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Fueling for the CrossFit Open

We are approaching the start of the 2021 CrossFit Games season!

If you are not familiar with the CrossFit Open, each year the CrossFit season kicks off with the CrossFit open. The CrossFit open is traditionally a 5 week, 1x a week, virtual competition where 100,000’s of athletes compete across the world. For $20 you can register on the official leaderboard and see where you stack up in the world.

Besides seeing where you fall on the leaderboard the open is typically the time of year to be held to a high standard and push yourself (safety) outside of your comfort zone. This year will be the first year that the Open will be a 3 week long event. Each week Thursday evening the workout will be announced and you have until Monday to get the workout done.

When we are trying to put out our best effort out there and compete with our friends and ourselves it is so important to have a fueling strategy.

Note: It is beneficial to have a fueling strategy year round, no matter the season! Properly fueling before a workout will lead to better results, better recovery, and all around a better you. After these 3 weeks are over try to keep these fueling habits in place!

Let's start with the basics before we dive into the finer details. We are going to break this down by basic, intermediate, and advanced.


Before you start focusing on nutrient timing and carb cycling check where you are in your own nutrition journey! Just because your favorite workout buddy drinks 2 scoops of pre-workout and crushes sour patches before a workout doesn’t always mean that is the best option for you, remember nutrition is individualized!

We are going to break down your fueling strategy into pre-workout and post workout.


It is important to choose when you are going to be hitting the open workout each week. Some gyms do Friday night lights or a Saturday morning event. Check in to see if you’ll be working out at your typical time or trying something new.

If you are going to tackle the workout first thing our pre workout meal will include dinner from the night before. It is important to fill this meal with plenty of carbs, some fat, and protein. Your body is going to need those carbs in the morning.

Meal Example: Pasta with grilled chicken (a tomato based sauce vs cream), a side salad or side of broccoli.

Steer clear of heavy fats and fried foods as those can hinder your performance in the morning.

Right after you wake up, if you typically don’t eat this is not the time to start making changes. If you are not eating, focus on getting in a high quality meal for dinner. If you are eating first, have something at least 30-45 min before you start the workout.

Some quick breakfast ideas: Toast with almond butter and a banana, liquid carbs if you are not hungry, or oats!

Make sure you are leaving your body some time to digest. 30-45 minutes before is a tight window, 1-3 hours would be best. If you are going to have a full meal make sure it is at least 3 hours beforehand.

If you are working out later in the day make sure to have a full meal and watch your timing as suggested above! Keep your carbs and protein higher and fats lower pre workout.


You just crushed the workout and had a great time at the gym. You are getting your things together to leave and it is time to drink a protein shake with carbs. Start recovering immediately! You may have a possible redo the workout within the next few days and a post workout shake will aid recovery and help refuel your body immediately.

1-3 hours after your protein shake be sure to get in a full meal. This meal should include protein, fats, and carbs!

Meal idea: Chipotle bowl: White rice, chicken, fajita veggies, salsa, guac, and lettuce!


You have been working on your nutrition loosely but do not target eating for performance. You may be focusing on weight loss goals but still want to have a great open experience and be full of energy.

We are going to keep everything the same as on top! There are a few things I want you to watch for outside of your pre and post workout meals. When you are taking a rest day, if you typically lower your calories, DO NOT. This is only a 3 week period, we need all the energy and recovery we can get! Make sure every meal you are eating has quality protein, fats, and carbs. If you are competing and pushing yourself you need to focus on recovery in between workouts or possible repeats. Cutting calories will not aid this process and can hurt your recovery. If you are in an active cut and want to perform, try adding in some longer lower intensity workouts, a slow bike or long walk, to keep your activity high to keep you in a slight deficit so you can keep your calories a bit higher.

Note: If you are working on weight loss goals be sure to prioritize if you want to focus on weight loss or performance during the open. You can work for both but you need to know which one holds a priority.


Today we are officially one week away from the first open announcement! You have been working on your nutrition and priming your body for performance and it is finally time to put yourself to the test!

No gameday changes, we want to keep everything the same so your body is not surprised. If you are working with a coach or a Clar-e-ty coach you should make an individualized plan for when you will be doing the workouts, your goals, and fueling strategy.

The entire 3 weeks, especially the day before you perform the workout, stay hydrated. Staying hydrated means drinking at least 1/2 body weight in oz + 15oz for every 1 hour of activity. Make sure you are not going to bed thirsty!

Have your last meal 1-3 hours before your workout. Make sure after that window you are not eating any solid foods. When you are trying to go fast and leave it all out there the last thing you want is food sloshing around in your stomach. If you need to eat within the hour before stick to simple carb sources ex. gummy candy, 1/2 a banana, or baby food.

Whatever your pre-workout typically supplementation is keep that in! Today is a chance to follow your routine, do not try a new pre workout or supplement.

Post workout stick to the basics! Make sure you are getting in a shake with protein and carbs immediately and eating a meal 1-3 hours later!

Possibility of a second part to a WOD? If there is a second part, which we may have, do not try to add any solids in. If you need a little boost in between stick to liquid carbs. If you are anticipating this have a sports drink or coconut water on hand.

You have been working all year to get ready for the open! Trust your training, create a fueling strategy, and adapt each week how you best see fit! If you need help creating an individualized plan reach out to our team, we would love to help!


Resources and Coaching:

Online Coaching here.

[Free] Nutrition Guide here.

Recipe & Macro Guide here.

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