The Open Guide - Nutrition

Monday, February 20, 2017 - 09:43
We are one sleep closer to the Open. Yesterday we discussed how to focus your training and concentrate your efforts on peaking for each event attempt. Today we want to remind you that the only way you can have elite performance and health is by taking care of your nutrition.


In all our previous articles and messages at GW Performance we have underlined the thinking that nutrition serves as the foundation for progress. Whether your goal is to improve health, performance, body composition or all of those; you cannot out work a poor diet.


Now, a bit of a disclaimer. The following is not a prescription, However, we can provide you with some knowledge on how to properly adjust your nutrition to compensate for the rigours of the Open


 Your gut is unique


If you’re after a meal plan template then feel free to stop reading here. Like training, nutrition is best designed on an individual basis. Of course, there are principles that serve as an umbrella to this topic and you can read more about them here:

Simple Nutrition Advice

Health Supplements

Performance Supplements

In sum, you need:

  • Enough energy to fuel day-to-day functions and exercise

  • Adequate protein to repair/build muscle

  • Adequate carbohydrates to recover from training and competing as well as fuelling long events (if one should arise)

  • Sufficient fat and micronutrients to keep you functioning at peak health.

  • An understanding that your gut health will affect performance and wellness.

Getting more specific, a factor athletes forget is that any competition is a stressor. Positive or negative, it’s simply stress. Your adaptation and ability to overcome that stress is what the Open season is all about for 40 + days.

A variable you can control during this period of stress is food absorption and a good mental state in relation to the food you’re eating. Ask yourselves the following questions:

  • What foods make you feel light and vibrant and mentally acute?

  • What foods weigh you down and make you want to have a nap?

  • What foods make training uncomfortable if consumed within 90 mins prior to start time?

  • Are you often very thirsty within the first couple of minutes of a high intensity workout?

  • Are most of your meals solid food meals?

  • What percentage of your foods are packaged?

The purpose of these questions is to highlight the importance of proper absorption. It is under your control and easily manageable.


  1. Plan and prepare your weekly menu.

  2. Pay attention and note foods that you don’t digest well.

  3. Pack your daily nutrition with micronutrient dense whole foods and ensure you’re eating enough to recover from the positive and negative stress of training + competing.

Game day

For most of you, Saturday will be Game Day. We compete during the morning and you should be able to complete the event around your “normal” workout time.

For CrossFitters, the average Open workout is 10-14 minutes long and will contain all aspects of fatigue. It’s a wonderful dance between creatine phosphate, lactic and aerobic output. As every athlete is different, each dose response will be different. However, because we know the average demand for each workout we can advise some simple pre and post fuelling strategies:

CrossFitter tips:

  • If you have practiced and trained in a fasted state all year, don’t change your routine now. The best thing you can do is to ensure fuelling for the 2 days prior and adequate hydration.

  • If you are going to eat pre-event then ensure you do the following: plan a meal that is easily digestible and eat it well before "go" time. A slightly fasted state is going to be better than having your body try to digest food whilst going HAM on a CrossFit test.

  • Post workout is just as critical as pre. Emotions will be running high, you may be splayed on the floor exhausted from your effort whilst your mind might be running wild with thoughts of how you could have done better. Hopefully each of you will also be excited to support the rest of the community too! We recommend that you quickly debrief with your judge and coach then begin the recovery phase (slow aerobic cool down on either the bike or rower) plus begin re-hydrating and re-fuelling. Depending on your body type and digestion, either a drink of carbohydrates and protein or small meal within 30-60 minutes of your event will be best. Continue to re-hydrate consistently throughout the day and week.

Strength & Conditioning athletes have very similar requirements, albeit on the days we test strength & power. For these events that are primarily creatine phosphate (ATP) energy system dependant – i.e. short bursts of high power output – you should consider caffeine in your pre-workout routine. The caveat with caffeine or pre-workout supplements is that competition is not a trial phase. If you haven’t been doing it before then don’t try something new now! If you’re unsure how you’ll react and/or digest such things then starting on them during competition can be risky for your performance.



Above all else, around the Open tests, please focus on lifestyle consistency, not changing much apart from maybe eating cleaner and being extra prepared. Ensure that you are doing self assessments on your energy, rhythm and confidence. This will give an idea how to balance it all to optimise your chances of success  throughout the season.


Coach Leigh

CrossFit | Strength & Conditioning | Personal Training

GW Performance

South Yarra