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Intraday Eating for High Intensity Athletes

I realize some of this will be difficult to understand the “WHY’s” which is exactly why the Science Lab exists.  The Simply Pure Nutrients products I recommend in this article get you a free Science Lab membership where you can ask me questions on this protocol.  Here is that info.

This example is going to be for someone doing Two-a-days (also this article is summarized at the bottom)

As you are reading this remember I am writing it for advanced athletes.

In this post I am going to explore some possibilities for intraday eating for two-a-days and athletic competitions. I am gearing this towards high intensity athletes.  There are adjustments that you would make as a marathoner or a long runner, but mostly the goal is to replace lost energy in a relatively quick manner that will allow athletes to recover during competition.

This will stray a bit from my standard recommendations, but if you look closely the principles are still there.  Even though I add protein, the two main factors here are foods you use for energy, namely carbs and fats.  Last disclaimer, don’t just show up at a competition and do this, every person is different and you really need to make subtle adjustments that feel right.

Loading Before Your Big WOD Day

This goes along with my standard recommendation, on the day before WOD’ing, eat mostly fats and proteins throughout the day and then load with something like sticky white rice when you back load in the evening.  The amount doesn’t need to be excessive, but white rice is an excellent option here.  You can go sweet potatoes or ripe bananas but I don’t like that as much because the white rice is a more pure glucose source to load your muscle for the next days activity.  Also I really think the MCT’s from my coconut milk smoothies will really help your a.m. weight lifting session.  So in this example you would have a lean meat meal with white rice (for me this often looks like chipotle) and then coconut milk smoothie before bed.

Breakfast

On two-a-days I suggest eating a small breakfast of fats and proteins so a couple of eggs and bacon probably are fine.  Think of it more like a snack with the intention of comforting your system. I also like coffee (espresso), caffeine pills, or caffeine powder here as long as you don’t over do it.  Once again, experiment with what feels the most right.  Remember that I often recommend training fasted in the morning and if you are going to start strength training really early fasted, just get meals in afterwards and eat bigger.  Also consider adding in something like Justin’s Chocolate Hazelnut Butter and a banana.  So for early fasted trainers coffee (espresso is great, Vivarin and Caffeine Powders might actually be better options just be careful) is fine but try and space that a bit from the Creatine suggestion below.  For people eating a meal before weight training the eggs and bacon (potentially with a banana and chocolate hazelnut butter) would be eaten approximately 2 -3 hours before.

Sweet Potato Mix

Post-WOD

Assuming that your training session is an hour or longer, definitely have carbs post workout.  For comfort, ease and nutrient profile you can’t beat the Sweet Potato Recovery Fuel from Simply Pure Nutrients.  Here is a break down in a single serving:

  • • Fats – 10 grams (basically 90 calories of fat that help give you a slow the uptake of the nutrients you are trying to get into your body, I do know that people suggest the opposite but I believe they are wrong in this instance)
  • • Protein 12 grams (egg white protein which is a nice diversion from whey protein from an amino variety perspective)
  • • Carbs – 28g

The reason why I like this so much for athletes is that it is really balanced and looks and acts more like real food in an instance where an athlete needs energy density rather than nutrient density.  I am cool with eating nutrient dense a lot of the time, but it would be a mistake to solely rely on that in situations like this.  Additionally one of the great benefits is that you can just add it to water and go.  It also tastes extremely good which is a significant factor, choking down bad tasting stuff won’t help you long term.  If you’d rather eat whole foods, go with something that has similar nutrition profile just know that it won’t be as optimal as the drink from an absorption standpoint.   

Nutrition Between Sessions

Your first meal after your workout session was a supplement and that likely went a long way to stabilizing your system so the next meal (or possibly meals) should be heavy with long chain fatty acids like butter and ground beef.  There should be enough fat in this meal that if you want to add a little carbohydrate for balance you can, just don’t get too excessive with it because it could interfere with your evening WOD.  Also this might seem like a good spot to have fibrous vegetables but I probably wouldn’t recommend eating them until after your evening WOD if at all on this day.  This day is devoted to energy and hopefully you are getting enough of that stuff on your other days.

For me the money spot would be a four egg omelet cooked in ghee with 10 ounces of grass fed 85/15 ground beef with taco seasoning (sodium is the friend of athletes though I halve the recommendation on the packet) with a little mild taco sauce.  This is a great meal to set you up throughout the day.  Also remember this isn’t a standard recommendation, your version might look a little different but what I am saying is you need to eat hearty in this meal, pulled pork or a ribeye also works.  Lean chicken breast, not so much.

If you WOD at say 4pm you might not need a snack, but if you WOD at 6pm or 7pm I would definitely recommend something.  One thing I like here is a Ritter’s Hazelnut Dark Chocolate bar.  Some kind of Almond Bar would also work.  Combine that with something like GT’s Synergy Kombucha and I think that is a good pre-workout balanced snack, not a lot of protein but the focus is energy.

Ritter Bar

synergy drinks

Evening WOD and Meal

Because you focused on energy throughout the day you should be able to Rx the WOD, but if you aren’t feeling 100% because the morning session took a lot out of you, don’t let your ego hurt you.  Just use this session as a good way to clear some inflammation and get in a good cardio workout, modifying down if needed.

Sweet Potato Pro3 Combo

Post WOD recovery I like something like Simply Pure Nutrients Pro3 product but Elite also works.  Both of these products are not overly sweet by design which means you have a lot of options as it relates to flavoring.  I am going to use the Coconut Chocolate Pro3 in my example because that is my favorite (it is so damn good).  I use about 10 ounces of Trader Joe’s Light Coconut Milk (you could also use Native Forest light but the ingredients on TJ’s is coconut milk and water, so I like that).  Add a banana or a teaspoon of dextrose (it might not need it) for flavor and look out, you will love it.  You could also use coconut water here and that would taste phenomenal but it wouldn’t blunt the spike from the protein quite the way I would like to do for this protocol.  I also don’t like almond milk here because of the poly-unsaturated fats but if you have to it’s not horrible. The reason is simple, the next day is a rest day, or in nutrition parlance, it’s a control day.  The purpose is to set up an atmosphere in your body that is stable after you just beat the snot out of it where you will be relying on mostly fats to aid in your recovery and flush out inflammation.

The next day, should be focused on fats and proteins.  If you decide to WOD, just modify down.  As a guy if I feel like WOD’ing on this day I tend to do the women’s weight to get in a good cardio workout.  That said, you should rest, it ain’t going to kill you.

Summary:

Day Before

  • • Eat mostly fats and proteins throughout the day and then load with something like sticky white rice

Morning Pre-WOD

  • • Early morning fast or a small, snack-like meal for a session around 9 or 10am (fat and protein content) to comfort your system

Post-WOD

  • • Post Workout Drink using a product like Simply Pure Nutrients “Sweet Potato Recovery Fuel”

Nutrition Between Sessions

  • • A hearty meal with long chain fatty acids, avoid lean meats if possible.
  • • Small snack as a bridge between AM lifting session and PM WOD.  Keep sugars or eat them with fat low to avoid hypoglycemic type symptoms when you are WOD’ing.  (like the candy bar example)

Post-Evening WOD

  • • Drink a recovery drink with protein and carbs blunted with coconut milk
  • • Eat fats and proteins and keep carbs low

Other Thoughts for High Intensity Athletes

  • • Take a look at my Creatine dosing suggestion. Now don’t show up at Regionals popping Creatine capsules, you might not like the result.  Think of it as part of your preparation.
  • • Follow the Outlaw Way. Rudy Nielsen has written more about training than I will likely ever learn.  The workouts he prescribes allow athletes to get better at a specific sport and that sport is Crossfit. It is available for everyone to see and the athletes he trains do it, and some of the best Crossfit athletes (including Elisabeth Akinwale) are in his stable.  So it’s a great resource for varied training.

http://www.facebook.com/TheOutlawWay

  • • If you are going to add strength training to your regimen let me propose that it should be in the morning and it should be done slow, I like Eustress Style Training for this reason.
  • • Do you really need to kill yourself with two-a-days?  Something I think is a big mistake is not allowing for adequate rest.  Athletes try and run themselves into the ground in an attempt to get ready for Regionals or The Crossfit Games and get toasted by the athletes that already know what’s up.

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5 Responses to Intraday Eating for High Intensity Athletes

  1. Laura April 1, 2013 at 1:54 pm #

    Thanks! I am currently training to go to Regionals, so 2-a-days are necessary, but only twice a week. I am curious how you would recommend eating the entire weekend at Regionals? For example, if an athlete is planning to compete twice in one day, do you recommend doing that first workout fasted? What would you suggest for a weekend at Regionals where it is 2 events each day for 3 days?

  2. RhabDoliber April 2, 2013 at 2:44 am #

    Any suggestions on an athlete who does a session at 11, and then another at 330?

  3. RhabDoliber April 2, 2013 at 3:30 am #

    Any suggestions for an athlete training at 11 and again at 330?

    • Paul Nobles April 3, 2013 at 12:11 pm #

      Eat bigger around 7-8am mostly fats and proteins with small carbs for balance. The middle meal you might want to be a bit more liquid so it doesn’t interfere with your training. Honestly a protein drink and some type of pureed food or maybe 4 tbsp of chocolate hazelnut butter with ripe bananas blended up would be good options.

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