Updated: Sep 14
Nutrition as an athlete can be one of the most important pieces to your energy and health. Overall, it can easily make or break your performance in the classroom, on the field, or in the weight room.
What you choose each week can supply you with the energy you need or it can drag you down. One of the least known facts when it comes to sports nutrition is that the meal just before your game will not supply your body with the energy it needs to perform at its highest levels for the entirety of the game. This is why you should be eating the correct foods during the few days before competition. The thing is, there isn’t one food that is necessarily right for every athlete, but there are better meals that you can choose from to help you be at your highest level of play on game day.
Carbohydrates are one of the main things to eat. Your body converts these into energy quickly. There are two different forms of Carbs - simple and complex.
Complex Carbs are found in foods like whole grain pasta, breads, and cereals. Simple Carbs are found in fruits, sugars, and honey.
Essentially the body converts the Carbohydrates into glucose and stores the glucose as glycogen within the muscle tissues. Then as you begin competition and exert your muscles your body will convert the glycogen stored in the muscle tissue back into glucose burning it for energy. If you are looking to increase the amount of energy you get from your glycogen stores, try to eat a diet high in Carbs for about three days before your competition – this should count for about 60 to 70 percent of your calories for those three days.
The next area of nutrition every athlete needs to consider is Protein and Fats.
Protein plays a huge role in providing your muscles with energy, but it is broken down too slowly for it to be effective during a game.
So, as a pregame meal they should be consumed in moderation.
Like protein, fats also need to be consumed in smaller amounts and should come from the good fats such as monounsaturated fats. Try to keep saturated fats to a minimum. As far as eating protein for a pregame meal stick to lean meats such as chicken, or nuts (Almonds).
Follow these simple tips and you will be well on your way to a fully energized body and ready to play at the highest of levels.