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Sports Nutrition to Go's Pre/Post List Application

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The Best Kept Secret

At any level of competition, Olympic or Little League, it has long been common knowledge that athletes can improve performance through a winning combination of practice, mental focus and physical conditioning.

Now there's something new, something very exciting. Today we offer new strategies for maximizing your trainings and recovery, minimizing fatigue and reducing susceptibility to injury. We are talking about the best kept secret in the world of sports: Sports Nutrition!

Sports Nutrition strategies are effective, easy and inexpensive to implement and can effect performance up to 15%!

As with any expert advice, the Sports Nutrition guidelines out lined here should be applied appropriately.

Pre-Competition/Practice snack

This is the Icing on the cake.

A consistently well balanced nutritional intake is what's needed most to optimize performance. Subsequently think of the pre-game/practice snack as the icing on the cake. An effective pre-game/practice snack or meal can increase concentration, reduce injury susceptibility, maximize energy levels and recovery and optimize performance.

Go Carbs, Go!

A pre-game/practice meal or snack should be high in carbohydrates. Carbohydrates elevate the blood sugars needed to provide energy to all working muscles. We want energy levels up and consistent throughout a sporting event. When energy levels are constant, an athlete avoids fatigue. The less the fatigue, the better the concentration. The better the concentration, the fewer the errors.

Managing Event Day Jitters

Another goal of a high carb, lower fat and protein pre-game/practice meal or snack is to decrease the chance of an upset stomach mid-game, all too common an occurrence when you mix food, excitement, activity and nerves on game day. Adequate amounts of the right foods in the stomach can counter any acid buildup that may result from game day jitters.

Event Day Feeding Tips

Event Day Adjustments to Carbohydrates, Protein and Fat

Now it is time to up the Carbs! On game day you will want to increase carbohydrate intake to ensure that there is enough fuel available for all working muscles from beginning to end of competition. As you get closer and closer to game time, you are also going to progressively reduce fats and proteins. Fats and proteins take the longest to digest, and that slows everything down. So if you don't make these adjustments before the event, you are risking sluggishness, lack of concentration, that heavy stomach feeling and even stomach upset during play.

Going the Distance

Carbohydrate intake is especially important when an athlete participates in an event or sport that requires endurance. For example long distance running or cycling, cross country skiing, etc...

Guidelines for Endurance Sports

When participating in a long event or practice an athlete should ingest 30-90grams of carbohydrates per hour. Sports beverages are a best bet if the activity lasts longer than 45-60minutes or if it is hot and humid outside. Sports drinks address both hydration and energy needs. A 20oz Gatorade equals approximately 30-40grams of carbohydrates. Ideally, if the event requires staying power, additional carb intake should begin anywhere from 0-30 minutes after event starts. Other ideas: Clif shots, gu's, Gels, sports beans, PowerBar chews

If Event Lasts Longer Than 90 Minutes...

Carbohydrates in solid form are also advisable. The best time to get these foods at "half-time". Some suggestions for intake of carbs in food form include: sliced oranges, sliced apples, bananas, mini whole wheat bagels, low fat crackers, regular salted pretzels, Powerbar energy bars, Clif energy bars...

Post-Game Goals

Eating a high carbohydrate snack/meal along with some protein after a strength training workout or a 2 hour workout is imperative!!! Also important for multiple games or events in a day/s.

Replenish The Energy

A high carbohydrate along with some protein snack after a workout or game is essential for future optimal performance, recovery and safe play. Carbohydrates supply the blood sugars that are used to supply energy during a workout or game. If you don't replace the glycogen (the stored blood sugar that were just used), there won't be much in reserve for the next day's activity. This could lead to fatigue, weakness, decreased concentration, increase chance of sustaining an injury and breakdown of muscle. Replenishment of glycogen lost during an event is especially important if your child participates in several practices or games each week. Protein is essential for the muscle to repair, recover and build!

Timing is everything

The optimal time to restore glycogen (stored blood sugars) and promote muscle recovery is from 30 minutes to 2 hours after intense exercise. Ideally you eat a snack within thirty minutes of event's end or strength training workout, followed by a well balanced meal in the next 90 minutes.

Example of Ideal Timing

Practice or Game: 10:00am to 12:00pm
Eat a high carb, with protein snack: between 12:00pm-12:30pm
Eat Carb Rich meal with protein and healthy fat: before 2:00pm

Ideal Post-Game Snacks

Research has found that a post recovery snack needs at least 6-20grams of protein and 30-60grams of carbohydrates. 4:1 ratio of carbs to protein

Note: The more intense and the longer the play, the more important it is the athlete eats both a snack and a full meal within this 2 hour window.