Eating for CrossFitAugust 28, 2017
CrossFit required us to modify our weekly routine. We are now postponing drinks and dinner until after we are done with our daily workouts, similarly, we are leaving dinner or a party early not necessarily because we feel tired but because we have planned to attend the 6am workout. Along with new lifestyle habits, we have to come to implement few stretches here and there while watching TV, or carry a bottle of water to make sure we hydrate properly. In other words, we are optimising our recovery to perform better.
As we gradually changed our ways, we have started to adjust our eating habits too. We soon realised that having a healthier diet has helped get muscle definition, it also left us feeling less bloated, less hungry and more energised.
Find what works
Some people don’t mind eating a large meal before they workout, others would rather have it a few hours away and just snack on a banana or a protein bar before coming in class.
How we digest food and how much food we need depends on each of us. We will find some general guidelines but overall the best way to feed ourselves is to pay attention to how we feel during the workouts.
Think of feeding muscles
Before CrossFit, we were eating for different numbers of reasons. Perhaps we liked to feel satisfied, taste flavours or we were choosing foods based on their caloric values. Now that we are training several times a week, we think of feeding our bodies and more specifically our muscles.
Everything we eat could benefit our performance, or not. Ignore the rules dictated by media and always seek sound advice from a nutritionist or health professional. Now is time to bring carbs back into our diets and understand that after a workout, muscles need to replenish glycogen (energy) stores and provide protein to start repairing damaged tissues.
Cheat meals or no cheat meals?
Splurging on a burger and fries drowned in cheese or opening the 12 multi-varied donut box and other goodness might seem like a great idea if we are keeping a clean diet during the week.
Once again, it is a choice and not a rule to follow. Some of us are fine eating healthy throughout the week without having to swallow anything sugary or greasy at sight on weekends. CrossFit is not synonym of macros and cheat meals.
Without necessarily counting calories or macros, keeping track of our food intake is a smart idea for several reasons.
By writing down what we eat(and drink) just a couple of days per week (including one weekend day), we can adjust our protein, carbs and fibre intake according to how we feel.
Lots of athletes take supplements, which CrossFitters do as well. It can take the form of vitamins like B2, D, omega 3, or additional intakes such as whey protein, carbs, casein and creatine.
Why not take all these in their natural forms? Part of the reason is because we would need to eat a large amount of foods to meet the required nutrients. Another reason is timing. It is advised, not for nothing, to drink a whey protein shake after training because the fastest it is absorbed, the faster it will supply with amino acids, favouring protein synthesis.
How do we know which ones to take? Asking the coaches would be step 1. They have the knowledge and the experience to guide us through this path.
Photo Credits: Steve Cook You Tube Channel, Livestrong, Xwerks