Already a standout in his rookie season, Denver Broncos linebacker Von Miller knows the importance of eating a pre-game meal. Without it, he wouldn’t have the energy to overwhelm offensive linemen with his pure power and unmatched athleticism.
According to Kim White, Gatorade Sports Science Institute senior scientist, the goal of a pre-game meal is to fuel your body so you have energy for the entire game. She says, “You need to make sure you have enough glucose [the body’s energy source] going to your muscles and your brain.”
White recommends athletes load up with 200 to 300 grams of easy-to-digest carbs. If you’re not a 245-pound behemoth like Miller, dial down your carb load so the meal sits well with your body.
The pre-game meal is a great time to eat fish or chicken. These high-quality sources of protein prime your muscles for performance and enhance your recovery afterwards. “You notice a spike in your performance when you can get the right nutrients and fuel into your body before a game,” says Miller.
Since it can end up being hefty, eat your pre-game meal a few hours before the game, giving your body time to absorb the nutrients and ensuring a full stomach won’t slow you down. “Eating three hours before you get ready for the game is more than enough time to get the food digested,” says Dr. White.
The following meal is inspired by Von Miller’s pre-game plan. Eat it and never lack energy when it’s time to compete.
Grilled Salmon on Wheat (1/4 filet)
A filling sandwich that gives you energy-rich carbs, lean protein and healthy fats (your backup energy source).
Assorted Fruit (1 cup)
Mixed fruits are high in energy and full of vitamins and minerals that are essential for your muscles to function.
Gatorade Perform 02 (20 oz.)
This combination of carbs and electrolytes will help prevent cramping during a game.
Brown Rice (1 cup)
Slow-digesting complex carbs fill your energy stores prior to games.