Pay Attention: Training Tips Here
Farwell posts tips regularly to her page on the Collegiate web site about everything from anterior cruciate ligament injuries to concussions to whether to use Tylenol or Advil.
You can find her advice on the Athletic Training Tips page. Check it weekly for new information.
Here is her latest:
1/6: Pre-game Nutrition
We discussed the importance of nutrition post-exercise but what about before exercise? What you put into your body can greatly influence performance. Pre-exercise nutrition is also greatly individualized to each person – what works for one person may not for another so it is important to find out what the right foods are for your body.
When should I eat?
Food will give you the fuel you need for exercise. Think of your body as a gas tank: if you don’t have fuel in your system the body will not run properly. On the other hand, having too much in your system may lead to complications such as stomach upset, nausea, and cramping which can diminish performance. Timing when to consume nutrients is crucial because you want enough to get you through activity but not too much to slow you down. Eating a solid meal 4 hours before exercise and a snack/sports drink that is easily digestible 1-2 hours before exercise will provide your body with enough energy without overloading.
What should I eat?
Glucose is the preferred energy source for most exercise so foods high in carbohydrates should be the focus of your pre-workout meal. Protein and Fat should not be ignored, however, because once the carbohydrate stores are used up, your body will then turn to Fat and Protein for fuel. Eating a snack/meal that combines carbohydrates, proteins, and fat is ideal. You also want to make sure you are eating foods that settle easily in the stomach so foods high in fat or fiber can be difficult and slow to digest.
EXAMPLES OF FOODS TO EAT: Apples, bananas, sports drinks, yogurt, dried cereal, dried fruit, almonds, nutrition bars (personally a fan of Kind and Odwalla bars), peanut butter and jelly, half a bagel with peanut butter, crackers, energy gels.
EXAMPLES OF FOODS NOT TO EAT: Anything from a fast-food restaurant, pizza, chips, candy bars… this should be obvious! Additionally, although raw vegetables and salads are healthy they should not be eaten close to activity as the body takes a longer time to digest fiber.
Bottom Line: Each person is different when it comes to finding the foods that work best for optimal performance. Key guidelines include eating a solid meal 3-4 hours and snacks/fluids 1-2 hours before activity, avoiding foods high in fat or fiber, and choosing foods high in carbohydrates in order to prepare the body well for exercise.