Nutrition Strategies for Training Sessions

How much to eat and when for lifting, short conditioning, long conditioning, and multi modal training sessions.

Whether you’re an Olympic weight lifter, competitive CrossFitter, regular CF class attendee, or getting in a short workout before work starts, fueling with a focus allows you to not only crush your sessions but gives your body what it needs to recover strong!

The macros are given in ranges based on personal preference, digestion, and intensity. If you have an easy lifting session with low percentages you don’t need as many carbs and protein, if you’re training for 3 hours and you have a ton of work with HEAVY barbells, eat more!

Same with your conditioning – even if the metcon is only a 15 AMRAP, if you’re going all out, your body will require more carbohydrates than if you’re performing a chill “just move” workout.

Play around with the fats based on how close to training you’re eating as well as what you combine the fats with.

Egg yolks with white rice will digest much faster than avocado with chicken breast. Additionally, because fats slow down digestion, the more fat you eat and the closer to training you eat it, the longer that food will sit in your stomach and small intestines.

Lifting Only

A minimum of 30 to 40g carbs, 20-40g protein, 10-20g fat before hand. If session’s over 90 minutes, consider having a carb heavy snack (20-30g) during. Post training, depending on how heavy you lifted, eat 30-40g + carbs, 30-40g+ protein, 10-20g fat (the heavier you went the more you should be eating post training).

  • This could look like a cup of white rice or sweet potato with 3-4 eggs or chicken sausage before training, and potatoes and 6-8oz chicken post training. For your snack during, you could eat something like a Lara Bar and a banana.

Short Conditioning (less than 30 minutes)

20-30g carbs, 10-20g protein, 10g fat before, a whole foods meal after (minimum 20-30g protein).

  • This could look like 1/2 cup of rice or a banana for carbs, and 2-3 eggs or a scoop of protein before training, and then a regular meal post training (with your protein being 4-6oz chicken, beef, eggs, fish, etc).

If you’re training first thing in the morning and can’t eat real food, make sure you eat a carb heavy meal (50-60g) the night before or consider having a TBSP of honey before your fitness begins. And remember you need to get in food within 30-60 minutes AFTER training no matter what!

Long Conditioning (long aerobic pieces like running/biking, or 45 min+ metcons)

40 to 60g carbs, 20-60g protein (less for aerobic only, more for things like metcons), 10-20g fat prior. If session is over 90 minutes, consider having a snack during if you can. Post training, depending on how hard you trained, eat 40-60g + carbs, 40-60g+ protein, 10-20g fat (the harder you trained the more you should be eating post training).

  • If you’re performing steady state cardio, shoot for higher carb, lower protein, lower fat beforehand. This could look like a 1/2 cup of uncooked oatmeal with 2 tbsp of maple syrup, 1tbsp of coconut oil, and 1 scoop of whey protein.
  • For longer metcons, you could eat the oatmeal with maple syrup and whey protein, and have a couple of eggs on the side. Post training, have 1 to 1 and 1/2c cooked rice with 6-8oz chicken or similar combo of carbs and protein.

Multi Modal Training sessions (lifting + cardio/metcons – eg CrossFit Class/CrossFit Programming)

The general rule here is 30-60g of carbs for every hour of fitness (read actual moving- not the hour you have booked for CF Class). Most regular CF Classes, you can shoot for 30-40g of carbs, 20-40g of protein, and 10-20g of fat.

If you’re staying after to work on extra, or you’re following programming that’s 90+ minutes, shoot for 40-60g+ of carbs and 40+ grams of protein, and 10-20g of fat prior to training. If the session lasts over 2 hours, you should have a carb snack at the 70-90 minute mark (20-30g).

Notice a trend happening with all this fitness?

Less carbs for less activity, more carbs for more activity, but ALWAYS eating some carbs beforehand.

Getting in protein (at least 10-20g) to provide your body with what it needs to begin the recovery process AS you train. And then dietary fats for taste/satiety and helping manage blood sugar.

Again, play around with what feels best for you!

You may also notice that some days you want more carbs relative to how much training you’ve already done in the week, how stressed you’ve been, how sleep has been, even where you’re at in your menstrual cycle.

Don’t be committed to a perfect number- test out different variations to see what allows you to push the hardest and recover the best!

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