What does Peri-Competition Nutrition mean?
Peri – prefix meaning “around” (Includes pre, during, post)
Nutrition – Anything you put into your mouth: food, water, supplement
Performance & Health
The vast majority of the time performance & health go hand-in-hand. Competition is not one of those times.
Training & Competing similar to Health & Performance
• Training & Health: Listen to your body, longevity and sustainability are key, don’t “game” workouts, eat real food (natural source of micronutrients, phytochemicals, pre & probiotics, etc.)
• Competing & Performance: Win at all costs, “game” workouts, create shortcuts, prioritize macronutrients & fueling demands
Carbohydrates: Preferred Fuel Source for Intense Activity (side note on creatine)
Protein: Provides the “building blocks” needed to rebuild damaged tissues
Fat: Fuel source during rest & low level activity, synthesis of hormones, absorption of nutrients
(1-3 Days Prior to Competition)
• Eat the same foods you typically do. “Nothing New on Race Day”
• Weight & Body Composition manipulation is finished.
• Consider upping carb intake slightly, coinciding with a decrease in activity (aka. peak).
• Maintain same water intake, while activity level decreases
• Create a shopping list: foods, drinks, supplements
• Write in accordance with a time of consumption
• Bring extras & alternative options
(The Morning of the Competition)
3-5 Hours before: Last Regular Meal
Things to avoid…
• Heavy, fatty foods (e.g. Sausage)
• Foods high in fiber (potential for GI distress)
• More or less caffeine than normal
30-60 minutes: Snack
• low fat, high carb
You might skip this meal if…
…you are very nervous
…you are (pre)diabetic or hypoglycemic
…you have a sensitive stomach / get nauseous
Short Events (<45 minutes)
Long Events (45 minutes – 3+ Hours)
This will be either 0 or 1 events, nearly always cyclical.
Substrate could be a limiter (run out of carbs & ‘bonk’)
Primarily Drink: Goal is to replace what you are losing as closely as possible without creating GI distress
• Water + Sugar (Carbs) + Electrolytes (Sodium, Potassium, Magnesium, Calcium, Bicarbonate, Chloride)
• There are correct ratios here, and some electrolytes if overdone can create GI issues
Eat: Things that are easy to chew and that digest quickly & are mainly carb-based (e.g. GU Gels Packets, Honey, Molasses, Cliff Bar, Part of a Banana, Grapes, etc.)
How much and what type of drink & food you can tolerate will be determined by the activity being completed & bodily orientation: running, swimming, biking, rowing, mixed modal, etc.
This goes for after workouts of all durations.
[10-30 minutes after]
Anabolic Window [“Window of Gains”]
• Increased Bloodflow and therefore Delivery
Carbs & Protein (Approximately 3:1)
• Possibly include: Creatine, Electrolytes, MCT
[1-2 hours after]
If you have another event… Pre-workout meal (see above)
If you are done for the day… Full meal where you get in a mix of macros (including fat)
How things change for a Multi-Day Competition
- Fueling becomes even more important
- Getting regular meals between events is important (that include fat): but still digestible
- Eating “real food” more often as the body can tolerate it
- Too much supplementation
- Too much protein, Too little carbs
- Changing things up on game day
- Not Shifting State Post Workout (read below)
Related Read: How Nervous System States Impact Nutrition
Informative rants on various topics within the Sport of Fitness.
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