97G Rush PP Nike: My Site News: Sports Nutrition

Thursday, August 20
Sports Nutrition
Sports Nutrition Eating to Compete  Research can be grouped into four categories regarding the timing of eating: training days prior to competition, day of competition, during competition and after competition.  In brief, carbohydrates are the best choice so choose foods that give the most carbohydrate per serving.

Days Prior To CompetitionThe typical routine now is to gradually reduce training volume and intensity while increasing the fraction of the total diet that is carbohydrates.  This will help the muscles load up extra glycogen (the main fuel for muscles) for the game.

Five to six grams of carbohydrate per kilogram of body weight over a 24 hour period is the typical suggestion.  Remember, 2.2 lbs of body weight = 1 kilogram of body weight.

Day of Competition
Most pre-game meals are eaten in the 3-4 hours prior to competition.  But realize that the food eaten will have little to do with the energy expended in the game.  That comes from what was eaten in the 2-3 days prior to the game.

Remember the more calories (i.e. fat and protein) in a meal, the slower the food leaves the stomach.  Carbohydrates are always the best choice such as fruits, cereals, juices, pancakes, waffles, etc.  Try to avoid sausage, eggs, steak, or many other choices on the breakfast menu at a fast food restaurant. Food in general, carbohydrates in particular, should be avoided in the last hour before play.  Carbohydrates stimulate an insulin response which lowers blood sugar.  It also stimulates the production of serotonin, a chemical in the brain that reduces arousal (makes you listless and sleepy).  If something must be eaten, choose low glycemic index foods as they cause less of an insulin response.

Immediately prior to competition (in the minutes before kickoff), carbohydrates can be taken in.  The excitement of the game will counteract the insulin response and the fresh carbohydrates give the muscles an extra source of fuel.  The type of carbohydrate is important.  Foods should be of a moderate or high glycemic index (see table).  Carbohydrate supplement drinks work great.  "Clear" candies (jelly beans, "Gummy" candy, Skittles, etc.) are another choice.

Eating During CompetitionCarbohydrate supplement drinks given before the game and at halftime have been shown to increase running volume and intensity in the second half in soccer players. This is important to consider because goals become more frequent later in the game as players get tired.

Eating After The GameResearch has shown that muscle is most receptive for carbohydrate replacement in the first two hours after exhaustive exercise.  Therefore, it is important to eat some moderate to high glycemic index foods in the first two hours after a game.  Ideally eat/drink within 45 minutes (but there is a 2 hour window).  With two games in one day, it is necessary to get some carbohydrates back into the muscles quickly.  Replacing your glycogen storage levels quickly allows your body to recuperate faster and re-charge your fuel system for the next workout or event.  You may also find that you have fuller, tighter muscles as well as less muscle soreness.  Remember, fast foods are high in fat and protein and can remain in the stomach at the start of the next game (depending on when it was eaten and how much was eaten) and do not return much in the way of carbohydrates to the muscles.  Ideally, eat 50-75 grams of carbohydrate every two hours until you reach the total based on your weight (5-6 grams/kg body weight).  Do not get the idea that all the carbohydrate can be replenished in a couple of hours.  Under the best of conditions, it can take 20 hours to fully replenish muscle glycogen from muscles that have been completely depleted.

Eating for sports performance requires a bit of planning and clock watching but can lead to improvements in performance.  When done properly, the players will notice they have more energy during multiple games as well as late in games.

Glycemic Index Table
High Glycemic Foods

Syrups (e.g. maple, corn, cane), HoneyBagel, White BreadJams, Jellies PotatoMost CerealsRaisinsBananaWatermelonPineappleCarrotsCooked White RiceJelly BeansSkittlesPretzelsMost Candy Bars

 Moderate Glycemic Foods

Whole Grain BreadSpaghettiCornOatmealOrangesGrapes

 Low Glycemic Foods

YogurtPeanutsBeansPeasApplePeachPearMilk and Milk Products.

 Eating on the Road It is tough to eat on the road when traveling as an athlete.  Fast food is not always the best food of choice.  However, the following are the best choices you can make while traveling and attempting to eat for performance.

  • Orange juice
  • Low fat skim milk or chocolate milk
  • Lemonade
  • Gatorade


  • Pancakes, scrambled eggs, cereals
  • Turkey, ham or roast beef sub-sandwiches
  • Thick-crust veggie pizza
  • Charbroiled chicken sandwich
  • Chicken fajita
  • Baked potatoes
  • Chili
  • Hamburgers
  • Pasta with tomato-based sauces
  • Soft taco or burrito with rice and beans


  • Bagels
  • English muffin with jelly
  • Low-fat fruit yogurt
  • Italian bread sticks
  • Salad
  • Italian dressing
  • Salsa
  • Barbeque sauce

Omit - Avoid

  • Butter
  • Hash-browns
  • Bacon and Sausages
  • French fries
  • Special sauces
  • Cheese sauces
  • Mayonnaise
  • Creamy dressings
  • Tuna sub-sandwiches
  • Extra cheese on sandwiches
  • Pizza

High Performance Nutrition Tips
  • Post-event eating is just as important as pre-event eating to assure adequate recovery and decrease risk of fatigue and injury over the season.
  • Remember to drink water throughout the day.  Thirst is not the first indicator of dehydration.  Your body can be dehydrated long before you ever feel thirsty.
  • Eat energy bars in place of candy bars.
  • Consume 100 percent real fruit drinks in place of fruit juice drinks, fruit drinks, or fruit punch.
  • Eat fruit or pretzels in place of chips.
  • Drink water in place of soda.  Cola drinks can promote dehydration.
  • No time? Not hungry? Feeling stress before a big competition? Avoid fatigue and poor focus by making it a habit to consume a liquid meal supplement instead of skipping a meal or a snack.
  • Water and oranges, bananas, or pineapple juice within the first 15 minutes after practice or competition helps you re-hydrate, re-energize your muscles, and decreases muscle fatigue build-up over the season.
 Nutrition - a key towards ultimate performanceAs athletes become increasingly more aware of the role nutrition plays in performance, the level of increased performance will amaze them.  Sports experts, Olympians, and other athletes have barely scratched the surface when it comes to extending performance through nutrition.  Once you realize what can be accomplished by proper nutrition, look out!  The whole point of proper nutrition is to get your body into its healthiest and most efficient state - and keep it there.  That way, your metabolic processes can allow you to utilize nutrients more effectively and burn body fat more efficiently. Hydration Effects of Dehydration When playing hard in hot and humid weather, your body loses a lot of sweat.  This loss of sweat may cause poor sport performance and lead to muscle cramps, heat exhaustion, and even heat stroke.  Thirst is not a good indicator of fluid needs, so you must force yourself to drink early and often, whenever there are stoppages in play.  When working in a dehydrated state, your heart has to work harder.  This is because some of the water in sweat comes from the blood.  When there is less blood in the body, the heart has to pump faster to supply the oxygen in the blood to all the tissues.  Therefore, if you weigh yourself after exercising and find that you have lost 5 lbs, you have likely lost water weight from the sweat.  Players should aim to drink enough during training sessions and matches so that their body weights after play are within about 1 kg (2.2 lb) of their starting weights.   Sports DrinksAlthough water is better than nothing, research studies have shown definitively that replacing sweat losses with a carbohydrate-electrolyte sports drink has real advantages over water.  The carbohydrates supply energy, and the carbs plus electrolytes stimulate thirst and accelerate the restoration of body fluids when compared to water.  Sports drinks containing moderate amounts of carbohydrate and electrolytes, especially sodium, are better than plain water in maintaining hydration during soccer play and in rehydrating during recovery.  Soccer players usually do not drink enough fluids during practice and competition to adequately replace their sweat losses.  For a light workout or an easy match, especially when the weather is cool, water can be an adequate fluid replacement if enough is ingested.  But when play is strenuous and the weather is hot, carbohydrate-electrolyte sports drinks do a better job of maintaining body fluids.   It is important for soccer players, especially those involved in tournaments requiring rapid recovery between matches, to replace sweat losses that were not matched by drinking during the game.  Because drinking fluids stimulates urine formation, players should drink a greater volume during recovery than the weight lost.  The current recommendation is to drink about 50% more in volume than the amount of weight lost, e.g., 1.5 L/kg of weight lost or 1.5 pints/lb (Shirreffs et. al, 1996).  In these situations, sports drinks are best for rehydration after exercise because they replace water, carbohydrates, and electrolytes.  Sports drinks are also more beneficial because they stimulate thirst and minimize urine production.  Gatorade is specifically formulated to have the appropriate amount of carbohydrate and electrolyte levels for the body to absorb.   CaffeineIf you choose to drink a caffeinated beverage, be aware that caffeine is a diuretic which causes increased urine output and at the same time inhibits the reabsorption of sodium and water.  Side effects include sleep deprivation, nausea, cramping, anxiety, fatigue, headaches, and gastrointestinal instability.  For athletes, caffeine has more disastrous effects that may affect performance.  These side effects include muscle tightness, muscle cramping, and dehydration.  The threat of any of these problems during competition is enough to make any athlete think twice before using caffeine in a major event.  Caffeine is listed as a banned substance with the IOC.  Research has shown that caffeine can enhance performance for endurance sports (2 hours or more), but there is no apparent benefit for short term, high intensity exercise (e.g. sprinting).