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					Sports Nutrition and Hydration

          Mike Gehringer, ATC
         Certified Athletic Trainer
       Midwest Orthopaedic Center
Just like a car needs gasoline to operate, your body
needs calories, vitamins, minerals, and protein which are
found in whole-some foods to function well.
Benefits of Proper Nutrition
–   Increases performance
–   Better muscle productivity
–   Prevents muscle cramping
–   Increases mental awareness
–   Suppresses hunger
–   Helps with gastric emptying
             Pre-game Meals
4 Main functions of a pre-game meal
– Prevents Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) with its symptoms of
  lightheadedness, fatigue, blurred vision, and indecisiveness
– Helps to settle the stomach, absorbs some of the gastric juices
  and abates hunger
– It helps to fuel your muscles, both with food eaten in advance
  that is stored as glycogen and with food eaten within an hour of
– To pacify your mind with the knowledge that your body is well
                 Pre-game Meals
Pre-game meal/snack guidelines:
– On a daily basis during the season eat high carbohydrate meals so that you can
  replenish your muscle glycogen stores for fuel.
– If competing >60 to 90 minutes and unable to consume calories during that time
  choose slow digested carbs (yogurt, bananas, oatmeal, soup, apples) 1 hour
– Competition < 60 minutes consume easily digested foods that settle comfortably
  such as bread, muffins, bagels, crackers, and pasta are popular high-carb, low-
  fat choices.
– Limit high-fat proteins such as cheese burgers, fries, and fried foods. Replace
  with lean protein-rich foods like turkey, eggs, and low-fat milk.
– Allow adequate time for food to digest. High calorie meals take longer to leave
  the stomach. Allow 3-4 hours for large meals, 2-3 hrs for small meals, and 1 hr
  for a small snack.
– Always eat familiar foods before any competition. New foods carry the risk of
  settling poorly; causing heart burn, cramps, intestinal discomfort, and frequent pit
  stops to the bathroom.
      Nutrition During Competition
     Most players don’t even think about what they will
be eating during and between games. They just eat
whatever is around. Athletes who give no thought to their
nutrition game plan for a full day of activity can cheat their
ability to perform well.

 Nutrition requirements
      Consume 100-250 cal of carbs
      per hour of performance.
      This may be from a sports drink, energy bar/gel,
     fruit, piece of candy, ect.
      Don’t wait until your brain tells you are thirsty or when you have signs of low
     blood sugar, waiting that long may decrease your performance.
      Through sweat loss, your body excretes the important fluids and nutrients that
         you need to perform well. It is important to replace them at the adequate times.
               Post-Game Meal
To optimize muscle glycogen replenishment, you should consume
carbohydrate-rich foods and beverages within 15 minutes post
exercise or event.

Recovery requirements:
– Target intake should be about 0.5 grams of carbs per pound of body wt. per
  hour, up to 3-4 hours post activity.
– Adding protein to your recovery can also enhance glycogen replacement in the
  initial hours of recovery. (adding as little as 6 grams of protein may optimize
– Consume liquids with high volumes of water, carbs, protein, vitamins, and
– Watery foods such as watermelon, grapes, and soups are a good choice of
– Protein enriched foods such as milk, cereal, lean meats, bagels, and energy bars
  are good source of protein replacement.
 Fluid Consumption in Sports
Drink fluid freely 24 hours before the event. Your urine
should be a clear pale yellow before competition or practice.

    2 hours before exercise- Drink 1 ½- 2 ½ cups
 Before Exercise- Consume at least 2 cups
 During Exercise- 4-8 oz every 15-20 minutes for events
lasting > 30 min. (Rule of thumb: one normal mouth full
= 1 ounce)- cold water increases palatability.
 After Exercise- Consume at least 3 cups of fluids
      Guideline: Drink 3 cups of fluid per each pound of wt. loss during activity. Goal is lose no more
       than 3% of your body wt.
 – Beverages containing sodium are better retained by the body because blood-
   sodium concentration is maintained. Beverages without sodium, such as water
   are more quickly excreted from the body by the kidneys because they dilute the
   blood and decrease blood sodium concentration.
 – Replacing the fluids and electrolytes that are lost in sweat is imperative to
   maintaining proper hydration during exercise by maintaining blood volume to help
   ensure that cardiovascular control, temperature regulation, and muscle
   functioning are well maintained.
 – Sodium, not potassium, is important to preventing full body cramps.
 – Electrolytes are imperative to maintaining proper fluid balance within the body
   during exercise.
 – A good sports drink such as Gatorade and Powerade delivers fluid to your body
   just as fast as water, but with the added benefits of carbohydrates and
Things to Avoid:
 – Fruit juices, colas, energy drinks and other carbonated high sugar beverages
 – These should be avoided before, during, and after exercise.
 – These fluids have slow gastric emptying and absorption rates. They can sit in
   your stomach causing cramping, discomfort, and nausea.

Side effects of poor hydration
 –   Muscle cramps
 –   Heat illnesses
 –   Nausea, vomiting
 –   Headache, dizziness
 –   Confusion, disorientation
 –   Weakness, reduced performance
 –   Inability to concentrate, Irrational behavior
          Take Home Lesson
Hydrate 24hrs before as wells the day of an event.
Devise a nutrition plan before your first event.
Make sure that water is readily available for practices and games.
Drink even when you are not thirsty.
Monitor sweat loss and fluid replacement
Have sport drinks with high contents of sodium available.
Allow more frequent water breaks during higher temps and humidity.
Never exercise on an empty stomach.
Your body needs fuel to operate at a high level.
Check color/volume of urine to monitor hydration.
Avoid injury by staying hydrated and practicing proper nutrition.
    Thank You

Good Luck This Season!
Clark, Nancy. Sports Nutrition Guidebook Third Edition. Illinois: Champaign, 2003.

Powers, Scott K., and Stephen L. Dodd. Total Fitness and Wellness. San Francisco, CA,

Gatorade Sports Science Institute. Hydration and Sports Nutrition. 2008.