Happy Wednesday everyone! I hope you’re enjoying your day. If you missed it, I recapped my first CrossFit Competition yesterday [here]! Reviewing that post motivates me to go to every workout (regardless if it’s CrossFit or hitting the gym for a lift) I get excited to take that step towards progress every day.
With every athletic performance, I truly believe that FUELING your body properly is such an important factor in how well you will do. I would always tell my kids with student teaching, it’s like fueling a car. If you try to run your car on empty, what happens? BUT if you give the car what it needs and then try to run it – what happens? As long as it’s not over-do for inspection or has broken parts (aka injuries) giving it proper fuel will help it go longer & work efficiently!
TIPS For Fueling Your Engine Properly
via Sleep & Nutrition!
Next post I will talk about Hydration & some Top Food Choices For Performance.
Let’s talk about SLEEP first – because the night before I made sure to get to bed early enough to FUEL my engine with rest. Thrive Forward states:
Sleep is an important part of recovery –
as the saying goes: a good rest is half the work.
Thrive Sports Edition states , “Your body regenerates muscles cells during sleep by releasing growth hormone. If your stress levels are too high, your body will not be able to get into a deep phase of sleep for this to occur. If you can naturally reduce your cortisol levels, through clean plant-based nutrition, and supplementation with things like arginine and maca, your body will be able to release growth hormone during deep, delta-phase of sleep. Growth hormone aids in muscle tissue, tendon and ligament repair and growth. Exercise is a complementary stress – ultimately beneficial, but initially very strenuous as your body breaks down muscle tissue. However, with proper nutrition timing, your muscles can be built back stronger than before exercise broke it down. As you progressively incorporate these new elements into your training plan, you will see the adaptations that you body is able to make, and you’ll be recharged, repaired, and ready to do it all again.”
- I made sure to get at least 8 hours of sleep on Friday night!
I also recommended eating a good solid meal the night before of protein, carbs, & fats to help build up that energy in the muscles for the next morning! My Raw Restaurant was a perfect pre-workout fuel the night before! YUM! Looking at those pictures make me hungry.
Next Let’s talk about Nutrition
“One of the biggest determining factors in an athletes success is the ability to recover. If you can recover more quickly, you can schedule workouts closer together, you can train more in less time, & you can improve in a faster rate.” [source]
I couldn’t agree with this more! I’ve stated before that now that I’ve been eating mostly plant based foods, my energy is unreal & my recovery rate is so much quicker! On a day of a competition, and in my case 4 workouts in 8 hours, proper fuel & a quick recovery rate is KEY to your performance.
I did a post back [here] all about Sports Recovery. I stated that This question is very important when it comes to proper fueling. A lot of people can workout hard every day but if their nutrition is off, they will not see the gains in strength or changes in their performance they are looking for. I always stress to my clients that nutrition (especially before/after a workout) is so key to reaching your goals. You have to think of your body like a working machine; if you give it proper nutrients it will perform better rather than just giving it empty calories that will fade off and not withstand your workouts or efforts.
- Thrive Forward states that “When you work out for longer than one hour, your body starts to deplete the levels of glucose in your blood, and must turned to glycogen – carbohydrates stored in your liver and muscle tissue – to fuel your activity level. If you would like to work out as hard the next day, you must replenish this glycogen.”
- Glycogen is a form of glucose (energy) produced and stored by liver and muscle tissue.
If you think about it, when you take away the glycogen, you’ve got to add it back in so that your muscles can be prepared for the next day, or in my case, the next workout that was an hour later.
How I used this principle
during my competition:
My first Event was at 10:40am
I woke up around 630 am so I could get a good meal of protein, carbs, & healthy fats into my system with enough time to digest.
I knew my first event was full of jump roping, burpees, & squat cleans so eating too close to this would not be optimal for my stomach (especially during burpees)
I also had 1 cup of coffee with 2 big glasses of water to make sure I was hydrated but wanted some coffee! My tip here is to not over-do the caffeine. I had just enough to enjoy the flavor & give me a small boost in the AM (and the bathroom department – sorry not sorry) but honestly didn’t need much help there because my butterflies took care of that!
By the time we were done with the meeting, registration, & getting prepped I realized that I probably should have a quick snack (aka energy) so I ate a date on the way into warm up!
If you didn’t know –
DATES are are natures perfect fuel.
They are loaded with quick carbohydrates to give you that energy you are looking for.
Thrive Forward states:
After the first WOD – “Pick Your Poison” I literally could not stop shaking after. The reasoning for this? Well, imagine a room full of people surrounding you, cheering at the top of their lungs, music bumpin’ in the background, and 7 other teams all doing the same 2 minute MAX EFFORT with the event you’re in. It was also the first WOD of the day so nerves were high & stomach butterflies were a-flyin’! The combo of all of this made for a longer recovery period for me to calm down. I felt like I needed some type of sugar to refuel but literally looking at food made me feel nauseas.
I have pushed myself to the limits before but in no way had ever felt that close to getting sick. I made sure to walk around, taking nice big deep breaths to try and recover. Then it happened… a RAISIN saved my life!
Ok, so maybe I’m being dramatic with “saving my life” BUT when nothing else looked good, my friend Jen offered me some trail mix. See, raisins & I have this thing…this connection. Aside to hummus, I could eat raisins at a rapid speed in copious amounts if I wanted to. I. LOVE. THEM. And it’s not surprise that the sugar in the raisins was exactly what my body needed to calm down at that point.
In the Fuel For Fitness portion of Thrive Forward it states that eating fruit is a great way to gain energy & refuel because your body uses less (energy) to break down the fruit, therefore leaving YOU with more (energy) to use in your event.
After a workout you’ve got to rebuild the stored carbohydrates that you just burned. The raisins also stabilized my blood sugar which led me to being able to rehydrate with water & coconut water afterwards.
Once my body finally settled down – it remained consistent the rest of the day! I had about 1 hour break in between each workout which gave me enough time to eat something directly after but yet being able to digest it in enough time to not alter performance.
Some more of my eats looked like this…
Between WOD 1 & 2 – Raisins + water + coconut water + walnuts
Between WOD 2 & 3 – Banana + water + VEGA SaviSeeds (I love these things!) Got some good carbs, fats, & protein.
Between WOD 3 & 4 – I snacked on some more trail mix, water, & also had some of my [RAW CARROT CAKE POWER BALLS] that I made for the whole crew!
I also rolled them in coconut flour instead of coconut flakes to keep them from sticking in the container.
On the way home after watching the final workout I ate an apple in approximately 1 minute and drank another container of coconut water. When I got home, Papacakes had grilled veggies & grilled portabella mushrooms waiting for me. I literally ate 2 bowls of the veggies with nooch & approximately a whole container of hummus from Whole Foods SO GOOD. About an hour later I was still hungry so I ate a new dessert creation that I will be sharing within the next couple of days here! I was so happy to have showered & be eating that I didn’t even pull out my phone to snap a pic! My thoughts were “Food, GET IN MY BELLY.”
In conclusion, to benefit your athletic performance it’s good to have a combo of proper nutrition, sleep, hydration, & recovery that can help you. I also got a lot of good ideas via Chef Katelyn who posted about her competition [Do’s & Don’ts!].
With the choices I made – I felt that I had enough energy throughout each event & had a quick recovery to get to the next workout.
I personally stuck with simple foods & not many veggies because I didn’t want too much fiber causing any digestive issues during the hours I would be competing. I chose fruit, nuts, seeds, & lots of water! I also mixed in some Pom Berry Electrolyte Enhancer packets from VEGA to my water bottle.
It’s important to know how your body works best & the choices you can make. I know that I need simple things in between workouts that aren’t too heavy but give me energy. Some people around me could literally eat whatever they wanted before their event and be fine! That’s the beauty of being TRUE TO YOU because only you know how certain foods react in your body; especially during workouts/athletic events.
Next post I’ll go into detail about some hydration tips & Top Food Choices you can pick from for benefits in performance!
What is your favorite way to fuel up during back to back exercises?
[All of the above food items can be found at www.iherb.com –
you can use my coupon code XUG228 for first time user discount!]