Just like there are many ways to tackle an obstacle, there are many ways to tackle nutrition in preparation for obstacle course racing.
Regardless of how you eat, there are few important concepts to keep in mind:
1. In order to train hard on a regular basis and give your body the energy it needs to recover you will have to support your immune system. The bulk of your diet should consist of vegetables, berries and some fruit for the micronutrient and antioxidant support. You also need to make sure you are eating enough. Although fasting may have its benefits, as an OCR athlete with and aerobic engine and dense muscle tissue, you need to be able to get an adequate amount of food in daily. Eat balanced meals when you’re hungry and rely on liquid nutrition close to workouts if you need the extra fuel.
2. Encourage a deep sleep. Caffeine can have a pretty heavy half life depending on your metabolism. Meaning it could be affecting your sleep. A coffee or tea in the morning is fine, however probably not a great choice to bed time. This applies to any other stimulating foods as well like sugar. Sleep is your biggest recovery mechanism. Fats and protein eating before bed can also affect sleep in a negative way. Carbs before bed like air popped popcorn, bananas and oatmeal may help you to sleep better. And don’t worry about weight gain, with all the miles you’re putting in your body will thank you.
3. Although pre race nutrition helps. The most important pre race nutrition happens days leading up to a race. Eat clean well balanced meals, and drink plenty of water. Fried food, more than 1 glass of alcohol per night, or sugary foods while on a taper will not play in your favour. The morning of the race starts with hydration. My food of choice is a bowl of oatmeal, with berries and a branch chain amino acid supplement. Supplements may help, however to check the usefulness of any supplement you are considering visit www.examine.com for unbiased scientific recommendations.
4. If you’re not digesting your foods properly you are not assimilating the nutrients you are taking in. Talking specifics about digestion is a can of worms. Basic concepts include chewing your foods well, eating in a relax state, avoid drinking lots of water at meal time as it dilutes digestive juices. If you are performing 2 a days, make sure to eat a large
breakfast or lunch depending on where your workouts fall. Liquid nutrition before workouts if you have not had enough time to get a real meal in and aim for a large well balanced meal in the evening.
5. Given the nature of our sport make sure to eat blood building foods throughout the week. This includes, green vegetables, beats, beans, legumes and red meat. In the case of red meat, from grass fed or pasture raised animals. You do not need a lot of red meat but once or twice a week is going to help with your recovery if you are a meat eater. If not, stock up heavy on the previously mentioned food sources.
Josh Stryde is a competitive OCR athlete from the Western Canadian Spartan Elite Team. He is a certified nutritionist and personal trainer at World Health Calgary Place. Follow Josh on Instagram at stryde_ocr.Successful urban sporty woman taking a rest for drinking nutritive detox smoothie. Fitness nutrition and healthy lifestyle concept.Successful urban sporty woman taking a rest for drinking nutritive detox smoothie. Fitness nutrition and healthy lifestyle concept.