This is part of Athlete Daily’s series highlighting high-level athletes across the world of strength training and functional fitness, and how they approach diet and nutrition. Learn what some of the best athletes in the world eat, how they fuel themselves and lessons learned along the way.
Business owner, coach, pig mom. Cortney Batchelor does it all. Not to mention she’s a two-time national champion weightlifter, member of the Pan Am team and American Record holder (87 kg snatch).
Batchelor, who initially started weightlifting as a way to stay in shape for high school basketball, won gold at the 2016 American Open in both the snatch (83 kg/181-lb) and clean and jerk (100 kg/220-lb), winning the 53kg class.
Athlete Daily: Give us a brief overview of your diet.
Batchelor: “I’ve been working one-on-one with Nick Shaw of RP since February [of 2016]. He helped me get through the cut from 58 kg to 53. I bug him around every meet because I freak out weighing one kilo over a few days before. [Laughs].”
Athlete Daily: Going back to when you first started weightlifting, you competed as a 53 for a few years and then moved up to a 58.
Batchelor: “I was always in between (weight classes). Even when I competed as a 58 kg I sat about 56-57, but I also had a terrible diet. I ate like a child. When I moved to the Olympic Training Center in 2012, it was my coach at the time that made the decision for me to gain two kilos and compete as a 58 instead of trying to do this crazy cut [to be a 53].”
Athlete Daily: Hahaha. What do you mean you ate like a child?
Batchelor: “I ate a lot of chicken nuggets, I loved McDonalds. I still love McDonalds—it’s terrible. [laughs] Ate a lot of sweets-I had a candy drawer all the time, I ate a lot of candy. I’m from the South so there was a lot of sweet tea with real sugar. A lot of pizza and stuff like that. Just a really inconsistent diet. At the time I had no idea about nutrition or how to even go about having a “clean” diet or anything like that. [I ate] a lot of fried food as well.”
Athlete Daily: You were eating like this while you were at the Olympic Training Center?
Batchelor: “For the most part. We had a cafeteria, and I ate there a lot because it was available, but it was chicken nuggets and pizza 3-4 times a week. I sound like such a slob saying this! When I started RP that’s when I really started to dial down in my diet and I started to pay attention to what was going on. I had no clue about nutrition until I started with Nick.
Athlete Daily: How did you transition from eating pizza and McDonalds to eating clean and cutting weight?
Batchelor: “The year before I started cutting, I was still eating really bad, but it got to the point where it was affecting my body so much and my lifting so much that I slowly started to cut things out. Just because I felt like shit all the time.
Sweet tea was by far the hardest thing to give up. I didn’t necessarily cut anything out, I just cut it down. I’d eat it maybe twice a week instead of four or five times a week.
Getting into RP wasn’t as bad, it wasn’t like going cold turkey. The first month or so wasn’t super easy, but at the same time, I was training for Olympic Trials so there was a big goal at the end and that helped drastically. It helped keep me motivated.”
Athlete Daily: What’s one thing you wish you had learned or done earlier on?
Batchelor: “Have protein shakes during practice. Even during training at the OTC, I never did that until I started with RP. I always thought protein shakes was just a huge bro thing. I had no idea how it fueled you and how much better it makes me feel during workouts. When I was at the OTC [one training session] was a good three hours twice a day.
I was always so hungry during a workout. Having the protein and carbs during workouts—the carbs especially—have made a huge difference. And GRIND Diesel [Juggernaut’s Nutrition line] has both carbs and protein in it so I have one shake.
The last year probably I had some of the best training of my career so far. A lot of that comes with changing your mentality about everything, but diet made a huge difference as well. Most of time when I was eating super shitty I couldn’t get through a workout because I was eating super shitty all the time. Now I just feel so much better. Even as a 58 I wasn’t heavy, but as a 53 I’m so much faster and I feel so much healthier. My recovery is just so much better.
Athlete Daily: What’s your meal prep like?
Batchelor: “I don’t meal prep or do anything like that. We [boyfriend Colin Burns] are both sponsored by Trifecta, and they send us food every week. They send us meats, veggies, and rice in bulk, so I have to do a little bit of cooking, but it’s not [cooking] from start to finish with raw meat.
Because of my business [Batchelor makes custom handmade singlets] I have so much other stuff going on. Not having to meal prep and not having to cook is fantastic for me, because it gives me time to do other things. And I don’t like to cook anyways. That’s the icing on the cake for me.”
Athlete Daily: What did you struggle with the most when you changed around your diet?
Batchelor: “When someone tells you, ‘Hey you can’t have the soda that’s sitting in front of you, you’re like ‘Ehhh are you sure? It’s just sitting there.’ It was more of I was told I can’t have this kind of stuff, so that was what I had to fight.
Also, just the type of foods I was cooking were different. I’m from the South so I cooked with butter and heavy cream, stuff like that. I had to learn how to cook healthy, which I’m still not good at. I thought [eating different foods] was going to be the hardest thing in the world, but it really wasn’t. I was actually surprised at how easy it was for me.”
Athlete Daily: Do you allow yourself to have the fried food and the candy at all anymore?
Batchelor: “Four weeks out [from the AO] I’ll cut out any kind of cheat meal. But for the most part, I’ll have a cheat meal once a week, maybe sometimes twice. It depends on how the week is. Not huge drastic meals where it’s two cheeseburgers and ice cream. It’s just maybe a few slices of pizza here and there.
I do pizza every once in awhile, but I can’t do it as much anymore because it takes me a week to recover from it! I can’t even eat how I used to now.”
Athlete Daily: Because you feel like crap?
Batchelor: ” Yeah it makes me so sick now. It’s crazy to me!”
What I Eat in a Day: Cortney Batchelor
Wake up – (6:45-7:30 am) – Depending on when the pig wakes up. We haven’t set an alarm in a year and a half since we got her. She wakes up at 7 on the dot!
Breakfast – (7:30 am) -Right now for breakfast we’re doing protein pancakes w/ sugar free syrup.
Training session #1 (10-12:30) – I’ll have an intra workout shake with GRIND (protein + carbs)
Lunch – Stir fry of brown rice, spinach, some kind of Asian sauce that has less than 5 carbs, and either tuna or flank steak from Trifecta.
Training session #2 (3:00 pm) – I’ll have another intra workout shake with GRIND (protein + carbs)
Dinner #1 – (6:30 pm) – Burgers with sourdough bread. We have some apple pie left over from a housewarming party last week, so we’ll have some pie for our carbs too. 🙂
Dinner #2 – Usually a stir fry with another meat from Trifecta
Bedtime – Casein chocolate pudding with peanut butter. During my cuts I’ll make cookies instead, just to help with my cravings.
Athlete Daily Nutrition Series
Week 1 — CrossFit Games athlete Emily Bridgers
Week 2 — CrossFit athlete Christian Lucero
Week 3 — CrossFit Games Masters athlete Cheryl Brost
Week 4 — U.S. Olympic Team Weightlifter Morgan King
Week 5 — Human Improvement Project’s Gabe Subry
Week 6 — Weightlifter, GRID CrossFit athlete Marco Coppola
Week 7 — CrossFit Games athlete Lindy Barber
Week 8 — GRID and CrossFit athlete Jamie Hagiya
Week 9 — GRID athlete Andrew Rape
Week 10 — Olympic lifter Anthony Pomponio
Week 11 —CrossFit athlete Andrea Ager
Week 12 —Powerlifter Ewa Januszkiewicz
Week 13 — Weightlifter and Powerlifter Kris Pope
Week 14 — Weightlifter Travis Cooper
Week 15 — Weightlifter Cortney Batchelor