Where nutrition is concerned, there are lots of factors to consider when you’re getting ready for a sporting event or competition. Being well prepared is crucial for performance and overall health, so we spoke to Kira Sutherland about her top tips.
The type of fuel you need depends on the sport you’re participating in including whether it’s endurance or high intensity. Plus, take into account the duration of the competition whether it’s a single event or multiple events and the length of time between races.
Endurance events explained
Endurance events are just that - a long, continuous activity that can last from two hours to 24 or more. Because of the constant state of motion, much of the event will be done below your anaerobic threshold (although small periods spent above it). When functioning below threshold, the body is predominantly working aerobically and can burn carbohydrates, fats and a small amount of protein as fuel. During anaerobic periods, the body relies on carbohydrates and glycogen stores. Here’s a simple list of nutritional factors to consider depending on the event you’re participating in.
Fuelling endurance events
Fuelling depends on the length of the event. Here’s my tips based on event duration:
HIIT events explained
High Intensity Interval Training is exactly how it sounds. Short bursts (interval) of high intensity activity with periods of rest in between. The goal on competition day is to arrive with sufficient glycogen stores from breakfast as well as those built-up before competition.
Fuelling HIIT events:
Base in between events a ratio of 4:1 carbs to protein is a good starting point to base snacks on for digestive comfort and sustained energy.
Ultimately, it doesn’t matter if your event is endurance or high intensity; the key is to have pre-planned and trialled your nutrition on a race/training simulation. This way, you’ll know that your digestive system will be able to handle what you’re planning to use. If you don’t want to depend on what's available at the race venue bring your own food and drinks with you. Otherwise, you may be left with choices that don’t suit your body or digestion!