You’ve probably watched the CrossFit Games and thought: Dang, how do these guys and gals reach this peak level of fitness?! Sure, crushing every WOD (Workout of the Day) gets them into incredible shape. But, like other fitness regimens, CrossFit is more than just spending all of your time at the “box.” Eating the right foods before a high-intensity CrossFit session is a huge key to having a productive workout and seeing results.
With the right mix of protein, healthy fats, and digestible carbohydrates, you can make the perfect pre-workout meal. In fact, some of the best pre-WOD foods can be paired together for the ultimate fuel. Here are seven foods that will ensure you match your PR at your next CrossFit session.
Surprised? Dates probably weren’t what you had in mind when you looked up the best CrossFit snacks. However, fruit is a big part of a clean, CrossFit-friendly diet. Dates are actually a preferred pre-workout snack across many fitness fronts. They supply just the right amount of sugar to give you a boost before exercise and also contain fiber to keep you full and your blood sugar from spiking. Eating just a couple dates with a bit of almond butter will have you prepared to crush your workout.
Eating a snack or small meal about two hours before a CrossFit workout is ideal. And having a good balance of protein and good fats is important. So it’s no surprise that eggs are a favorite when it comes to creating a pre-workout meal. They are packed with the protein and vitamins your muscles need to push through tough exercises. The good cholesterol in eggs helps keep you full, so your stomach won’t start growling in the middle of kettlebell squats. Plus, hard-boiled eggs make a nice portable snack for the CrossFitter on the go.
No, we aren’t talking about that instant oatmeal garbage that you see in the grocery store. We’re talking about whole oats, which are a good carbohydrate that will fill you up before exercising. Making your own overnight oats and having them ready to eat the next day ensures that you will have fuel to kill your WOD. (Plus, preparing your own oats takes away all the sugar that’s packed into store-bought, instant oatmeal.)
12 Minute Athlete recommends a pre-workout meal containing this slow-digesting carb, mixed with some protein and a good fat — think chia seeds and nuts.
Shoveling a ton of food in your mouth before a workout is never a good idea. But if you have enough time to fuel up with a small meal before hitting the CrossFit box, a small chicken sandwich gives you all the protein, fat, and vitamins that you need to keep your energy levels high.
Jim White R.D., tells readers at Eat This, Not That! to try a sandwich on whole-wheat bread with sliced chicken, mashed avocado, and spinach. Working out in the morning? White suggests swapping the chicken for egg whites.
You’d be hard-pressed to find a list of CrossFit-friendly foods that doesn’t include almond butter. In addition receiving a good source of protein and carbohydrates, you’ll be fueled with potassium, magnesium, and calcium if you eat almond butter before a workout. Just a tablespoon of this spreadable food is all you need to start putting the perfect pre-CrossFit meal together. You can spread it on whole-wheat toast, pair it with fruit, or add a spoonful to that oatmeal you prepped the night before.
When it comes to getting your fruit fix before hitting the box, you can’t go wrong with eating a banana. Even just eating half gives your muscles the potassium they need to function properly. Plus, this fruit is easy to digest, so you won’t be thinking about your growling stomach in the middle of your session. If you have time for a small pre-workout meal, consider mixing some sliced banana with oatmeal, or putting slices on whole-wheat toast with a little almond butter.
When all else fails, there’s nothing wrong with reaching for a protein shake before your CrossFit workout. Just make sure that you are fueling up with the right kind of shake, and consider adding an extra healthy fat into the mix to help keep you satisfied. BoxRox recommends adding a tablespoon of coconut oil to a vanilla protein shake.