6 Tips for Refueling During Exercise
During competitions, you should
eat or drink primarily carbohydrates. The amount of carbohydrate ranges between
30 and 60 grams depending on the length of the competition and how long you are
playing. Liquid sources are usually easiest to tolerate, but solids can work,
too. Low-fat and low-fiber fuels are preferred because fat and fiber slow
absorption of the fuel. Small amounts of protein can help keep you from feeling
hungry. Below is additional information about fueling during exercise:
- Drink beverages with carbohydrates
try to consume between 30 and 60 grams of carbohydrates every hour. This can be
in the form of sports drinks or can include gels or solid foods. Liquids are
typically easier to consume. You can use commercial sports drinks or, if you
want to make your own, search “homemade sports drink” for recipes online. Gels
and juices are highly concentrated and should be diluted with water.
- Drink cool fluids
are absorbed more quickly and are often more appealing than warmer fluids.
- Stay hydrated for easier refueling
When you are
dehydrated, fluids and foods stay in your stomach longer. Stay hydrated!
- Know how much to drink
Drink about 4
to 8 ounces every 15 to 20 minutes. Plan ahead to make sure you can
consistently get fluids during exercise. Ideas include placing bottles around
the field or where you can find them during timeouts or breaks in the action.
- Consume small amounts of protein
Protein is not
necessary during games, but it’s OK to consume it in small portions and it may help keep you
from feeling hungry. Three to 5 grams per hour can be appropriate. Powdered
sports drinks containing protein may also be available.
- Don’t forget sodium
sweaters, during hot temperatures or for athletes who are susceptible to
cramping, sports drinks containing sodium are ideal. Commercial sports drinks
or Powerade: 20 to 36 ounces will provide approximately 30 to 60 grams of
carbs. If you only drink 20 ounces, you may need to drink additional water to
One packet at the start of the game with 12 to 16 ounces of water, followed by
1/2 or 1 Gu 30 to 45 minutes later with 6 to 16 ounces of water, which will
provide a total of approximately 35 to 50 grams of carbs.
You can also have something to
eat or drink between events. What you have depends on how much time you have
between events. If you have less than two hours, it is usually better to stick
with liquids because they will clear the stomach faster. Sports drink can be a
good solution because of the carbohydrates. If the time between events is two
hours or longer, having something solid may be an option. A turkey sandwich and
a piece of fruit could work.
Before trying between-game foods,
we recommend trying it during practice. Eat the food after a practice and see
how you feel two to four hours later. If you feel sluggish or have a full
stomach, try another food the next time.