Food As Fuel

Deanna and Tara share some protein on the CrossFit camping trip!
Deanna and Tara share some protein on the CrossFit camping trip!

The post workout meal is probably the most important meal of the day for anyone who is into nutrition and fitness. However, in a lot of cases this importance also leads to confusion. Once you understand the basics of what nutrients your body needs and doesn’t need after your WOD, things will be much clearer.

There is a general consensus amongst CrossFitters that within 60 minutes of working out, you should eat a meal or snack with a 2:1 ratio of carbohydrates to protein. Why? Well, during exercise, most especially at a CrossFit intensity, your body has used up much of your muscle glycogen stores. It is important to replenish those energy stores post WOD in order to provide resources for the repair and rebuilding of muscle tissue.
According to an article posted on the CrossFit Albuquerque, quoting Miller and Wildman,Sports and Fitness Nutrition, 2004., “The rate of muscle glycogen recovery may be roughly 7-8% for the first 1-2 hours and then slow to about 5% per hour thereafter.”

This means that a snack containing simple carbohydrates, which are absorbed into the bloodstream more quickly, is best. You should ideally combine these simple carbohydrates with a small amount of protein for protein synthesis, muscle repair, and optimal physiological adaptations. It is advisable to try and avoid fiber and fat in this snack, as these will slow absorption. Simply put, fat slows down digestion. In this case, it would be slowing down the digestion of the protein and carbs. This is the exact opposite of what you want to happen. Basically, this is one time when you actually want to experience an insulin spike, which will help to drive those amino acids into your muscle tissue quickly.

Of course, your post WOD meal should depend on your goals. For instance, if you’re trying to lose weight, check out this quote from Melissa Byers’ blog, “The hormonal changes that occur during and after a workout greatly improve insulin sensitivity. However, if you eat high density carbohydrates within 30 minutes of a workout, you ruin the insulin sensitivity that you’ve gained. You recover quickly, but your insulin sensitivity probably doesn’t improve – which should be your big picture goal….If you are at a competition or event where you are performing multiple workouts, eat protein and carbohydrate (no fat, no fiber) immediately after your workout. Under normal circumstances where you will not be working out for another 12 to 24 hours, don’t eat until at least one hour after your workout.

As you can see, the CrossFit prescription seems to be rather consistent on this issue. Ideally though, you should listen to your body, and go with what feels the best for you.

Today’s Workout:

Buy-In – Benchmark Run or Row

WOD – “Good Times”
Elite/Zone 3:
4 rounds not for time of:
• 10 Overhead Squats (65/95)
• 15 Knees to Elbows
• 20 Ring Pushups (feet at height of hands)

Zone 2: 4 rounds
• Scale squats to 45/55
• 10 hanging leg raises
• 10 ring pushups (adjust difficulty as needed)

Zone 1: 4 rounds
• Scale squats to 25/35
• 10 sit-ups
• 10 pushups (scale as needed)

Cash-Out – Cartwheels – 4 set  x 5 reps


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