carb-diet-fat-or-fiction/11015360