Although sprinters require carbohydrates before events, they do not need to participate in carbohydrate loadings. Since sprints are short races, the athlete will need fewer carbohydrates for energy than individuals running endurance races. Keep food choices low in fat and calories to avoid digestive issues during events. Along with eating right before events, drink plenty of water to combat fluid loss during sprints.
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The ideal pre-game meal will be made up of familiar foods that are not likely to give you intestinal discomfort. Meals before a sprinting competition should not include spicy and gassy foods such as broccoli, cauliflower, beans, chilies, cayenne peppers, garlic and onions. You should never try a new food before you sprint -- because you never know how your body will react to an unfamiliar food.
Since sprinting does not deplete glycogen stores, you do not need to load up on carbohydrates before an event. Carbohydrate loading is more likely to benefit individuals who participate in endurance races. Instead, you want a meal that will provide you with enough fluid and energy to compete in the race.
If you are eating one to two hours before a race, you should choose foods low in fat and calories. Lighter meals are not likely to make you feel sluggish as you sprint. Potential meals include a smoothie with fruit and low-fat yogurt, cereal bar, yogurt with fruit, piece of fruit, whole-grain cereal with low-fat milk, sports drink or energy bar. If you are eating lightly before racing, plan to eat a heavier meal afterward to curb hunger.
If you plan your meal three to four hours before your race, you can have heartier meals before competition. Three to four hours gives adequate time for digestion. Choose foods mostly from complex carbohydrates. Examples of good meals prior to competition for sprinters include whole-grain pasta with tomato sauce, fruit salad with yogurt, turkey sandwich on a wheat roll, brown rice with chicken and cereal with banana and low-fat milk.