Meal timing? 2 ½- 3 hours before the event (6:30-7:00 am)
Snack timing? 60-75 minutes before the event
Carbohydrates are what your body uses for fuel in a workout, but the type recommended varies if it is in a meal or a snack because of the time needed to digest the carb is a factor.
Ideally the meal has complex carbs (eg, oatmeal, sweet potato, whole grain bread) which are slow digesting and offer sustained fuel during WODs compared to simple carbs (eg, pancakes, sugary cereals). Eating the carbs with some protein and/or some fat will slow the digestion and help this meal provide fuel throughout the throw down.
Snack components? Generally carbs only if you are eating close to competition (eg, fruit or a fruit-based smoothie).
Research is scant on the helpfulness of protein before a workout so if you include it, it needs to be a smaller amount of protein because protein delays stomach emptying if you only have time for a snack. Too much protein in your snack and it will still be in your stomach when the WOD is over.
The same goes for fat; it delays stomach emptying so include little to none in a snack. No one wants to feel like they just swallowed a brick during a WOD.
Both protein and fat can be included in a meal before a WOD as long as you have time to digest it.
Trying something new?
A tried and true meal or snack, that works for you, is what you want before any event.
- Banana with nut butter and oatmeal
- Whole grain bread/bagel with nut butter and fruit
- Fruit and plain Greek yogurt with granola and nuts
- Eggs, whole grain bread, and fruit
Check out these breakfast ideas from athletes participating in the CrossFit Games. These look spot on minus the coconut oil (the science does not support use of it at this time….). If you have pre-WOD jitters and find it hard to eat food, try a smoothie made from fruit and veggie, a Fuel for Fire, or one of these snack options.
- Smoothie (fruit, 100% fruit juice, yogurt, ice-blend and enjoy)
Have a favorite pre-WOD meal or snack idea? Share it! All the best on in-house throw down and happy and healthful eating!
Donna G. Pertel, MEd, RD, LDN
Want to eat nutrient dense for consistent athletic performance and optimal health? Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.