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Race Day XC Breakfast

I am so surprised by the many athletes I hear tell me that they do not normally eat breakfast the day of the big meet or game. Whether it be fear of feeling bogged down by the food in their stomach or too nervous to choke down a meal, I know of many athletes missing out of a huge competitive edge. (for athletes who experience this, there are different tips than what is included in this post to overcome it!)

Did you know that there is at least a 2-3% bump in performance in athletes who properly fill carb stores over their competitors of equal fitness who do not fill carb stores? That's HUGE!!!! Even though athletes should be replenishing carb stores each day after practice, I will focus on how to properly carb load the morning of a meet or game. In order to create a great pre-competition breakfast, you can follow these easy steps about 2.5-3 hours before your race or game:

1- Pick a simple carb (white bread for toast, plain bagel, or oats). Have you ever "hit the wall"? That is due to running out of carb or glycogen stores. By having more stored glycogen, your muscles will have more energy to use and will get fatigued less quickly. 2- Choose a topping, but don’t use too much (jam, peanut butter, honey). For pre-competition meals we want to avoid high fiber and high fat foods such as fats (butter, cooking oil, processed meats, heavy cream cheese), fruit, vegetables, and high fiber grains. Fiber and fat may cause a ‘heavy’ feeling before the competition because they linger in the digestive tract longer than other foods. 3- After breakfast, pack a backup snack in case you get hungry at the course or field (nature valley granola bar, cliff bar, peanut butter sandwich, pretzels). Even if you only need an extra 2-3 bites of this snack, it could help keep your stomach from growling & running on empty HYDRATE!!!

There are different ways to carb-load including different durations of the load as well as how many grams of carbs to eat. The perfect plan differs for each athlete so in order to find the best method for yourself, make sure you do research from CREDIBLE sources, and talk with your registered sports dietitian. If you do not have a registered sports dietitian, please feel free to DM me or send me your email so that you can hop on my email list. I would be happy to give you some guidance.

Good luck in your races this week!



Hi, my name is Katelyn Greenleaf, Registered Dietitian, Nutritionist

NuLeaf Nutrition strives to...

1. Provide scientifically-backed information to help athletes find a nutrition plan that fits their individual health/fitness goals.

2. Educate people in achieving optimal nutrition in attempts to prevent the development of chronic diseases. 

3. Improve total health by emphasizing balance in the diet and physical activity.

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