The Pre-Event Meal
The pre-competition meal provides a final opportunity to top up the muscle and liver fuel stores. A high-carbohydrate, low fat meal is the best choice. You might like to adapt one of your everyday meals to suit your event timetable, or you may have some special pre-game eating rituals. Larger meals should be consumed 2-4 hours prior to your event whilst lighter snacks can be consumed 1-2 hours beforehand. For events later in the day you might like to combine these strategies. We are all different when it comes to what feels comfortable and gives us confidence. Whatever you choose, make sure that you try it during training or practice matches to fine tune your plan – never do something new on the day of an important event.
Examples of suitable pre-event meals
- Cereal + milk or yoghurt
- Toast, muffins or crumpets with jam or honey
- Canned spaghetti on toast
- Pancakes with syrup or honey
- Fresh or canned fruit
- Pasta with vegetarian or other low-fat sauces
- Rice dishes with low-fat sauces, or creamed rice
- Sandwiches or rolls with low-fat fillings
- Fruit smoothie
- Liquid meal supplement
What to eat before training?
In most cases, to sufficiently saturate the athlete’s body with proteins and carbohydrates, it is necessary to eat well for 2-3 hours before the gym. The ideal choice of nutrition before training will be complex sources of carbohydrates (primarily rice, potatoes or buckwheat) and some meat with a minimum of fat (for example, chicken breast).
The emphasis on carbohydrates is due to the fact that the body takes at least 4-5 hours to fully digest meat – whereas for cereals it takes no more than two hours to digest (1). For the same reason, immediately after strength training, for the growth of muscles, it is necessary to take a portion of whey protein with a fast absorption rate, which provides muscles with an important protein.