Why fuel-up for performance?
While there is some debate about whether carbohydrate is important for endurance sports, the consensus remains that fuelling-up with carbohydrate in the 24 to 48 hours before performance in high intensity and competitive team sports is the best approach. Exactly how much carbohydrate is required depends very much on factors such the sport, position, size of the athlete, and length of fuelling window before performance. So ranges of 5 to 12 grams of carbohydrate per kg of body mass are often given. For team sport athletes playing a match lasting longer than 60 minutes, the carbohydrate requirement is suggested greather than 6 grams of carbohydrate per kg of body mass. This is more than 500 g of carbohydrate for an 85kg athlete.
We work of the premise of a 36 hour fuelling plan in the lead-up to a match. This encompasses the day before a match as well as the hours beforehand. The meals at this time should be high in carbohydrate, contain a moderate source of protein and be low in fat and fibre. This is to allow for easier digestion of large intakes of carbohydrate to ensure the athlete is comfortably able to meet their carbohydrate target. High fibre or fat intakes in particular can sometimes impede carbohydrate intake or cause stomach distress.
Below are two breakfast recipes that work well either on the day before or morning of a match that will assist you in hitting your fuelling targets.
High Carb Granola
Granola is a simple and tasty breakfast option for athletes looking to fuel-up on the day before a big match. Homemade granola varieties can be made to suit your specific needs and in this recipe we focus on more oats, dried fruit and honey than a typical nut-based granola because the focus is on the fuel-up with carbohydrate.
- 100 g jumbo oats
- 3 Tbsp. buckwheat
- 2 Tbsp. mixed nuts
- 3 Tbsp. sliced almonds
- 2 Tbsp. pumpkin seed
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- 3 Tbsp. honey
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil
- 2 Tbsp. virgin coconut oil
- 100 g dried fruit mix
- Mix all dry ingredients, except for the dried fruit, in a large bowl.
- Melt coconut oil over a low heat before mixing in honey and olive oil.
- Pour this over the dry ingredients and mix well.
- Spread the granola mix flat on a baking tray, and bake in an oven pre-heated to 130°C for 20 minutes.
- After 20 minutes, add in dried fruit, mix again and bake for another 10 minutes until the granola is a light brown colour.
- All to cool before serving.
Oat and Egg Pancakes
In contrast to the white flour, sugar, and maple syrup variety of pancake, our Oat and Egg Pancakes not only provide sustained energy, but are also a good source of fibre and rich in micronutrients. The recipe below is a firm favourite with all our athletes for breakfast or lunch.
- 100 g jumbo oats
- 250 mL whole milk
- 2 eggs
- 2 Tbsp. dried cranberries
- 1 large banana, mashed
- 1 tsp. vanilla essence
- 1 Tbsp. honey
- 1 tsp. coconut oil
- 1 Tbsp. Greek yoghurt
- Handful fresh blueberries
- 1 Tbsp. honey
- Mix all ingredients in a blender until smooth.
- Allow the batter to stand for 5 minutes.
- Melt a little coconut oil on a non-stick pan on high heat.
- Make as one large pancake or separately as two smaller pancakes (smaller pancakes tend to be easier to cook/flip)
- Cook for about two minutes on both sides or until the batter firms up.
- Serve with yoghurt, honey and fresh berries.