Updated: Nov 10, 2022
Whatever category your competition falls in, if you want to perform and get the most out
of your body. Preparation is key. Many people think if they aren't an elite athlete then nutrition and general preparation prior to these comp days might be excessive. But if you're exercising more than 5-6 hours a week at a high intensity or high volume, you need to be thinking about sports nutrition. You are doing your body a disservice if you're not. Or on the contrary, you might have an unsettling level of competitiveness (like myself) and want to incorporate all those 1% to get that podium position. Whichever class you reside in, this article is for you.
PROTEIN & CARBOHYDRATES
Balanced macronutrients are the staple of good nutrition. I find they are incredibly
underrated in the sports performance realm. People are often looking for the next
miracle supplement that will give them a boost in performance or strength. But if you
don't lay down a good foundation, then no amount of supplements are going to give you
the results you want.
Protein for an active person should be anywhere between 1.6-2.0g per kg of body
E.g., if you weigh 70kg, you want approx. 126g of protein a day.
This can seem like a lot, and granted.
Reaching protein targets is hard.
Leading up to a comp, I've been known to be sitting in the kitchen forcing down a Kvarg
protein tub, giving myself a pep talk between each mouthful.
But protein is vital for muscle growth, recovery and performance. Without it, you're not
going to reach your goals. Simple.
Because protein is required for so many functions throughout the body, if your body
doesn't get enough, it will start to break down muscle tissue. This can cause issues for
performance, muscle building, recovery and body composition.
Us everyday athletes don’t want this.
Worry less about getting a protein shake in after gym, and more about reaching your
targets in adequate feedings throughout the day. Ideally 20-40g of protein per meal.
I love carbs, please don’t be scared of carbs. They love you too.
They’re your power bank when it comes to performance. Your body prefers carbs as fuel
source and will use them readily during sport. You know those sessions where you’re
ready to collapse by the halfway mark?
Yeah. Carbs can help there.
For the carb-phobia inclined person, I recommend having a small carb hit before
training. Have 2 dates or half a banana 20-30 minutes beforehand, that way it’ll reach
your bloodstream while you’re moving, to get you through that energy crash near the
end of a workout.
On the day of the comp, getting in a slightly higher carb meal 1.5-2 hours prior is ideal.
My go-to is porridge or oats, with a bit of protein and fat to balance the meal.
AKA a miracle worker.
It does so much, but in terms of sport, exercise depletes magnesium and a deficiency
can impair performance. It's also great for sleep which can help in much needed
Aim for 300mg-600mg a day.
L-Carnitine has the ability to improve endurance capacity and reduce lactic acid build up
(you know that delightful burning, legs like lead feeling). By increasing your endurance
capacity, this directly translates to better sprint performance and time to exhaustion.
We love that.
Helps to "clean up" muscle damage after training. It does this by reducing inflammation
and increasing muscle recovery while reducing muscle soreness.
Take in juice form after exercise, that way it can also double up as a carb source for
Recovery is a part of training. Arguably, one of the most important aspects.
You could be doing all the right things but without adequate rest incorporated into your
schedule, you might never reach the goals you want to.
In super simple terms, if you're not resting, your muscles aren't recovering. if your
muscles aren't recovering, you will not be able to perform at your peak.
Aim for 1-2 rest days, I love 1 rest day and 1 active recovery day.
And enjoy your rest days! Because if you were drawn to read this article, then you've no
doubt earned it.
But as with everything, these changes need to happen gradually. Making drastic
changes in a day will not mean you wake up as Lebron James. You need to find your
bodies best macro ratios, what sources it prefers, what timing it prefers.
Make small changes over time.
Give your body the time to adapt to changes and it will reward you.
Lastly, don’t go changing up your routine the day of a competition. Especially that week
leading up. Have a plan and stick to it. The body prefers routine so have your meals,
training and rest days planned. Then all you have to do is follow it.
This is really the bones of competition preparation. If you want to know more or have a
plan created specifically for you, then you can book in for a sport’s nutritional
assessment with myself!