As an athlete, you should aim to eat at least three to four hours before competition. This helps you fill up your glycogen stores—which your body uses for energy—without making you feel overly full or sluggish when game time comes.
Carbohydrates are your body’s primary source for that energy, and should be the focus of any good pre-game meal. Bread, pasta, fruits and starchy vegetables “provide energy to help fuel your body so you can go hard longer, without hitting the wall,” says Dr. Kim Stein, Senior Scientist at the Gatorade Sports Science Institute (GSSI). You should pair those carbs with a quality source of protein like lean meat, chicken, eggs, fish or dairy to help the meal stick with you longer and gear your muscles for recovery.
Here are some actual meals today’s top athletes use to fuel their performances.