pre-wod nutrition

01 Feb 2016 - The Window of GAINZ: Part 2


The 'Window of Gainz', the 'Anabolic Window’ the 'Window of Opportunity’ (always the window?!)...

Supposedly, the Window of Gainz is a period of time after your training session when your body and muscles are particularly primed to accept food and shuttle it towards conversion into lean muscle mass. Bro-science traditionally puts this window somewhere between thirty minutes to two hours after your workout.

In Part 1 we looked at the REAL window of GAINZ, so make sure you check it out!

So, surely now it’s time to look at that post-workout window?! Time to tell you the magic ingredients to stick in your protein shake? Weeeellllll, not quite.

Before we look at post-workout nutrition, it makes sense to first look at pre-workout nutrition!

What are you fuelling yourself with BEFORE your training session, and how will this help towards your long term goals?

Training Intensity

The intensity of your training is what gives you results. We have used this quote time and time again:

“Intensity is the independent variable most commonly associated with maximizing the rate of return of favourable adaptation” - Greg Glassman

Intensity is equal to average power (or Phil's gurn face). The higher the power output in your training session the higher the intensity. This can be boiled down to lifting more weight, doing more work and moving faster than last time. 

(Caveat: Intensity must be pursued relative to the physical and psychological tolerance of the individual.)

So how do we train with intensity? Well in order to do this we need to have the fuel that allows us to operate to our maximum capacity. 

Enter, pre-workout nutrition….

Pre-workout nutrition

When it comes to building muscle, losing fat, becoming stronger and faster, recovering better, WHEN you eat is as important as WHAT you eat. If we are properly fuelled we can train with maximum intensity to ensure we continue to develop. 

So what does this look like?

CrossFit is a high-intensity exercise program, and high intensity exercise needs certain macro-nutrients if we want to perform at our best.

Glucose: This is the main fuel source for high intensity exercise, and we ingest this when we eat carbohydrates. Without adequate carbohydrate consumption to fuel intense exercise we will not be able to generate maximum power. Without adequate carbohydrates your energy levels will be low and you will sandbag that met-con you were so looking forward to. 

Sandbagging = lack of effort (intensity!)
Decreased intensity = decreased results

To compound matters, if we are in a state of glucose/glycogen depletion our levels of the hormone insulin will be low. As a result it is thought that glucagon (another hormone) steals amino acids from our muscles so it can convert them to glucose to provide energy. 

Low insulin makes it possible for catabolic hormones to "steal" your gains! 

So carbohydrates are important for exercise, especially for high intensity exercise! But our bodies need more than just carbohydrates, they also need protein.

Protein: Protein is the building block of muscles and it is used to rebuild and repair muscle tissue during stages of recovery and to keep our bodies functioning.

By ingesting protein before a workout you will spare muscle protein, negate protein degradation, and set the muscle up for regeneration and remodelling (aka recovery).

So we need protein and carbohydrates before we train, but how much and when?!

This is hugely variable depending on your weight, body composition, goals, length of training session, what’s involved in the training session etc etc. But we can provide some general guidelines....

How much?

Generally you want a 2:1 ratio of carbs to protein

  • Trying to lose or gain weight: Protein wants to be around 0.44g/kg of target bodyweight
  • To maintain weight: Protein wants to be around 0.44g/kg of present bodyweight 

So if I am looking to maintain by present bodyweight of 75kg, my pre workout protein would be 33g (75 x .44). For carbohydrates I know I need a 2:1 ratio, in this case it would be 66g (33 x 2).

When & What?

  • <60 minutes prior to a workout: This will probably need to be in the form of a shake or smoothie as it takes less time to digest and enters your system faster.
  • 60-90 minutes: Eat real food where possible 

So that's your lot for today! Still no closer to the post-workout window yet...but hopefully you are beginning to understand that there is more to this than simply a post-wod shake!

Stay tuned for Part 3...and just maybe we will address post workout nutrition ;)


A) Conditioning: Watch the Clock

A1) 21-15-9
Deadlifts (125/82.5 kg)
Box Jumps (30/24 in) 
* Time cap: 8 minutes

When the clock hits 10:00

A2) 4 Rounds for time
12 Pull-Ups
12 Burpees
200m Run
*Time cap: 14 minutes

Are you ready to see if you're better than you were last year? To test your limits? To exceed your expectations?  To smash 5 weeks of epic WODs with your fellow Crazy Ones?

There's only one way to find out... Sign up for the 2016 CrossFit Open and join Team CrossFit 1864!

Check our recent blog post for more details on the Open.

Register via the CrossFit Games page here and make sure you choose CrossFit 1864 as your affiliate!