Pre-Game Fuel for Maximum Output

by Jonathan Dodd, Physiotherapist, Physioworks Health Group.

Football and Netball take a lot out of the body from depleting energy stores to the toll of physical contact.

Many players prepare their bodies for training sessions and games by having physiotherapists/trainers ease aches and pains; but equally as important in your preparation is the need to eat correctly before the game, to ensure they have sufficient energy to sustain and maximize output.

Pre-Game Fuel food and fluid intake are the final stages of recovery from a week of hard training. The goals of a pre-game meal are to stabilize blood sugar levels, hydrate the body, prevent gastrointestinal upset and avoid hunger during the event. A pre-game intake of carbohydrate ensures that you have enough of this essential energy source to compete for the whole game.

Carbohydrates are a key fuel source for exercise, especially during prolonged continuous or high-intensity exercise. The body stores carbohydrate as glycogen in the muscles and liver, however their storage capacity is limited. When these carbohydrate stores are inadequate to meet a player’s fuel needs, the results can include fatigue and impaired performance.

What Should You Eat Before a Game?

Firstly, it is important that your pre-training or pre-game meal is something you like and it should follow a few basic guidelines:

~ High in carbohydrate

~ Have a fluid component

~ Low in fat

Some pre-game meal examples are:

~ Breakfast cereal or porridge and reduced fat milk

~ Toast or muffins with jam/honey/peanut butter

~ Baked beans or tinned spaghetti on toast

~ Sandwiches or rolls with low fat meat, cheese and salad

The timing of the pre-training or pre-game meal is also an important consideration. It is recommended that you eat your pre-game meal about two to four hours prior to a game.

This allows enough time for the food pass through the stomach and into the intestines where it can be absorbed for use. The exact timing of the meal will depend on how your body handles the pre-game build up.

Ensure the pre-game meal is digested with a steady amount of fluid intake – such as water.

If you require more advice on your pre-game fuel; or general diet and nutrition for your healthy active lifestyle, please contact our team at Physioworks Health Group.

About the author:

Jonathan Dodd is a Physiotherapist at Physioworks Health Group, consulting at the Cranbourne and Camberwell clinics. He has completed extensive professional development in the chronic pain management and musculoskeletal area.

About Physioworks Health Group:

Physioworks Health Group has a team of dedicated physiotherapists & health professionals providing a range of specialist health services at clinics in Cranbourne, Pakenham & Camberwell. Physioworks is the Medical & Health Care partner of the SEFNL. Physioworks Director David Francis is the Head Physiotherapist to the Collingwood Football Club. www.physioworkshealthgroup.com.au

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