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Pre-Exercise Eating

posted by TransformHERS on 21 May 15, 09:06

Categories: Health, Fitness, TransformHERS Bootcamp

For endurance
Assuming you’re into endurance sports, like long-distance running or cycling, eating right can make all the difference. It’s natural to have butterflies in your stomach the morning before a big race, but if you want to win, make sure you fill your stomach with the right foods as well.

Your last big meal should be eaten three to four hours before the event. It should provide 150 to 300 g of carbohydrate, some easy-to-digest protein and it should be low in fat. Carbohydrate drinks can accompany solid foods to meet carbohydrate and fluid requirements.

A light snack or liquid meal replacement can be consumed one to two hours before the event.  A carbohydrate “sports” drink – consumed 30 to 60 minutes before exercise – can serve to maximize blood glucose and prepare for better performance.

Note: For events lasting less than 60 minutes, a light carbohydrate snack or drink consumed before exercise is usually sufficient to achieve peak energy levels.

For strength
While endurance athletes can benefit from a carbo-loading regime, participants in strength-based sports have very different nutritional needs. And these needs vary according to where an individual athlete is in his or her training schedule.

For example, a competitive weight lifter follows two different training regimens – one during the off-season, when the focus is on maximum muscle development, and another leading up to a competition, where the ultimate goal is to retain muscle mass while simultaneously reducing body fat.

During the off-season, the athlete should follow a high-calorie, high-protein diet.  The high kilojoules provide the additional energy needed for muscle growth, while increased protein consumption ensures that the body has the essential amino acids necessary for building muscle tissue.  Sports dietitians recommend that athletes looking to build muscle eat about 1.2 –1.7g of protein for each kilogram of body weight a day.

In the six to 12 weeks leading up to a contest, however, this same bodybuilder should adopt a different approach. Retaining a high level of protein intake – about 30% of all kilojoules consumed – the athlete strives to retain muscle mass, while burning fat.  This fat reduction is achieved the old fashioned way: by cutting kilojoules.

In both the off-season and pre-event phase, the taking in of dietary carbohydrates and fats should remain stable.

The diet composition for body builders should therefore be 55% – 60% carbohydrate, 25% – 30% protein and 15% – 20% of fat, for both the off-season and pre-contest phases. During the off-season there should be a 15% increase in energy intake, and during the pre-contest phase the diet should be a 15% decrease in energy intake. 

For sports divided into weight categories

In sports where athletes are categorized according to their body weight – as in judo, boxing, wrestling and horse racing – too much pre-event eating can turn the feather-weight champion into the middle-weight semi-finalist. If your food and fluid intake is restricted before “weigh-in” you should still make sure that a post-weigh-in meal provides enough energy and fluid for comfort and optimum performance.

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