The Cannon Clash is so close I can taste the competition! I am sure everyone is already strategizing how they are going to take on each workout but have you thought about your competition fuel strategy??? Yes, that’s right, what we eat the days leading up and during the competition could make or break our placing!!
When dealing with competition nutrition there are 4 things we need to focus on: carbohydrates, timing, hydration, and protein IN THAT ORDER!
- CARBOHYDRATES (before, during, and after competition)
In the couple days leading up to competition we need to start loading up on the carbs. Why? Simply put, carbohydrates feed our muscle! Carbohydrates are literally the fuel source our muscles use (well in the muscle its called glycogen BUT to get glycogen you need to EAT CARBS). Glycogen takes 24-48 hours to fill up so if you are getting ready for a competition you should focus on getting more complex carbohydrates in 1-2 days leading up to the competition.
What does this look like? Incorporate an extra 1-2 small sweet potatoes, cups of rice, whole wheat pasta, or oatmeal spread throughout your meals the 1-2 days leading up. If you are competing early in the morning have a good amount of carbs before bed the night before the competition.
It is also important to think about the morning/day of competition. Be sure to crush a meal with a good amount of complex carbohydrates to fuel you for the day ahead!
We also need carbohydrates during the competition to replenish any glycogen used during the workouts. Consuming carbohydrates in between workouts will help keep those glycogen levels topped off and your energy high for the next workout. Simple carbohydrate sources work best for this because they are digested super fast and will hit your muscles in a SNAP!
Foods I like to incorporate mid competition include: fruits higher in sugar like bananas or grapes, sour or sweet candy like skittles or sour patch kids, sugary drinks like gatorade, and you can even jack some of your babies applesauce to pump in.
Once the competition is over and you can’t get up we need to focus on post competition carbohydrates. By this point I’m sure you are all cracked out on sugar so have a combination of simple and complex carbohydrates. Again, we want simple to replenish our glycogen stores quickly followed by a highly nutritious meal 1-2 hours later. You can slam some more gatorade, have a few more pieces of candy, or another applesauce pack then later have a meal with starchy vegetables, grains, or legumes.
A competition favorite of mine: 8 oz. of gatorade mixed with 1 scoop of vanilla protein then 1-2 hours later a big plate of 5 oz. steak, 1-2 cups broccoli, and 1 cup jasmine rice!
- TIMING (before, during, and after)
On competition day timing is EVERYTHING! Timing can be the difference between a belly ache mid WOD or a crushing first place finish. We have to really consider when we eat before, during, and after competition.
Our pre-competition meal should be eaten 1.5-2 hours before we start getting ready to rumble. This allows enough time for our bodies to digest the food and not leave us ready to humid-workoutout.
During the competition focus on keeping food (remember simple carbs) between workouts not only will your time be better your tummy will thank you too.
Lastly, we want to eat something immediately after we finish our comp (we talked about the simple carbs again). DO NOT eat a real meal until 1-2 hours after. Without getting too sciency we want our body to have to ability to go into “rest and digest” mode after it has been in fight or flight for literally an entire day. The quickest way to do this? STRETCH. Stretching signals the body that it is no longer in a stressed state and can begin to relax.
- HYDRATION (before, during, and after)
Hydration is important in general but extremely important for competition. During competition you sweat more than on a normal day because of multiple workouts in one day. On a regular day we should drink half our weight plus an additional 16 oz for healthy hydration levels (this does NOT take into account exercise). For every hour of training/exercise we need an additional 16-32 ounces of water!
On competition day you should crush your regular water prescription PLUS another 40-60 ounces of water to prevent muscle cramps or spasms and feeling like a slug mid wod. Save those chugs for before and after competition and between workouts. Please do not drink more than 16 ounces at a time during competition any more and you could get the water cramps and fall to the back of the pack!
A good goal:
Men drink 120 ounces minimum
Women drink 100 ounces minimum
Drink 1 liter of water right after waking on competition day and another 16 ounces with breakfast (that’s already 48 ounces of water)
Carry a gallon jug with you before, during, and after the competition
Kill the entire gallon before you allow yourself any celebratory beverages
- PROTEIN (before, during, and after)
Earlier we discussed carbohydrates and now its proteins turn. While protein is less important during competition we still want to provide our body with a constant flow of amino acids (the little guys that build protein). Unlike carbohydrates we do not need to load our bodies up a couple days out instead we need to focus on hitting our protein requirements leading up to competition and then maintaining.
How much protein? Anywhere from 0.7-1.0 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight (if we are overweight use goal weight).
For example: A 130 pound person needs 91-130 grams of protein (130×0.7=91; 130×1.0=130).
It is important to incorporate protein at each and every meal in the form of lean animal products. If you have trouble getting all that you need from animal products you can also incorporate supplements like protein powders and bars.
On competition day we want to focus on keeping a constant flow of amino acids so our body, while in this high stressed state, does not begin to break down muscle mass (known as catabolism)!
Before the competition have a nice breakfast with 20-40 grams of protein with the complex carbohydrate recommendations made earlier.
Easy pre-competition breakfast: two scrambled whole eggs with three egg whites (plus some veggies), one cup of oatmeal and half a banana.
Throughout the competition you should be sipping on protein powder mixed with water or your simple carbohydrates (ex. gatorade and vanilla protein). This will help keep hunger down and prevent catabolism (one shaker bottle with 1-2 scoops of protein is usually enough for an entire competition day). You can also use protein bars to munch on between workouts if you do not have protein powder.
After the competition is over treat yourself to finish that protein shake and then enjoy a nice high protein (and complex carbohydrate) meal 1-2 hours later. We can use the example from the carbohydrate section as a great post-competition meal of 5 oz. steak, 1-2 cups broccoli, and 1 cup jasmine rice.
NOW GO CRUSH IT!