An athlete knows that every competition could be a make-or-break for their career. You need to ensure that you’re always performing at your best with the right game day nutrition.
The last time we talked about the value of nutrition was a few months back. We chatted about the fad diets athletes must avoid
Consistency is key when it comes to anything in your training, and what you do before hitting the field or court is no different.
Today I’m sharing three game day nutrition tips that my elite athletes always use before competition
1. Meal Choice
3. Hydration / Electolytes
Consider these before your next game day to score with more energy and power.
1. MEAL CHOICE
Here we’re talking about food.
What foods are you eating before competition? What’s the macronutrient breakdown of these foods?
My #1 piece of advice is to stick to what you’re accustomed to.
Let’s say you’ve recently been eating a lot of rice, chicken, and steak. The night before competition is NOT the time to start switching up your foods.
If you all of a sudden have a huge bowl of pasta, you can’t be sure of how your body will react to this – so just play it safe.
Game day’s are long and require a lot of energy. Think you need more calories?
In this scenario, stick to the rice or your same source of carbs. Maybe add about a ½ cup extra to really fill up your energy stores before game day.
It’s the morning of game day. You wake up, and you’re ready to get your first meal in.
At this point we’re really looking to get in multiple-transporter carbohydrates into your nutrition. This is a combination of a starch and a fruit carbohydrate (fructose) that enhances your energy levels all day long.
How does this happen?
Carbohydrates are converted into glycogen. This is stored within the muscles (and liver) to be broken down, and used as an energy source while performing.
However, there’s varying rates of break-down for each carbohydrate source.
By eating multiple sources of carbohydrates together (starch and fruit), you’re able to process and store far more glycogen.
If you have a morning or afternoon game, this is something you’ll definitely want to incorporate into your game day nutrition.
COACHES TIP: How many meals should I have?
This depends on when your game is that day.
I usually recommend my athletes to have a meal every 3 hours or so…
For an early game, say 9am: you’re looking at a 6am breakfast. You’ll also want to fuel with some intra-workout carbohydrates like a gatorade throughout the competition.
Games later in the day, maybe 5pm: you’ll want to get up at your normal wake time and proceed with a meal every three hours until the game, ex: (6am, 9am, 12pm, 2pm, 5pm game).
* last meal should be 3 hours before competition
To get specific on what, how and when YOU should be eating read up on Performance Nutrition.
3. HYDRATION AND ELECTROLYTES
This is overlooked by most athletes…
You’re rarely able to control the environment you compete in, and temperature plays a major impact on your physiology during competition.
Here’s how to perform at your peak with proper hydration:
Make sure to be consistent with your electrolytes while competing.
You can do this by sipping on gatorade, salted water, or adding salt to your game day meal.
Electrolytes assist your body in maintaining proper fluid levels throughout performance. This is essential to have powerful muscle contraction.
Especially in hot climates, this becomes very important while working at a high rate during a game where you lose a lot of water through sweating.
GAME DAY NUTRITION
What you eat before competition is only a small portion of the food you consume during your training.
For an athlete to be at perform at their peak, their nutrition needs to be on point.
With athletes in mind, I recently teamed up with my nutritionist wizard Jake to create the complete guide to eating for optimal performance and recovery.
To learn more about how to fuel for your sport, get stronger, and raise your performance to new heights: