It is well known that eating before a “match” is an important factor in performance. ''Match'' means a major sporting event, which may last several minutes and requires combination of aerobic (long, more than 1 hour) or anaerobic (short periods) training.
First of all, to clear up and fix few things:
A. Pre-competitive meal is a main meal taken 3-4 hours before exercise (contains 200-300g of carbohydrate, f.e.: bread, rice, macaroni, potato, corn).
B. Pre-competitive snacks are called the snack / snack taken just 1 hour before exercise (contains about 60 g carbohydrates).
C. Over 1 hour of exercise means that properly designed pre-competitive and pre-competitive snacks are needed as means of improving performance.
Proper design of a diet before the “match” means:
1st the athlete starts the “match” on an empty stomach, so this pre-competitive meal must be:
- taken 3-4 hours before exercise,
- rich in carbohydrates (over 60% of calories),
- low in fat and protein to make it easy to digest.
2nd The athlete does not have any gastrointestinal discomfort and, of course, does not feel hungry or dizzy after taking it. It is advisable to avoid food that generates gas, heartburn or a "volume" - such foods are beans, legumes, spicy products. Also, many simple carbohydrates (High Glycemic Index) - like common sugar, should be avoided as they increase the fluid content in the stomach causing nausea - "cramps", and may lead to diarrhea.
3rd Fuels! The pre-competitive meal should feed the blood and muscles with appropriate fuel. Such fuels are mainly carbohydrates. Thus, a meal rich in complex carbohydrates (about 200-300 g) with Medium Glycemic Index is recommended. It is recommended bread whole wheat, pasta whole wheat, rice, potatoes, fruits (fresh or dried). These foods contain little fiber and promote euglycemia.
No large amounts of protein - meat, dairy products, eggs, fish - are needed before the “match”, because such foods in large quantities increase urinary excretion and they are not needed as fuels like carbohydrates.
The pre-competitive snack (which follows the pre-competitive meal time) must come and supply again with fuel. The snack can be in:
- liquid form (sports drinks),
- semisolid form (banana, grape, sports gels),
- solid form (sports chocolates).
The snack should contain no fiber, contains only water and carbohydrates (1-2g carbohydrates / kg of weight).
4 Liquids! If the “match” lasts long - over 60 minutes - or if it is carried out in a "warm" environment, liquid adequacy must be ensured. Hydration starts from the previous 24-30 hours. This requires regular hydration, and also the absence of alcohol and diuretics. Before the “match”, plan a hypotonic or isotonic beverage (presence of 30-70 g carbohydrates / liter). Beverage containing water, electrolytes and carbohydrate combination (establish the presence of maltodextrin).
All of the above clearly require specialization and personalization. An expert (sports dietician) can help, taking into account the athlete's abilities (f.e. timing) and the requirements of the exercise:
a. evaluating & re-evaluating (who? what?)
b. diagnosis (identification of the problem if present, identification of risk factors, signaling of signs and symptoms),
c. intervening (formulation/definition of action plan, implementation of appropriate actions),
d. monitoring (progress, evaluation of results).