Pre and Post Workout Nutrition for CrossFitters

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How to Get the Most Out of Your Workout

This post is about to get into the #science of why it’s important to eat before and after your workout. We put in so much effort for 60 minutes while crushing a workout, but we need to remember that eating to fuel and reap the benefits of said work out is more important. Keep reading below for the WHY’s and WHAT’s about pre and post workout nutrition!

Why CrossFitters need carbs…

  • When a person’s carb intake is too low, the body raises its own Cortisol (the fight or flight hormone) level because muscles are being broken down and used instead of glycogen from carbs for fuel. This means you are LOSING muscle mass when you are not properly fueled with glycogen (carbs) for a workout.
  • CrossFit is GLYCOLYTIC work → carbs are needed for fuel and recovery

Pre-Training Meal

  • The pre-training meal is more about blood sugar control and nervous system function since most food takes about 4-5 hours to become usable fuel.
  • If the pre-training meal is consumed too far from working out then blood sugar will be on a decline as you get to the gym, which could lead to low blood sugar and dizziness!
    • The pre-training meal should be consumed 90-120 minutes before working out, but play around with this. I prefer to eat 60-90 minutes before a workout!
    • This meal should consist of protein and carbs with no added fats:
      • Fats are slow to digest and they delay the digestion of the other nutrients
      • Carbs are the preferred fuel source for the nervous system
      • Chicken and rice/sweet potato or a wrap with deli meat make great pre-workout meals!

Post Workout!

  • The most important thing about the post workout meal is recovering the nervous system after the intense stressor of working out.
    • While working out the body has a spike in Cortisol and when finished working out, the body needs to return to homeostasis. The best way to do this is by giving the body carbs and protein.
    • It is recommended to consume a post workout shake of 1:1 protein powder and carbohydrate source (I like a carb powder → highly branched cyclic dextrin powder to get a quick burst of carbs after working out)
      • What a 1:1 post workout protein/carb ratio can look like:
        • Shake with 20g of protein and 20g carb rice cake
        • Shake with 20g protein and 20g of carbs from highly branched cyclic dextrin powder
    • Post-Post Workout Meal
      • Should be consumed 60-90 minutes after the shake and should contain high quality proteins and carbs with optional fats
      • Quantity is not essential and should depend on hunger and/or macro prescription
      • Quality is important because once the nervous system is calmed, the body is ready for nutrient uptake, so get your veggies in this meal!

Morning Trainees

  • Waking up 90-120 minutes before an early morning workout is not possible for most early morning trainees, so the previous night’s dinner becomes the pre-workout meal.
    • This means that if you are a early morning Crossfitter, should be consuming 25-30% of daily carbs within 4 hours of going to bed to have the fuel to perform the next morning.
    • Another tip for morning trainees is to drink a minimum of 5g BCAAs before training to give a little boost of performance!

My pre and post workout recommendations

  • BCAAS: I love Scivation Xtend
  • Protein powder: I love Stronger Faster Healthier (SFH) Recovery
  • Highly Branched Cyclic Dextrin: I love Nutra Bio Super Carb

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