How to Maintain Energy while at a TournamentKhaos
Ultimate is one of the tougher sports to fuel for because of the back-to-back games that require a high level of agility, speed, intellect, and mental and emotional resilience.
Here is a quick diagnostic to see if under-fuelling is an issue for you:
Do you feel like you can’t reach your top gear at times?
Do you feel tired (continuing even after you’ve sat a point)?
Do you get more than a little frustrated when a teammate makes an unfortunate error?
Do you ever find yourself wishing a game would just end?
Do you get frustrated with teammates when they provide constructive feedback?
Do you get in a funk when you make an error or a couple in a row?
When you make a couple consecutive errors, do you find it tough to get back on your game?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, you’ve probably been under-fuelled at some point.
How You can Improve Your Eating during Tournaments
Assuming most of you are eating 1.5-2 hrs before game time, you want to focus on carbs mixed with some protein and little fat. For example, a bagel with peanut butter and chocolate milk or OJ, or cereal with milk and chopped nuts with a small glass of juice. If you can’t stomach much before a game, you could opt for a smoothie with protein or a liquid nutrition supplement such as Boost/Ensure.
*caution: if you go the Boost/Ensure/smoothie route, you will have to work harder during the day to get enough energy in.
2) Nutrition Supplements
I’m a pusher of REAL food; however, in tournament situations, you will be hard-pressed to get enough energy in using solid food alone unless you are pretty focused on nutrition. For a traveling group like yourselves, I recommend shameless use of nutrition supplements. I like using the “plus” versions of Ensure/Boost/alternative brands. They provide 1.5 kcal per ml which means you’ll get over 300 kilocalories in a bottle. They also provide a good dose of carb and protein without bogging you down with too much fat. Ideally, you want to drink at least one per game with some solid snacks as well.
*You will want to keep these COLD to keep them palatable.
3) Solid Food
I’m not a Canada’s Food Guide pusher. Rather, I encourage my high-functioning clients to fulfill these 3 criteria when planning food:
Fresh – This means fruit or vegetables, both, or whichever strikes your fancy. At the fields it’ll probably mean raw. This could mean apples/peaches/grapes/cherries/pre-cut melon or mango, etc. or grape tomatoes/mini cucumbers, etc.
Filling – This means protein in a tournament situation. For example, nuts/trail mix/hard-boiled eggs/pepperettes/jerky/flavoured tuna, etc.
Satisfying – One word: carbs, especially happy ones. For example, chips/candy, etc. These will provide an acute pick-me-up.
4) Sports Drinks
I have little interest in dictating whether you should drink Gatorade/Powerade/G2/nuun/or whatever formulation is in your bag. All I ask is that you experiment with a few and choose one that works for you. And balance it with water. If you get hot (who doesn’t?), keep your drinks cold. It makes a big difference.
Please give this a try. I guarantee it will up your game in all aspects.