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7 Rules for Refueling after a Tournament or Competition

1. Eat Immediately After

For multiple games or training sessions within one day, repletion of carbohydrate stores in the muscles immediately following exercise is imperative. Repletion is greatest when carbohydrates are consumed 30 to 60 minutes immediately after exercise, followed by a meal within two to four hours.

2. Eat Carbs

Immediately following the game, aim for 0.45 to 0.7 grams of carbohydrates per pound of body weight. Low-fat and low-fiber foods and drinks are preferred. Liquids and solids may work equally well, but many athletes prefer liquids immediately following exercise.

3. Eat Again One to Two Hours After the Game

One to two hours after the game, aim for an additional 0.45 to 0.7 grams of carbohydrates per pound of body weight. This may typically be solid foods, though sports drinks containing carbohydrates may be included as well.

4. Eat Small Amounts of Protein:

Consuming small amounts of protein immediately following exercise can improve muscle tissue repair and enhance recovery. Ten to 20 grams of protein is adequate for recovery; more than 25 grams is not necessary and will likely be converted to fat or glucose.

5. Avoid Fiber and Fat

Continue to avoid high-fiber and high-fat foods throughout the game day as they will only slow absorption.

6. Rehydrate!

Thirst is not a good indicator of fluid losses. By the time thirst sets in, you are already behind! Drink on schedule rather than thirst. Monitor post-exercise weight loss and to give yourself an idea of how much fluid loss is occurring. Best practice is to consume 20 to 24 ounces of fluid for every pound lost. 

7. Monitor Urination

Urine should be clear or pale lemonade color. Darker urine is a sign of dehydration. Between games, continue to hydrate until urine is the appropriate color.

Food Examples

Immediately Following Exercise

 A 155-pound male will likely need between 70 and 100 grams of carbohydrate post-match and may consume between 10 and 20 grams of protein.

    • Chocolate Milk (or other flavored milks): 16 ounces plus 1 cup of fruit = approximately 71 grams of carbs and 16 grams of protein. 12 ounces plus 1 cup of fruit or a large banana = approximately 72 grams of carbs, 12 grams of protein.
    • Gatorade Recover: 1 carton plus 1 cup or a large piece of fruit = approximately 75 grams of carbs, 20 grams of protein.
    • Dannon Light and Fit Strawberry Yogurt: 1 cup + 16 ounces of orange juice = approximately 73 grams of carbs, 7 grams of protein.
    • Plain Bagel with 2 Tbsp. Jelly = approximately 80 grams of carbs, 10 grams of protein.

One to Two Hours Post-game, Two Hours Prior to Next Match

For the same 155-pound male, an additional 70 to 100 grams of carbs plus 10 to 20 grams of protein is appropriate.

    • Six-inch Subway Sandwich with 3 ounces of meat, no cheese (such as 6-inch Oven Roasted Chicken Breast + 1 cup of fruit or 20 ounces of Gatorade = approximately 75 grams of carbs, 25 grams of protein.
    • One cup of rice with 3 ounces of chicken + one large banana = approximately 75 grams of carbs, 20 grams of protein.

Note: One cup dairy,1/2 cup fruit or 1/2 cup grains usually = approximately 15 grams of carbs. One cup of dairy, or 1 ounce of meat usually = approximately 7 to 8 grams of protein.