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Tournament / competition food


Ataraxia

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Let's first assume (even if you don't agree) that during a tournament or competition, performance is more important than eating nutritiously.

 

I eat very clean in general.  But at fencing tournaments I want a lot of easily available carbs so I can blast through a lot of calories while competing.

 

But then, I'm not a sports nutritionist.  I have a tournament this weekend and want to kick a lot of ass.  What should I eat the morning of the competition, during, after?

Hostile intent is imminent. You prepare for battle.

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I usually rock toast with peanut butter, banana and honey, and maybe a hard booiled egg or two.. I tend to do something like sushi for lunch. Tends to be a bit lighter, and I don't have problems with after taste or burps or anything. For dinner. Eat whatever the hell you want. You just spent the day competing. I usually go to BJ's for their double burger and strawberry lemonade.

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Fencing will primarily stress your anaerobic pathways.  The two substrates that are most likely to deplete to the point of affecting your performance are phosphagens and glycogen.  Of these, phosphagens will be more of a limiting factor during individual attacks and bouts (you'll deplete about 50% of them after 30sec, which is when you'll start relying more on fast glycolysis), and glycogen will be more of a limiting factor for your ability to do an extended fight and go through multiple fights over the course of the day (how much you deplete is variable).  With adequate rest/nutrition, you can fully replete your phosphagens after about 8 minutes, and your glycogen stores in 24 hours.

 

So, what to do.

 

First off, take a break from training the day before competition and make sure you eat your carbs.  This will ensure your muscles are fully stocked with glycogen come competition.

 

Depending on how you feel about it, you can influence your phosphagen recovery by taking creatine.  Keep in mind, the creatine will primarily help your very short bursts - it won't be what gets you through the whole day.  Your body needs glycogen to get it through multiple fights that each last minutes.

 

You can significantly replete your glycogen stores by immediately taking a 3:1 carb:protein mix after every other fight or so (I say immediately, but don't sweat it if takes you a while to grab your shake).  Although glycogen repletion is more on the order of hours rather than minutes, you should be able to derive some practical benefit from the mix for your competition.

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People love to get super custom when designing their shakes; honestly though, I've always just done low-fat chocolate milk.  It has the 3:1 ratio, it's cheap and easily available, and the research shows it's equivalent to carb/protein "specialty" mixes you can buy.  Take two cups worth after your first fight, and another two cups 2 hours afterwards (or however the timing makes sense with your schedule).  That should get you the right total amount of carbs and protein for your bodyweight.  If downing 2 cups at once then lurching into a fight five minutes later would make your stomach mad, sipping it through the day is fine too.

 

I don't use creatine, so I'm not sure of the best brands / how to take it.  This site though has a section on creatine that may help give you an idea:

 

http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/muscle-gain/supplements-part-2.html

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