My very first thought upon meeting Crossfit athlete Lindy Barber? ABS, ABS, ABS.

[No available link text]

Leading up to the competition, I had the chance to train with Barber at her team’s gym -a giant Crossfit playground at Games’ legend Rich Froning’s home in Cookeville, TN–as part of a press trip with Chevy. Only slightly intimidating, right?

As a fitness editor, I know “abs are made in the kitchen,” and it got me wondering what Barber eats.

“I think people have misconceptions about how women Crossfit athletes eat,” she tells “It’s not all chicken and broccoli all the time." And while she generally eats lots of carbs and protein (with some fats) and keeps careful track of her macronutrients, she also enjoys treating herself to brownies and ice cream. And in general, Barber says, she eats "a lot" of food.

The Games veteran (she’s qualified twice as an individual and three times with her team) says her go-to breakfasts helps keep her going strong throughout intense training days.

First breakfast: 5:30 a.m.

[No available link text]

Lindy hits the ground running very early in the morning. “When I first wake up, I have a glass of water, coffee, and a protein shake, then I do my first workout of the day on my own,” she says. Timing is important to Barber, so she can get the most out of her fuel. “I try to work out within 90 minutes of eating,” she says.

Second breakfast: 8 a.m.

[No available link text]

After her early workout, Barber cooks herself a full breakfast at 8 a.m. before her second morning training session. Her go-to is a scramble of six egg whites and lots of veggies like spinach, kale, bell peppers, and mushrooms. “Usually it’s whatever I have left over from dinner the night before.”

She also eats a third cup of oatmeal mixed with cinnamon, 1 tablespoon cashew butter and a chopped-up fruit like a pear, apple, or a cup of strawberries. It comes out to 21 grams of protein, 15 grams of fat, and 45 grams of carbs. If she’s on the go and can’t cook, she opts for a protein bar and a piece of fruit.

Barber is a creature of habit when it comes to breakfast, and she keeps it the same almost every day. “I’ve found that meal really fills me up, tastes delicious, and gives me great energy,” she says. (The additional two or three cups of black coffee don’t hurt either.)

Her diet is intense-but adaptable.

[No available link text]

Barber counts out her macros, especially during training, but still ensures that what she eats can be tweaked for her needs that day. “If my morning session includes a little more aerobic training, I’ll add another 15 grams of carbs with a jelly sandwich," she says. As training gets more frequent and intense before competitions, Barber amps up her carb intake–she says it helps her sleep better, feel less sore, and recover more quickly.

For about 80 percent of the year, she sticks to strict portions. The other 20 percent–before competitions–she follows her intuition and eats until she’s full. “But when I don’t have a competition coming up, or I’m on vacation, I like to indulge.” Her go-to breakfast treat? A cinnamon roll.

Clearly, the balance is paying off.