UC San Diego Athletic Performance Nutrition Guide

Pre/Post Competition  and Practice Recommendations


Fueling your body for competition and recovery


It is important to make sure you eat properly before training and competition.  Without the right types and right amount of food and drink, you are more likely to become physically and mentally fatigued sooner and quicker.  It is important to find an eating schedule and find the foods you can eat on practice days to avoid an upset stomach and/or weakness during competition. 


Summary of Carbohydrate Recommendations


Consume 1-4g of carbohydrate/kg, 1-4 hours before exercise

Consume 30-60g of carbohydrate every hour during exercise


Example:  3g carbohydrate x 70kg body weight = 210g x 4 = 840 Calories from Carbs


Guidelines for Pre-exercise Nourishment:

Adapted from Nancy Clark’s Sports Nutrition Guidebook:

  1. Every day, eat adequate high-carbohydrate meals to fuel and refuel your muscles so they’ll be ready for action.
  2. If you will be exercising for more than 60-90 minutes, choose carbohydrates with a moderate to low glycemic effect (example:  yogurt, bananas, oatmeal, bean soup, lentils, apples).
  3. If you will be exercising for less than an hour, simply snack on any tried-and-true foods that digest easily and settle comfortably (bread, English muffins, bagels, crackers, pasta).
  4. Limit high-fat proteins.
  5. Be cautious with sugary foods like soft drinks, candy, potatoes and so on.  They made cause a drop in blood sugar leaving you tired.
  6. Allow adequate time to digest.
  7. Always eat familiar foods before a competition.  Don’t try anything new!

**What you eat before you exercise can make or break your workout.  Each person has their own preferences, so find what works for you!



Recovery Carbohydrates

It takes 20hours to fully replenish depleted muscle glycogen.  It is best to consume carbohydrate-rich foods and beverages within 15minutes after your workout or competition.  Studies have proven that this replenishes glycogen stores faster than delaying eating over two hours.


How much?  Your target intake is 0.5 grams of carbohydrate per pound of body weight every two hours for six to eight hours. 

Ex:  150lb x 0.5g carbs/lb = 75g x 4 = 300 calories of carbohydrates.

So, within two hours you want to eat 300cals, then again in two more hours and then again in two more hours.

Popular 300 calories carbs:

--8 oz orange juice and a medium bagel

--16 ounces of cranberry juice

--One bowl of corn flakes with milk and a banana.

--Some sports bars

More ideas for Carbohydrate Recovery:

--120g: 2 cups applesauce, 4 fig Newtons, 8oz sports drink or 1 cup raisins or dried cherries or 1 cup fruit yogurt, 1 pear, 4 graham cracker squares

--150g:  2 cans Sports drink, 1 orange or 2 Cups apple-cranberry juice, 1 bagel

--180g:  1 C ready-to-eat cereal, 1 C skim milk, 1 banana, 2 C cran-grape juice




Recovery Protein

Don’t avoid protein in your recovery diet.  Protein eaten along with carbohydrates can help to enhance with glycogen replacement in the initial hours after training or competition.  The ratio to strive for is 1 gram of protein for every 3 grams of carbohydrates.

Some good combinations:

--Protein-rich milk with cereal

--1 or 2 oz of lean meat or poultry on a bagel

--Meat sauce on spaghetti


Recovery Fluids

After a hard workout or competition, it should be your top priority to replace your lost fluids and then replenish your glycogen stores.  Remember, for every 1 lb lost, drink 2 Cups of Fluid.

Good choices:


*Watery Foods, such as watermelon, grapes, and soups

*High-carbohydrate sports drinks



Recovery Electrolytes

When you are exercising, you sweat.  When you sweat, you lose important electrolytes, such as potassium and sodium.  These help your body function normally.  Most likely you will replenish these electrolytes with your recovery foods.  A pound of sweat contains about 80-100 milligrams potassium.  In the course of 2-3 hours of very hard exercise you might lose 300-800 milligrams of potassium and 1800-5600 milligrams of sodium.





Here are some examples of common foods:




Mg potassium/serving

Mg  potassium/

100 calories


840/1 large

380/.5 large


530/8 oz low fat

370/ 2/3 C

Orange juice





450/1 medium


300/ .25 C

230/3 Tbsp


55/8 oz






30/ 8oz

60/ 16oz





Examples of Sodium in Popular Foods:


Recovery Food

Sodium (mg)

Pizza, ˝ of 12” cheese


Mac and Cheese, 1 Cup


Spaghettios, 1 C


Chicken Noodle Soup, 1 C


Bagel, 1 small


Pretzels, 1 large


Bread, 1 slice


Frozen yogurt, 1 C


Orange Juice, 8 ounces




Information supplied by: 


UC San Diego Intercollegiate Athletics


Megan Mangano, UNH B.S. in Nutritional Sciences


Clark, Nancy, MS, RD.  Nancy Clark’s Sports Nutrition Guidebook, 2nd Edition.  1997.  Brookline, MA:  Nancy Clark.


Rosenbloom, Christine A., PhD, RD, Editor.  ADA: Sports Nutrition: A Guide for the Professional Working with Active People, 3rd Edition.  2000.  Chicago, Illinois: The American Dietetic Association.