DIET DURING COMPETITION
|Strict dietetic rules can be followed before, during and after the competition so that you are in top form.
A serious nutritional error has major repercussions on your performance.
What are the benefits?
A balanced diet adapted to the requirements of the sporting activity will help you:
- keep your ideal weight
- avoid feeling tired during the effort
if the energy requirements are not satisfied
- optimise your recuperation, essential when there is little time between the events
Do not forget that any change in the athlete's diet must be tested during training before being consumed for the first time in competition.
BEFORE THE COMPETITION.
We have already discussed (refer to the "Scandinavian dissociated diet regime and its derivatives") the importance of storing sufficient muscular glycogen before a sporting event. This glycogen stored during a hyperglucidic diet is the muscle's fuel.
In addition to this storage of muscular glycogen, intensified 3 days before the event, sufficient and regular hydration is necessary every day to guarantee that your body is well-hydrated and is able to cope with water losses which are sometimes very high during the effort (refer to "hydration").
If the athlete suffers from intestinal disorders and depending on the degree, the day before the event it may do him good to eat food which contains little or no residues.
In this case, recommended foods include 'tender' vegetables (courgettes, green beans, carrots, artichoke heart, beetroot, white part of leek, squash, asparagus tips), fruits either cooked or in compote.
Avoid spicy dishes, dishes which are too fatty, too sweet or which have a very strong taste, which give gas, contain alcohol, sparkling water, tea, coffee... all types of food which are sometimes difficult to digest.
Depending on your personal tolerance, limit the amount of milk you drink.
THE LAST MEAL.
It MUST be taken 3 hours before the start of the sporting event.
It is balanced; it contains semi-fast carbohydrates (potatoes, peas) and food easy to digest. The foods or preparations consumed will have been 'tested' beforehand (not the day before a competition) to ensure that the athlete will not suffer from digestive disorders.
It is recommended to choose rice or pasta with a yoghurt sweetened with jam.
Often, the last meal is breakfast, which cannot always be taken 3 hours before the start of the event.
In this case, breakfast must consist of either a liquid meal substitute with low glycaemic index or a real breakfast consisting of cornflakes or muesli with a yoghurt, sweetened with jam or honey, and rusks.
The athlete who has eaten 3 hours before the start of the competition may need pre-exercise nutrition. In this case fructose is the most suitable, to avoid using up the glycogen stored in the muscles which will provide fuel during the event.
While warming up, choose a fructose + glucose drink in sufficient quantity but stop eating solid foods (biscuits, gingerbread, cereal bars, yoghurt, ripe fruit which can be consumed beforehand, depending on individual tolerance).
DURING THE COMPETITION.
The nutritional objectives during the effort are to:
To meet all these requirements, it is essential to take a glucidic drink.
- Rehydrate to compensate for water
- Keep the muscular glycogen reserves
as long as possible
- Avoid sodium deficit
Drinking, every 15 minutes, 150 to 200 ml of a slightly mineralised drink, at ambient temperature, containing 50 to 70 g/l of carbohydrates with high glycaemic index will meet the requirements (1 l of water (Volvic, Vittel or Evian, etc.) + juice of 2 lemons + 8 sugar lumps (or 50 g of honey) + 1 pinch of salt).
During a long event (more than 2 h - 2 h 30), you may want to eat some solid food but this is not without a risk, since it may cause a stomach upset.
If you do eat, then choose foods such as dry fruits, banana, cereal bars, fruit jelly or even small sandwiches… Avoid proteins during the competition in view of the build-up of waste generated as a result of their catabolism.
In practice, semi-liquid intake is best: meal substitutes, semolina or rice cakes or pudding, cereal mash, etc.
AFTER THE COMPETITION: RECUPERATION.
After the competition, food plays a vital role to:
- Recharge the glycogen reserves
- Eliminate the toxins produced during the effort
Rehydration comes first:
At the finish, drink sparkling water containing sodium bicarbonate (Vichy, St Yorre) at ambient temperature.
Then every 15 minutes (for 2 to 4 hours) drink 150 to 300 ml containing 50 or 70 g/l of carbohydrates (fruit juice diluted with 50 % bicarbonated water).
30 minutes before dinner, drink 250 to 500 ml of slightly mineralised water.
Drink water and/or skimmed or half-skimmed milk during the meal after the effort.
Make sure to eliminate the waste and acidity accumulated during the effort, through good rehydration and consumption of alkaline foods (milk, yoghurt, etc.).
THE FIRST MEAL AFTER THE COMPETITION.
If the competition is part of a set of events spread over several days (more than 3 days in a row), to recharge the muscular glycogen you should eat meals similar to those taken 3 days before the competition: plenty of carbohydrates (65-70 % of the ration), energy drinks, etc.
Otherwise, prefer fresh fruit and vegetables, dry vegetables, soya, dairy products and sweetened dairy desserts.
This meal enriched with yeast or wheat germ provides all the nutrients, vitamins and minerals necessary to recuperate correctly and detoxify the body.
The next day, return to a "normal" balanced diet adapted to your daily requirements.