Frankly, my Easter egg didn’t just go down with an absolute clear conscience, it went down in the knowledge that it would improve my performance.
How? I hear you ask…Fuelling activity. Fair to say that I got some funny looks when I unwrapped half a medium Easter egg whilst watching fellow competitors compete in their heats, ‘hypocrite much’ I imagined them saying?
The answer… Not as much as you might think!
This weekend saw me ‘compete’ (in inverted comma’s) in a friendly in-house Crossfit competition at Crossfit ICENI. Although friendly, the events are intense and competition fierce, we didn’t attend to make up the numbers! This event ran from 9am through to around 3pm and consisted of 3-4 high intensity, heavy workouts.
This places a lot of emphasis on fuelling, yes I could have gone into this comp with the ‘it’s only a bit of fun’ attitude and although I may have just gotten through the workouts with fluid only, the roll on effect would have made for a miserable, fatigue filled evening and a sore Sunday morning and afternoon (DOMS would be rife).
This comp coincided with Easter, happy days! This meant that I could put that chocolate egg to good use by utilising it as fuel.
Now I am not suggesting chocolate should fuel every session you do, the habits that can form from this are poor, also you are unlikely to consistently burn adequate calories a session to burn off the refined sugars in that egg.
An all-day fitness competition is a different story entirely. Emphasis is on energy levels, particularly in the short term. A recent study by Ranchordas, K, (2017) found the restoration of muscle and liver glycogen stores benefit most when around 1.2g of moderate to high Glycaemic Index (GI) carbs are consumed within 20mins after the exercise bout.
Not only is the replenishment of the carbs and glycogen stores imperative to adequate fuelling of an all-day fitness competition, the failure to do so within the optimal 20min window could mean you limit glycogen store capacity. For example, delaying carbohydrate intake until 2 hours after exercise can result in lower muscle glycogen concentrations of up to 45%.
That 45% reduction in glycogen can be the difference between winning and losing!
In my case I came outside the top 5…but that’s because I am still not fit enough, and no amount of carbs is going to fix that just yet! What I can say is this, I felt energised throughout the day and my muscles felt good to go the next day (also testament to the 40g protein I consumed every hour or so…mainly via a whey isolate shake).