NUTRITION IS KEY
Whether this is your very first competition or your tenth, what you eat before, during, and after will play a very important role in how you perform and recover. Here are some tips to help you feel and perform your best!
Try to eat like you normally would, focus on whole foods (lean protein, whole grains, veggies, fruits, healthy fats), try to get to bed early, focus on “recovery type” training (ie: light weights and low intensity), and drink lots of water. Fluid intake should be at least half your body weight (lbs) in oz + 10-20 oz of fluids for every hour of exercise. So a 150 lb athlete needs at least 75-95 oz of fluids. Keep in mind plain old water is best, but any fluid without caffeine or excess added sugar counts! Electrolytes with at least 400mg of sodium can also be helpful during training and competitions. Some good brands: Kinderlyte, Thorne Catalyte, Liquid IV, LMNT
2-3 DAYS BEFORE A COMPETITION
Slightly increase carbs at each meal. So, if you usually eat ½ cup of oats and ½ banana at breakfast, increase it to ¾ cup of oats and eat the whole banana. This will help replenish your glycogen stores, which is where your energy will come from during the final push in a workout. We are typically looking for 5-7g of carbs per kg of body weight.
Example: 150 lb/68 kg athlete needs between 340-476 grams of carbohydrates per day!
Another way to think about this is adjusting total calories to be roughtly 60-70% carbs leading up to the competition and during. This can make a huge difference in both perfomrance and recovery so do not try to cut carbs. Simple carbs often work best when it comes to performance, as they are quickly digested. Examples: white rice, fruits like bananas and cut melon, turkey sandwich on white bread, cereals, gummy bears, apple sauce squeeze packets, oatmeal and fruit, etc.
The morning of each competition day, make sure you eat breakfast at least 1-2 hours before the first heat and drink plenty of water. Keep this meal similar to the day before/after, but try to limit fats and fiber, as both of these things slow down digestion (which is good in general), but during a competition we want those carbs and protein to get absorbed quickly. You will want to sip/eat things in between workouts that are easily digested and quickly absorbed to prevent stomach upset, help you recover, and give you energy. Quick carb sources include fruit and fruit juice, coconut water, applesauce and baby food packets. Carbs to protein ratio should be 2:1. Example: 20 grams of carbs, 10 grams of protein = 16oz coconut water and ½ scoop of protein powder.
Make sure to have a hearty and fairly balanced dinner to help promote recovery and rehydrate with lots of water and electrolytes, and get a good night’s sleep! A good example of a recovery meal: whole wheat or chickpea pasta, marinara sauce with lean ground beef or turkey, 2 cups salad w/ avocado and balsamic dressing, 24-32 oz of water.
EXAMPLE DAY OF COMPETITION EATING
Breakfast: ¾ cup of oats (made with almond milk), 1 banana, 3 scrambled egg whites, 24-32 oz. water
Pre/Post WOD 1: 16 oz. coconut water, ½ scoop protein powder (sip some before and drink the rest after), 8-16 oz. water w/ electrolytes
Pre/Post WOD 2: 2 applesauce packets, ½ scoop protein in water, 8-24 oz. water Pre/Post WOD 3: 16 oz. coconut water, ½ scoop protein powder, 8-24 oz. water w/ electrolytes
Once the competition is over: 1 small turkey sandwich, 1 banana, and 16 oz. water
Dinner: 4 oz. grilled chicken, ¾ cup brown rice, 1 cup broccoli, 16-32 oz. water
*Portions will vary based on sex/weight/athlete competition level
TWO DAY COMPETITIONS
For a two-day competition with multiple workouts, you will want to make sure you feel rested leading up to all of the events. It is highly recommended to take it easy the days leading up to the competition, and resting (and eating lots of carbs!) the days leading up to it. This will give your body and mind time to rest, repair, and get fired up about crushing those workouts. Good luck and remember to have fun!!