During competitions, you should eat or drink primarily carbohydrates. The amount of carbohydrate ranges between 30 and 60 grams depending on the length of the competition and how long you are playing. Liquid sources are usually easiest to tolerate, but solids can work, too. Low-fat and low-fiber fuels are preferred because fat and fiber slow absorption of the fuel. Small amounts of protein can help keep you from feeling hungry. Below is additional information about fueling during exercise:
During games, try to consume between 30 and 60 grams of carbohydrates every hour. This can be in the form of sports drinks or can include gels or solid foods. Liquids are typically easier to consume.
Cooler drinks are absorbed more quickly and are often more appealing than warmer fluids.
When you are dehydrated, fluids and foods stay in your stomach longer. Stay hydrated!
Fluid needs will vary significantly due to the athlete, sport, environment, and intensity of the activity. It is best to drink enough fluid to avoid losing any more than 2% of body weight from sweat loss. This means, a 150 lb. athlete should ideally lose no more than 3 lbs. during physical activity. While ranges vary, drinking about 4-8 oz. of fluid every 15-20 minutes will likely be appropriate for many athletes.
Protein is not necessary during games, but it’s OK to consume it in small portions and it may help keep you from feeling hungry. Three to 5 grams per hour can be appropriate. Powdered sports drinks containing protein may also be available.
For heavy sweaters, during hot temperatures or for athletes who are susceptible to cramping, sports drinks containing sodium are ideal. Consuming sodium through sports drinks or salty snacks during activity can increase thirst, thus increasing fluid intake, while also replacing electrolytes lost through the form of sweat.
You can also have something to eat or drink between events. What you have depends on how much time you have between events. If you have less than two hours, it is usually better to stick with liquids because they will clear the stomach faster. Sports drink can be a good solution because of the carbohydrates. If the time between events is two hours or longer, having something solid may be an option. A turkey sandwich and a piece of fruit could work.
Before trying between-game foods, we recommend trying it during practice. Eat the food after a practice and see how you feel two to four hours later. If you feel sluggish or have a full stomach, try another food the next time.
For more information on the Rockets Sports Medicine Institute orthopedic doctors or surgeons, treatment for injuries, scheduling Human Performance services, or getting more information about physical therapy, please fill out the form below or call us at (713) 222-2273