Loading Energy before a Game or Sport Event (Glycogen Loading)
Today we have research which shows that besides your God given ability and talent to play a game and your training by professional coaches, what goes into your body as food plays a very important role. Food eaten on a long term basis as well as exactly what you eat 3 days before your event and throughout and after the event have a tremendous influence on your performance. It is very important for all Sports people to concentrate on a high carbohydrate diet from 3 days before an event, game or match. 60-70% of the food should be carbohydrate food. (fruits, sugars, vegetables and cereals-rice, wheat, etc.) This gets converted to glycogen and is stored in the muscles. During a cricket match one has to be able to endure long hours as well as have muscle glycogen, which is where energy is taken from for the spurts of high intensity activity that occurs when you make quick sport moves such as bowl, bat, take a run or run for the ball.
For this we recommend that you make a conscious effort to cut down on all fatty food from 3 days prior to the event. During event and after event replace those calories with large quantities of carbohydrate foods. Use skimmed or low fat milk, do not apply butter on bread or ghee on roti, avoid coconut chutney and any fried items like vada, masala dosa, etc. in breakfast. Ideally your breakfast should be a glass of skimmed milk with bread and jam, or idli and sambar. or oats porridge or cereal and milk. A boiled egg may be eaten but sausages, bacon, etc. must be avoided. Top up the breakfast with fruits or fruit juice.
Carry with you dilute juice with glucose or other juices but avoid any concentrated drinks and aerated drinks during event. Between events frequently snack on fruits - banana, dates, raisins, etc. Jelly and crackers may also be eaten. Chocolates and nuts are a definite no as they are high fat and will feel heavy in the stomach without doing the needful. Lunch too should be high carbohydrates and moderate protein meal but low in fat. Curd rice, dry roti with dhal, veg sandwiches, macaroni and tomato sauce with a little cheese added. But try to increase your rice or roti intake and control intake of non-veg.
Many eat less during the event saying they don't want to feel heavy. Please note, if you fill up on carbs you will not be heavy as they get digested fast. Only if your eat fat then fat takes 6-8 hours to get digested and it feels heavy in the stomach. After the event too do not neglect you’re eating. For a player every day is important every event is important and you should take care to replenish your muscle glycogen stores which would have got emptied by the end of your game.
It is recommend that you give 100 gms of carbohydrate with 5-10 gms protein within half an hour after event. This can be got from a milk shake or lassi plus 4 slices bread & jam or 5-6 idli with sambar and some fruits. Later that night's dinner too must be a high carbohydrate meal with lots of rice, dhal, yougurt, but definitely low on fat. Fruit and milk at bed time too is a good way to load carbohydrates. Rich biriyani, poori, paratha and Chinese food are best avoided after a match as they are too high in fat.