Pre- & Post-Workout Nutrition

You spend 1 hour of your day in a CrossFit class, the other 23 hours are spent outside the gym.  You work hard for that hour whether your goal is weight loss, building muscle, better body composition, or just general health.  That hour is very important in helping you meet your goals.  The other 23 hours, however, are even more important.  
If you are not fueling your body correctly, you are not recovering as well as you could be.  There are a few other factors besides nutrition that go into your recovery, such as sleep, stress levels, and body work (stretching, foam rolling, chiropractic adjustments, massages etc).  Nutrition, however, is a huge factor and something that you can control.
Dialing in the timing of your meals and their composition around your workouts can help you with recovery, and in turn help you reach your goals much faster.  The better you recover from a workout, the better the next workout will be.  You will make that hour at the gym a lot more productive with the proper nutrition.  
Start with focusing on your pre- and post- workout nutrition one day at a time.  
Pre-Workout Meal

  • 1-3 hours before working out
  • Provides you with physical and mental energy from all the macro and micronutrients from your food.  
  • If you train very early in the morning, (5:30am classes), you may not have time for a pre-workout meal.  Make sure that your meal the night before was nutrient dense and well balanced (carbs, proteins, and fats).  

Eat plenty of lean protein before your workout.  You literally break down your muscles during exercise and weight training.  Protein keeps amino acids stocked while promoting protein synthesis.  
Fill up on slow digesting carbs.  Exercise depletes your glycogen and glucose levels, so you need carbs to replenish them!
Keep your fat intake low in your pre-workout meal.  Fat slows down digestion.  You don’t want to feel uncomfortable in the middle of a hard WOD!
Immediately Pre-Workout OR During Workout

  • 30 minutes to immediately before a workout
  • My 5:30 classes, this option is ideal for you!
  • Only refuel mid workout if it’s a very long workout.  

Whey protein shake.  It is a very fast digesting protein.
Stick with really fast digesting carbs such as gatorade, coconut water, Vitargo.  If you’re doing multiple sessions, eat foods such as white rice, fresh or dried fruit between.
Avoid fats completely as they slow down your digestion.
Have this meal within an hour of your workout.  This meal helps with your recovery tremendously.
To promote muscle maintenance and growth.
To replenish glycogen stores and help with recovery.
Slows down digestion, so keep this very low.
Protein Sources (low fat sources)

  • Chicken breast (skinless)
  • Lean ground beef
  • Egg whites
  • Lean steak
  • Turkey
  • Egg whites
  • White fish
  • Low fat greek yogurt
  • Low fat cottage cheese
  • Whey protein
  • Casein protein (best at bedtime because it is slow digesting)

Slow Digesting

  • Sweet potato
  • Oats
  • Brown rice
  • Whole grain pasta
  • Whole grain breads/ cereals
  • Vegetables
  • Quinoa (also has a great source of protein)

Fast Digesting

  • White potato
  • White rice
  • Fruit
  • Gatorade
  • Dextrose or Vitargo 
  • Rice cakes
  • Pancakes
  • Waffles


  • Olive oil
  • Avocado
  • Butter
  • Coconut oil
  • Nut butters
  • Nuts
  • Cheese

In summary, avoid high fat foods around your workout time.  
Have a meal with lean protein, slow digesting carbs, and low fat 1-2 hours before your workout.
Bring a shake with carbs + protein to your workout (Whey Protein + Gatorade or coconut water). Drink half of that shake within 30 minutes of your workout.  Drink the other half of the shake directly post workout. 
Eat your post workout meal within an hour of your workout with lean protein and a mix of slow and fast digesting carbs.  
Your food portions play a big role as well.  Every single person is different.  Different body types, different metabolisms, different daily activities, different stress factors.  This is where my one on one nutrition coaching comes into play.  What works for one person, will probably not work for another.  For example, Ectomorphs have a very high carb tolerance, while endomorphs have a very low carb tolerance.  If you’re an endomorph and you’re following the numbers I gave to an ectomorph, you will be eating macro ratios completely wrong for your body type.  
If you’re not counting your macros, just make sure you are eating a well balanced diet full of fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, carbs, and fats.  Use the pre- and post- workout nutrition guide to help you make better choices around your workout time.  Do this consistency and see for yourself how much better you will feel.

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