T Nation

Thoughts on Competition Day Nutrition


#1

Here are some thoughts on the topic based on my research, but please chime in if you have suggestions.

*Beets/Beetroot Juice - Beets have been shown to reduce oxygen uptake requirements during prolonged periods of exercise. They also act as vasodilators and reduce blood pressure, among other benefits. To quote this article:

"Could eating beets/drinking beet juice before daily training help athletes train harder and thereby compete better? Perhaps. Nitrate-rich beets, concentrate beetroot juice â??shotsâ??, and other nitrate-rich foods (spinach, rhubarb, arugula) get converted into nitric oxide, which helps reduce the amount of oxygen needed during constant-work-rate exercise. Hence, for the same oxygen uptake, athletes who consume beet juice â??shotsâ?? might be able to exercise harder. For example, a runner might improve by 5 seconds a mile."

From, beginnertriathlete.com/cms/article-detail.asp?articleid=2656

I could see this being a big help as the competition day goes on (I have heard competitions can last over 6 hours, the one I am going to is all day).

*Dark Chocolate - I was surprised to read that dark chocolate might be very beneficial to weightlifters. Aside from having trace minerals and cardiovascular benefits, dark chocolate has a compound called Epicatechin which can improve stamina. This article provides an overview of an interesting study:

*Water - at least 1 gallon, maybe two

*peanuts/PB&J sandwiches - It seems like lost of people pack these, but I am not sure why. I would think that one would get sick to their stomach eating something so sugary/pasty/fatty. I can understand bringing a bag of mixed nuts, as peanuts are very high in calories and nutrients, and contain protein.


#2

I tend to have very little appetite on competition day, and usually have to force myself to eat/drink to prevent from cramping.

It’s pretty much nothing but simple carbs for me. I drink at least a gallon of Gatorade, eat kids breakfast cereal (first thing in the morning and then immediately post weigh in) and then spend the rest of the day snacking on poptarts between events (I try to eat 2 in between each event). I also drink a 240mg caffeine Rockstar before the first event, but otherwise keep caffeine low.

Specific nutrition is going to depend on what you’re used to. Day of isn’t the day to experiment for sure.


#3

Beet juice is a new one on me, but I would agree that if you’re going to experiment with something like that, try it several times for a training day. The last thing you want is explosive diarrhea during a competition.

For breakfast, I usually try to eat as close to my normal breakfast as possible for the sake of keeping my stomach settled. That means an omelet and oatmeal with coffee, milk, and water. I’ll sometimes try to sneak a few extra carbs in there as well. From then on, I eat carbs and fats for lots of energy. During the competition, I typically have a banana or two and sip on a post-workout type shake in between drinks of water. The longer I’ve competed, the less I’ve eaten during the actual show. I just want to stay hydrated and not be hungry.

After competition, I attempt to eat enough to feed an African country for a week. I usually try to drink enough beer to sink a ship as well, because I typically haven’t drank for months working up to the competition.


#4

[quote]BigAlSwede wrote:
After competition, I attempt to eat enough to feed an African country for a week. I usually try to drink enough beer to sink a ship as well, because I typically haven’t drank for months working up to the competition. [/quote]

I was alarmed with how much food I put away after my last competition and STILL didn’t feel full. It got to the point where I just had to intellectually understand that eating more was a bad idea, haha.


#5

Ya. I’ll try to convince myself that I need to calories for recovery, but in all honesty, it’s just gluttony.