Nutrition for the Competitive Athlete
Written by Coach Chase Brum
With the CrossFit Season just around the corner and the Holidays coming up, I wanted to make a post about one of the biggest stressed about and often underutilized factors for competitive athletes: NUTRITION! Nutrition is important for both fueling your workouts each day but also your LONG term progress as an athlete. It can be both something that propels you forward OR keeps you from finding your progress. So Let’s get into it 🙂
First and foremost, a healthy LIFESTYLE is important for making any progress in the gym even if you weren’t thinking about competing. So, the first thing to think about is checking the boxes of what makes a healthy lifestyle. Here are Complete’s 8 Habits for a healthy lifestyle:
Purposeful movement outside of training - 10 minutes DAILY
Walking, yoga, stretching, bike riding, etc
Gym training sessions - 3x weekly
Exercise with a designed goal and structure.
Fruits/Veggies - 3 servings per day
Naturally nutrient dense
Protein - 100g+ for Males/ 75+g for females per day
The MASTER macro; Goal to split over 3-4 servings
Water - Consume 60+ oz per day
Hydration matters for EVERYTHING (digestion, energy, performance, appetite, etc)
Sleep - 7 or more hours each night
Sleep matters for EVERYTHING (digestion, energy, performance, appetite, etc)
Limit fast food, junk food, and alcohol - no more than 1 serving per day
We are not about HEAVILY restricting, but we understand these things in EXCESS hinder our progress
Eat 1 well balanced meal while sitting down UNDISTRACTED
Naturally creates awareness while eating
The Goal is to use this as a checklist to create HABITS that you can sustain your whole life. If you don’t have these that’s OKAY; Start with being strict with ONE until it’s mastered and then add another, until you have them all. Goal is to hit MOST of them most of the time; aim for 100%, but be ok with falling off some. Having these habits will allow you to get the most out of training, make it easier to put focus toward your competitive goals, and sustain your well being when you decide to retire from competing.
Alright, Now that the lifestyle is established let’s get into what goes into each meal for a STRONG Nutrition plan for a Competitive Athlete:
Meals and Snacks should be made up of 4 groups:
Think: Meat, Dairy, Supplements
Helps build/repair Muscles and Organs!
Think: Grains, Fruits, Vegetables, etc.
NOT a bad thing; This is for Energy and Digestion!
Think: Leafy greens, Roots, Colors
These give you nutrients and FIBER (important!)
Think: Nuts, butters, oils
This helps regulate/balance hormones and brain function!
The Goal would be to have every meal and snack would hit 3/4 of the factors. Always aiming for that goal will help you know that your body is being fueled with what it needs to be able to perform at its best day in and day out!
All that is a general overview of what to look for in a healthy, performance supporting lifestyle. Now let’s look at common questions that arise when starting to put all of this lifestyle into practice:
What is the most important aspect for eating for performance?
Keeping track of your Calories and macros (including Fiber) is the most important; what you don’t know, you can’t fix
Keeping Track of everything is overwhelming, what can I do to stay on track?
Start with just tracking your Calories and Protein intake first
These are the most important for Athletes because:
Athletes need adequate protein to support recovery from training
Athletes should NOT be in a Calorie deficit if their focus is performance in competition/training.
Use a reliable Macro/Calorie tracking App to log your intake:
Reliable app examples: Myfitnesspal, and ManageMyMacros
Guestimating is OKAY!
Do your best to get the right input but getting close is fine as well!
What are things I can do while on the go? Or during my holiday celebrations or Vacations?
When going to restaurants try tracking before you get there; helps with overwhelming amount of decisions
For Holiday’s or vacations: Don’t make yourself miserable by being too strict
Make sure not to skip breakfast so you don’t overeat later on
During meals eat your Protein and Vegetables FIRST, then have some of the fun treats
Remember: Guestimating your tracking is OKAY!
Do I need to track differently on my Training Days vs. Rest days?
Nope! For most Athletes consistency is more important
Once you get the consistency down and if you want to reach for the HIGH level then a professional nutrition coach can help with that
OVERALL: Tracking well is important, but if it adds overwhelming stress to you then it would be more beneficial to lower it to a level that is sustainable. Some added stress is okay, but it should NOT be overwhelming; small steps create BIG progress.
All of this information was collected from two coaches on the Complete Nutrition team: Sadie Thews and Whitney Zuspann. If you liked this information and want to get more help you can contact them for their services! Nutrition Coaching is SUPER valuable for boosting performance and helping you build a healthy lifestyle that is sustainable throughout your athletic endeavors and after!
Hope you found this information helpful and are able to use it to support your training; IT’S TIME TO CRUSH GOALS!
If you would like to get in contact with the above mentioned coaches for Nutrition Coaching, their information is as follows: Sadies Thews email: email@example.com Whitney Zuspann email: firstname.lastname@example.org