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Eating The Night Before Competition

Many competive athletes believe that they should load up on carbohydrates the night before a competition. So, at the start of long-distance races, the rest rooms are so crowded that the athletes have to stand in line. They wouldn't have to do that if they stopped eating so much pasta.

How long you can exercise depends on how much sugar called glycogen you can store inside your muscles. When a muscle runs out of glycogen, it hurts to exercise and becomes difficult to control. So, on the night before a race, runners and cyclists usually eat pasta because they think it stores more glycogen. On the next day, they pay a price for their choice of high carbohydrate, low-fiber foods because they cause constipation.

High-fiber foods are bulky and hold water, helping to keep food moving through the intestinal tract. The ideal meal on the night before competition should be full of fiber. Instead of bread and pasta, eat vegetable salads, whole grains, beans, seeds and nuts. Meat, chicken, fish and other high-protein, high-fat foods are also perfectly good sources of energy and will not harm your performance.

Checked 8/31/08

May 12th, 2013
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About the Author: Gabe Mirkin, MD

Sports medicine doctor, fitness guru and long-time radio host Gabe Mirkin, M.D., brings you news and tips for your healthful lifestyle. A practicing physician for more than 50 years and a radio talk show host for 25 years, Dr. Mirkin is a graduate of Harvard University and Baylor University College of Medicine. He is board-certified in four specialties: Sports Medicine, Allergy and Immunology, Pediatrics and Pediatric Immunology. The Dr. Mirkin Show, his call-in show on fitness and health, was syndicated in more than 120 cities. Read More
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