The most important thing about competition nutrition is to find and USE what works best for YOU. Having said that, here are some useful tips…
1. Stay hydrated. This should be in-practice throughout your training, so it should pose no real problem. 3L of fluid per day for 170 lb. athlete – adjust volume up or down by bodyweight.
2. Eat carbs to fuel activity. Avoid fats and overly processed sugar (sugar-cereal, pastries, etc) until after your competition on a given day. Eat high carb, moderate protein foods or drinks pre- and in-competition.
3. Eat a moderate to high calorie breakfast (or dinner the night before if early a.m. comp). DO THIS! It is the energy that FUELS your performance.
4. Stick to foods and drinks that you are somewhat familiar with. The day of your most important competition is not the day to find out that _____ gives you the cha-cha’s.
5. Be certain you have adequate sodium, potassium, and magnesium in your every-day diet. These electrolytes go hand-in-hand with proper hydration. V-8 or a like drink is an easy way to cover all of these electrolytes. Salted almonds + raisins work, too.
DO NOT complicate this! The training you have put in is ALWAYS the main thing. Stay fueled for competition by covering all of the basics first, and then fine-tuning anything else. Personally – for whatever reason – I train and compete well with a training drink (usually Metabolol II or Accelerade), Gatorade or Cytomax, and Snickers bars. This works for me (Why? Who cares?!?), so this is what I use… just be sure to use what works for YOU!
Easy Action Tips
– Drink plenty of fluids all week
– Eat breakfast every day
– Eat familiar carb foods/drinks around competition (and training)
– Drink V-8 or something similar during the week
– Eat to fuel your performance (usually more, not less) the day before
Again – this is not complicated, so just do it. There are no magic bullets – and should you need to fall back on something it will always be the training you have put in; not a drink, a pill, or whatever.
The above products I mentioned I trust – but mostly because they have worked for ME, they are from reliable companies, and they are readily available. Follow the easy action tips and fine-tune the rest to suit YOU.
- by John Coffman, FasterSwimming.com Contributing Writer