Fuelling your body for competition leading up to finals is when athletes really need to be in their peak performance. Coming to the end of the season after months of high training loads, long weeks and then nerves starting to set in coming close to finals it is important to focus on nutrition to get you across the line!
In reality, most athletes spend around 80% of the time training, and 20% of the time competing. Therefore good nutrition does not just start on game or race day. Your training diet holds the greatest potential to influence their performance and success as an athlete. In the lead up to finals week, it is important to be consistent with diet and nutrition, changing things now could mean that your body does not have time to adapt. You may experience cramping, bloating, low energy or even just mentally not prepare as well if you change your food on game day. Consistency is key.
Being well hydrated throughout finals week, and any competition or game is incredibly important. Fluids help maintain blood volume, regulate body temperature and also for muscle contractions.
You need to begin the game well hydrated, aim for pale yellow urine throughout the day, this is a good sign that you are appropriately hydrated.
There are so many fluid options available to athletes now, when deciding on a drink to suit your needs, you need to consider the duration and intensity of the competition, if you need any carbohydrates or electrolytes during the competition and also your individual flavour preferences.
It is a good idea leading up to your competition to work with your dietitian to assess your sweat rate and fluid losses to create a personalised hydration plan for you.
Sometimes when athletes get nervous, it can be difficult to tolerate any food the morning of a big game or competition. In the lead up we recommend you trial fluids instead or food if you are prone to being nervous. Fluids are often tolerated during periods of being nervous or not wanting to eat. Things like smoothies or Gatorade will give you carbohydrates/energy to perform.
If you need any assistance in preparing for competition in the future, Eat Smart has qualified sports dietitians who would be happy to help you towards success!