Nutritional Considerations

Nutritional Considerations

  • Pre-performance, including carbohydrate loading
  • During performance
  • Post-performance

Pre-performance, Including Carbohydrate Loading

  • Steps taken to prepare the body before exercise or training.
  • In terms of food intake the following considerations can be made:
    • The type of food to be consumed (fat, carbs, protein)
    • Amount of consumption
    • Time of consumption
  • The kind of food taken prior to workout should be easily digestible.
  • Complex carbohydrates (breads, pasta, cereals) are good choices of food that can be taken before a training session, since they release energy slowly.
  • Food containing fat, protein and high fibre content should be avoided since they can cause discomfort.
  • To allow digestion, a normal meal should be consumed 3-4 hours before the competition or session.
  • Fluid consumption should be limited to 500-600ml, 2-3 hours before competition and 250-300ml in the last quarter.

During Performance

  • Intensity of activity, duration of activity, humidity, the athlete’s clothing type and sweating rates will determine the requirement of carbohydrate and fluid replacement.
  • The goal is to keep the blood glucose level within the ideal range, therefore, carbohydrates should be considered.
  • Dehydration and thermal distress should be prevented at all costs. The following steps can be taken:
    • Pre-performance hydration (water or sports drinks with low carbohydrates).
    • Fluids should be consumed every 15-20 minutes during activity.
    • Acclimatisation techniques should be included while training.
    • Athletes should be given breathable clothes to wear.
    • Training should be avoided during illness.


  • In this phase, the goal is to restore the body in the pre-performance stage for moving on to the next phase of the competition within a short period of time, following the 4R rule: Refuel, Rehydrate, Repair, Revitalise.
  • The nutrition plan includes carbohydrates for restoring glycogen, fluids and proteins for repairing tissue damage.
  • Proactive recovery is an efficient solution as it emphasizes on immediate refueling and rehydration.
  • The recovery phase should continue for 8-12 hours.