Eating Before, During, and After Competition: Fuelling Your Body for Optimal Performance 

Last Updated on January 30, 2024 by Asfa Rasheed

When it comes to excelling in sports, what you eat is as crucial as how you train. Your body is your most valuable asset, and how you fuel it can make a significant difference in your performance. This guide, designed with insights from a top sports dietitian in Perth, will walk you through the best practices for eating before, during, and after a competition. Whether you’re a professional athlete or a fitness enthusiast, these tips will help you maximise your performance and recovery. 

Eating Before Competition 

Pre-Competition Nutrition 

  • Carbohydrate Loading: Begin preparing your body a few days before the event. Focus on carbohydrate-rich foods like pasta, rice, and bread, as they are excellent sources of energy. 
  • Hydration is Key: Drink plenty of water in the days leading up to the event. Proper hydration ensures that your body functions at its peak. 
  • Avoid New Foods: Stick to familiar foods to avoid any digestive discomfort. 
  • Pre-Game Meal: Eat a balanced meal 3-4 hours before the event – this meal should be rich in carbohydrates, moderate in protein, and low in fat and fibre. 

Eating During Competition 

Fuelling During the Event 

  • Stay Hydrated: Drink water or sports drinks to maintain hydration levels, especially in endurance sports. 
  • Energy Boost: For competitions lasting more than an hour, consider energy gels or small, carb-rich snacks to maintain energy levels. 

Eating After Competition 

Post-Competition Recovery 

  • Rehydrate: Start by replenishing fluids lost during the event. 
  • Protein for Muscle Recovery: Consume protein-rich foods or shakes to aid in muscle recovery. 
  • Refuel with Carbohydrates: Replenish your energy stores with carbohydrate-rich foods. 
  • Balanced Meal: Within 2 hours of the competition, have a balanced meal consisting of carbs, protein, and healthy fats. 

Mastering your nutritional intake around competitions can significantly impact your athletic performance and recovery. Consulting with a qualified sports dietitian can also provide personalised nutrition strategies tailored to your specific sport and body needs. Remember, the right fuel can be the difference between good and great!