As athletes work to prepare for competitions and tournaments, it is very important that nutritional needs be met. This includes both eating habits, what is consumed, and when it is eaten. The old saying that you should not eat before swimming is a very real concern for athletes regardless of which sport they are involved in. In order to allow the body to fully convert the good foods that you are eating into energy you need to give it time. The amount of time it needs varies depending on the exact foods that you are eating but the process is certainly not instant. In order to achieve the best results it is ideal if you break up your eating habits before competitions and try to limit the amount of food that you are eating right before engaging in sports. For example, if you are going to be running track at 10a.m. you should not eat anything after 9:30a.m. unless it is an emergency. This gives your stomach time to start converting the food you consumed into energy. While it is necessary to drink liquids during a work out it is also essential to know what foods are safe before a work out. In order to ensure that your athletic experience goes as smoothly as possible you should always consult your sports medicine doctor for specifics based upon your body type, athletic activity and any other variables that are specific to you. In the meantime, there are some general guidelines that are acceptable to use and can assist in helping you ensure that you are ready to go. Before you exercise, you should look at eating about 4 hours before hand. This means a real meal with components from all of the food groups. This does not mean simply snacking on an energy bar, or even an apple. Instead, it should be a complete meal, this may require you to adjust your workout schedule to better coordinate with your eating habits. If your schedule handles it better, adjust our eating habits around your workout schedule. Either way, it is important to eat a full meal 4 hours before your work out. Once you are finished eating it is a good idea to eat a snack or even an energy drink that is loaded with carbohydrates. This gives your body an extra burst. It is best to look into this high carbohydrate snack about 2 hours before your workout. Remember, worrying about the calories you are consuming is not as important as ensuring that you are giving your body the fuel that it needs to function. In addition, about one hour before your workout having a sports drink is a really good idea. Following this schedule should have your body well stocked with plenty of energy to handle the rigors of your workout. In the time immediately before a workout or a competition of any type it is best to stick to small foods that are healthy and offer high amounts of carbohydrates. Examples include fruits, fruit juice, vegetable juices, and even sports drinks are all healthy choices that keep your energy levels full. They are also light enough that they will not cause any problems with your stomach while you are engaged in your athletic activity. In addition to eating healthy foods, sports medicine doctors also recommend consuming something sugary approximately 45 minutes before any highly strenuous activities. This includes candy bars, energy bars, and even some soft drinks. Keeping your energy levels up is not always a simple task but if you focus more on your energy levels and less on the calorie intake that you are consuming your body will appreciate it once you are moving and using the stores of energy. Remember, limiting the amount of sugar that you consume is best since it only gives you energy for the initial start to the activity. The carbohydrates that you consumed before will provide you with the long-term energy that you need to be successful. With some careful planning it is possible to work with your sports medicine doctor and coach and decide exactly what your best eating routine is to keep you in top notch shape.
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