The Game Plan

It's the day of the big event. You're excited and perhaps a bit anxious. You've trained hard. What should you eat to maximize your performance? Your game plan now—what you eat before, during, and after competition or a heavy workout—makes a difference.

For endurance events, think further ahead—before your pre-event meal. Several days beforehand, you might eat more carbohydrates and gradually rest your muscles. In that way, you'll store extra muscle glycogen and won't tire as quickly during the event. See "Carbohydrate Loading " earlier in this chapter.

For any sport, eat for peak performance well ahead. Most energy for competition comes from foods you ate earlier, not from your pre-event meal. For training, eat plenty of carbohydrates, moderate amounts of protein, not much fat, and drink plenty of fluids.

On competition day, even carefully planned meals can't make up for a poor training diet. Eat for fitness all along.

Read on for general advice. For sports-specific nutrition guidelines, talk with a sports dietitian, a registered dietitian with a specialty in sports nutrition.

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