Mikko Salo

2010 CrossFit Games Finals

Elite Q&A Part One: Iceland Annie, Mikko Salo, and Chris Spealler

Nutrition, Recovery, and Training Frequency

The CrossFit Games are the proving grounds for fitness methodology. Competition helps to discern the training methods, nutrition protocols, and recovery techniques that are most effective at improving work capacity across broad time and modal domains. To get a glipse at what methods the fittest athletes are using in training, we went to three of the top Games competitors and squeezed them for their secrets.


We interviewed ‘Iceland Annie' Thorisdottir (2nd place in 2010), Mikko Salo (1st in 2009, 5th in 2010), and Chris Spealler (4th in 2007, 10th in 2008, 3rd in 2010) about their comprehensive training plans. Although these interviews were conducted separately, we’ve put their answers side-by-side so that trends and differences are clear, such as the Speal and Annie’s differing views on recovery. The interviews have been split into two parts. Today's Part One focuses on recovery and nutrition.


What did you eat during the 2010 CrossFit Games? 


Iceland Annie: During the Games I had with me a lot of protein bars and protein shakes. I always use Viper which is like an healthy energy drink from Promax. I’ll start loading up with Viper two days prior a competition, particularly if it’s warm outside because I'm not really used to that and there are some salts in it. I had with me a lot of boiled eggs and fruits. I tried to eat some chicken if I had enough time between events.


Mikko Salo: During the Games I ate chicken and salad in the evening when the day was done. For breakfast I ate eggs, fruits, and coffee. During the day I took energy bars and some bread with chicken and eggs. Right after every event I drank a recovery drink that contained carbs, protein and creatine. And I drank a lot of water.


Chris Spealler: Lots of the regular stuff. Mornings consisted of eggs, some sweet potatoes or some fruit. Sarah made me some Paleo pancakes one morning as well. While competing I ate things that sat well with me: lunch meat, Lara bars, some chicken salad from Whole Foods, and a Paleo kit here and there. Cashews and almond butter were easily accessible in by bag.   I was also taking recovery drinks from Progenex after each workout to keep myself feeling good. Night time we ate more consistent again.  Competitions were finishing late so I’d get back to the hotel and make some chicken and sweet potato or something similar, and go to bed.
     I didn't change much since I didn't want to disrupt my digestive system.  I think people get geeked out on their nutrition during competitions but I believe it's more important to stay consistent and not change things up too much and risk having your body respond differently than you are used to.  
     I also drank a TON of water.  Partly because it's a nervous tick, but also because I notice a huge difference when I drink more water at long competitions.    


What did you eat yesterday? Include quantities if possible.


Iceland Annie:
Breakfast: Scrambled eggs, oatmeal, almonds, fish oil, and orange juice. Specifically: 6 egg whites and 1 whole egg, 30g whole wheat oatmeal, 10 Almonds, some ketchup, 15mL Fish Oil, and 1 glass of freshly-squeezed orange juice.

Morning snack: Some dried fish (20g) and a smoothie made of- SKYR (Icelandic healthy high protein yogurt), 1/2 banana, 10 strawberries, dash of pineapple and mango

Lunch:  2/3 chicken breast, 300g organic brown rice + 100g veggies

Afternoon snack:  Protein shake + 30g organic 80% dark chocolate 

Dinner: Two Fajita chicken (100g) and beef (100g) wraps with a lot of fresh lettuce,  tomatoes (about 200g) and guacamole (70g).  

Evening: 50g organic 80% dark chocolate


Mikko Salo: Yesterday I drank three cups of coffee before my morning training session. Right after the session I took a recovery drink, and then went to have a lunch. I took a salad with salmon, chicken, tuna and veggies. Before my second training session I took an energy bar and two cups of coffee. Right after the session I took recovery drink and then at home I ate 500g of meat and some veggies and some nuts and seeds.


Chris Spealler:
Morning: 3 egg whites a pear, and a Cliff MoJo bar running out the door. Don't forget the coffee on the way into the earlier class.

Lunch: I had a big salad with all sorts of stuff on it, including a lot of lunch meat.  I think I had a Cliff Builder Bar somewhere in there while on the go again, not by choice but yesterday was a busy day.

Dinner: I ate 2 chicken breasts, some sweet potato fries, and lots of green beans.  


What does your recovery protocol look like? (sleep, massage, stretching, etc.)


Iceland Annie: I try to go once a week for a massage, I stretch at least 10-15 minutes after every workout and I try to go to hot power yoga every couple of weeks.


Mikko Salo: In my recovery days I usually go diving with my friends. Other than that I don’t do anything.


Chris Spealler: I get a massage once a week... yeah right, more like when something gets so tweaked I can't use it.  I take Progenex recovery after every workout and fish oil in the mornings and evenings.  This coupled with some good sleeping has really been helpful.  The sleep is rarely there, but I think you can suck it up and work through that more often than not.             
      I've found some specific stretches that help keep my feeling good and I work on those as needed.  When comps get closer I pay much closer attention to this though. I end up foam rolling, stretching, and being more aware of my sleep once those 2 a days start rolling around.  I don't want to live my entire life like that though, ramp it up when I need to and be smart with the overtraining.  


What is the frequency of your training. Both throughout the day, over the course of the week and so on. 


Iceland Annie: I usually take one day off a week sometimes I also take an active rest day where I go for a easy run, yoga or swimming...   Most of the time I'm doing something for about 2 hours: warm up + some technique/heavy/play + met-con. Maybe once a week I like to do two workouts per day with one in the morning and the other one 3-4 hours later.


Mikko Salo: At the moment I train 3-5 days in a row and then a rest day. I pretty much train every day twice. My morning session can be like Oly training (5x3x clean squat and 5x3x back squat) and then I usually do one met-con or more than one if they are short. In the evening I run or row. It can be interval or just distance. After running or rowing I sometimes do met-con. Sometimes I do the strength training in the evening and interval training in the morning.


Chris Spealler: I currently follow a two on / one off, three on / one off cycle.  Only one workout a day, I won't start doing two workouts per day until about eight weeks out from competitions. I may make some adjustments to that and compete in sectionals this year, but not Regionals. I think Regionals is too close to the Games and I want the recovery. We will see how the year pans out though.  If I hit up 2-a-days too soon I will burn out, so I need to be careful of that.  

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4 comments on this entry

1. Patrick Fitzsimons wrote...

Some excellent insight, look forward to part 2!

2. Brian Prochaska wrote...

wow, Mikko's and Spealler's training volume couldn't be more opposite. Spealler gives hope to people with full time desk jobs that can't do 2+ WOD's a day during the week. Great article.

3. nathan prosser wrote...

While i know the organic 80% cocoa chocolate is a lot better than dairy chocolate nutritionally, why is it that iceland annie is making a conscious effort and eating it twice in her day??

4. Brant Hubbard wrote...

interesting that creatine is allowed in the crossfit games when it is a banned substance in almost all other high level sporting events.


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