Fuel Your Sport

Boost performance with the right meal plan for every race.

Nov 6, 2007
Outside Magazine
Elium SG

Elium SG   

PRE-RUN: About three hours before the start, drink lots of liquids (water, juice, sports drinks) and eat an easily digested carbohydrate snack (jam-covered bagel).
RUN: For runs longer than one hour, sip a sugary sports drink with plenty of sodium and two to three sources of carbohydrates. If needed, down a gel for a carb boost.
POST-RUN: Immediately after the finish, down a high-carb recovery drink that contains a modest amount of protein and sodium.

Cyclists and Mountain Bikers
PRE-RIDE: Cycling is forgiving on the stomach, so have a substantial high-carb snack two to four hours before the ride. A 165-pound man should aim for 150 grams of carbs (about what you'd find in a meal consisting of one cup of cereal, eight ounces of yogurt, one large banana, two tablespoons of raisins, two tablespoons of honey, and 12 ounces of juice).
RIDE: Hydrating and fueling during your workout is simpler than with other sports. Aim to consume four to eight ounces of liquid every 15 to 20 minutes, and down a gel as needed. Roadies, set your heart-rate monitor as a reminder.
POST-RIDE: Get high-GL carbs (cereals and breads) into your system within 30 minutes. Aim for half a gram of carbohydrate per pound of weight, and 15 grams of protein, with some sodium. A bowl of cereal with milk and fruit does the trick.

PRE-RACE: For early start times, finish carbo-loading by 5 p.m. the day before, so you wake up hungry for your early pre-race meal (three hours before the start). In the morning, replenish liver glycogen with easily digestible carbs like bread and fruit.
RACE: Make sure you have a proven plan for refueling with drinks, gels, and bars. Don't forget: You're sweating during the swim, so start drinking as soon as you get on the bike.
POST-RACE: You'll need plenty of carbs for glycogen replacement, as well as protein for muscle repair.

Winter Training
PRE-TRAINING: Have hot cereal with milk, raisins, and juice before a cold day out on the snow or slopes. Add peanut butter for protein.
TRAINING: Warm your beverage and use an insulated hydration system. Store energy bars and gels close to your body so they don't freeze.
POST-TRAINING: Hot chocolate, thank God, makes a great recovery drink. Have it with a high-GL snack, like a baked potato, to quickly replenish fuel and help you warm up.

Filed To: Food and Drink

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