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Thread: Nutrition and hydration advice for the fencer on competition day

  1. #1

    Default Nutrition and hydration advice for the fencer on competition day

    I am interested in good nutrition and hydration advice for young fencers when at a competition. When competing my daughter will eat a breakfast, and then nothing else all day until the competition is over. If lucky a plain biscuit might be eaten. At a competition she doesn’t feel hungry and feels unable to eat much. Sometimes, there is no free time between matches to have something to eat. I encourage water rather than fizzy drinks, but she wants Lucozade Sport so I limit to one only. Is there a good/bad breakfast before a competition? Should she eat, and if so, what is best? What fluids are best at a competition? Thanks and sorry if this has been asked before.

  2. #2
    ***** Legend hokers's Avatar
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    Personally I look for some carbs about 90 mins before I'm due to start sparring.
    For an early start, I'd recommend porridge. I like peanut butter and jam sandwiches myself.

    If she's losing a lot of water to sweat, you want something like an isotonic sports drink. Sugar or sugar free isn't going to make a huge difference on the day, considering the energy outlay. Lucozade sport is not fizzy. I'd expect to drink 2x sports drinks and about 2L of water on a competition day. (Adult male)

    I also struggle to eat much, but can usually get a banana and/or a power bar down after the poules. Will quite often have chocolate at the break in a DE, but that's just me.
    Might not be a bad idea to have a recovery drink like a protein shake or chocolate milk at the end of the comp.

    Last time this was asked:
    http://www.fencingforum.com/forum/ar...p/t-18840.html

  3. #3

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    A subject of much discussion with my young fencer. She struggles with eating whilst competing too.

    What we have found is a shake made from almond milk, greek yoghurt, oats, honey and fresh fruit, blended, really helps her get through. She drinks this during the day she is competing. She finds it easier to stomach than food. For breakfast it has been recommended that she has high protein foods. Peanut butter, eggs, bacon are some ideas she has had.

    All I can say is we try!

    She has water and lucosade sport to drink also during competition. Usually at least 1 litre of water to 500ml of lucosade. (We use lucosade but other isotonics are available!)

    Our fencer is fortunate that she has been taught about sports nutrition by her coaching team so knows that if she eats rubbish, her performance is likely to be that too!

  4. #4

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    I used to be exactly the same, Was 10 times worse when I competed in Pentathlon and couldn't eat for an entire weekend! Sick with nerves.
    What I have found to be very effective is:
    Loading the day before, eating every 2-4 hours a large variety of food groups!
    Breakfast: No animal proteins! I find them wayyy too heavy to compete on and have been told many times in the past by nutritionists that they sit in your stomach for hours! Carb rich breakfast about 1.5 hours before starting has always worked for me- I usually go for Porridge.
    During: I tend to bring easy things like jaffa cakes, oat cakes and anything i can scoff whilst in between rounds! One thing I would recommend to anyone are those baby food pouches! I usually go for the fruit ones which tend to be labeled as breakfast, as they are super easy for the stomach to break down on the go.
    Drinks: I use Gatorade powder. Just a simple Isotonic drink you mix in with water yourself. I always have that and a regular bottle of water on the go. It's hard to judge what is too much of Isotonic stuff... but you know you've had too much when you vomit pink on the way home! They have to learn their own balance as you cant tell them how much salt their body looses in a typical competition. Anywhere hot they will need more- no question! I went through 3 liters of Isotonic and 3 litres of water in one afternoon in Argentina recently!
    After: What ever I crave; Usually Salt!
    Wine?

  5. #5
    Mavis Thornton pinkelephant's Avatar
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    Coffee and cereal before the invariably long trek to a competition.

    Brunch bars, clementines/satsumas and Tunnocks caramel wafers during. Lots of water and electrolite tablets in some of the water (fantastic for stopping headaches, feeling sick after competitions).

    Lovingly made sandwiches on the way home........

  7. #7
    Paul Sibert Foilling Around's Avatar
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    Firstly I am not an expert nutritionist and anyone who is, please feel to correct me if I have anything wrong. I have however gone through this many times with the old National Academy, the current AASE fencers and the WCP talent fencers.

    Breakfast needs to be some sort of Low GI food. GI is Glycemic Index, a measure how quickly foods are absorbed and converted into sugars. Low GI will be more slowly absorbed and so give lower but more sustained blood sugar spikes. What applies to diabetic also applies to sports which take place over a whole day. We need a high calorie intake but consistent not in spikes.

    Porridge some or some non-sugary cereal is perfect. This is slowly absorbed and released energy giving long term gains and not energy spikes. Make your own porridge so you can control the ingredients. 100g of porridge oats contains 60g of carbs, of which 1.5g is sugar. Quakers 'Oats so simple' 100g has 60g of carbs of which 23g is sugar. The premade version will be a much higher GI. If you want it sweeter then you can put a little bit of honey or fruit in the plain porridge and still keep the sugars well below the 23g. It is also a damn sight cheaper!!

    High GI foods especially sugary foods will give a quick rush of energy followed by an energy low. Consume these in moderation.

    The classics during competition are Bananas for medium GI intake (used by many tennis players) and Jaffa Cakes. The biscuit is slow release and the jelly and chocolate give and energy boost.

    If eating is a problem, as has been suggested, turn it into a smoothy. Banana smoothy with milk for protein and real banana.

    If you get to the final, or you are at a point where you might very well go out and you are tired, then take the sugar hit. Quick burst of energy. If it is the final then the low is at the medal ceremony. If you have another fight then you just have to deal with it and remember that you probably wouldn't be in that round otherwise.

    Straight after the event. Proteins and Sugars. As soon as possible. Sugars for energy, proteins for muscle repair and recovery. Perfect is chocolate milk shake followed by nuts & raisins or peanut M&Ms. The former is quickly absorbed and the latter is more sustained input.

    This is a nice link in teen speak to help her understand LINK

    In terms of hydration, if you eat right or use smoothies then water is fine.

    The reason athletes take a swig of isotonic drink and then a swig of water is nothing to do with hydration and everything to do with the dentist. If you swig isotonic all day then you teeth are swimming is a bath of corrosive acid all day. A swig of water after every sugary drink minimises the problem, provided you swill it properly round your mouth before swallowing.

    These are the kinds of things which we cover with the AASE fencers and are done by the WCP fencers, but it really needs engraining with parents and fencers at a much younger age. I wish I had known it when 15 years ago when my own kids were first getting into the competition scene. If my granddaughter ever decides to join our sport, we will do things very differently.
    British Fencing AASE Assessor
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  8. #8

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    I'm not a fencer but I have done a shed load of marathons and marathon + distances so have learnt a thing or two about nutrition in my time, and been able to apply these to my son when he fences.

    Firstly what works for one doesn't always work for another as people so unfortunately it is a case a trial and error to find what work for you. Some people have cast iron stomachs and can eat a full English breakfast minutes before competing, others can't eat anything.

    The most important thing is what you eat the day before, when you are resting. A good breakfast and lunch and a carb heavy meal in the evening and a snack before bed. For the evening meal don't just think pasta, I have found fish and chips work better (load of carbs, easy to digest protein, fat and salts to top up your reserves trick from a lady that has run over 300 marathons).

    In the morning porridge is brilliant. If you are travelling and can't get this then those porridge pots you add hot water too are great. Good quality energy bars as a snack work well.

    When competing, Energy bars and gels are great for topping up your reserves but go for the natural ones and not the ones with a load of chemicals in them. Cold pizza and jam sandwiches work well as well (used these on a 12 hour race).

    Drinks wise water is best but, you need to replace the salts. I use a salt water solution (Elete) you just add a few drop your water bottle, salt tablet can also be used. My son prefers pretzels and we have both found these work well.

    Most energy drinks and gels contain a long list of man made stuff and I have found this causes me stomach issues. Therefore, look for products that use natural ingredients. For gels and bars I use Mule Bar products. Loads of recipes on running site for ones you can make yourself. Heard good things about rice balls.

    After you need a mix of protein and carbs. Chocolate milk shake is just a good as the expensive specialist versions so don't waste your money. Seen a recent study that put a sausage sandwich in their top 5 recovery suggestions as well.

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    Quote Originally Posted by fencers mum View Post
    A subject of much discussion with my young fencer. She struggles with eating whilst competing too.

    What we have found is a shake made from almond milk, greek yoghurt, oats, honey and fresh fruit, blended, really helps her get through. She drinks this during the day she is competing. She finds it easier to stomach than food. For breakfast it has been recommended that she has high protein foods. Peanut butter, eggs, bacon are some ideas she has had.

    All I can say is we try!

    She has water and lucosade sport to drink also during competition. Usually at least 1 litre of water to 500ml of lucosade. (We use lucosade but other isotonics are available!)

    Our fencer is fortunate that she has been taught about sports nutrition by her coaching team so knows that if she eats rubbish, her performance is likely to be that too!
    What a lifesaver! My son has the same problem before a competition. He cant get anything down. I have told him its nerves and all that. Trying to load up on carbs and keep him hydrated but it wont go down. Will try that shake and see if he responds well. Thanks!

  10. #10
    Senior Member bafco's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fencers mum View Post
    What we have found is a shake made from almond milk, greek yoghurt, oats, honey and fresh fruit, blended, really helps her get through.
    In what proportions?
    If we take in our hand any volume; of divinity or school metaphysics, for instance; let us ask, Does it contain any abstract reasoning concerning quantity or number? No. Does it contain any experimental reasoning concerning matter of fact and existence? No. Commit it then to the flames: for it can contain nothing but sophistry and illusion.

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