The Open is 5 weeks of intense workouts that will both challenge and inspire you.
You’ve spent the last year getting your strength and skills ready for the Open. Now it is time to let your nutrition give you the extra edge you need to boost your performance and recovery week to week. Joshua from @fortitudenutritioncoaching gives you an in-depth look on how you can maximise your results with proper nutrition.
It is important to know what foods to eat during this time and the roles they will play during the 5 week period of the Open. All foods can be broken up into their macronutrient values: protein, carbohydrates and fats.
Protein is made up of building blocks called amino acids. They play a big part in the building of muscle in the gym and muscle recover. If you want to be strong and injury free for the Open, make sure you’re getting enough protein. The repairing benefits of protein will help you bounce back from the physically demanding Open workouts thrown at you week after week!
Good protein examples include poultry, red meat, fish, eggs, yogurt and protein powders.
Whey is your go-to right after your workout because it will be digested and used by your body quickly.
Carbohydrates are used first body for energy. Eating carbohydrates in the hours before your intense workout is optimal to best fuel you. After a hard workout, they will help replenish your muscles’ glycogen stores. This supports better performance and recovery. Carbs will be your friend during Open season because they are the gas in your tank. They are stored in your muscles as glycogen and eating carbs in the right proportion will keep your muscles feeling strong and fresh each week! Examples include vegetables, fruits, grains, rice, legumes, oats, breads, pasta and more.
Our bodies use fat for:
- Growth and development of cells
- Nerve and brain function
- Transporting and absorbing vitamins (A,D,E and K) through the body
- Insulation and protection of your body and its vital organs
- Providing energy and producing hormones
Consuming enough fat will help you stay satiated during your workout and allow you to keep pushing
harder for longer by helping to slow the release of energy into your system. Basically, it prevents you
from “hitting a wall.” Fat is potent in its function; a little goes a long way.
Eat enough food to recover from the workouts. If one of your goals is weight loss and you also want to do well in the Open, we’d advise not cutting calories out of your diet until after the Open is over. Instead, direct your focus to eating enough calories to sustain the competition. These workouts are very demanding and attempting them on a calorie deficit isn’t the best recipe for success. So weigh up whether your goals are performance or aesthetics.
After each workout, you’re going to feel hungry and your body is going to want all the food it can get to begin the recovery process. Eating the right food is key to your recovery and performance. The optimal method is to choose food that is high in volume meaning you can eat a lot of it without racking up calories fast. This will help you stay full longer and provide extra nutritional benefits. Examples of high volume foods include berries, melons, leafy greens, celery, cauliflower, broccoli, zucchini noodles, and egg whites.
Whether you’re doing your workout in the morning or during “Friday Night Lights” with your gym, dialing in your meal timing will give you an extra edge when you’re getting ready for a challenging workout. This means manipulating the amounts of proteins, carbs and fats you eat to ensure optimal performance.
1-3 Hours Before
Carbs: Whatever the workout entails (long, short, endurance or resistance) eat a mix of high
and low-GI carbs. (for example, grains with leafy greens).
Protein: Exercise damages muscle tissue, but protein keeps amino acids stocked while
promoting protein synthesis. Make sure this meal includes a bit of lean protein.
Fat: Fat slows the digestion of food so eat some but keep it low. This will ensure that the protein
and carbs you’re eating are more effectively utilized.
30 Minutes Before
Carbs: Stick with high-GI carbs. Examples include (but are in no way limited to) white rice, fruit, baby food, fuel pouches, carb/protein shakes. They digest easier and absorb quicker.
Protein: Protein is important and we recommend opting for a whey protein shake because it is fast digesting.
Fat: Fat should be mostly avoided this meal, it further slows digestion and you want those nutrients
utilized as quickly as possible!
0-2 Hours After
Carbs: Carbs replenish glycogen stores, particularly right after a heavy workout. High-GI carbs will be especially beneficial.
Protein: Eat protein ASAP. Protein will continue promoting muscle maintenance and growth. A True Protein WPI shake or other lean protein source will be beneficial.
Fat: Keep fat intake low here. Fat will slow the release of glycogen and decrease the rate of protein and carb digestion which means longer recovery time.
2+ Hours Later
Carbs: Low-GI Carbs keep glycogen and glucose stocked without spiking insulin. You will get the benefits of carbs and feel full without the unnecessary spike of energy.
Protein: Protein, especially slow digesting (casein) protein, is ideal for continued muscle growth and maintenance while your rest.
Fat: Fats keep the digestion and release of carbohydrates and insulin steady. The majority of your fats should be eaten during this time. Fat also transports important vitamins and minerals around your body.
These are just overall recommendations and your individual needs may vary based on gender, body composition, training schedule, etc.