Every athlete who does speed and agility training looks forward to the game, match, meet, contest or event where they can compete and showcase their talents. What many athletes don’t know is how important the hours before the contest can be. Specifically, what and when to eat before an event.
Timing Is Everything
The timing of a pre-contest meal is vital. If you exercise vigorously too closely after a meal, blood will be drawn away from the digestive tract and to the working muscles during exercise. This causes a delay in digestion that is harmful to the body’s processes. On the other hand, if you fast before a game it may decrease the stored up glycogen to the point where athletic performance will be impaired as the body runs low on nutrients. Therefore the best time to eat is 2 ½ to 3 hours prior to exercise to allow food to travel from the stomach to the intestines .
After The Meal
It is not advisable to exercise heavily after eating, like doing speed exercises. It is also inadvisable to sit around directly after a pre-game meal. Moderate walking will burn excess calories and aid in digestion.
Eat foods that can be easily digested like fat-free yogurt, lowfat milk, fruit and lean meat . An athlete should stay away from any foods that are heavy on fat and fiber as they take longer to digest. Foods with high sugar should not be eaten as they will cause a rapid rise in blood sugar and then a rapid decline in blood sugar resulting in less energy. These foods can also pull too much fluid into the digestive tract leading to cramping, nausea, and dehydration. Also stay away from caffeine, it causes increased urine production which can result in dehydration.
Suggested Pre-Game Meal
- Milk, skim 1 cup
- Lean meat or equivalent 2 ounces
- Fruit 1 serving (1/2 cup)
- Bread or substitute 2 servings
- Fat spread 1 teaspoon
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