Pre, During & Post Performance Nutrition
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  • 1. Pre, During + Post Performance Nutrition. By Emilie Taylor
  • 2.
    • Nutrition plays a critical role in athletic performance, particularly endurance performance. The human body operates best when it is able to draw on a continuous supply of quality fuel. This supply depends on a balanced diet , supported by sufficient fluid intake to ensure cells are able to function properly.
    The Role of Nutrition.
  • 3.
    • To have sufficient energy, the athlete needs to consume an adequate amount of fuel prior to the event. If they consume to little food , they will run out of fuel and feel lethargic and weak.
    • The following guidelines are suggested for eating before an event:
    • Food should be consumed three and four hours before a competition in the case of a large meal, and on to two hours before in the case of a snack.
    • Intake should basically consist of complex carbohydrates, as these provide a sustained source of energy.
    • This is important for an athletic preparation, when a typical day will include periods of rest, moderate activity and intense activity.
    • For an athlete more than 70% of carbohydrate intake should be derived from complex sources, which are carbohydrate found in grains, fruits and vegetables.
    Pre-game meal.
  • 4.
    • Avoid foods high in fat and protein, as these take longer to digest. For example fatty meats, french fries, cheeseburgers.
    • Maintain adequate fluid levels in extended events, such as marathons, continuous replacement is necessary.
    • Liquid meals (drink with a high carbohydrate content) are recommended if solid meals are difficult to digest. Correctly prepare, they can be an adequate source of nutrition and energy, and contribute significantly to hydration.
    • It is important to realise that patterns for pre-game eating need to be established over a period of time and new foods should not be added to a diet without a trial period.
    Pre-game meal.
  • 5.
    • Some examples of high carbohydrate Pre-exercise meals include:
    • Breakfasts: oatmeal or whole grain cold cereal, skim milk or soy milk, fruits like bananas or berries, fruit juices, yoghurts and pancakes.
    • Lunch: turkey, tuna, peanut butter sandwich, whole wheat pasta salad, fruit, yoghurt and fruit juices.
    • Dinners: Baked chicken, fish, potato, pasta, rice and vegetables.
    • Snacks: Energy bars, fruits, cereals, yoghurt and fruit.
    Example of Pre-game meal.
  • 6.
    • Endurance events, particularly in the hot and possibly humid conditions, can have a significant impact on the body’s fuel and fluid supplies.
    • The aim is to conserve muscle glycogen and maintain blood glucose levels.
    • Carbohydrate supplementation is needed to avoid glycogen depletion. At exercise intensities above 75% of aerobic capacity, liquid carbohydrate feeding (sports drinks) can delay glycogen depletion by up to 30minutes.
    • Glycogen supplementation is not needed for low-intensity/short duration events.
    • Adequate hydration by regular fluid intake must be maintained.
    • Depending on the sport, some individuals also snack during a break. For example snacking during an event would not be suitable for a marathon runner, compared to Rugby league where an athlete may choose to snack on something simple such as a banana. In some sports is often difficult to eat foods, so these sports may tend to opt for the alternative of sports drinks or liquad meals.
    During competition meal.
  • 7.
    • The most important nutritional factor during competition is fluid intake. Dehydration is a concern during any physical activity. Athletes should aim to drink regularly rather than wait until they become thirsty. As a guideline athletes should aim to drink 150-250mls every 15minutes.
    During competiton.
    • In an event less than 30minutes:
    • Hydrate well before an event.
    • Fluid taken during the event will not benefit performance as it does not become available to the body within 30mins.
    • Fluid taken during the event will alleviate a dry mouth and improve perceived exertion.
    • In events of 30-60minutes duration:
    • Begin the event well hydrated.
    • As a general rule: replace fluid every 15mins by drinking 150-250mls of water.
    • A supplementary source of carbohydrate during exercise has been shown to improve performance in events as short as 60mins.
  • 8.
    • In endurance sports:
    • Begin the event well hydrated.
    • Replace fluid regularly.
    • Consume 30-60g of carbohydrate per hour of exercise,
    • Avoid carbohydrates that delay the stomach emptying (e.g. foods that are high in fat or fibre) or cause gastrointestinal problems.
    During Competition.
  • 9.
    • Post performance nutrition is concerned with the restoration of muscle and liver glycogen stores and the replacement of the fluid and electrolytes that were lost in sweat.
    • A recovery nutritional plan must aim to:
    • Replace glycogen stores by eating foods with a high carbohydrate content.
    • Rehydrate to replace fluid lost during the event. (water or carbohydrate solutions of 5-8 % are recommended as the best choice fluid)
    • Avoid alcohol because it contributes to dehydration.
    • Restoration of muscle glycogen stores is enhanced by 3 factors;
    • The more the glycogen store was depleted, the faster the rate of recovery.
    • By eating carbohydrates immediately/shortly after exercise.
    • By ingesting adequate amounts of carbohydrates. Nutritionists recommend 1-1.5 carbohydrate per kilogram of body mass immediately after exercise; the 7-10g carbohydrate per kilogram of body mass in the 24hours after exercise.
    • Carbohydrate foods with a high glycaemic index should be eaten.
    Post-performance.
  • 10.
    • Some examples of snacks and recovery foods include:
    • Yoghurt with fresh fruits
    • Fruit smoothie
    • Chicken roll
    • Pasta salad
    • Rice crackers with peanut butter spread
    • Fruit juice
    • Vegetables
    • Whole fruits, vegetables and juices are good examples as they and carbohydrate rich and potassium rich.
    • All these examples are high in carbohydrate which is critical in the restoration of glycogen stores,
    Post exercise meals.