Thursday, October 11, 2012

Heathly Half-Time Fuel for the Performance Athlete

Do you compete in a high-intensity, endurance sport (like soccer) with minimal breaks during games? 
Do you find yourself without any opportunities to hydrate or fuel during competition? 
Do you have a hard time eating a pregame meal because of a nervous stomach or "butterflies"?

Competing at a high-intensity for long periods of time without a break can leave you dehydrated and fatigued from low energy, especially if you do not hydrate and fuel properly before competition.

Consider this:
Three main causes of exercise fatigue and impaired sports performance are:
  1. dehydration
  2. reduced energy stores in muscles ("glycogen")
  3. low blood sugar levels
For some sports, the only opportunity for a break is half-time.

Rehydrating and refueling during competition (at half-time) can help keep sports performance at optimal levels and help get you through the second half of the game, especially those crucial final minutes when physical and mental fatigue can really take a toll. This is even more important if you consider those unexpected overtime periods that sometimes occur.

Halftime is a great opportunity to refuel and rehydrate. Fluids provide the much needed hydration for your body to cool itself and maintain its optimal temperature. Carbohydrate foods provide the much needed glucose (sugar) your brain and muscles use during competition.

Here are some half-time snack suggestions that provide your body with the much needed fluids and fuel (glucose) to stay strong, delay fatigue, and keep your performance high. These foods are high in water content, high in carbohydrates, and low in fat so they digest quickly.

  • Sports Drinks (Gatorade) or water
  • Bananas
  • Strawberries
  • Grapes
  • Cut-up melon
  • Sliced oranges
  • Apple wedges

Remember one of the most important rules of sports nutrition:
Never try anything new for the first time on GAME DAY!!!  
Try different carbohydrate foods during practice first to see if they settle well in your stomach.
Everyone is different. What works for a teammate, may not work for you.

Fuel Excellence!