Your body is similar to a machine and like all machines, it needs fuel in order to function. When and what you eat has a huge effect on your body; this effect is even more noticeable as an athlete. Athletes need to eat more than the average person in order to perform at their best and keep themselves looking healthy. Whether you go to the gym only to stay in shape or are a professional athlete you need to have a basic understanding of how different types of food get digested and the importance of eating solid meals, especially on the days you train. Carbohydrates and sugars get digested much quicker than fats and proteins, knowing this as an athlete you can eat at certain times and use it to your advantage.
On game day or training day you should not skip meals. Eating three solid meals that day will ensure that your body is properly fueled up and has reserve energy to recover and build new muscles. Granola bars would be a great pre-work snack since they are mostly carbs. It would be best to keep your meals light before a track meet because you want to be light on your feet; you also need to be well hydrated.
Water is what transports all the nutrients around the body and also is what helps to remove the waste by-products made by the cells. Dehydration will guarantee poor performance on the track or in the gym. To avoid dehydration during a game or track meet you should drink half a cup of water every fifteen minutes. Staying well hydrated is equally as important as eating right.
Although fats and sources of protein generally contain more calories you should not eat them right before a track meet. Your body uses more energy to digest them and this, in turn, slows you down, leaving you with a sleepy feeling. These types of food should be eaten at least two or three hours before a competition. Within two to three hours all the food should have moved out of your stomach.
To be an athlete requires a certain amount of discipline. Monitoring your calorie input and output is one part of it. Knowing what foods are best to eat at certain times is another but a generally good guide is to load up on calories at each meal and eat snacks before training.