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What Athletes Eat To Win

Posted by: Shawn

Obviously it depends on which athlete you speak to about eating to win but something all athletes have in common is discipline. A good example is gold medallist diver Nick McCrory who answered a question on what the best nutrition advice he ever received, his answer was "Want a gold medal or an ice cream cone?".

If we stick to athletes in general then they certainly do have something in common, so taking advice from the head chef feeding the 600 athletes in the American delegation at the last Olympic games is a man called Jacque Hamilton. He explains a few simple rules that he followed excluding sodium, trans fat and butter.

The Pre-Game Meal would always be eaten 4-6 hours before a game or match. It would be low in protein and fat and high in complex carbs that have a very low GI (glycemic index). Plenty of water or sports drinks a couple of hours before the game and a medium sized low GI, low protein and low fat snack 2 hours before the event with no caffeine, and no Red Bull which only dehydrates and raises blood pressure.

Post-Game/Event Recovery would be to replace water lost with at least 20 ounces of liquid 30 to 60 minutes after the event is finished. Chef Jacque Hamilton explains it is vitally important to eat 4 carbs to each protein consumed within 90 minutes of the finish and to continue to hydrate taking in NO soda, alcohol or caffeine.

For any competing athlete carbohydrates are the most important because it is the main energy source. Understanding GI (Glycemic Index) is vital to know which carbs are good and which are bad. Low GI foods will all be rich in fiber and be able to deliver glucose to the muscles when needed for a long period.

Low GI Foods are eaten the day before and the pre-game meal, a few examples of low GI foods like boiled potatoes, pasta, beans and/or nuts and eggs, long grain rice, rye and whole-wheat bread and fruits like bananas, cherries and pineapple. High GI foods should only be eaten after the event to replace the lost energy.

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