Bonspiel Nutrition Toolbox791492Stephanie Thompson

Whether you’re competing for a toaster, meat, bragging rights or cash

they all have one thing in common –you need to eat!

When you are trying to eat for health, wellness and performance it can be so hard to follow a routine while on the road or at a competition. The struggles being that you are subject to the location, timing & various other specifics of an event. Some tournaments have meals provided, a kitchen with just a few options, or you need to go out for your food. Some times you have time to go out and eat, but other times you might play multiple games in a row and leaving the club isn’t an option.

Regardless of the structure of the event, you can keep energy levels and focus high with just a little pre-planning and some trial and error.

A few things I suggest:

  • Know your surroundings before you arrive and know if there will be food available from the club directly.
    • Showing up and being surprised by a lack of food is going to cause you to waste energy looking for and planning your food, when your energy is better focused towards performance.
  • Know your schedule.
    • In a round robin you will be able to plan out your time, but in a triple knockout you will be subject to where you land with your wins and losses.
    • Having a plan for all options is your best bet so that you’re not stuck eating a year old granola bar you found in the bottom of your bag between games.

I have a go-to set of things that my team and I prepare and bring to every event.

Things I pack:

  • Water bottle,
  • Utensils -knife, fork, spoon,
  • Napkins
  • Containers (for leftovers from a restaurant),
  • Ice pack (pro-tip if you forget –bring your food bag on to the ice with you to keep things cold).

Plan it out:

  • Plan ahead of time find out what’s available, find out the schedule and plan if you need to pack, buy, or go out for food.
  • Know exactly how much time you will have, where you will go, and if you want to be even more specific check out the menu online and have something picked out!
Your mental energies are best spent at a tournament on winning games; prepping, debriefing and staying focused. Take as many of the extra tasks off your tournament list with a little planning ahead.

Food to consider packing & preparing:

  • Electrolytes –salt & lime, diluted apple juice, Gatorade, biosteel
  • Granola & sport bars –home made energy bars, clif bars, lara bars, simply bar, kashi bars
  • Portable fruit and vegetables like bananas, apples, oranges, chopped carrots and peppers
  • Hummus and other dips (the least number of ingredients the better).
  • Cheese and crackers
  • Nuts, dried fruit, beef jerky,
  • Oatmeal packs, hard boiled eggs
  • Smoothies, boost

Packing and prepping sandwiches and other snacks are great if you can’t leave the club and there is not food available. Research restaurants (boston pizza, jack astors, Earls, pickle barrel) and healthy fast food chains (freshii, subway, tim hortons, pita pit, etc.) near your accomodations and club.

The parents on my bantam team were super creative –they went as far as bringing a foreman grill to events and cooking up hamburgers and hotdogs and having pasta salads and fruit prepared for between games. They brought waffle makers and crock pots to the hotel with meals all prepared that just needed to be cooked.

The secret to continual energy and proper recovery throughout a weekend is to focus on ingesting a mix of complex carbohydrates and protein; Choose naturally low fat options (like low fat meats), and avoid packaged foods with long complicated ingredient lists. Keep it simple!

Meal options:

  • You want easy to digest and provide a combo of carbohydrates and protein to fuel you during your competition:
    • Veggie pizza, sandwich with lean meats, light on cheese and sauces, rice, potatoes with lean meat and cooked veggies, past and tuna salad, breakfast sandwich
  • Choosing unpackaged foods guarantees less preservatives and ingredient lists you cannot pronounce.
  • Finally, Stick to foods you are familiar with.
    • Experimenting while at an event could affect your digestion and ultimately your performance.

Think about what has worked for you in the past, and what hasn’t, and tailor your future plans with that in mind

For a couple more specific tips check out my last post about the Recovery Trifecta. We touched a bit on a few rules around nutrition for when training and competing.

  • Rule 1 –eat enough (of good quality food)
  • Rule 2 –get bulk of carbohydrates following training (quality sugars; whole grain bread, rice, fruits and vegetables etc.)
  • Rule 3 –drink lots of water 24-7

What to eat can take some trial and error. Pay attention to your performance throughout an event, and notice how your food choices, or the timing of your meals affects your digestion, state of mind, mood, energy levels and most importantly, performance.

PRO TIP – Planning, prepping & being aware of how your food choices affect your body shouldn’t only centre on big competitions. True competitive and high performing athletes make nutrition a priority throughout the entire season!

If you are looking for a more specific answer, I can help direct you to a dietitian, athletic therapist or a sport nutritionist.

What can you focus on today to make you 5% better at managing your nutrition while at an event?

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Have a fantastic day!!!

— WORK HARD — HURRY HARD — PLAY HARD —

Individualized Training & Coaching in Markham, Ontario

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Bonspiel Nutrition Toolbox