This is as much to remind myself, as it is to help others, seeing how during the first comp I didn't feel like eating anything I had brought, and at the second I didn't bring anything. Total amateur!! But it brought back to the front of my mind some important things.
Post workout nutrition after a single training session is fairly straight forward, but just in case you aren't too sure about it, here's a quick recap.
The standard template is to consume easily digested protein and carbs.
The amount of carbohydrate is determined by the activity - the longer/more intense it is, the more carbs you have. For example:
- Deadlifts 5 x 1rep = chicken, brocolli and olive oil (protein, fat and low carb)
- Helen = tuna on baked sweet potato with butter (protein, moderate carb, moderate fat)
- Murph = smoothie with whey protein, fruit and maybe even an extra scoop of glucose (protein, high carb, low fat), perhaps followed by the Helen meal an hour later.
The exact macronutrient ratio and amount will vary based on your current level of bodyfat and fitness, but it's a start. Generally the leaner you are the more carbs you can handle. But competition day nutrition should not be favouring optimal body comp of course. On the big day, it's about performance - you eat to fuel the machine!
So what happens during a multi-event day? Workouts that you don't even know the content or length of, heck, you might not even know how MANY workouts.
It's not just about one meal anymore, now you need to address pre workout, multiple post workout and possibly peri (during) workout nutrition. Some of the questions you need to ask yourself when you are putting your grocery list together are:
What will my first meal of the day be and when? That will depend on when your first event is. You may not know until registration and by then it may be too late to digest the meal. My preference in the past has been to get up early and have a whole food meal of protein and fat without too many bulky veggies. But often now I will operate on an empty stomach - hitting the BCAA/Creatine/optional carb drink mentioned below, once I know what I'm in for. Caffeine is a crucial and much loved part of my performance routine, and I will avoid it for 2-3 days before a comp, then have a double espresso an hour before the first event. This also helps me with a pre-event, nervous bowel purge........sorry for too much info, but a pre-workout poo is great psychologically - I feel light and ready for action!
Do you work better on an empty stomach? If you do, you are in trouble over a multi-event day, because you are going to have to eat at some stage. BCAA's and creatine can make for a great pre-event drink if you'd prefer to eat nothing. Add some carbohydrate in the form of sports drink if you know the event is going to be long. This is also a great post workout drink if there isn't much time between events, or as an instant recovery hit, before you sit down to a whole food meal.
Think twice about things like dairy/nuts/eggs/fibre. Do they cause gas, or digest slowly for you? Be aware of how high fibre or high fat foods work with your body and exercise - test them before the big day. Personally I always have a bag of salted cashews on hand as I crave them during comps, but I have to watch the portion size if I want those suckers to digest.
What to eat post event? Protein plus carbs is the standard as referred to earlier, but you may need to ask yourself a second question here during a day of competiton. What is your appetitite like in comp situations? If you go to the trouble of making a big tupperware container of sweet potato and tuna, will you feel like eating it after a couple of high intensity events? If the answer is no, you may have to look to smoothies and other easy on the stomach options.
You are also going to have to take into account the type of event you've just completed (short, heavy, long etc), vs how long it is till your next event, and what that event entails.
Also, on game day you may find yourself resembling a pregnant woman, with sudden dramatic cravings for random food, while turning your nose up at other foods. So have a few good choices prepared. Perhaps prepare multiple portions of different proteins (chicken strips, canned tuna, hardboiled eggs, jerky, whey powder), carbs (sweet potato, fruit, sportsdrink) and fat (nuts, coconut cream, almond butter), and then mix and match to create the right meal for the situation. I just discovered these baby foods that my sister has been feeding my niece - they look awesome! Just squeeze it straight down the gullet........
But the sooner the better; whatever you eat, eat something. And drink some water! I like to keep an electrolyte mix on hand to sip from during the day.
Ultimately practice makes perfect. The more comps you do, the better feel you will get for what your body needs/wants during the day. If you are typically low carb, don't be afraid to hammer the sugar to get the job done, you can go back to your normal routine the next day.