Many of the people I work with compete in either olympic lifting or CrossFit competitions. There are some specific strategies that you should employ leading up to a competition and the day of the event to ensure that your body is ready for what you are asking it to do.
Here are some pro tips:
1) Don't do anything new.
The last thing you want is to have an upset stomach from something you ate or drank that you never have before. This is not the time to try a new pre-workout or a food that you have never eaten. Stick to foods that are tried and true for you and that you eat consistently.
2) Eat Well the night before.
Make sure that your dinner consists of good protein, carb and fat sources and is something that you eat regularly. Don't eat anything greasy or spicy that will upset your stomach and leave you feeling sluggish the next morning.
3) Eat a breakfast full of real food.
Choose things like eggs, toast, sweet potato, banana, peanut butter, etc. that will get your filled up and fueled for your first workout. Be sure to include foods that won't upset your stomach and be sure to give yourself enough time between eating and working out. This is different for everyone, you should know this by know from your training. If you don't, be sure to test the exact meal before a workout sometime this week.
4) Pack your bags with lots of food and snacks.
Having things on hand throughout the day is going to be important. Think about foods that are easily eaten and easily digested. Again, these should be foods that you have eaten before, nothing new here. My favorite go-to foods for event day are:
- Apples/bananas and nut butter
- protein bars (like RX bars, Perfect Bars, Lara Bars) with REAL food in them
- Pouches / Baby Food (they are easily digestible)
- Protein Shakes
- Chicken breast and hummus
- Dried fruit
- trail mix
- rice cakes with nut butter on top
- overnight oats
5) Schedule Your Eating around Your workouts.
Take a look at the heat times and see when you are working out. Plan meals and snacks around when you need to perform and when you have some time to rest. Choose things that are quickly digestible and that won't leave you feeling heavy or overly full.
6) Drink Lots of Water.
Be sure to hydrate all day long. On long hot days like these shoot for your body weight in ounces spread out throughout the day.
7) Force yourself to eat throughout the day.
I know this may sound weird, but nerves and adrenaline can mess with your appetite. Be sure to eat consistently throughout the day even if you don't feel hungry. Your body needs this food for energy.
8) Be Mindful of your caffeine intake.
Be sure not to drink too much pre-workout or coffee prior to the event. Your nerves will already be in full effect. Also remember that the peak of caffeine intake happens about 1 hour after drinking it, so be sure to time this appropriately.
Beyond this stuff, be sure to take care of your body this week. Allow for some rest and mobility work. Also, be sure to get consistent sleep and eat well this week leading up to the event. Limit or eliminate any alcohol intake this week and drink a TON of water.
After the event, be sure to continue to hydrate and give your body some good food to recover with. Enjoy a beer and maybe some pizza, but then get right back to eating well the next morning.