On the big day that you’ve been working towards, there are a few focus areas when it comes to nutrition. Make sure that your food is easy to digest. This means low in protein, fat and fibre, smaller portions and, primarily, food that you are familiar with. You want to start your training/competition feeling light, so you’re advised to avoid wholemeal bread, pasta, oatmeal, brown rice and fruit.
Instead, choose a carbohydrate-rich meal that is low in fibre, protein and fats, such as white bread and jam, honey, banana sandwiches, pancakes with brown sugar, cornflakes with low-fat milk, white pasta with tomato sauce and white rice with sweet and sour sauce. You are better off testing this type of meal at home in the run-up to your competition so that you know which meal feels best when exercising.
Make sure that you have between three and four hours between your last main meal and the competition. You must give your body the time to digest the meal and convert it into energy. Around one and a half hours before the competition, you are advised to eat an energy-rich snack such as a banana, a piece of gingerbread or an energy bar.
If the competition lasts more than one and a half to two hours, then ‘carb-loading’ is a good idea. This will mean you start with a full ‘tank’. This is not necessary for shorter events and could even be detrimental in view of the corresponding weight gain.
Drinking is also vital on the day of the competition. Start with water, coffee or tea for breakfast and then carry on drinking all day.