BIG Nutrition: CrossFit Open Prep—15 minutes a day


BIG Nutrition: CrossFit Open Prep—15 minutes a day

With the CrossFit Open approaching, excitement, and few nerves, can come up. One way to prepare is to focus on food just 15 minutes per day.

Will Help

These may appear simple, but ‘simple’ should not be confused with ‘easy.’ Tips are provided to make some a bit easier, but tackle these any way that works!

  • Celebrate all of the nutrient dense food choices made. Time spent feeling ‘bad’ about a food choice often far outweighs all of the other choices made. Flip that inner dialogue and go you!
    • Tip: Place a favorite mantra, quote, or meme about food somewhere prominent to remind you that you make nutrient dense food choices every week!
  • Keep hydrated because even mild dehydrations leads to a decrease in exercise performance.
    • The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine recommend ~15.5 cups (3.7 liters) for men and ~11.5 cups (2.7 liters) for women of fluid each day.
    • This is a guideline with an expectation that 20% of fluid intake each day is coming from veggies and fruits. Individual needs may vary, especially for those who sweat more.
    • Tip: A water bottle or cup, close at hand, is a good reminder to keep your fluid intake up.
  • Refuel after workouts.
    • The combination of carbs and protein at a ratio of 2:1 to 4:1 is the most effective for refueling muscles.
    • Tip: These meet the ratio and don’t require refrigeration so they can sit in a gym bag—1 banana or apple and 1 oz. nuts, whole grain bread with nut butter, homemade energy bites, 5 apricot halves and 1 oz. nuts, and RX bar.
  • Eat carbohydrate foods, such as, oatmeal, lentils, chickpeas, sweet potato, and other whole grains (> 3 grams fiber/serving) 1-3 hours before an Open workout.
    • Tip:  Test out any new pre-workout foods now in the weeks before the Open workouts start.
  • Moderate alcohol consumption. Recommendations are 1 standard drink/day for women and 2/day for men.

Won’t Hurt

  • Pace protein intake. Because it is close to the Open and huge gains are not likely in a short time, this is a good habit to build and support progress over time.
    • Research supports more muscle repair and building with even distribution (25-40 grams protein or ~3-5 ounces) of protein foods 3-4 times throughout a day.
    • Tip: Think about a typical day’s intake and determine where there is a protein gap and fill it.
  • Add a vitamin/mineral supplement with approximately 100% of the RDA for vitamin/minerals. More is not better.

Not Worth Your Time (right now, that is)

  • Add an ergogenic aid (supplements that are intended to improve physical performance)
    • There are supplements that are worthy of consideration, but they are not likely to make a difference with only a few weeks left before the fun begins! If you want to learn more, let’s talk.  

To get things underway in these last few weeks, start small and be specific. So, “eating healthier” is not going to meet either of those suggestions. Small means taking 15 minutes a day to focus on food (eg, choose 2 items from the Will help list and make a plan, develop a grocery list, plan and order meals from a meal delivery service, prep post-WOD snacks, prep overnight oats for breakfast). Specific means deciding how often, for example, to have a post-WOD snack prepped and consumed (eg, 4 out of 5 workouts per week). If I can help you with your 15 minutes per day focused on food, please let me know!   

Happy and healthful eating,


Donna G. Pertel, MEd, RD, LDN

Ramping up your nutrition before the CrossFit Open? Contact me at [email protected].

Nutrition Services are available for BIG Members (@ 30% discount) and the Community. More information is listed here.