Studies have shown that having a fueling and hydration plan for competition can improve performance along with proper training
Eat high Carbohydrate meals the day and night before to fuel your muscles. The meal composition should be: 2/3 carbohydrate (bread, bagels, pasta, rice, tortillas, potatoes, cereal, fruits, juices, vegetables, yogurt, and milk) and 1/3 protein (lean red meats, poultry, fish, shellfish, eggs, milk, cheese, soy products, beans, nuts/nut butters, and seeds). Fried or fatty foods will not fuel your muscles or enhance performance.
Pasta with red sauce, rice bowls, baked potatoes with lean meat and veggies, Chinese food with rice, bean and cheese burritos, waffles and peanut butter (yes it is ok to have breakfast food at night!), thick crust pizza with veggies/Canadian bacon, fruit or juice with meals or during the day, lean meat sandwich.
Make sure you are drinking water, juices and sports drinks throughout the day to stay hydrated. Your pee should look like lemonade, NOT apple juice!
Refuel your body to replace the energy it used while you slept. Breakfast also helps you think better. Once again, the breakfast should be high carbohydrate, low fat, small amount of protein (depending on tolerance and time of event). If your event is 2 -3 hours or more after breakfast, this should be a substantial breakfast.
Frozen waffles with peanut butter and fruit, large bowl of cereal with milk and banana, fruit or yogurt smoothie and a piece of toast, granola bar or energy bar, peanut butter sandwich and juice, oatmeal, bagel/egg/cheese sandwich, yogurt mixed with cereal and fruit, etc. If you find you are unable to eat a large breakfast at one time, eat half and then the rest the next hour or so.
What if I am too nervous to eat?
Studies have shown that getting "something" in can improve performance. Anxiety can affect gastric emptying and cause stomach distress, so choose foods that are liquid or semi-liquid vs. solid food. Examples: Yogurt, Gel or Gu, honey, applesauce, banana, pudding, sports drink, or liquid supplement like ensure or boost (chilled if possible).
What if my event is early in the morning, and I really don't have time to eat breakfast?
Have your breakfast as a late night snack the night before. Example: bowl of cereal at night. The day of your event, wake up and drink 8-16 oz sports drink, try a packet of Gu or gel washed down with water, or drink a glass of juice. Aim for 100 calories if you can.
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Give your body carbohydrates to maximize blood sugar and glycogen stores, get rid of hunger feelings, and provide a psychological edge to help you think clearly. The challenge is deciding what foods you can tolerate and when. The foods at this time should be high carbohydrate, low-fat, low-fiber, moderate protein.
General Rule of Thumb:
What is "Nutrition Conditioning"?!?!
Training your gut by eating the same meals and snacks in training that will be used in competition.
Are fluids really that important? Yes!
Being only slightly dehydrated can decrease muscle strength, speed, stamina, energy, cognitive process, and increase risk of injury.
After Event Hydration:
Why are sports drinks better than just plain water for training and competition?
They are formulated to taste better than water which encourages re-hydration, provides carbohydrates for muscle glycogen, and the sodium helps the body retain more fluids.
Refuel and re-hydrate within 30 minutes after event. The goal is to restore muscle glycogen, repair muscle damage, and replace fluid and electrolytes. This 30 minute window of opportunity helps to maximize recovery and enable you to bounce back for future training and events.
Ideas for quick foods to eat within 30 minutes:
What if I don't feel like eating right after my event?
Focus on liquid products. Low-fat chocolate milk is a GREAT replacement drink for the crucial 30 minute time frame!