What to Eat Before You Compete

The purpose of a pre-game meal is to provide your body with optimal fuel and protect muscles during competition without deterring from competition in any way.  Here’s a quick guide on how you should eat before you compete.

The night before competition:

  1. Lean Protein. 4-8 oz. of chicken breast, turkey breast, fish, pork loin, lean beef, eggs, beans, or low fat dairy.  Baked/broiled/grilled- not fried/breaded or sauced.
  2. Long lasting carbohydrates. One serving more than normal of whole grain rice, sweet or regular potatoes, veggies, fruit, soup, or whole grain breads.
  3. Water. Drink 16 oz. more than you are used to drinking at dinner.

The day of competition:

4 hours pre-competition:
  1. Lean Protein. At least 30 grams of chicken breast, turkey breast, fish, pork loin, lean beef, eggs, beans, or low fat dairy.  Baked/broiled/grilled- not fried/breaded or sauced.
  2. Long lasting carbohydrates.  Normal serving  (60 grams) of whole grain rice, sweet or regular potatoes, veggies, fruit, soup, or whole grain breads.
  3. Water. Drink 20 oz. of water.
1 ½ hours pre-competition*:
  1. Lean Protein. At least 10 grams of the above listed proteins.
  2. Long lasting carbohydrates.  30 grams of carbohydrates like the ones listed above.
  3. Water. Drink 20 oz. of water.

*If you are not able to eat 4 hours pre-competition, increase the protein to 30 grams and carbohydrates to 50 grams.

20- 30 minutes pre-competition:
  1. Quick carbohydrates. 15-30 grams carbohydrate from Gatorade, honey, fruit, etc.
During Competition:
  1. Carbohydrate. 15 grams of carbohydrate per 45 minutes/hour.  Trail mix, bars, dried fruit, etc.
  2. Fluid. 8 oz. of fluid per 30 minutes
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About The Author

Mindy Black

Mindy Black is an experienced Registered Dietitian in Jacksonville, Florida. She specializes in sports nutrition & weight management. Mindy graduated from the University of Florida with a B.S. in Food Science and Human Nutrition and a Masters in Exercise Physiology. Past experience includes serving as a Sports Nutritionist for the University of Florida Athletic Association, and she currently works independently with many professional and elite athletes. Mindy is Board Certified as a specialist in Sports Dietetics through the American Dietetic Association. The Board Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics (CSSD) is the premier professional sports nutrition credential in the U.S. Being Board Certified as a Specialist in Sports Dietetics designates specific knowledge, skills, and expertise for competency in sports dietetics practice. You can find Mindy online at www.mindyblack.com.