You’re heading for a tournament. You’ve been practicing, traveling and working hard to play the best you can over the weekend. When you get there, you drink a few beers with a cheeseburger and french fries at dinner the night before your event starts. The next day, you find yourself struggling to make your bunker and dazed trying to think fast enough to keep up with the game. You blame it on practice or on the refs, when the real problem may have been in your nutrition!
Nutrition plays a huge role in how your body functions, especially during high intensity athletic activity, like paintball. Making sure you eat right will give you a huge advantage when it comes to thinking and moving fast during game time. There are a few rules you can follow to help make sure you are in the best condition possible before going into your tournament!
6 DAYS Before: Preparation Begins
Believe it or not, you need to begin preparing your body for competition long before you head to the tournament. During this time frame, be sure to begin tapering off your workouts and practices. Yes, we all want to show that we can work the hardest before events, but there is no glory in being too tired to perform! Tapering off the workload the week before will give your body a perfect opportunity to fully heal and repair itself.
To be sure you are preparing yourself the right way, make carbohydrates your priority. Now, this doesn’t mean you get free reign to go smash down pizza and pastas. This simply means that you should increase your carbohydrate intake to 55% of your total calorie intake.
(See our Calorie Calculator Article)
3 DAYS Before: Focus on Energy Storing
You need to make sure you have the right foods to fuel the muscles! Making sure your body has enough calories will assure you have energy to get to the finals without crashing. Energy comes mostly from consuming carbohydrates (glucose).
Carbohydrates are able to be stored in the muscles for later use. This is where the idea of “carb-loading” before activity comes from. You can maximize your energy stores before each day of competition by eating complex (slow digesting) carbohydrates, accounting for 70% of your total calorie intake.
Complex Carbohydrates:whole-wheat products, wheat pasta, jasmine rice, sweet potato, etc.
Eating slow digesting carbohydrates is important because they will provide your muscles with sustainable energy throughout the day without causing a “sugar crash.”
1 DAY Before: Focus on Hydration
Hydration begins before you start to feel thirsty, which means proper hydration starts before the event does! Water plays several roles in your daily bodily function, including keeping your blood fluid, breaking down calories into energy and delivering nutrients. All these sound pretty important when you plan to be sprinting in full gear under the sun for 3 days, right!?
The current recommendation for water consumption for adults is 0.5oz/pound of body weight and an extra 10oz/15min of physical activity. For example, this would mean an 180lb adult should be consuming AT LEAST 90oz of water/day.
The day before you plan on competing, aim to consume 1 gallon of water. This will give your body enough water to perform its daily tasks and give you a head start on staying hydrated for the following day of activity. When you are hydrated properly, you will be able to perform at your highest level for a longer period of time, giving you the best opportunity to win!
Now, you go to the event. You’ve been working hard and traveling to perform well all weekend. You arrive and have a few glasses of water with your grilled chicken and a big pile of jasmine rice for dinner. The next day, you’re energized, thinking fast and making crisp moves all day.
Now it’s up to you to win!