A good Tuesday to everyone! Today’s subject was inspired by a post from another strength coach that I very much respect and it turned the gears for me. Fueling yourself or your young athlete for competition, it’s not something that should be breezed over by any stretch. Whether you’re talking about a weekend warrior in some sort of adult recreational or club league, or a young athlete getting ready for a competition, match, game, etc… you must eat something beforehand.
I understand that early start times make that very difficult to some. It’s not in my scope to tell you exactly what to eat. I can share stuff and strategies I’ve found helpful for the entirety of my playing days.
I don’t have time to eat, I have an early kickoff, tip-off, so on…Get to bed!
Alright, never mind the fact that sleep is kind of important if you’re going to be running around the next day trying to compete, it’s also helpful for those early start times. As someone that’s experienced the path of wake late up, scramble for what little food I’ll be able to digest and then wake up even more on the ride to the pitch, I can tell you, that ends poorly 9 times out 10. The best I’ve felt with those lovely 7 AM kickoff times is when I got my butt to bed at a reasonable hour (that might be a loose term for some of my younger days) got up a little earlier and got a decent meal in, with time to digest it.
I feel weighed down when I eat before a game. What’s your body using for fuel at the end of the game then?
Firstly, without getting into too much of the nutrition side, the simplest answer is probably to change up what you eat pre-game. Most importantly though, the simple science of it is, your body is going to need the energy from a food source when you reach that 4th quarter, 80th minute, 3rd period and the like. What happens if it doesn’t have that food source to use? Assuming you’re still playing it’s going to use other resources, like your muscles, to break down for energy. Yes, you guessed it, once that starts happening you are simply waiting for an injury to happen. Sounds like a crappy trade off if you ask me.
Side note: I’m a fan of smoothie when there’s an early kickoff in my future, make it the night before and stick it in the fridge.
These are the most likely things going through an athletes head when they have an early start time of any sorts. I'm sure there's others I didn't cover and strategies that others have found successful. This is just my 2 cents on a very broad topic. Hope folks found this worth the read and I appreciate your time. Have a week everyone!
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Jarrod Dyke, CSCS