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Nutrition for Hyrox - A Comprehensive Guide




Energy Demands of HYROX Training: A Dynamic Challenge


The unique aspect of HYROX training lies in its diverse blend of strength and endurance, however despite this being its draw, it presents a challenging puzzle when it comes to aligning nutrition with the training demands.


From a powerlifting session to enduring a long-distance run or navigating a HYROX simulation race, each session places different demands on your body and thus, requires distinct fuelling strategies. Finding the right balance is no small task - it's a dynamic and ever-changing process, much like the training itself.


Simplifying Nutrition: A Hierarchy of Importance


Despite the complex nature of nutrition for HYROX training, it doesn't have to feel overwhelming. By following a hierarchy of importance, we can simplify the process and ensure we're prioritising what truly matters.


1. Eat Enough - Meeting Energy Demands:

This is the foundation of the hierarchy. Your body's energy demands during training and competition are high, so it's crucial that you're consuming enough calories to fuel your performance and aid recovery. Not getting enough to eat can undermine all other aspects of your nutritional plan.


2.Eat the Right Things - Macro and Micronutrients:

Once you're confident you're eating enough, the next step is to focus on what you're eating. This means consuming a balanced mix of macronutrients (proteins, carbohydrates, and fats) and micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) to support your energy production, muscle growth, and overall health.


3.Fuelling Strategy:

Next on the hierarchy is your fuelling strategy, which refers to what and when you eat in relation to your training. This is where understanding the different energy systems or thinking about intensity comes into play. For example, before a high-intensity session, you might focus on consuming easily digestible carbohydrates to provide quick energy.


4.Supplements:

While supplements can often be the first thing people turn to when thinking about their nutrition for HYROX training, it's crucial to understand that they're a secondary element in a comprehensive nutrition plan. In fact, supplements are nestled quite a few steps behind in terms of importance when compared to whole foods. They are not a quick fix, but rather, they serve to fill any nutritional gaps, boost performance, and support recovery. Supplements should enhance and optimise your food-first approach, not replace it.


By following this hierarchy, you can take a structured and effective approach to your nutrition for HYROX training, ensuring that your body gets the energy and nutrients it needs to perform at its best.


Building Your Hyrox Nutrition Plan


With Box:Perform, we make nutrition planning simpler for you. Our fuelling dashboard helps you create your customised macro and fuelling plan tailored to your RMR.

1. Understanding your energy intake


a) Determine Your Baseline Caloric Needs: This is usually calculated using an RMR test, factoring in daily activity, and the type of training you're doing. This gives you a rough estimate of the amount of calories you need in a day to maintain your current weight and fuel your activities. However, you can use any reliable online calculator as a starting point to estimate your caloric needs. This is crucial for determining the right amount of food intake to fuel your performance and facilitate recovery.


b) Set Your Caloric Intake: Once you have a baseline, aim to consume around this number of calories each day, but give yourself a 10-20% variance to adjust based on how you feel.


c) Adjust Based on Your Intuition and Training Intensity: On more intense or longer training days (where sessions extend beyond 90 minutes of actual work), you might find that you need to eat a bit more to fuel your workout and aid recovery. That's because your glycogen stores, your body's primary source of energy during intense exercise, will start to run low. On the other hand, if you find that you're not as hungry on a given day, it's okay to eat a little less.


d) Don't Skimp on Rest Days: It's a common misconception that we should drastically reduce our caloric intake on rest days. However, I recommend keeping your intake similar to training days. Why? Because eating sufficient calories on your rest days can help replenish your glycogen stores, allowing you to hit your next workout with full energy.


Remember, the goal isn't to track calories forever, but rather to develop an understanding of your energy needs so you can fuel your body intuitively over time. It's about building a sustainable, intuitive eating habit that supports your training, recovery, and overall health.


Macros matter


Understanding your macronutrient intake is crucial for optimal performance in HYROX and any hybrid training. These are protein, carbohydrates and fat.


Protein

Adequate protein helps support recovery, muscle growth, and is essential in maintaining lean body mass. The demands of HYROX training make these functions even more critical. Protein recommendations can vary, but a solid starting point is to consume around 1.6-2.2 grams of protein per kilogram of your TARGET (not actual) body weight or fat-free mass.


The higher end of the range can be particularly beneficial for those looking to build muscle, however it's important to strike a balance. Consuming a high amount of protein shouldn't come at the expense of sufficient carbohydrate intake, which is crucial for energy production in this demanding type of training.


Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are the fuel that keeps your engine running during high-intensity workouts like HYROX . The amount needed varies based on the intensity of your training load and your body composition.


A good starting point is about 3-5 grams per kilogram of target body weight per day. This amount will support your energy needs for most workouts. If you are concerned about body composition then aim for the lower end of this spectrum. However, if you are training twice a day, or your session exceeds 90 minutes of actual work, it's beneficial to increase this amount by 1 gram per kilogram.


These are guidelines, not rules. Listen to your body and adjust your intake based on how you feel during workouts and recovery. Personalise your carbohydrate intake to maintain energy, optimise recovery, and support your training and body composition goals.


Fat

When it comes to dietary fats, they play a crucial role in a balanced diet for an athlete. Not only do fats provide energy, they also assist in the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins and contribute to hormone production, including those vital for muscle growth and recovery.


To calculate your fat intake, we usually set this number after protein and carbohydrates have been determined. Essentially, whatever calories remain after assigning protein and carbs will come from fats.


For instance, if your daily calorie target is 2500 calories, and you've allocated 1600 for protein and carbs (let's say 400g combined), the remaining 900 calories would come from fats. Since each gram of fat contains approximately 9 calories, this would equate to about 100g of fat per day.


Remember, as with carbs and protein, these are guidelines. You should adjust your fat intake based on your individual preferences, training intensity, and goals. Balance is key - you don't want to be too low or too high, as this could affect your overall energy levels and performance.


Micronutrients matter


Micronutrients, while they may only be needed in small amounts, play substantial roles in human health and performance. They include vitamins and minerals, which are crucial for a myriad of biological functions such as immune function, bone health, fluid balance, and cellular energy production, among others.


To ensure you're hitting all your micronutrient targets, think of your plate as a canvas, and aim to paint it with a spectrum of colours. Incorporating a variety of fruits and vegetables of different colours (greens, reds, yellows, oranges, blues) is an easy way to make sure you're getting a broad range of these essential nutrients. Each colour indicates different nutrient profiles and health benefits, ensuring you receive a comprehensive mix of micronutrients in your diet.


Additionally, consuming sufficient dietary fibre is key for maintaining good digestive health and can also aid in managing body weight and reducing the risk of chronic diseases. As a general rule of thumb, aim for around 15g of fibre per 1000 calories you consume. This can be easily achieved by incorporating whole grains, legumes, fruits and vegetables into your diet.


Building Your Balanced Meals



Building balanced meals is more than just hitting calorie targets; it's about integrating a variety of nutrients to ensure a well-rounded diet. And while tracking macros is a great tool to understand your food intake, it doesn't have to be a lifelong commitment. Instead, it can be used as a stepping stone to develop an understanding of your portions and nutrient needs.


To create a balanced meal, I like to use a simple yet effective strategy: Include a portion of protein, carbs, fat, and colour (fruits and vegetables) in each meal. This approach ensures you're getting a mix of calorie, macro and micronutrients, aiding in both performance and overall health.


Initially, portion sizes can be determined by dividing your daily macro targets evenly across your meals. But it doesn't have to be rigid; feel free to distribute them in a way that suits your daily schedule and hunger levels.


By tracking your macros for a few weeks, you'll start to understand what your portions look like. You'll gain a sense of how much protein is in a chicken breast, or how many carbs are in a serving of rice, for example. This knowledge allows you to move away from rigid tracking and develop a more intuitive eating approach, where you can accurately estimate your intake based on portion sizes.


Remember, the ultimate goal of nutrition should not only be about improving performance but also about creating a sustainable eating pattern that can support your long-term health.


Examples of building your meals


Breakfast:

Protein: Greek yogurt or eggs

Carbs: Rolled oats or whole grain bread

Fats: A sprinkle of nuts or seeds, or avocado if you chose eggs

Colour: Mixed berries or sautéed veggies with the eggs


Lunch:

Protein: Grilled chicken or tofu for vegetarians

Carbs: White potatoes or wholemeal

Bread

Fats: Olive oil dressing or some feta cheese

Colour: A mix of salad – tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, etc.


Dinner:

Protein: Baked salmon or tempeh for vegetarians

Carbs: Sweet potato or whole grain pasta

Fats: Avocado or a tablespoon of pesto sauce

Colour: Roasted veggies - broccoli, carrots, courgettes, etc.


Snack(s):

Protein: A protein shake, boiled eggs, meat slices

Carbs: An apple or a banana

Fats: The nuts serve this purpose, or you could add some nut butter to your fruit

Colour: Fruit or vegetable battons


Remember, these are just examples and can be adjusted based on your dietary preferences and requirements. The aim is to ensure a balance of macronutrients and a variety of colourful fruits and vegetables for optimal micronutrient intake.


Fuelling – The TTT Approach


When it comes to fuelling your workouts, especially those intense or prolonged sessions typical in HYROX training, it's key to consider not only the amount of food, but also the timing and the type. To help with this, we use the TTT (Type, Time, and Totals) acronym:


Type: The composition of your pre-workout meal or snack is important. As a general guideline, aim for a mix of protein and carbohydrates, with lower fat and fibre content to promote quick digestion and energy availability. For example, you might opt for a banana and a protein shake or a bagel with jam.


Time: Timing matters when it comes to fuelling your workouts. Eating too close to a workout might leave you feeling sluggish, while eating too far in advance might leave you feeling low on energy. Aim to have your pre-workout meal or snack 1-2 hours before your workout for optimal energy.


Totals: If your training session is less than 60 minutes, your overall daily food intake is likely adequate. However, for those harder or longer sessions, consider adding a snack before your workout to ensure you have the energy you need. This can be something higher GI (Glycemic Index) to provide quick energy, like a piece of white toast with honey, or some dried fruit.




Beyond the TTT principle, hydration is another key component of fuelling, often overlooked but critical for performance. Make sure to hydrate before, during, and after your workouts to replace lost fluids and electrolytes.


Lastly, don't forget about recovery! Your post-workout nutrition is just as important as your pre-workout nutrition. Aim for a balanced meal or snack containing protein for muscle repair and carbs to replenish glycogen stores within an hour or two after your workout. This could be a protein shake with a piece of fruit, or a chicken stir-fry with rice, for example.


Remember, these are general guidelines, and it's always important to listen to your body and adjust based on how you feel. Your individual needs may vary based on a number of factors including your body size, training intensity, and personal tolerance.


Supplements


While prioritising whole foods in your diet is paramount, there are certain supplements that can complement a well-balanced diet and support your performance in HYROX training. It's important to emphasise, however, that supplements should not replace real food but rather should be used as tools to help you meet your nutrition targets and enhance your performance. Here are a few that can be beneficial:


Protein Powder: Meeting your daily protein requirements can sometimes be challenging, especially for athletes with high protein needs. Protein powders can be a convenient and efficient way to supplement your protein intake. They can easily be added to smoothies, oatmeal, or simply mixed with water or milk for a post-workout recovery shake.


Creatine Monohydrate: Creatine monohydrate can help enhance strength, power, and muscle growth, making it particularly beneficial for strength-based training segments of HYROX.


Caffeine: Caffeine is a well-known performance enhancer, particularly for its ability to increase focus and delay fatigue. It can be especially helpful for those early morning sessions. As with any stimulant, be mindful of your overall intake and timing, as excessive consumption can interfere with your sleep quality.


Sodium Bicarbonate: Also known as baking soda, sodium bicarbonate has been shown to act as a buffer against the acid build-up in muscles during high-intensity exercise, thus improving performance in activities that last between one to seven minutes. It's often used by athletes involved in activities that require short bursts of intense effort. However, it's worth noting that some people might experience gastrointestinal distress from taking sodium bicarbonate, so it's recommended to trial this supplement during training before using it in competition.


As always, it's recommended to consult with a healthcare professional before incorporating these supplements into your routine. Also, remember that the potential benefits of these supplements can only be fully realised when they're used in conjunction with a balanced diet and well-structured training programme.


Are you looking to get your nutrition in order?


Are you ready to take control of your nutrition and maximise your performance? With Box:Perform, you're not just getting a program; you're getting a personalised approach to nutrition. Our Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR) testing identifies your unique energy needs. From there, we create a nutrition plan tailored to you, plus, you'll get exclusive access to our innovative fuelling dashboard. Take the first step towards better nutrition. Join Box:Perform today




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