Performance and recovery of sports activities are enhanced by well-chosen nutritional strategies. In this context, organizations such as the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Dietitians of Canada
and the American College of Sports Medicine
provide guidelines for the appropriate type, amount, and time of food, fluid, and supplement intake in order to promote optimal health and performance in different competitive training and sports scenarios. Therefore, these techniques can be applied in CrossFit athletes aiming at improving sports performance.
Since CrossFit is a strength sport that requires efficient cardiovascular activity and homogeneous physiological responses, there are requirements of special and individualized protocols for each athlete. However, because it is a “recent” sports modality, especially in Brazil, it is necessary to analyze the cases in isolation and have the pillars of the prescription for crossfit well clarified.
Dietary Recommendations in CrossFit
The imbalance and the incorrect proportion of nutrient supply cause losses in the athlete’s performance. Such impairments may include metabolic, endocrine, physiological and hormone resistance changes These are common events when the appropriate energy amount is not prescribed, therefore, it is necessary to balance intake with caloric expenditure. Thus, it is recommended to:
45 kcal/kg MLG/d: used for athletes who perform long periods and have stability in training, since it ensures energy balance, maintenance of health and optimal body functions.
30-45 kcal/kg MLG/d: used for short periods when it is intended to reduce % fat.
<30 kcal/kg MLG/d: energy supply to the athlete is compromised, so it should not be used.
Periodization in CrossFit
From the consolidation of short, medium and long term planning, training comes in as a kind of advisor to the nutritionist. Therefore, when rest is required, induce nitrogen reserve, increase or decrease in energy load, as well as periodization. Thus, the athlete should have adequate carbohydrate periodization in training changes, moments of competition or pause (in cases of amateur athletes).
The nutritionist, at that moment, should ally himself with science and prescribe only supplementations that present consolidated scientific basis. Among these, it includes supplements such as creatine to stimulate protein synthesis and hypertrophy, or beta-alanine, which acts as bufferand antioxidants when preparing the athlete for competition (due to oxidative stress caused by high intensity exercise). In addition, supplementation can be used to stimulate pathways in the human body that benefit the physiology of physical exercise, such as caffeine supplementation for peripheral fatigue.
What is the protocol of creatine supplementation?
Watch the video of the Series Nutrition and Endocrinology with doctor Bruno César on the Science Play platform –
Supplements for Stress Control
Thomas DT, Erdman KA, Burke LM. American College of Sports Medicine Joint Position Statement. Nutrition and Athletic Performance. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2016 Mar;48(3):543-68. doi: 10.1249/MSS.000000000000852. Erratum in: Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2017 Jan;49(1):222. PMID: 26891166.