The Missing Piece In Your Fitness Puzzle
By: Lauren May
Your bag is packed. You reserved your spot on Zen Planner. You even recruited a few friends to join you for the WOD. This is it. You are ready to hit the gym. But wait! You just noticed your tummy is rumbling and you have no idea what to eat to fuel your workout or when to eat it so you don’t lose that fuel all over the mats!
Trust me, you are not alone. We are inundated with information and advice about nutrition that will help us look/feel/perform our best- it’s overwhelming to say the least. While every body is different, there are some foundational tips that will set you up for your fastest mile time or your next deadlift PR!
- MACRONUTRIENTS. All food is comprised of 3 main components (macros)- carbohydrates, fats and proteins. Each has its role in performance and body composition. Carbs got a bad rap for a while, but the right types, at the right time, in the right amount will definitely give you energy. Fat is brain food and (again, if you’re eating the right kind) will actually help you lose weight! Finally, protein- it is the building block for muscle growth and recovery. How do you use these macros to your advantage for optimal performance? Check it out…
- PRE-WORKOUT- This meal or snack is designed to give you energy. To do that, focus on easily available carbs and a healthy dose of protein. (Think 2:1 ratio) Stick to lower fat since it takes longer to digest. 100-200 calories.
- 2 Dates stuffed with almond butter
- Morning Smoothie- ½ scoop protein powder, 1 cup milk and a banana
- Cottage cheese (1/2 cup) and berries (1 cup)
- Multigrain Crackers (12) and hummus (3 Tbsp.)
- String Cheese and a small apple
- Turkey jerky (1oz) and an orange
- POST-WORKOUT- Think recovery. Eat protein, about 20-30 grams, complex carbs and 1-2 servings of fat.
- Overnight Oats (My Favorite Recipe)
- Protein shake or bar (watch the sugar content)
- Veggie Omelet- 2 or 3 eggs, ½ cup chopped spinach and ¼ cup of sliced red pepper
- Simple Meal equation-
- 4-6oz grilled protein (chicken, salmon, beef)
- ½ cup complex carbs (brown rice, quinoa, sweet potatoes)
- Steamed vegetables or salad (add nuts, avocado and/or a splash of oil & lemon dressing for good fats)
TIP: If you are not sure where you’re new to crossfit, not feeling as energized/strong during your workouts or have a specific goal in mind- track your food! That’s going to give you an accurate picture of where you’re starting and what changes can be made to get you to where you want to be. Sheila and I are always available to go over that information with you and help you create a plan.
- TIMING. When you eat can be the difference between crushing a WOD and crushing yourself under the weight of a barbell. Those muscles need fuel! Depending on your meal schedule and class time, an ideal snack would be about 30-60 minutes before you sweat. Even if you’re hitting the 5:45am class, balance your blood sugar and boost your energy with some pre-fitness food. Or if evening sweat sessions are your thing, please make sure that your 12 o’clock lunch break wasn’t the last time you ate. If you’ve made that mistake, like I have, you know it isn’t pretty…
Once that WOD is in the books, replenish glycogen and start the muscle repair process with a protein-packed snack (think shake) within 30 minutes of exercise and a full meal 2-3 hours later.
NOTE: If you have higher macronutrient/calorie numbers or haven’t reached your protein goals for the day, definitely down the shake. Otherwise, if you’re heading home and will be enjoying a meal within about an hour of exercise, skip it or reduce your portion sizes during meal time. Post-workout protein certainly has its benefits, but it’s important to also be conscious of how many calories you are consuming.
- HYDRATION. According to an article from one of my favorite wellness resources, https://experiencelife.com, the old adage of 8- eight ounce glasses of water a day is outdated. The new recommendation? At least 91oz. of water for women and 125 oz. for men. Quite a jump from 64oz., eh? Keep a bottle of water on your nightstand and start your day with a refreshing 8oz. As your workout time approaches, aim for 1 cup of water 20 minutes prior, sip throughout the WOD and replace the fluids you lost with about 1 cup per 15 minutes of activity.
BONUS: BCAA’S (Branched-Chain Amino Acids) are great to use during and after a workout. These aminos increase hydration, aid in muscle repair and reduce fatigue. Add a scoop of Driven Aminos to your water and reap the benefits.
Our bodies are unique, so our nutrition needs will differ. What works for me may not be what’s right for you. But start with these tips. Know that there will be some trial and error. Then remind yourself that the results you experience will be worth it!