It's a fact: victory is also prepared at breakfast!
It is the most important meal of the day. Forgotten by many sportsmen and women, it is nevertheless the solid basis of a good food distribution during the day and the key to success in any competition. Indeed, the performance and well-being of each athlete depends on regular training but also on respecting a good balance in the plate.
Breakfast is a meal that is often neglected, some people almost forget it... It is however essential. Indeed, the body has been fasting since the previous day's meal, so its energy reserves are at their lowest. It is therefore essential to provide all the nutrients necessary for intense physical exercise.
A healthy and balanced pre-competitive breakfast provides the essential food for the effort. It fills in the deficits created during the night. You need to rehydrate and recharge your batteries.
Doing sport without breakfast conditions the good progress of the day of the sportsman. Insufficient intake of macro-nutrients, particularly carbohydrates and proteins, leads to a drop in concentration and alertness due to the feeling of hunger.
The law of 3 hours
It is recommended to eat breakfast about 3 hours before the start of an event, because a heavy meal taken just before an effort will lead to an influx of blood into the digestive tract, which results in a decrease in blood flow in the muscle and brain areas. This leads to a decrease in muscle performance with a slow start, a lack of strength and a late onset of the right pace. The digestion which operates during an effort will be disturbed. It will then lead to unpleasant complaints: cramps, gastric pain, shortness of breath...
The right reflexes
To avoid having a heavy stomach at the time of the departure, your breakfast before the competition must be digestible. You must absolutely limit fats and measure out fibers. At most, the weight of lipids (fats) should not exceed a quarter of that of carbohydrates (sugars).
Strengthen your energy reserves by choosing slow sugars. Avoid cereals in petal form, as the carbohydrates are "too fast"... Instead, choose whole grain cereals or bars with a low glycemic index! In the same way, choose fresh wholemeal bread instead.
Be careful with fiber: it slows down digestion but could also clog or irritate your intestine during your workout. Forget raw fruit or choose fruits that are not very aggressive, such as kiwi or bananas. Opt for cooked fruits or compotes which are less irritating.
The winning breakfast
On a daily basis, breakfast should provide 25 to 30% of the day's total calories. It is therefore important to take care and vary its composition. In the case of a more important physical activity than usual (such as a competition), it is important to adapt the content of breakfast.
Here is an example of a complete pre-competition breakfast menu:
- A drink to rehydrate the body (chicory, coffee, tea or 2 large glasses of water)
- Honey for its richness in fructose and quick sugar with a moderate glycemic index
- A cereal product for complex carbohydrates: whole grain cereals, gingerbread without milk (more digestible), honey and jam
- A dairy product for calcium: 1 small bowl of soy milk or 2 to 3 heaped tablespoons of 0% to 20% cottage cheese
- A piece of fruit, fruit juice or applesauce, real sources of vitamins
- 1 single dose of compote or 1 to 2 heaped tablespoons.
Good to know: if, like some athletes, you don't feel hungry when you wake up, drink a glass of water when you get out of bed, which should help you work up an appetite while you shower. Eat your breakfast slowly, take the time to chew without rushing. Another rule of thumb: test your ideal breakfast during your training period. This is the best way to find out which one suits you best. Now you can optimize your performance!