You’ve busted your tail all season. There were days when you were working out before the sun had even come up. You have even put parts of your social and personal life on the backburner to prepare for this moment. Tomorrow you will wake up, hoping to go to bed a winner—maybe even a champion. If you were willing to do all the work to get to this moment, why would you be willing to risk improper nutrition for your event?
OUTLAST THE COMPETITION
At all levels of competition, it is not uncommon to see photo finishes, ninth inning runs, third period goals or fourth quarter points to win. Sometimes winning simply comes down to outlasting a competitor.
What you eat before a big competition can help you outlast the opposition. Lots of people eat a pasta dinner the day before an event, but one size does not fit all. Don’t guess about your nutrition and just eat that pasta dinner like everyone else. Spend the time to find out what fuel your body prefers.
Each person is different. Everyone has different metabolic needs and digestive preferences. No one can feel what you are feeling, but with a little guidance, you can discover what you should be eating. You practice the physical components of your sport every day, so why not dedicate one or two days per week to train your nutrition program? For many athletes, this can be the difference between winning and losing
EXPERIMENT IN ADVANCE
You shouldn’t experiment with your diet right before the big day, but you should take the time to examine it well in advance. If you train hard enough, you have had training days where you think you are going to die. You live through them and are stronger for them, but most likely you learn something from the experience. These are the workouts that you can use to experiment with different pre-competition diets.
When you know a tough workout is coming, treat that day like a competition. Prepare the exact same way you would prepare for the big event. There will be days when you make mistakes with your diet and don’t get the most out of it, but that’s OK. Make mistakes on these weeks instead of competition weeks.
As you refine your plan, you will make fewer mistakes with fueling and you will see performance improvements. Don’t be afraid to deviate from your normal diet, but keep it within reason. Follow a few basic rules and develop a few simple goals to start.
Rules of the Road
There are a few basics rules to keep in mind:
- You want to have quality mineral levels.
- You should be well hydrated.
- You want good energy stores.
None of these happen overnight.