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Interview with CrossFit athlete and coach Bruce Smith-Wright

Can you please tell us a little bit about yourself?

Hello, My names Bruce (Finding Nemo reference). I work as an Exercise Physiologist at BaiMed Performance Centre as well as coach at CrossFit Wollongong. Outside of my work and coaching I train and compete as a CrossFit athlete.

I compete year round in various competitions. Most recently I placed 80th in Australia in a 5 week long worldwide comp (CrossFit Open). Outside of work and training (which are pretty sports/performance based) I love spending time with my wife and 2 dogs.

Can you please briefly tell us about Crossfit and how you became involved in the sport.

For those that have never heard of it, CrossFit is a little bit of everything. It’s a mixture of gymnastics, weightlifting, running, rowing, swimming…basically anything. Workouts are varied and can be light or heavy, long or short….but always challenging. I first started CrossFit back in Perth in 2014 because I was looking for something to challenge me. And boy did it challenge me….in my first class I was so bad that I think I finished last and all I can remember was being lapped by 2 people that were basically old enough to be my parents. I have been doing it pretty full on since then and have been competing since 2015.

What are your favourite things about Crossfit and why do you think it is so popular?

As mentioned above, I love being challenged and (eventually) overcoming that challenge. I find that CrossFit has exposed me to so many aspects (physical and mental) I never knew I could do and I think this is what really draws people in.

I also really enjoy the community aspect and being able to train with or compete against guys and girls on a pretty even playing field. CrossFit (and most sports now a days) have come a long way in breaking the mould of certain gender stereotypes and its evident to me as a coach and athlete that it is empowering both males and females to go out and smash their goals. I also get to train with my wife and she kicks my butt on a daily basis.

Could you describe what a typical day of eating looks like for you? (can you please write in when you train as well)

A typical day in the life of Bruce.

5am Pre-Training banana and BCAAs

5am to 6:30am Train + Post training whey protein shake

7am Breakfast: Overnight oats + yoghurt + honey    OR    Baked beans on toast

8:30am Coffee + Muesli bar OR Fruit

11:00am 1st Lunch (High carb, low fat, small portion). i.e. left-overs

12:00pm to 1:30pm Train

2:00pm  2nd Lunch  (High carb, high protein, large portion) i.e. Satay Chicken, rice + veg

4:30pm To try not eat the sweets at work I distract my belly by drinking tea/water and either have a yoghurt/whey protein mix OR a muesli bar OR tuna and veggies. But to be honest, sometimes I buckle and have some lollies (I’m only human)

7:30pm Dinner (High carb if I’m training the next day) i.e. Spaghetti bolognaise

Do you think nutrition has an impact on your ability to train and perform well?

Hell yes!!! My training and comps involve a lot of Metabolic based conditioning and lifting under fatigue , which is basically High intensity training and as a result can create a lot of toxic by-products. As a result I see proper nutrition and hydration working 2-ways from a performance context,

  • Clean, Simple and whole foods/liquids in = Efficiency in metabolising the food and energy output, meaning my body can focus on using the energy rather than trying to source it.
  • Additionally, when I have eaten well and properly hydrated I feel my body is able to deal with the build-up of toxins and acidic by product more effectively during the workout, so I can literally perform better for longer.

What are your go-to foods/snacks/supplements for a competition?

My all-time favourite comp food is WATERMELON. Just hits the spot, hydrates me and is easily digested for quick energy.

I used to not eat much on comp days and would dramatically crash towards the end of the day, I now make sure I eat small things regularly between events and am able to maintain my energy levels. Smoothies or sports drinks are a good choice too, otherwise I have small, chicken wraps during big breaks.

Any other thoughts comments?!

Food prep is key and helps a lot with my busy schedule. On weeks when I am well prepared I eat like a king and feel my performance benefits a lot.

On weeks where I have not prepared well I spend a lot of time trying to organise healthy foods ( and often fail) and this is time which could have been spent training or recovering.