The Human Body


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Fueling Before Competition

An athlete’s main objective before an event is to have their glycogen stores filled with little to no food left for digestion.

Athletes train for countless hours to have their body perform at maximum efficiency at a precise time. All that training will be thrown away without the proper pre-competition nutrition. Studies have shown that what and when you eat prior to competition has a huge impact on performance.

An athlete’s main objective before an event is to have their glycogen stores filled with little to no food left for digestion. In order to do this we must first understand the digestive times on the different types of carbohydrates. Simple carbohydrates (fruit, sport drinks, ect..) digest at the fastest rate.

This is the type of fuel that you will want to take in as the competition time gets close. Complex carbohydrates (pasta, wheat bread, ect..) digest at a more slow and steady pace. These types of sugars are best when you have four or more hours until competition time.

The rule of thumb for carbohydrate intake before a workout or competition is .5 to 2 grams per pound of body weight. At this stage it is also important to keep your fat and protein intakes fairly low simply due to the fact that these nutrients digest at a much slower rate.

Another aspect that cannot be overlooked is hydration. Even if you are dehydrated by only 3%, the negative energy and performance effects are drastic. Drink at least a gallon of water within 24 hours of the event and avoid alcohol and drinks that contain caffeine because they act as a diuretic in the body. Most importantly, do not wait until you are thirsty before you drink. By that time dehydration has already set in.

Following these pre-competition nutrition guidelines will allow your performance to peak on the day that it matters most, competition day.

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