Whether you're a weekend warrior or a competitive athlete, you've probably experienced an all-day tournament. You know that typically the best conditioned and mentally toughest athletes win. But maybe what you don't see is that nutrition and athletic performance are linked, and that eating right for a one-day tournament is key to being a champion.
Each sport has unique fuel needs. Not all fuel and calories are created equal, so what you eat is more important than how much you eat.
Tournament Nutrition Guidelines
- Start hydrating two days before the event. Regardless of your size and sport, drink close to 100 ounces or more of water per day. Sports drinks replenish fluids but do not replace water. A good rule to follow is to drink only water before lunch, a 1:1 water-to-sports-drink ratio between lunch and dinner, and a 1:2 water-to-sports-drink ratio after dinner.
- Eat a meal or snack every 2-3 hours on tournament day. Each meal or snack should contain a type of protein and a carbohydrate.
- Never consume energy drinks. They will dehydrate you faster and can cause a crash.
- Avoid heavy meals containing pasta, pizza, rice, corn or potatoes at competitions.
- Keep raw fruit, veggies and nuts on hand for quick bursts of energy.
Calculate the specifics of a meal plan depending on your:
- Sport and position
- Height and weight
Consult a Sports Nutrition Coach to help you improve your tournament nutrition and athletic performance.
Here is an example of a meal plan for a 15-year-old female fast-pitch softball player who is 5-foot-6 and weighs 130 pounds. She will pitch or catch in two games and play the field in three other games. She will require approximately 3,500 calories for this tournament schedule. (For a specific nutrition plan, click HERE.)
Planning is the foundation of all nutrition programs. Here is a grocery list for the above program.
Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock