Prerace or pregame meal
Pre-Race or Pre-Game Meal
May 12, 2013
 by Gabe Mirkin, MD

 It takes a lot of energy to power your muscles
for an athletic competition. Research from the
University of North Carolina shows that you should
eat your prerace meal as close to your event as
possible, as long as your stomach is empty when
you start. For most people thatís about three
hours before the event.
Your brain gets its energy almost exclusively from
sugar in your bloodstream and your muscles donít
contract effectively when your blood sugar runs
low. There is only enough sugar in your
bloodstream to last three minutes, so to keep
sugar levels from dropping, your liver release
sugar from its cells. But your liver stores only
enough sugar to last 12 hours. Eating fills your
liver with sugar. If you eat six hours before you
compete, your liver will already have used up a
major portion of its stored sugar, so you want to
fill your liver with sugar as close to your event
as possible and leave your stomach empty. Thatís
two to three hours before competition. You donít
need to eat sugar; your body converts any type
food you eat to sugar for energy.
DM Maffucci, RG McMurray. Towards optimizing the
timing of the pre-exercise meal. International
Journal of Sport Nutrition, 2000, Vol 10, Iss 2,
pp 103-113 Address: Maffucci DM, Univ N Carolina,
Dept Exercise & Sport Sci, Chapel Hill,NC 27599
Checked 8/31/08