Are you eating before you workout? If not, how do your workouts feel?
If you’re feeling dizzy, drained, or not seeing progress in the gym, you won’t want to miss this information on nutrient timing around your workouts.
Our muscles are fueled by sugar, namely glycogen which is stored in our muscles for energy. This is what allows our muscles to perform and function, especially with heavy weights. This is super important for CrossFit, otherwise you can end up feeling pretty crummy during your workouts. If you feel like you hit a wall during your workouts, get dizzy, or sometimes just have bad workouts where you feel bad, you may not be getting the right foods around your workout.
In order to perform well, we want to fuel our bodies for the workout ahead. We can do this with carbs. We want to make sure we get carbs pre-workout to fuel us. Then we workout and use our muscles, thus expending all the glycogen stored in our muscles as energy. If you've ever done a lot of push ups, you know that point when you physically can't do push ups anymore? That's a sign you've fatigued your muscles and have run out of glycogen.
For this reason, after the workout we want to refuel our bodies with carbs and replenish the lost glycogen. This helps us recover better when combined with protein after the WOD.
This isn't to say that you shouldn't be getting carbs at other times of the day, because you should! But getting them before and after your workout is especially important.
When consuming dense carbs pre-workout, give your body somewhere between 1-2 hours to digest the food. Since these types of food take more break down and be utilized as energy. How long before the workout you should eat these is dependent not only on that workouts (don't eat too much before burpees), but also how your stomach tolerates food before the workout. Some good sources of food for this timeframe include sweet potatoes, rice, oats, or whole grain bread.
The only exception to this rule is fruit. Since fruit contains a higher level of natural sugars and fructose, it is digested quickly, only requiring about 30 minutes to be digested before being ready to be used for energy. Since you workout early in the morning, this may be your best bet for getting some energy without a full stomach or needing to wake up extra early.
Post-workout, look to avoid high fat content. Fat takes longer to digest in the body and naturally slow our metabolism. So having fat immediately after eating can un-do the increased metabolic rate created by exercise. Give yourself at least 2 hours post-workout before having a higher fat food - lots of cooking oil, nuts, seeds, avocado, olives, etc.