There are so many misconceptions in CrossFit meal prep, whether around meal structure or prep in general, like that we all eat paleo all the time, or whatever we want all the time. The truth is, most people who do CrossFit are not the elite level athletes you see on ESPN. We’re normal, hard-training, individuals who eat clean. But we’re not all paleo, and we’re not all perfect.
The mantra of CrossFit is: “Eat meat and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch and no sugar. Keep intake to levels that will support exercise but not body fat.” Kind of sounds like a typical “clean eating” meal plan, no? Everyone thinks CrossFitters can eat whatever we want; and we can. But we don’t. According to a study done in 2014, CrossFit workouts burned an average of 3 more calories per minute than an average full body gym workout. An extra 3 calories/minute doesn’t sound like a lot, but multiply that over minutes per day, days per week, and weeks per month. CrossFit comes out ahead. The emphasis in CrossFit is performance, not aesthetics. Most athletes don’t have an on-season or off-season where they gain or lose a lot of weight; they maintain their look for the most part, without carrying excess body fat. In my opinion, this is the healthiest way to go.
Typical CrossFit Meal Prep for 2200 calories:
- Breakfast: 40g oats + 10 egg whites + 1 tbsp natural almond butter
- Snack 1: 225g greek yogurt + 1 oz nuts + 1 cup berries
- Lunch: 4oz poultry or fish + 100g green veggies + 4 oz sweet potato
- Snack 2/Post workout: 1 scoop protein + 1 banana + 1 oz nuts
- Dinner: 4oz steak or salmon + 100g green veggies + 4 oz quinoa or rice
- Snack 3: 175g cottage cheese + 1 oz nuts
CrossFit Meal Prep on the Day of the Competition:
I once asked my coach if there’s anything specific I should eat or avoid the day of (or the day before) my CrossFit competition. I expected his CrossFit meal prep answer would include something like, “No simple sugars or dairy, and go easy on the fibrous veggies.” But instead he said, “Anything your body isn’t used to.” If you can still perform optimally eating Pop-Tarts, Clif Bars, or 2 glasses of chocolate milk, then go for it. Just don’t eat foods that won’t agree with your digestive system – so if you KNOW you’ll be in the bathroom all day with dairy, or you know that your energy will crash after simple sugars, then stay away from them.
CrossFit meal prep should also include many small, little snacks for you to eat throughout the day. Competitions often last between 4 – 7 hours, and there are 3-5 workouts in that time. Don’t worry about 3 big meals and 3 little snacks. Eat enough to satiate you and give you energy, but DO NOT get full. No one ever hit a PR for Cindy on a full stomach – without losing their lunch afterward. So make sure your CrossFit meal prep is built on performance, not satiety. Don’t rely on the free nuts or energy bars that will be provided by the comp; again, you don’t know if your body will love them. Avoid the struggle and make sure to pack at least 3-4 meals/snacks in your 6 Pack bag; after all, that’s what it’s there for, right?