What to eat before a competition?

Bien se nourrir la veille d'une compétition sportive

What to eat before a competition?

On the eve of a competition and on the day itself, it’s important to think carefully about what you eat. Zooming in on foods for optimal performance.

It goes without saying that there’s no point watching your diet in the run-up to an event if you are not taking care of your body on a daily basis. It’s important to offer it a
balanced diet day to day. It’s equally important, however, not to lose sight of the pleasure factor when talking about food and those moments when certain healthy treats are necessary. Nevertheless, it’s better not to succumb to the temptation on the eve of a major competition. Here’s why.

Common rules

Different foods are suitable for different sports, but there are some common rules for all sportsmen and sportswomen. It’s important to eat your final proper meal 3 or 4 hours before you start your effort. That gives you time to digest and saves you having to start physical activity on a full stomach. Eat light and choose what you eat carefully (See below). Have a snack on hand to nibble one hour before the start of physical activity.

Finally, it’s vital to keep drinking if you want to perform at your best. It’s a good idea to have a bottle of water with you and force yourself to take regular sips. Athletes generally need 3.5 litres a day. You need to drink this much in the days running up to the competition as well as on the day itself.

A diet rich in carbohydrates

They are quickly digested and provide the energy and fuel you will need once the competition starts.
– Simple carbohydrates: fruits, certain sugar-based vegetables and foods. Limit the amount and, unlike other carbohydrates, eat them an hour or so before the start of the
competition.
– Complex carbohydrates: grains or cereal products, pulses or legumes such as potatoes, rice, coucous, quinoa, pasta, bread…

Limit your intake of protein

Animal proteins are hard to digest and it takes the body at least 7 hours to assimilate them. They can have a negative effect on the body just before a competition because
they offer you little that is of use and can even leave you feeling bloated. Far better to eat vegetable protein.

Cut out fats

Avoid fried food, sauces, fatty cheeses… before the competition. They are hard to digest and could adversely affect your performance.

Avoid candies, sweets or sugary snacks

Eat fruit, fresh, dried or stewed, in the hours before you start your physical activity. Avoid sweets and products based on refined sugar. Any sugar rush you get from them is likely to fade rapidly and trigger a generalised drop in energy.

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