It’s about that time of year again! With the temperature heating up and summer is fast approaching, we can’t help but to start thinking about summer and all the tournaments that come along with it. Whether, you play soccer tournaments, basketball tournaments or compete in martial arts tournaments, properly fueling your body and speeding up your recovery will be a key component to your success
All those hours spent training and practicing won’t do you much good if your body can’t perform at its peak from the start of the tournament to the end of the tournament. In fact, you could end up losing to a less talented team or person if your body can’t keep up with the demands a summer tournament can put on it. No one wants to look silly in front of their friends and teammates. In this two-part article, we’ll first take a look at some of the keys to be successful during any tournament from a nutritional standpoint. In part two of this article, we’ll walk you through a sample nutrition and fueling plan you can use as a guide for your next tournament.
Keys to Success:
Replenishing Energy Stores
Probably one of the biggest obstacles I see and mistakes amateur athletes make is not properly replenishing used energy (or glycogen stores). With most tournaments, you are looking at a window of 1 to 2 hours between events to replenish lost energy. After one event replenishing lost energy may not seem crucial, but as the day and weekend go on, not quickly and properly replenishing used energy will take its toll and catch up with you.
The key to replenishing lost energy stores between high-intensity competitions is to replenish with easily digestible and carbohydrate-rich foods. Far too many times, I have seen athletes try to replenish energy within a 1 to 2-hour window by eating a heavy slow digesting meal. This isn’t the time for a heavy meal like a roast beef sandwich or slice of cold pizza. No, your best bet here is something light, like Greek Yogurt (I personally like Greek God’s Greek Yogurt) topped off with some fruit or a good carbohydrate drink, like our very own Glyco-Muscle Fueler (I add in a scoop of Whey-Pro 5 for some protein too). Whatever your meal of choice make sure it digests quickly and does the job of replenishing your glycogen stores (energy) quickly.
Staying hydrated is something we all hear, but it is one of the things that is commonly overlooked. It’s one of those things that we may not notice until it is too late. It only takes 1% to 2% dehydration to affect performance, so staying hydrated is a must. I recommend starting the day off by hydrating first thing in the morning by drinking at least 24oz of water or more as soon as you wake up, then trying to keep hydrated throughout the day. You may want to cut back on drinking water about 30 minutes before your event to give yourself time to use the restroom if needed.
Control Lactic Acid Buildup
With all the running and physical activity, most sports and competitions require, one thing you will most likely deal with is lactic acid buildup. Again, depending on your sport, you may not deal much with lactic acid buildup during your first event of the day, but as the day goes on and your muscles wear down, lactic acid build up is something most athlete will deal with. The way you handle lactic acid buildup is one of those things that can make all the difference in your performance and ultimately how you finish. Whether you use a foam roller between events and/or a supplement, like Cardio Surge Energy, to improve the removal of lactic acid from your muscles; this is something you will want to consider and plan for as you prepare for your tournaments.
Keep Muscles and Joints Loose
Although this may seem obvious and athletes warm up and loosen up before sporting events, it becomes more important during tournament-style events. As you compete hard throughout the day or weekend, your muscles will want to tighten up and move more slowly, keeping them loose and relaxed will play a large role in how they respond during late events. There are several ways to help to keep muscles and joints loose from hand massages and stretching, again using foam rollers or using more costly techniques, such as an eclectic-stim. Whichever your preferred method, the key is to keep your muscles and joints loose so they function well into those late events at the end of the tournament.
There you have four keys to consider and implement in your next tournament to keep your performance high throughout any tournament and be successful at the end of the day or weekend. In Part II of this series, we’ll implement these four keys to success and we’ll walk you through a sample nutrition and fueling plan you can use as a guide for your next tournaments. See Part II HERE.