Pre-Competition Carbohydrate Recommendations

We all know the night before a race can be nerve-racking, and who really wants to think about eating?! However, your pre-competition meals are the MOST important and should not be avoided.

The Night Before:

Carbohydrates should in no way be avoided, especially for endurance riders (hare-scramble athletes, I'm talking to you!). The night before the race - and typically the days leading up to it - you should be loading up on carbohydrates. Specifically, 7-10g of Carbs/kg of body weight (body weight in pounds divided by 2.2 equates to body weight in kg). Choose familiar foods (food that your body is used to eating), food that is low in fat and fiber (to prevent stomach cramping and empty rapidly from the stomach), and moderate protein for satiety. The following meals are some examples to implement the NIGHT BEFORE competition:

  • Spaghetti or other pasta (with white noodles) with a tomato sauce. No BUTTER or ALFREDO
  • White rice or Cauliflower rice with chicken, peppers, onions, and tomatoes
  • Stuffed peppers with white rice and ground turkey and sprinkle with nonfat cheese

The Morning Of:

Start implementing high carbs and high glycemic index (GI) foods AT LEAST 3 hours prior to the start of the competition. If you are anxious or have the jitters it is best to give yourself 4 hours pre-competition for food.

  • 3-4 hours before the race: 1g-4g of Carbs/kg body weight
  • 2 hours before the race: 1g of carbs/kg body weight
  • 1 hour or less before the race: 0.5g of carbs/kg body weight - specifically liquid carbs, gels, and/or gummies

Data extracted from Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning, Fourth Edition, by G.Gregory Haff and N.Travis Triplett

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