Have You Ever Wondered 101

  • about competing on an empty stomach? You're better off eating. Food consumed within four hours of physical activity is used as fuel for working muscles. For morning events, eating is especially important for endurance. It replenishes liver glycogen and helps maintain your blood sugar level. Don't skip breakfast, just eat something light!
  • what to eat before competition if you feel too nervous to eat? Drinking a liquid meal supplement or a fruit milk shake might help. It provides nutrients and fluids needed for competition. And it might be more easily digested and absorbed than a full meal. Liquid meals also contribute fluids.
  • if fructose tablets during prolonged exercise are a good energy source? Fructose isn't converted to energy as fast as glucose is; fructose converts to liver glycogen first. You're better off with a drink that offers glucose or sucrose. Fructose also can cause gastrointestinal distress (bloating, cramping, or diarrhea). . . . if a "complete nutrition supplement," perhaps an energy bar or drink, or a power gel, aids performance? Not "complete nutrition," energy bars and drinks may be an energy source, but not a meal replacement, for physical activity. Power gels supply "carbs," too, but usually few vitamins or minerals. A quick check of the Nutrition Facts reveals their calorie and nutrient contribution. Although energy bars, drinks, or gels may be convenient during an endurance event, eat fruit or a starchy snack such as a bagel afterward instead. . . . where to get nutrition advice for athletic performance-or to find out if your food choices help or hinder your training? Talk to a sports dietitian, a registered dietitian with a specialty in sports nutrition, or other qualified expert for help in determining your energy needs, evaluating your eating plan, and strategizing ways to eat for peak performance. Be aware: "personal trainer" isn't a regulated professional specialty. Some trainers are highly qualified exercise specialists; others aren't.

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