What to eat before a race Food table and correct diet

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With the term "competition nutrition" we want to indicate that diet that the athlete should keep from the days preceding the sporting performance to the days immediately following.

Correct management of the daily food ration is, in fact, essential to achieve and maintain maximum performance.

The greater the importance, the longer the athletic performance that will be tackled, that is, with a duration of more than 40 minutes.

We can determine four phases: feeding in the days before the competition (pre-competition feeding), feeding 30-40 minutes before the competition (waiting ration), feeding during the competition and feeding after the competition. Feeding in the days before the race must aim to increase the amount of muscle and liver glycogen.


The "glycogen loading" can be implemented in two systems. The first provides for three days a hypoglucidic and hyperlipidic food ration associated with intense training. The goal of these three days is to achieve a significant reduction in glycogen in the body.

In the following three days, the last of which should correspond to the eve of the competition, you will have to adopt a hyperglycidic diet, associated with mild training. This allows the body to completely replenish the glycogen stores up to values ​​above normal. As you can understand, first of all this practice is only effective in one-day runs, then such an extreme diet can lead to various ailments, such as insomnia, muscle heaviness, digestive disorders. Although less effective, the second system lends itself to less criticism.


The latter provides, in the three days prior to the race, a diet rich in carbohydrates, preferably complex ones, up to 75% of the total calories ingested. This regimen should be associated with short and not particularly intense workouts. In doing so, however, it is possible to improve one's own glycogen stores, without encountering the drawbacks of the classic glycogen loading system. Personally, having carried out experiments on the subject several times, I always recommend a third system, which turns out to be a cross between the two systems listed in the scientific literature.

In the first three days with intense workloads I recommend a diet low in carbohydrates (but not without) and always high in fat, but with an abundance of protein. In practice, meat replaces the classic pasta, while it is better to leave the other eating habits intact. This leads to a diet in which the ration of fats and proteins reaches 60-70% of the daily caloric requirement, while the value of carbohydrates drops to 30-40% of the total calories ingested. The tolerance of this type of diet is strictly individual and must be carefully tested in periods far from competitions, in order to better adapt the training and the food ration to the specific characteristics of the subject.


Over the next three days the classic system of increasing carbohydrates is followed, associating short workouts with it. In this way we are able to get closer to the classic glycogen load without encountering its negative aspects. It remains important, however, that everything must be calibrated on the basis of the individual subject and the needs of him, who can more or less tolerate one regime rather than another. Specifically, now let's see what to eat, for the quantities everyone will have to refer to their daily rations. In the three days with high workloads and a hyperlipidic diet you can start with the morning with the classic milk and

cafè, which can then be accompanied with raw ham, while if you adopt the system suggested by me I recommend the classic rusks, with the possible addition of jam or cereals. For a possible second breakfast we will still opt for raw ham or bresaola with a little bread. At lunch, as well as at dinner, meat will be the first course, followed by vegetables and with very little or better no bread. On the other hand, if you follow my system, you can eat bread and finish your meals with fruit.


The last meal must be taken 2 and a half to 3 hours before the start of the race. If this takes place in the morning, you can repeat the breakfast made in the last three days, if it takes place in the early afternoon, you can always have the normal lunch of the last three days of glycogen load, while if it takes place in the late afternoon it is advisable follow the lunch with a subsequent meal rich in carbohydrates, always at least 2 and a half hours after departure, the latter can consist of snacks and fruit tarts or better in a plate of rice or pasta with little or no seasoning, in addition to any bread and fruit.

Especially in the summer it is best to ingest, during meals, plenty of liquids, as well as fruit and vegetables (for this I recommend my variable to the glycogen load). I conclude by reiterating the need to try this particular diet for a long time, away from important competitions, to adapt it to your needs and lifestyles.

N.B .: the photo is purely indicative


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