YMCA Healthy Living Magazine, powered by n4 food and health (Spring 2014) - Page 19

SPORTS DIETITIANS AUSTRALIA To find out more about adequate eating and drinking before sport, check out the full fact sheet by Sports Dietitians Australia, available for free at www.sportsdietitians.com.au/content/4347 EatingandDrinkingbeforeCompetition Or to find an Accredited Sports Dietitian visit www.sportsdietitians.com.au/findasportsdietitian training or competition needs, and be based on foods and fluids you know will be well tolerated. Experimenting with your competition plan during training is highly recommended. Trying new foods or fluids on the day of an important competition or event is unwise. A favourite pre-event meal can be a great confidence booster and will assist in getting you “in the zone” and ready to go! When should I eat and drink before exercise? Typically, we recommend that the pre-event meal is consumed two to four hours before competition. The decision will vary according to the type and timing of the event, and individual responses. You need to allow enough time for the meal to be emptied from the stomach, including extra time for the delayed emptying that might accompany pre-event nerves. It is important to get the right balance of gut comfort – neither being too full at the start of exercise nor hungry late in the session. Some individuals can tolerate food closer to training or competition, especially if there is only a limited recovery time from a previous event. In this case, fluids containing carbohydrate, such as sports drinks or liquid meal supplements can also be used effectively to meet precompetition eating goals. For events in the morning, an individual might schedule their breakfast two to three hours beforehand. In the case of a very early start, another option is to have a larger supper the night before and a lighter snack or fluids only one to two hours before the event. Those competing later in the day may choose to eat their normal meals in the earlier part of the day and then have a light snack one to two hours prior to the event. Should I eat before exercise if I am trying to lose weight? Many individuals believe that if they want to lose weight, they will burn more fuel from body fat by not eating before an exercise session. However, the basis of a good weight loss plan is to modify daily energy balance while maintaining quality training outputs. In many cases, an appropriate sized meal or snack eaten before training will support better training outputs or intensities, and can prevent the individual from becoming so hungry that the exercise session becomes excessively uncomfortable, tiring and/or drives the person to overeat after the session. Decisions about eating before training eating should be made as part of the bigger picture of your nutrition goals. For example, a healthy breakfast will provide the immediate nutrients needed for exercise as well as for other purposes (e.g. appetite control, fibre intake, muscle repair and rebuilding and other body adaptations to exercise). In summary • Choose high carbohydrate, low fat foods that are familiar and well tolerated. • Experiment in training with the timing and type of meals and snacks to suit individual preferences and your sport. • Practice different pre-exercise eating ideas in training, not during competition. • Develop a good pre-exercise drinking strategy to start exercise well hydrated. • Try a liquid or low fibre meal if pre-competition nerves or other factors cause gastrointestinal tract upset. • Monitor the effects of food and drink choices on your performance. SPRING 2014 YMCA HEALTHY LIVING MAGAZINE 19