Pregame Meal Information:
- Try to achieve the largest possible storage of carbohydrates (glycogen) in both resting, muscle, and liver. This storage is particularly important for endurance activities but may also be beneficial for intense, short duration exercise.
- A stomach that is full of food during contact sports is subject to injury. Therefore, the type of food eaten should allow the stomach to empty quickly. Carbohydrates are easier to digest than are fats or proteins. A meal that contains plenty of carbohydrates will leave the stomach and be digested faster than a fatty meal. It would be wise to replace that traditional steak-and-eggs pre-event meal with a low-fat one containing a small amount of pasta, tomato sauce, and bread.
- Liquids consumed should be easily absorbed and low in fat content and should not act a laxative. Whole milk, coffee, and tea should be avoided. Water intake should be increased, especially if the temperature is high.
- A pregame meal should be eaten approximately 3-4 hours before the event or before exercising. This timing allows for adequate stomach emptying, but the individual will not feel hungry during activity.
Information from: Prentice, William E., and Daniel D. Arnheim. Arnheim's Principles of Athletic Training: A Competency-based Approach. New York: McGraw-Hill Higher Education, 2011. Print.
- It is essential that the athlete be aware of the importance of ingesting sufficient fluids throughout the 24 hour period preceding exercise to make certain that the athlete is appropriately hydrated. The best way to check this is to monitor the color of the urine. The urine should appear to be light yellow (color of lemonade). If it is completely clear, this may indicate over hydration. Dark urine (the color of cider) indicates dehydration.
- To ensure proper hydration, the athlete should consume 17-20 ounces of water. During activity water should be consumed at a minimal rate if 7-10 ounces every 10-20 minutes.
- The addition of proper amounts of carbohydrates and electrolytes to a fluid replacement solution is recommended for exercise events that last longer than 50 minutes or are intense.
- For vigorous exercise lasting less than one hour, the addition of carbohydrates and electrolytes does enhance physical performance.
- It has been shown that replacing lost fluids with an appropriately formulated sports drinks is more effective than using water alone. Sports drinks replace both the fluids and the electrolytes that are lost in sweat, and they provide energy in the form of carbohydrates to the working muscles.