In this episode of Q&A with Adee Cazayoux, founder of Working Against Gravity, Adee answers questions about nutrition and recovery that can help during the CrossFit Open!
It's that time of year, it's the CrossFit Open! Have you been competing and want to up your game? Do you want to perform better in the CrossFit Open this year than you did last year? Or maybe you're trying to make it to Regionals. Maybe you're trying to make it to the CrossFit Games — you know what, maybe you're trying to win the CrossFit Games. Whoever you are, here are some tips for you to optimize your nutrition to get you through the Open, feeling better than ever.
1. What does an ideal recovery meal look like after a CrossFit Open workout?
CrossFit is synonymous with high-intensity exercise, so as you're preparing for the Open, you want to prepare to feel your best. Here are a few nutrition tips to keep in mind for your meals eaten around workouts:
2. Don’t try something new. Have something that you've eaten before, this is not a time to try something new. Don’t try a new pre-workout. Don't try a meal that you've never had. If you don't eat chicken breast and sweet potatoes right before your workout, don’t try to eat it now, as it might feel heavy in your stomach going in. Stick to what you know works for you and what you know is going to make you feel good.
3. Carbs and protein. It’s best to stack your carbohydrates and your proteins around your workout, but you want to limit the amount of fats you eat around your workout. Fats slow down your digestion and absorption of those carbs and proteins. So you want to stay away from fats so your body will quickly absorb those proteins and carbs. This is good for your recovery and to help you perform your best.
What usually works for me before my training sessions or big competitions, has always been one scoop of my favorite protein that I know sits well in my stomach with some oatmeal, and it is absolutely delicious. Nutrition for recovery is more important than I think most people give it credit. Meaning you're going to feel much better if you're eating high-quality whole foods, than if you're putting a bunch of junk into your body. Treat your body like the temple it is, treat it like you would treat your best friend.
4. How does proper nutrition aid in recovery?
If you find that you're not recovering well from these workouts—you're feeling achy all the time, you're feeling that soreness, it's lasting a lot longer than you think it should—you might want to try cutting certain foods out of your diet that can be causing inflammation.
Everyone experiences something different, but some common intolerances that you'll see are gluten intolerance as well as dairy intolerances. Try cutting out gluten and dairy from your diet and see how that makes you feel. If you start feeling better, great! But if you want to incorporate them back into your diet, start very slowly, one thing at a time, that way you can monitor what's causing those adverse results that you're seeing.
5. Should I change my macros daily?
This is a super tough question to answer and sums up exactly why Work Against Gravity takes a hands-on, one on one approach that's completely different for every person. Let me give you a couple of examples to explain why this might be different for you than a friend.
You might have somebody who's never been consistent with their nutrition in the past. As it turns out, they might benefit from having different macros on a training day or an off day. However, to start, we're working on getting some level of consistency and confidence in their ability to track their food. In this case, it's going to make it more difficult to have different macros on different days. They're going to have to switch their mindset and try different meals. Certain things won't fit on certain days and they will on others, that just makes things a lot more difficult. You have to figure out what you're working on and then use the macros to help you achieve that.
Meanwhile, someone who is already an elite level athlete, like Katrin Davidsdottir, is going to benefit from having different macros on certain days. Training days, off days, maybe a refeed day once in a while. It also depends on what point of the season that person is at. But since they’re already consistent, I know they're dialed in and eating mostly whole foods that have excellent quality. This allows us to make those tweaks to optimize performance. Elite athletes already have that base of the pyramid dialed in, so it’s safe to get a little bit more specific.
Those are just two examples of two different people that we'd do different things for. It’s exactly why, if you want to know what works for you, working with a coach, like someone at Work Against Gravity, is going to be your best option.
If you're the kind of person that gets into a habit of rewarding yourself with extra food after a long and intense workout, that's something I want you to consider snapping out of. As hardworking humans, we love to reward ourselves. Say I hit a PR in the gym today, I definitely deserve that pizza. Or I did Murph at the gym, I need 55 more grams of carbs. That isn't necessarily true, so try not to stray from being consistent with your nutrition based on how your brain is telling you that you feel.
Good luck in the Open this week and all of the other weeks! I know it's super grueling, and hey, I might be there right beside you doing those workouts and suffering too. Remember, leave it all out there. Don't hold back. Push as hard as you possibly can. This is the Open. This is your time to be competing.