Eating to perform at your best!

What you eat several days before endurance activities affects performance. To maintain and replenish your glycogen stores, you should consume carbohydrates in your daily diet, especially during the day before a match and during the first few hours of recovery from matches or hard training sessions. These meals should also include some proteins and fats. Adequate fluid intake is also important in before and after matches or training sessions.

Topics of Interest:

Pre-Competition Nutrition

  • Eat adequate carbohydrates in the days leading up to competition.
    • This keeps the muscles fueled with glycogen stores. Glycogen breaks down to glucose when the blood level of glucose drops.
    • Examples: whole wheat bread, bagels, fruit, low fat milk and yogurt, rice, cereal, and crackers.
  • Eat a well-balanced meal 3-4 hours prior to exercise or competition.
    • This will increase the blood glucose level to supply exercising muscles with fuel. A good meal is high in carbohydrates, moderate in protein and moderate in fat.
    • 4 or more hours prior to the event try one of these meal examples
      • Turkey sandwich and fruit
      • Grilled chicken, potato and vegetable
      • Scrambled eggs, toast and juice
      • Spaghetti and meat sauce
    • Approximately 2 hours prior to the event a light carbohydrate meal is easily digested and provides glucose for exercising muscles.
      • Cereal and low fat milk
      • Large banana with yogurt
      • Energy bar
    • One hour or less before an event. A small snack is recommended, but be careful of eating to sugary snacks, which will cause a drop in blood sugar.
      • Pretzels
      • Raisins
      • Yogurt


Post-Competition Nutrition

  • Post competition meals are important for glycogen restoration. It is important to eat some carbohydrates and protein within 30 minutes of exercising.
    • Bagels, crackers, yogurts, bananas and frozen fruit bars are good choices.
  • Within 2-4 hours of post competition it is important to eat a full meal to replenish your muscle glycogen stores.
  • This meal should be well balanced and include carbohydrates, proteins and fat.



  • Water is the most important factor in sports nutrition. It makes up more than 50 percent of body weight and is involved in almost every bodily process. Your body cannot make or store water, so you must replace what you eliminate (urine, sweat). Drink plenty of fluids before, during and after sports events to stay hydrated and avoid overheating.
    • Cold water is the best fluid to keep you hydrated during workouts lasting an hour or less. For longer workouts mixing sports drinks and water is the best way to stay hydrated.
    • Drink even if you are not thirsty. You won't start feeling thirsty until you have already lost about two percent of your body weight, which is enough to hurt your performance.
    • Drink small amounts frequently rather than large amounts less often.
    • Weigh yourself after working out and drink 2-3 cups for every pound lost. Your body weight should be back to normal before your next workout.
    • Pay attention to the amount and color of your urine. You should excrete a large volume, which is colorless.