Preparing for the Crossfit Open as an Eating Disorder Warrior
As the Crossfit Open 23.1 has begun, many of us are eager and ready to see what the next workouts will be! From a recovery standpoint, the goal of being able to participate in the crossfit open can be a huge motivator and accomplishment! I am beyond
proud of some these ladies facing fears and being able to be apart of the open this year! Outside of the open, many strong women at empowered have met many other amazing goals in weightlifting.
"This is all possible by proper fueling, food freedom, listening to your body when rest is needed, and just realizing how awesome it is to be strong."
So no matter where you are in the journey, here are some tips to perform at your best:
Tip #1- Consistency in having all macros at meals and snacks
Macros include your protein, carbohydrates, and healthy fats. Aiming to have balanced meals of each of these throughout the day and consistently overtime, will ensure proper nutrients and fuel for health and fitness. Aim for 3 meals and 2 snacks or eating every 2-4 hours. Each of these are so important because they all play different roles in our bodies.
Protein is made of essential amino acids that our body can’t make on its own, meaning we have get them through food. Without enough protein, your body is unable to repair and grow your muscles. During your workouts your body will actually use your muscle tissue as fuel. So protein is the most important macronutrient for building and maintaining muscle! It is important to remember as well, that amino acid loss is always occurring, meaning our bodies are constantly breaking down and rebuilding proteins, so eating protein every few hours will aid in better recovery from workouts and improve weightlifting progress! Aim to have a variety of protein at each meal and snack. Supplementation of protein shakes and bars can be a great easy way to add protein to your day.
Carbohydrates are the body’s most important energy source, especially as an athlete or when undergoing any kind of stress. Glucose, aka, carbs, are the bodies currency for energy. Without enough, we will feel sluggish, stressed, anxious, unable to focus, low energy in workouts, and possibly even shaky due to low blood sugar. Our glycogen stores that are tapped into during workouts for energy need to be replenished or our fuel tank will be on low. If we continue to try to push ourselves physically in this state, we experience “no go” in workouts and even health issues can arise. Aim to have some carbohydrates at each meal and snack as well, especially pre and post workout!
Dietary fats. This word can scare a lot of us away, but don’t go yet, because without these, your body will be completely out of whack! They are major source of energy in our body. Adequate fat intake leads to healthy cells. They play the biggest role in nervous system and hormonal health. Our body can’t make a large amount of the essential fatty acids needed, especially omega-3 and omega-6, so it must come from our food. As an athlete, fat intake is just as important as carbs when it comes to energy for workouts. Our body uses carbs and fats as fuel in workouts. The type of exercise determines which fuel preference but having both consistently each day will ensure you have enough! Some simple ways to add more fats is using olive oil on foods, choosing whole dairy versus skim, and adding in nut butter to oatmeal and shakes. A balance of omega-3 and 6 is another factor for health and performance, so you may want to a your doctor about supplementing with fish oil.
*Everyone needs a different amount of each macronutrient, so if you want help with this, reach out and Id love to work with you!*
"Restriction of any one of these macronutrients is not recommended due to the specific micronutrients that comes uniquely from protein, fats, and carbs alone!"
Tip #2- Have a pre and post workout
A simple way to think of a pre-workout is what do I need for quick and lasting energy, that won’t cause any stomach upset during a workout.
It’s best if you can have a full balanced meal 1.5-2 hours before training, this way you have had a good amount of nutrients in your body. Then directly before the workout, have quick digesting carb, such as sugar. Examples of these are fruit snacks, sour patch kids, apple sauce, rice crispy treat, etc. Some people prefer to consume caffeine as well, if your body responds well to it. After the workout is done, you then need to replenish with glucose and protein for proper recovery and less soreness. A good goal to aim for a 3-1 ratio of protein to carb. For example about 10g protein and 30g of carbs. This could look like half a protein shake and two pack of fruit snacks. Remember this is not a meal, but a crucial snack!
Then a couple hours after, continue to focus on each macro at each meal.
Tip #3- Hydrate! Hydrate! Hydrate!
Dehydration is a real thing and has negative effects. Sweat regulates body temperature when you’re exercising or in warm temperatures. You need water to replenish the lost fluid from sweat. Hydration affects your strength, power, and endurance! You lose electrolytes during workouts, so supplementing with an electrolyte drink is a great idea as well. This is especially true for anyone recovering from binge eating disorder.
Some tips are to drink from a water bottle you love, getting sparkling water, add flavor, or make sure you add more liquid (not necessarily water) to your day. The recommended amount to drink is half your bodyweight in ounces, but the best advice is to drink liquid regularly and be consistent with it.
Tip# 4- Realize that your body needs WAY more than you think, especially in recovery from stress of an eating disorder. Your body needs a certain amount of fuel just to keep all our organs and bodily functions working as it should. If we eat under this, health issues arise. Then, we need enough energy for non-exercise movements like walking, bending over, cooking, playing with kids, taking the trash out etc. THEN add on intentional exercise. Think about the energy we need for the training, muscle recovery, glucose replenishing, and hormone balance from the stress of exercise! For those us in recovery, this may feel like a lot, but I hope knowing this brings some peace and understanding, especially as you learn to fuel for performance! If you need help with how much to consume for performance, reach out
Tip #5- Recover!
While this isn’t necessarily nutrition related, without proper rest and muscle recovery, nutrition alone isn’t enough for improved performance. One simple tool here is to listen to your body or practice intuitive exercise. Are you having no-gos in workouts, extreme ongoing soreness or injury, or heightened anxiety and depressive mood? This is a big sign of burn out and lack of needed recovery. A common rule of thumb for those in advanced ED recovery and cleared for crossfit, is 3 days on, 1-2 days off, which would be at least 2-3 rest days a week. Those with exercise limitations or newer to Crossfit, may need 3-5 rest days.
Active recovery is an option for some on those days off, such as light walking, yoga, or swimming.
For better muscle recovery and mobility, you could do some self care like getting a massage or taking a hot epsom salt bath. This not only aids in muscle repair for the next training day, but also manages stress!
"Along with rest and self care, it’s important to also eat normally on rest days. Your body still needs the energy!"
I hope these 5 tips were helpful. If you want more help with sport nutrition, reach out. Id love to work with you on meeting your performance goals!