What to eat on competition day?20 January 2013
A turkey the size of your self should be just enough protein for a day of competition.
But ok, I know from first hand experience how hard it can be to fuel your self during a long weekend of high intensity competitions. In 2011 I listen to some well meant, but still bad, advice about supplementing with carbohydrate drinks (read sugar), containing a lot of electrolytes to avoid cramping, before, during and after events. Stupidly enough I didn't try any of the products before the competition and all of a sudden my body went into slow gear, not knowing how to use the new "fuel" at all. In 2012 on day 2 of the African Regionals, I simply let my laziness drift me away from a meal plan I had been using every day for months before the competition. I missed a meal and all of a sudden coming into event #4, after feeling so good about winning event #3, I had no energy what so ever. Gassing out after 3 minutes in a 22 minute event is not a pleasant feeling, trust me. Anyway, learn from my mistake and try to follow the points below and you will be able to perform at the very top of your ability all way through a weekend of gruelling competition!
* Stay with the same food sources you do every day! Trying to add new staples as energy for your body will simply turn into you feeling like a Ferrari running on corn syrup. Anything you want to use during the day of competition needs to be tested out well in advance to see how your body responds to it. Prepare the same meals that you eat in a normal week and Tupperware the sh#t out of your competition bag.. * Meal Timing is Individual. Some people can eat a big meal right before going into a high intensity WOD, most can't. Stuffing down a Guido Style double patty Hudson's Burger with sweet potato crisps and a huge milkshake 5 minutes before doing 'Fran' is not advisable, unless you like hurling like the scary little girl in the Exorcist. But, you have to figure your own meal timing out by your self. As a general guideline however I would say big meals +3 hours before high intensity training and small snacks at least an hour before starting an event. (This can be very tricky in a competition if the events are close, but if so try to at least have smaller servings in between rather than skipping it all together). * Don't. Miss. A. Meal... After each event you need to eat immediately! This is not easy. You will feel depleted after some events and if it is a high lactid acid WOD you just finished, eating is pretty much the last thing on your mind. But, and this is a big but, if you don't fuel up immediately after each event you will crash. Force your self to eat, bring a blender and mix your grass fed beef, broccoli and sweet potato into an IV or something. I don't care how you do it. Just eat. * Eat more. On a competition day you will most likely put your body through more work than you ever do on a normal day. Multiple events, the stress before and in between WOD's, and the simple fact that your adrenaline will be pumping throughout almost the entire day will not only be very stressful on your body, but also burn a hell of a lot more energy. Try to use easy to eat food sources like nuts and biltong as snacks, add easily digested sugars as honey, and maybe chew some extra sweet potatoes for longer energy output throughout the day. Anything that helps you get more fuel works. * Supplements? With risk of sounding like a broken record: they have to be tested out before the day of competition! I don't care if your friend just completed an Ironman and swears that this new super energy gel was the only thing getting him through it. If you chose to use protein shakes, carbohydrate loading products or similar because it is "easier" to drink your "food", please make sure you know it works for you, and PLEASE don't see it as a replacement for real food. Supplement means in addition to, at least it should in your world from now on. * Should I load the days before? Well, most likely your training will be taken down in volume the week/weeks before a competition. This is the perfect time to let your body recover 100% from old niggles and a high volume training program, and for that it needs plenty of energy. Don't be afraid of eating bigger meals the last few days before a competition. However, there is no need for you to all of a sudden eat five bowls of pasta per day to "carbo load", only gain you gonna have from that is in weight added to the scale. If there is a running event I'll gladly lend you my weight west if you are keen on making it harder on your self. Actually what I'm trying to say is that doing 100 Chest to bar pull ups with 5 kilos extra hanging from your waist may in some cases be good in training. In competition, not so much.. Not so hard hey? Now go to the convenience store and stock up! Don't forget the zip loc bags. PS. Funny enough this post was written after a beautiful chocolate brownie induced mid day nap, needless to say I will bring a bag full of them to the Fittest in Cape Town next weekend! Coach Chris
Best competition food ever! (For people without a sarcasm detection system: this is a joke).