Food 4 Fuel: Nutrition for Competition

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Food4Fuel: Competition Nutrition

I have received many questions recently from crossfit athletes regarding how to eat before and during competitions. When competing multiple events during the course of a day, there are some things that you should keep in mind. You want fuel your body with foods that you can break down and absorb quickly.

Here are a few things you want to keep in mind: HYDRATION, food the day before the competition, food during the competition and of course, food after you are done competing.

1. Hydration:
Make sure you drink plenty of water the day before the event as well as in the morning before you get to the competition. If you haven’t had the chance to try coconut water, a competition would be a great time to do so. Coconut water is up to 5x more hydrating that regular water. The natural sugars will spike up your sugar and replace depleted glycogen stores during the workout. Coconut water is high in electrolytes to help replace the sodium and potassium that you sweat out during workouts. Tip: Carry a water bottle around with you!

2. Dinner the night before:
BALANCE of carbohydrates protein and fat! You want carbohydrates that are low glycemic the night before. Sample meal: 1 cup quinoa, 4 ounces chicken, 1 cup sautéed asparagus (use olive oil). Drink lots of water!

This is one of the few solid meals that you should have during the day. Eat as soon as you wake up so that your body will have time to breakdown the meal before you start competing. Sample meal: bowl of oatmeal, with protein powder mixed in, sprinkle with almonds or walnuts. Drink WATER!

4. During the day:
If you are doing multiple events 2 hours apart, it is recommended to have food/liquids that is easily digested and absorbed. Liquids are more easily absorbed that solid food because your stomach doesn’t have to break it down. Having high glycemic drinks and fruit is good way to ensure you are replacing your glycogen stores throughout the day (ie: bananas, coconut water and Gatorade). Carbohydrates are your body’s main source of fuel, and you want to make sure that your carbohydrates stores (glycogen) are being replaced throughout the day! This will help to prevent your body from using amino acids and muscle as energy.
Whey isolate protein shakes with water or almond milk will give you the protein and amino acids that are needed to prevent muscle breakdown. If you have glutamine powder, mix that in as well. Glutamine helps to rebuild muscle tissue! Trail mix (dried fruit and nuts) is another thing that would be good to snack on during the day if you have a 3+ hour break between workouts. I would recommend carbohydrates immediately after each WOD then protein.

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About the author

Nicole Aucoin, MS, RD, LD/N

Founder, Healthy Steps Nutrition
Home of CrossFit HSN & HSN Mentoring

Author of Nourish & Healthy Kids Cookbook

Author of The Basics of Nutrition Coaching Course, CrossFit Preferred Nutrition Course

CrossFit Level 2 Trainer