As many of you know, my partner Vernon Neal made his first trip to the CrossFit Games this week. It’s been an incredible week with nothing but highs and more highs. We have absolutely everything to be proud of and thankful for and we are so humbled and blown away by this experience. BUT ALL CHEESINESS ASIDE… I did say on our Instagram page that I would be sharing all the food I packed with us to Madison! Well, here’s what happened: A CRAZY, BUSY, EXTRAORDINARY WEEK HAPPENED…and I was barely at the hotel! So, unfortunately, that little kitchen tour never happened. And well, at this point, you wouldn’t want a tour anyway, because we’ve ate most of the food I packed!
So, I thought I’d do a little blog post explaining and detailing what I chose to bring and why. But before I begin, a little caveat: NOT EVERYONE IS A CROSSFIT GAMES ATHLETE. If there is anything I am sooooo tired of seeing in the internet fitness world, it’s people irresponsibly influencing people to eat like bodybuilders and succumb to a life of pre-portioned broccoli and chicken and zero calorie dressing when they are in fact, not bodybuilders. Luckily, CrossFit athletes require a very different diet….but the sentiment is still the same: if you are not a CrossFit Games athlete, don’t feel like you need to orient your life around eating like one! The main purpose of this post is to show you what the “ceiling” looks like: that is, what’s on the far, far, far end of dialed in and prepared as an athlete. If you take away one or two things from this post, cool! If not, that’s cool too!
Planning for the trip to Madison, I knew one thing: we’d be driving the four-hour trip. This opened the doors to prep as much food as I could (we’d have no problem fitting it all into our vehicle), knowing that as long as we had a fridge and a microwave in our hotel (we did), we’d be good to go. My biggest concern was actually that the fridge wouldn’t be big enough! Luckily, we had reserved a room with a kitchenette, which included, along with a microwave and a fridge, a stovetop. The fridge is also a full-size fridge with a freezer, which is great. I actually ended up prepping so many meals in advance that I haven’t even turned on the stovetop once yet, though. I knew we’d be on the go a lot and working on tight schedules so I decided against planning to cook any food there. If we were going on vacation and had lots of time to relax, or if we had flown in to Madison, that stove would’ve probably been used. I’ll get to the food itself in a moment, but here are some items I packed to support our nutrition this week:
- Shaker bottles (even though we’ve also gotten new ones through vendors and the Games- something to keep in mind for next time)
- Plastic forks, spoons, and knives
- Table salt (VERY important to replenish electrolytes, especially with outdoor events– every meal gets salted before eating). We used pink Himalayan salt.
- Loose leaf tea for winding down at night
- Protein powder — I brought an entire tub of whey protein as well as some pre-portioned bags for on-the-go. I also brought some other supplements for athletic performance, but that is not the focus of this post so I’ll skip going into detail on that.
- Dish soap and sponge — this one is very important and easy to overlook!
- Plastic sandwich bags
- Nalgene water bottles
- A stick of butter to add to meals as needed…. yes, you heard me correctly.
- A mini jar of olive oil. Vernon and I both do really well with eating fats regularly.
I’m sure I’m missing something but that covers the basics! As for the meals themselves, I brought:
- Three Origin Meals with me, a meal delivery service. These were intended for me to eat, not Vernon, as the macros don’t really fit his specific needs.
- I didn’t count, but I think I brought somewhere in the ballpark of 10 pre-portioned meals for Vernon. These were either grilled chicken or beef burger patties with mostly white rice or sweet potatoes and some kind of roasted vegetable- either broccoli or a veggie mix. Keep in mind we are here for six days so as you can see, I did leave room for some restaurant meals.
- I also brought extra servings of chicken breast, chicken thigh, ground beef, white rice, and diced sweet potatoes for myself and as backup if we blew through the pre-portioned meals. These I just ended up bringing in larger Tupperware whereas the above meals were in meal-sized Tupperware. Because I’m not competing this weekend, I mostly ate out of this stash, or the Origin Meals. It wasn’t as important for me to have my meals pre-portioned.
- I brought some raw veggies as well, like cut up peppers, spinach, and tomatoes.
- As soon as we got here, I went out and picked up some bottled water and LaCroix.
- The only fruit I have with me here are blueberries.
- Greek yogurt (unflavored), and beef jerky for some additional protein
I think that about covers it! Even though I’m sure there are some amazing restaurants in Madison, we haven’t really experienced any of them. The last thing you want to do close to a competition is eat something unfamiliar and risk the consequences of feeling not your best. So, the couple times we have eaten out, we’ve gone to the tried and true: Chipotle. Vernon has also had two official CrossFit dinners that were catered. We’ve gone out for coffee (espresso with tonic water or a pour-over, nothing added) a handful of times.
All in all, this has been an amazing experience, starting about twelve weeks ago when Vernon’s training shifted dramatically to competition training. In these past twelve weeks, I can honestly say it’s been incredibly rewarding preparing him for the CrossFit Games and doing as much as I possibly can to keep him healthy and fueled and, most importantly to him, full!!