The Reebok CrossFit Open 2018 starts in just a few days. Most CrossFitters spend these last few days thinking about their muscle ups, double-unders, and hoping their weaknesses aren’t exposed in 18.1. While practicing certain skills last minute could help your score, the reality is you can only do so much without negatively affecting your performance.
But all hope is not lost. If you prepare for your competition nutrition like you do the skills, you can positively affect your Open scores a lot faster if you know a few simple tips. In this blog, we will talk about:
- The steps you should be taking on the days before 18.1
- What to do between the weekly workouts
- How recovery can set you up perfectly for you next WOD
- A few meal plan examples you can use today
This blog is for anyone who is going to compete in the Open at any level. You certainly do not have to be completing each workout Rx in order to get something out of what I am about to share. Even if you aren’t planning on participating in the Open, this blog will help you for any competition. By compete, I mean at any level. It can be the Open. It could be the Games. It can be a regional event. It can be any sport. It doesn't have to just be CrossFit. If you like to compete, this blog is for you.
To get the most out of this blog, I highly recommend you use our free Macro Calculator to get your baseline macros first. It will help you make the necessary adjustments to your carbohydrates and protein I mention below.
Getting Ready for Competition
Why do we make adjustments? Just like when you adjust your training volume or intensity in preparation for a big event or competition, you need to adjust your nutrient intake as well to best support those fitness goals. When we look at a competition we can look at it as one big event, like a one-day crossfit competition or a marathon, but we can also look at it as several events in a short time period, like the Open or like a triathlon season, where you're going to have multiple races in a period of two to three months. For the purpose of this blog, we will refer to the typical Open schedule.
Two Days Before Your Workout
The Open workouts are released every Thursday at 8pm Eastern Standard Time. You might be the type of athlete who likes to attack it immediately or perhaps your box participates in a Friday Night Lights type event. Maybe you like to watch everyone else first to get a game plan and do the WOD on Monday hours before the deadline. Regardless of your preferred day, I’m referring to roughly 48 hours prior to your workout time. You are going to want to increase your carbohydrate intake by 10%. You don't need to make any other changes in terms of meal timing, fat, protein. That's all going to stay the same. All you have to worry about is increasing your carbohydrates by 10%.
Because carbohydrate is the predominant fuel for moderate to high intensity exercise. Muscle glycogen and blood glucose supply up to two-thirds of the energy for moderate and high intensity exercise. By carb loading, or increasing your carbohydrate intake prior to your workout, you insure that you have enough energy stored to perform at your best. When you eat more carbs your body gets better at storing those carbs so you actually can increase your glycogen and energy stores by carb loading, but it doesn't have to be a long term thing. Two to three days before your event is all you really need.
One Day Prior to Your Workout:
One day prior to the event you're going to want to increase your carbs again. You're going to increase them by 25% over your baseline. No other changes are needed to meal timing, fat, or protein. All that is going to stay the same.
I do want to make sure you realize the importance of this day. It is the most important day in terms of your nutrition. Make sure that on this day you get plenty of rest, food, and water. You cannot make up for a bad pre-day on the morning of your competition workout, so you're going to enter that competition undernourished and under-prepared if you don't take this day seriously.
On the day of the workout, you're looking at increasing your carbohydrate intake by about 40%. Protein may also increase and fat may decrease, depending on the type of event. I don't really put any restrictions on how much or how little people should eat. I want you to eat as much as it's going to take to make sure that you feel great throughout the whole workout. So you should at the minimum be getting about 40% more, but it may be more than that, and it's okay.
Let's talk meal timing briefly since we're on the day of competition. You want to start your day and end your day with the normal meal. Please, please, please make time for breakfast and also make sure you get a quality dinner after your workout. Try to eat within two to four hour window before your workout to allow plenty of time for your food to digest, particularly if you're one that's prone to getting nerves before a competition.
After the workout, begin refueling immediately. You want to look at fluids, electrolytes, carbs and protein. One of the best ways to accomplish all of this at once is to drink our 5/15 Recovery. It is a formula that I developed a few years ago and you can make with just a few simple ingredients.
Your complete breakdown looks like this:
- Cal 88
- Carbs 11g
- Sodium 177mg
- Protein 11g
- Fat 0g
- Sugar 9g
- Potassium 350mg
- Phosphate 2%
- Vitamin C 2%
- Calcium 4%
- Manganese 3%
- Magnesium 2%
- BCAA's: Leucine, Isoleucine, Valine
*A quick note about the recipe above. If you typically need over 50g of protein for your main 3 meals per day, go ahead and double your carbs and protein to 22g each. You don’t have to do anything else.
The Day After Your Workout:
Your macros are going to change a little bit. You want to increase your protein intake by about 25%. If you're still fatigued and feeling worn down from the workout, feel free to increase your carbs here by 10 to 25% to make sure you're getting enough of the nutrition that your body needs to repair from your mass efforts yesterday.
You want to prioritize anti inflammatory foods like vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, fatty fish, and you want to drink plenty of water to flush out all that lactic acid and all the nasty byproducts of the muscle breakdown that you caused.
Sample Meal Plan for Competition
The following is a few meals to help you get started. For demonstration purposes, this meal plan is based on a 32 year old female who weighs 125 pounds and has a low body fat percentage. Your specific macros will vary, but you can use these meals as a guide. Or, if you would prefer to have us do the work for you, we have a four-day competition meal plan that you can purchase as an add on to your free Basic Nutrition Plan here. It follows the same pattern with the 10% increase, 25% increase and 40% increase in carbs and then the 25% increase in protein following, so we have those meals all planned out for you and ready to go.
2 Days Prior
- 2 oz (57g) cooked and shredded boneless skinless chicken breast
- 1 large (61g) egg
- 1 medium (46g) flour tortillas
- 0.25 cup (40g) diced tomatoes
- 0.25 cup (38g) chopped bell peppers
- 0.5 cup (78g) cooked broccoli
- 0.25 oz (7g) Mexican blend shredded cheese
1 Day Prior
Hamburger and Sweet Potato
- 3.5 oz (99g) cooked ground beef (95% lean)
- 1 regular (43g) hamburger bun
- 0.5 cup (100g) baked sweet potato
- 0.5 cup (78g) cooked broccoli
- 1 tsp (5g) butter
Day of Competition
Chicken, Bacon and Egg
(This meal should be consumed 2 hours or more prior to your Open workout)
- 2 oz (56g) cooked boneless skinless chicken breast
- 1 large (61g) eggs
- 0.5 cup (100g) cooked sweet potatoes
- 0.25 cup (37g) chopped bell peppers
- 1 small (149g) apple
- 1 slice (28g) sugar-free bacon (Pederson)
Day After Your Workout (1st Day of Recovery)
- 4 oz (113g) cooked boneless skinless chicken breast
- 0.75 cup (105g) pasta cooked
- 0.75 cup (135g) cooked zucchini
- 0.33 cup (82g) marinara sauce
- 1 tsp (4g) olive oil
Your Nutrition WOD:
Figure out what day you are going to attempt your first Open workout. Now go back 2 days and begin implementing this nutrition plan. The closer you follow it, the better your results will be and the faster you will recover.
*Remember: Your very first recovery meal is also your very first prep meal for your next workout. Don’t miss an opportunity to recover quickly and get ready for the following weeks of the Open. Your scores will improve and you will feel better along the way.