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What should I eat before a competition? Tips for beginners and professionals!

Collect your starting documents, stroll through the Triathlon Expo and then off to the pasta party. Time for carbo loading! But is the day before the race really suitable for filling up your carbohydrate stores and which level is the right one? We'll tell you how it works!

Carboloading – What? When? How much?

Carboloading is made up of the terms 'carbo' for carbohydrates and 'loading' for filling up. The aim is to load the glycogen stores in the muscles and liver above normal levels. The better the memory is filled, the better the performance will ultimately be.
One thing is for sure, the day before the race it is too late to fill your glycogen stores. So you can save yourself a trip to the pasta buffet. – The amounts of carbohydrates can neither be digested so shortly before the race nor can the energy supplied be stored. So you only put unnecessary work on your body, but you don't benefit from it.
The menu before a race day should include high-calorie foods that are easy to digest. You should also be aware that the time window in which it makes sense to fill your glycogen stores closes 54-38 hours before the starting signal!
Due to their high calorie density, gummy bears or carbohydrate solutions such as our OMNi-POWER® CARBOTONIC sports drink are popular carboloaders.

Vegetables - a suitable source of energy?

Vegetables provide our body with important vitamins, minerals and valuable fiber, which support body functions and our immune system and should therefore be integrated into the daily menu.
However, since raw food is very difficult for the body to metabolize and also has a low calorie density, you should avoid raw food 2-3 days before the big race day. There is basically nothing wrong with steamed vegetables in the form of soups and purees. However, in order to ensure optimal race preparation, it is better to use other foods in the final phase.

The influence of carbohydrates on weight

The topic of carboloading is increasingly being critically questioned by sports nutrition research. Did you know that the storage of glycogen in the muscles only works physiologically if water is also stored? A full 3g of water per gram of carbohydrates.
Thanks to the replenished glycogen stores, you have more energy available, but you will most likely also carry a little more weight over the competition route. Maybe that could ultimately be a negative calculation..

Race morning

The time has finally come, the big race day is just around the corner. In order to avoid making any mistakes in the last few meters, you should stick to the following points at breakfast:
  • You should eat your breakfast about 3 hours before the race
  • Choose a quickly digestible breakfast that doesn't put unnecessary strain on your body
  • It's better to stay away from the routine muesli in the morning: it usually consists of whole grains and is therefore difficult to digest
  • Fats, fiber and raw vegetables should not end up on your breakfast plate that day
  • The size of the meal should be manageable
  • Choose foods that won't throw your insulin levels out of balance
  • In addition to your competition shoes and your race food, you should also have your breakfast tested for tolerance several times before tough sessions

By the way, there is always a corresponding podcast to accompany the blog posts.
Your hosts are Simone Kumhofer (sports and nutrition scientist, professional triathlete and expert in intestinal health and the microbiome) and Chris Nindl (triathlete, former cyclist and organizer of the OMNi-BiOTiC® Apfelland Triathlon )
Take a listen! - Click here for the podcast

Our experts

about the author

Julia Skala in Magenta OMNi-BiOTiC Power Team Anzug läuft Triathlon

Julia skala

Professional triathlete
Content Creator OMNi-POWER®