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Jan 24, 2011 01:39 PM

Athletes: What are your pre-game meals and food-rituals?

Whether it works or not, we've all heard about "carbo-loading" before a marathon (or other endurance events).

But what are the other pre-game meals that people believe in and rely on?

Do you have pre-game meals or food-rituals you just have to have before an event?

I used to always have a 7-Eleven nacho before my tennis matches in high school.

But I won't eat anything at least 12 hours before a marathon.

And, I always need a shot of scotch before a chess match ...

Do you have special pre-game meals or food rituals?

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  1. I played soccer throughout high school and college. I never consumed ANY dairy 24 hours before a game. I preferred a hearty soup or stew as the last meal before a game. Basically overall good nutrition and meals that weren't heavy did the trick for me. When playing rugby it was just copious amounts of beer.

    1. I think it may have been partly superstition, but I used to avoid eating before day games (12 or 1 pm) while playing football in HS and college. I did drink quite a bit of black coffee though.

      1. I'm a long-distance cyclist--don't know anything about other types of sports. I don't eat a huge meal the night before an event or a workout because it won't affect glycogen stores--not enough time. I eat normally and try to avoid things that will take a long time to process (steak, rich desserts--note the operative words "try to," I am not always successful). Before an event or workout, I eat things that have carbs that are quickly accessible, usually a nuked potato with butter and Parm. It's the post-event eating that really counts though, although I'm not sure that my post-ride choice of beer is a commendable recovery food.

        4 Replies
        1. re: Erika L

          I'm a long-distance cyclist ...


          So am I.

          How do you refuel on century rides? Or do you? I usu. down half a Twinkie and diluted Mountain Dew if there are any hills after the 70 mile marker.

          1. re: ipsedixit

            I have riding partners who ride on Hostess fruit pies and Pop-Tarts (they're the perfect size to fit into jersey pockets and so conveniently come already packaged in those foil envelopes--plus you can find them at any mini-mart). Also frozen toaster waffles sandwiched with peanut butter and bananas. The great thing about participating in any kind of activity is that you get to eat like a teenager afterward!

            1. re: Erika L

              The great thing about participating in any kind of activity is that you get to eat like a teenager afterward!


              You don't even want to know what I eat after a long run or ride ...

              And, y'know, the problem with PopTarts or fruit pies is that they require too much chewing ...

            2. re: ipsedixit

              How do you refuel on century rides? Or do you?
              homemade energy bars. or, on the rare occasions when i'm not prepared with homemade snacks, a Larabar or a handful of yogurt- or chocolate-covered raisins. energy gels and carbonated drinks upset my stomach, and obviously all those packaged high-sugar baked goods and treats are a no-go for me because of the gluten.

          2. I personally would never eat before a game or exercise, But had a coach that would push a pancake/bacon or sausage (maybe 1-2 pancakes at most) before... claimed the sugars , carbs , protein was best mix out there... looking back there was no proof or research done , but sounded correct at 17 and little today too

            1. I sometimes wonder if I do long distance events as an excuse to indulge in starches the night before. I try to have a starch w/ pb in the am but I had a pr in a 10 miler when I wolfed down two mini chic chip muffins. After, I crave meat like a burger. And, I love events tied to wine tasting after.:)

              3 Replies
              1. re: chowser

                And, I love events tied to wine tasting after.:)


                Ever do a bike tour of the CA Wine Country? One of the most enjoyable experiences I've ever had. I'd like to do something similar in southern France someday ...

                1. re: ipsedixit

                  That all sounds great. I have a friend who did that in Italy and said it was amazing. I'm not much of a cyclist, only when forced to in a tri, though I do like it (just not good at it). Maybe I could add wine tasting at the end of my spinning classes--it might quickly increase the participants in class!

                  My dream vacation is to find a running group, nice run in the morning and then eat/cook the rest of the day. That should be my next profession.

                  1. re: chowser

                    If you any type of triathlon, even halves or OLY, then you're more of a cyclist than just about 98% of the population.

                    And trust me, on those cycling vacations, you're not really breaking a sweat. We used to go on thse long night rides when our tour guides left us to our own devices. Nothing like a nice 1/4 century ride to work off all that cheese, lamb, chocolate and wine ...