Nutrition for Athletes Before, During and After a Sports Event

Stefanie Senior, BSc., Registered Dietician, discusses the recommended food intake before, during and after a sports event.

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Stefanie Senior, BSc., Registered Dietician, discusses the recommended food intake before, during and after a sports event.
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Featuring Stefanie Senior, BSc, Registered Dietitian

Duration: 2 minutes, 14 seconds

So before a sporting event or race or tournament, you want to focus in on a carbohydrate. So while you’re exercising, it’s very important to stay hydrated.

So sip on water throughout your event. It’s a good rule of thumb to think okay I’ve got to sip on water at least every 15 minutes during your event.

Now for activities lasting longer than an hour, it would be beneficial to keep sports drink handy and to sip on that every ten to 15 minutes; because ideally for events lasting longer than an hour, you want to make sure that you’re consuming about 45 to 60 grams of carbohydrate per hour.

And in addition, because you’re sweating a lot you’re losing a lot of electrolytes, and it’s very important to top those up as well, which is why a sports drink could be helpful for many athletes.

It’s very individualized. A lot of people don’t like to chew during their event. They find it distracting. It can cause gastrointestinal distress, and so most people that I see prefer to do sports drinks or gels or even sports chews vs. actual food.

Some people will stop for a banana, but most people will go for the sports supplements. After an event or training, it’s very important to eat within 30 minutes after a workout, and so that would be again carbohydrate based but also mixed with protein.

So the ratio of carb to protein would be about three to four to one. So for every three or four grams of carbohydrate you want to consume one gram of protein. So that could be 30 grams of carbohydrate to ten grams of protein.

Now ideally again you want to eat within 30 minutes, but if you don’t have time to have a meal, make sure you grab a snack that has carbohydrate in protein, and then try to consume your meal within two hours of the event. And then it is very important to eat every couple hours especially the six hours after the event.

So for a detailed sports nutrition plan that outlines what to consume before, during, and after an event, contact a local dietitian to help you out.

Presenter: Stefanie Senior, Registered Dietitian, Toronto, ON

Local Practitioners: Registered Dietitian

This content is for informational purposes only, and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.