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What kinds of foods should I eat before training/competition?

Have you ever found yourself wondering what kind of foods are ideal to consume before training or racing? Well, we have teamed up with three University of Otago nutrition students - Joey Lin, Bailey Bruckner, and Bernadeth Atrinindarti to find an answer to that very question!
Eating before a training and/or a competition is an important part of all sports. This will help keep your body moving faster, longer and more efficiently! Fuelling your body correctly before exercise is crucial to avoid decreased performance and injury. This also includes hydrating yourself with water before any exercise.
So, what should your pre training/competition foods look like?
3-4 hours before exercise:
This is an important time to ensure your energy stores are topped up with enough fuel to get you through. Therefore, it’s smart to focus on wholegrain foods as these provide your body with a slow and sustained release of energy.
Some food ideas:
  • Sandwiches made with wholegrain bread
  • Sushi
  • Oatmeal with fruit
  • Wholegrain pasta and vegetables
1-2 hours before exercise:
Small snacks are recommended right before the training/competition, as larger meals won’t have the necessary time to absorb into our bodies (not to mention they could cause some gut discomfort!). Snacks will act as a ‘top up’ of your energy stores – ready to go when you start exercise. Stick to easily digestible foods, that are mainly carbohydrate based.
Some food ideas:
  • Fruit such as 1x medium banana
  • 1 muesli bars
  • 1-2 pieces of toast with honey or jam
Quick tip! Try to avoid high fat options such as eggs, full-fat milk, or peanut butter as these take too long to absorb.
  • Kerksick, C., Harvey, T., Stout, J., Campbell, B., Wilborn, C., Kreider, R., . . . Antonio, J. (2008). International society of sports nutrition position stand: Nutrient timing. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 5, 17-17. doi:10.1186/1550-2783-5-1