Eat to Compete
Eating a balanced, nutritious diet every day is more important than the pre-event meal. Making proper, wise food choices every day leading up to your competition should be given considerable thought. The pre-competition meal cannot compensate for a poor training diet. Also energy from the pre competition meal will not reach the muscles in time to help performance in a ski race.
Pre-Event Nutrition should:
- Prevent you from feeling hungry, yet not cause an uncomfortable full stomach
- Prevent low blood sugar and its symptoms of dizziness, fatigue, blurred vision, indecisiveness
- Provide nutrients that are easily digested in order to prevent stomach aches
- Provide adequate fluid balance
Pre-event nutrition is best if eaten 3-4 hours before competition with a small, well tolerated snack 1-1.5 hours before competition. For skiers this can be tricky. Try to eat a high carbohydrate meal the night before and 1.5-2 hours before your race eat a light breakfast of yogurt and a banana or a breakfast shake.
Ideally, Breakfast should be a combination of carbohydrates and proteins. Eggs, bacon and cheeses will leave you more mentally alert as the day progresses. Protein is not always well tolerated and so should be given more time to digest.
Recommended Pre-Race Meals:
- Oatmeal, toast with boiled or scrambled eggs, fruit, water and juice or milk
- Pancakes, lean bacon or egg, fruit, juice, water and milk
- Bagel, peanut butter or cheese, fruit, water and juice or milk
- Avoid highly sweetened foods (pop, pasteries, candy) and high fat foods (fries, chips)
What you consume between races or training runs has an immediate effect on your energy level due to the hormonal effects. Too much high glycemic carbohydrate will make you feel sleepy. Too heavy on fats and protein will create a sluggish feeling. If you have no appetite on competition days then try bland foods (oatmeal, bagel, sports bars and drinks.)
- Sport drink or bar, banana, other fruits, cereal bar, granola bar, fig Newton, unsweetened juice, water, low fat muffin
- Avoid highly sweetened foods (pop, pastries, candy) and high fat foods
Post Event Nutrition Recovery
It is important to have a snack after you finish training or racing. When you are training/racing at the higher levels, for optimal recovery, it is necessary to eat within 15 minutes after your warm down with your entire food and fluid needs consumed within 2 hours after exercise. At the entry levels, it is important to have a balanced healthy snack after skiing.
Nutrition consultant on the Alpine Ontario Sports Science Committee Susie Langley, recommends Carnation Instant Breakfast as an immediate recovery snack because of its favorable carbohydrate to protein ratio and has vitamins and mineral added.
Recommended Recovery Foods are:
- Protein supplement mixed with juice, milk, yogurt and fruit followed by a meal of pasta with meat sauce, salad and water.
- Begin with a sports drink then steak, baked potato, vegetables, salad and water.
- Begin with sports drink (8%) or juice, then chicken vegetable stir fry, rice and water.