A: Fuel up with pre-event preparation. Fuel up with familiar foods on competition day, and allow adequate time for that food to digest. Include complex carbohydrates, lean protein, fruit and healthy fats. About two-thirds of your plate should be carbohydrates. Top off fuel stores with a carbohydrate-based snack one to two hours before competition.
During the event. Continue to refuel during competition as needed with carbohydrates, electrolytes and fluid to prevent fatigue and prevent depletion of fuel stores. Sports drinks, gels and bars are all efficient ways to refuel.
Refuel to recover post-competition. Refueling begins immediately after competition with a recovery snack consisting of carbohydrate and protein to refuel stores and repair damaged tissue. Chocolate milk can be a perfect sports recovery drink as it contains the ideal ratio of carbohydrate and protein to refuel muscles. Continue refueling with a meal one hour after the recovery snack.
Stay hydrated in the heat. Dehydration can severely impair athletic performance, making it crucial to go into a competition well-hydrated. Consume fluids throughout competition day, then hydrate two to three hours prior to competition with 16 ounces of fluid and again 10 to 20 minutes before event with 8 ounces of fluid. Water is appropriate for mild to moderate intensity exercise lasting less than 60 minutes. Sports drinks are preferred for high-intensity exercise lasting more than 60 minutes. Soft drinks and fruit juices are best avoided.
Information provided by Molly Muchow, Hy-Vee Dietician, 4815 Maple Drive, Pleasant Hill, 515-262-7944.