Coaching Association of Canada

Tournament Tips

Fluids and foods for multi-event/multi-training days

On multi-event/multi-training days, nutrition provides: 

  • Sustained energy;
  • Physical comfort; absence of hunger;
  • Mental focus for best technique and skill execution.

Targets:

  • Adequate fluid and electrolyte intake;
  • High carbohydrate, adequate protein, and low fat.

Why?

  • To replace fluid levels, preventing excessive dehydration;
  • To prevent excessive changes in electrolyte balance;
  • To provide energy before and during training or competition;
  • To prevent hunger;
  • To supply food that is quickly and easily digested;
  • To ensure energy and nutrients to recover and prepare for the next training session or competitive event.

Timing and meal/snack size are related.

The amount and type of food you consume will vary based on the time you have between the meal/ snack and the next competition or training session. Recovery fluid and food intake after one exercise session may be your pre-exercise nutrition for the next event. Think fluid and carbohydrates.

Eat a high-carbohydrate meal or snack, 2 to 4 hours before your event. Allow time for digestion:

  • 3–4 hours for a large meal
  • 2–3 hours for a smaller meal
  • 1–2 hours for a small snack or blender/liquid meal or whatever your own tolerance indicates

CAUTION: Spicy, gas producing, fatty and/or fibre-rich foods may cause discomfort. Products containing caffeine may also be problematic. Unless you eat legumes regularly, they may have too much fibre for comfort.

Targets may vary depending on your sport:

  • Start exercise with optimal hydration levels. If you have not produced any urine or if your urine is still bright yellow, drink 3–5 mL of fluid per kg body weight (about 150–350 mL) fluid about 2 hours before exercise.
  • If you have a “nervous stomach” before events, choose lower-fibre grain products, juice, or pureed foods.
  • Drink 0.4 – 0.8 litres per hour during exercise.
  • Drink fluid with carbohydrate after your event.

Fluid needs vary with your sweat rate, sport, and environment. Monitor your body weight changes during training and competition sessions to estimate sweat lost. To find out what fluid consumption is feasible and comfortable during your sport, test different amounts and types of fluid in training – never during competition!

CONVERSION: 250 mL = 1 cup = 8 oz.

DURING Multi-training Days and Tournaments – Focus on Fluid and Carbohydrate

Fluids: Water, juice, low fat milk, and/or sport drinks.

High carbohydrate foods come from vegetables and fruit, grain products, milk and yogurt. Look for fruit, juice, vegetables, breads, cereals, rice, pasta, low-fat crackers or cookies, milk, yogurt, and sport drinks. Include foods that contain some salt to promote thirst and to help retain fluids.

Protein-rich foods are digested more slowly than carbohydrates, delaying hunger during a long event. Low-fat milk, yogurt, lean meat, skinless ch i cken, eggs, non-breaded fish, and/or legumes (beans, peas, and lentils) are protein- rich foods. If your only protein choice is a higher fat food (peanut butter, nuts/seeds, cheese), use only a small amount with your carbohydrate choice (bread, crackers, fruit, etc.).

Fat is digested very slowly. Before most training and competition situations, low fat food is best. French fries, chips, breaded chicken or fish, hot dogs, greasy hamburgers, cream or cheese sauces, margarine/butter, salad dressing, cheese, peanut butter, nuts, seeds, and chocolate contain a substantial amount of dietary fat and may cause discomfort during exercise.

Meal ideas

Plan foods to carry with you or food outlets where you can buy part or all of a meal.

  • Fruit juice, toast, yogurt, egg
  • Banana or raisins, fruit juice, oatmeal/cereal, milk
  • Juice, pancakes with a little syrup/spread, ham
  • Fruit, lettuce, tomato, and tuna sandwich, oatmeal raisin cookie, milk
  • Minestrone soup, bagel, milk
  • Applesauce, juice, pasta with vegetable sauce
  • Peas, rice, and chicken casserole, milk
  • Fruit, pita wrap with vegetables and turkey, yogurt or a granola bar

Snack ideas

  • Fruit (fresh, canned, juice) and/or crackers
  • Fruit juice or fruit cup, low-fat muffin
  • Fruit bars, juice, yogurt or arrowroot cookies
  • Vegetable juice, pita with hummus
  • Vegetable soup, crusty roll
  • Hot chocolate made with milk, bagel
  • Fruit, cereal or sport bar, sport drink
  • Juice, pretzels
  • Jam and peanut butter sandwich, chocolate milk

Snacks for backpack or car

  • Dried fruit
  • Juice boxes or fruit cup
  • Dry cereal
  • Cereal, sport or energy bars
  • Crackers
  • Tuna or beans in cans with pull off tops
  • Cereal with nuts and raisins

Food Safety Guidelines: If you carry food with you, store it to prevent bacterial contamination. If you are buying food at the competition, remember that foods which are to be eaten as hot (temperature) dishes, (e.g. meat, casseroles, rice) should not be served lukewarm. Foods that are to be eaten cold (e.g. deli meats, salads, sandwiches, milk, custard, etc.) should be served at a cold temperature.

Experiment with fluids and foods during training to find out what and how much is comfortable for you.  Never try unfamiliar foods or drinks before or during competition.