How to crush Memorial Day MURPH, nutrition planning

James DeLuccia
4 min readMay 22, 2018


Memorial Day MURPH is a classic CrossFit HERO WOD honoring Michael Murphy

So you have decided to compete in an event that is a bit uncomfortable, a stretch, and one that makes you a little nervous — GOOD!

There is so much benefit that comes from putting yourself in a challenging experience, especially one where there is low risk. Murph, Ironmans, and similar big challenges create a goal with measurable targets which we, humans in general ;), excel at achieving. Let’s be honest, there are no limits to your capabilities, once you have selected a target; broken down the work to accomplish it, and then hit it religiously.

That said, we all won’t be able to become the best in the world — but maybe, just maybe, we’ll discover our potential.

OK … onto it.

You have trained for days, weeks, months, years, and now we have MURPH around the corner, so how do you crush it?

Let’s work backwards:

Day of MURPH:

  • 2+ hours from event — Eat a familiar breakfast (or meal before you complete Murph). This breakfast should be a lot of carbs, some protein, and little fat.
  • 30 minutes before event — Carbs, more. Banana, Fuel for Fire, ProCarb, or your favorite easy to digest carbohydrate. Roughly 20–40g of carbs
  • Up to Murph — Sip water, make sure you have some electrolytes in your bottle if you are doing this in the heat
  • During Murph — Be smart, if you are feeling good .. go straight through and have fun. If you start forgetting what rep you are on, feeling low on energy, have a dry mouth → drink some electrolytes and maybe some more carbs. Usually our body needs a refresher if it is very hot or some other stress exists in our body (try not to eat more than 250 calories during Murph)
  • Post MURPH — CONGRATS you did it! Now … to refuel and yes, more carbs and protein (no fat) immediately afterwards are on the plan, at least 25–40g of carbs
  • Post Post MURPH — 30 mins to 2 hours after Murph have a good meal. Mainly protein and carbs still, maybe some potatoes now vs the high fruit carbs we have been enjoying today.
  • 4+ hours MURPH — Back to normal and yes fat is on the menu. This is likely the last meal of the day, so be sure you are hitting your calorie needs for the day, and lets be sure we have fat back on the plate.

Day before MURPH

  • Meals should be low in ruffage, salt foods (not salty foods), eat clean
  • Drink water and take a rest day — seriously, it’ll help a lot
  • Clean foods = anything grilled or baked, preferably a fish or chicken.
  • Carbs = potatoes or rice would be ideal
  • Fat = avocado would be nice
  • Foods to generally avoid the day before = pizza, anything fried, anything processed, fast food, leafy vegetables, spicy (get it ;)

Week of MURPH

  • Train as usual, avoiding any vertical pulling 2 days before Murph
  • Mind the hands — good to keep hands free of rips at this point
  • Test test test — use what you are planning on for Murph during the week. For instance, if you have grips for the fist time, try them out a few reps during the week. Have a new secret drink that you bought on Amazon? Try it early in the week with a longer workout and see how you feel. Race day, competition day, and Murph day are not when we test new foods and gear
  • Eat the meal / foods you plan to eat on day / night of Murph (try out the same breakfast and see how it settles)
  • Vest or no Vest — if you’ve trained with a vest running and pull-ups, go ahead! If your Murph time is close to breaking 30 minutes, it is probably time to start adding a vest to Murph (note — you can add a vest at 5, 10, 15, and 20lbs … )

There is so much involved on big events but I try to cover the most impactful items surround fueling and preparation. These helped me in my 8+ Ironman events, 50k+ runs, solo volcano runs, and numerous long endurance events including Murph. The key factors to consider — fuel your body, know how your body responds to this food when stressed in the event, and test test test to solidify confidence in your plan prior to the day of the event!

Now have fun and let’s honor this hero.

Ask me questions online on instagram @jimmydatl and visit @CrossFitNBK for any of our deeper dive videos and online free content.



James DeLuccia

Technologist, Researcher, Artist, Executive, Father, Author, Inventor, Speaker, and CrossFit...