Prep for an Upcoming Sports Event

Whether you’re a beginner, an amateur or a seasoned athlete, it’s important to know how to prepare for your upcoming sporting event.

The best way to do this is to be clued up on supplements, diet and training and how they work together to help you give your best performance. Let’s break it down.


There are tons of supplements out there and it’s important to know which ones will give you the best results. Whether you’re looking for enhanced muscle growth and endurance or interested in amino acids, vitamins or something more herbal, here’s some supplements to consider.
Creatine is made up of natural amino acids and can give your body an energy boost. Creatine can not only be found in the form of pills, supplements, shakes and bars, but it can also be found in tuna, salmon and other fish and poultry too.
Branch Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs)
BCAAs can help you achieve a lean physique by aiding your body in the production of the protein it needs. BCAAs are made up of leucine, valine and isoleucine, in addition to the carbon atom. BCAAs are a big help to athletes doing HIIT cardio or lifting heavier weights in shorter repetitions and come in the form of shakes, power bars and powders.
Fish Oils
Fish oils not only regulate your heart rate and hormones, they also lower your blood pressure and aid your mental health. You can find natural fish oil in trout, salmon, halibut and mackerel, alternatively it comes in tablet form too.
Multivitamins don’t enhance muscle growth, but they do help you spend more time in the gym by keeping you healthy. They’re meant to satisfy all your body’s daily vitamin and mineral needs. When looking for multivitamins check to see if they contain zinc, magnesium, potassium, calcium, the B vitamins and vitamins A, C, D, E and K. It’s also interesting to note that there are multivitamins tailored to both the male and female body.
Casein Protein
Casein Protein causes amino acids to last longer in the body because it’s released slowly. It’s also helpful to those interested in simultaneously building muscle and burning fat as it aids metabolism. You can find a light casein dose in cottage cheese or Greek yoghurt, otherwise, it comes in the form of protein powders, bars and drinks.
Whey Protein
Whey protein is a post-workout supplement because it aids protein synthesis and thus muscle development. It’s popular amongst resistance trainers and those interested in burning fat as it boosts metabolism. Whey protein comes in drink and powder form.
Working out with a magnesium deficiency is harmful to your body. It leads to fatigue, muscle weakness, vulnerability to injury and negatively affects your mental well-being. Symptoms to look out for include insomnia, appetite loss and increased tiredness. If you spot these symptoms you can get your doctor’s advice on taking magnesium supplements, otherwise you can dose up on the natural magnesium found in dark chocolate and avocados.
Another post-workout supplement to mention is Glutamine. It both aids muscle recovery and fights catabolism, which is the breakdown of complex molecules in the muscles.
Inulin Fiber
Inulin fiber is a soluble plant fiber found in asparagus, onion and garlic. It not only aids digestion but it keeps your heart healthy too.
Vitamin D
Vitamin D helps you build and maintain healthy bones. Your doctor can recommend vitamin D supplements to take if you’re calcium deficient, otherwise a daily glass of vitamin D milk can satisfy your body during seasons the sun doesn’t shine.
Things to consider
If you’re looking to use nutritional supplements, be aware that they’re only beneficial to your performance if you have a diagnosed deficiency or an inadequate diet. Rather than taking a supplement, consider making changes to your lifestyle, diet and training. We discuss this in further detail below. Lastly, do not take supplements unless advised by a qualified health professional or if it means you’ll be breaking anti-doping rules in your particular sport.

Diet and Training

Maintaining a basic training diet plays a big role in getting your body where it needs to be. It does this by:
  • Ensuring you’re getting enough energy and nutrients to sustain your training.
  • Helping you adapt and recover between sessions.
  • Maintaining both your short and long-term health.
  • Keeping you hydrated.
  • Helping you maintain appropriate body weight and fat levels.
  • Boosting long-term nutrition by encouraging the intake of a variety of foods such as fruit, whole grain breads and cereals, low-fat dairy products, vegetables and lean meat.
Athletes in particular should divide their energy intake into the following:
> 55% carbohydrates
12-15% protein

< 30% fat
In terms of fat intake, good fats can be found in nuts, seeds, olive oils and avocado.
Those exercising between 60 to 90 minutes daily can increase their carbohydrate intake to 65-70%. A lack of carbohydrates can cause the body to seek energy from protein, which can lead to muscle loss and vulnerability to illness and infections. As an athlete, the foundation of your diet can be made up of unrefined carbs found in foods like whole grain bread and cereal.
However, carb intake depends on your exercise regime, so we’ve provided this helpful guideline you can follow according to your exercise intensity:
Exercise Intensity Recommended Carb Intake
30 min/day 3-5 g / kg / day
60 min/day 5-7 g / kg / day
1-3 hours/day 6-10 g / kg / day
4hr + / day 8-12 g / kg / day
Protein helps the athlete’s body in recovery and repair after exercise. Maintaining a high carb diet helps you meet protein needs, as many high carb foods are a combination of carbs and protein. Take a look below at the recommended daily protein intake depending on your activity level.
Athlete Type Daily Protein Intake
General public / active people 0.8 - 1.0 g / kg body weight
Athletes (non-endurance events) / people who exercise 45-60 min daily 1.0 - 1.2 g / kg body weight
Athletes (endurance and strength events) / people who exercise 1h+ 1.2 - 1.7 g / kg body weight
For example, on a daily basis it is recommended that an active person weighing 60 kg’s consumer around 45-60 g of protein. Keep in mind that the average athlete’s protein intake usually exceeds what is required and a very high protein diet may have a negative impact on body weight, kidney function and nutrient intake.

Eating and Exercise

Eating before an event can aid an athlete’s performance, however, it is important to note that this is not true for everyone. Performance can be boosted by eating a snack 1-2 hours before exercise or a high carb meal that will not lead to gastrointestinal issues, 3-4 hours before exercise. These snacks and meals can include: fruit salad and yoghurt, low-fat creamed rice, cereal and low-fat milk, a low-fat breakfast or muesli bar, muffins, toast, crumpets and pasta with tomato-based sauce.
If you’re exercising for more than 60 minutes it is recommended to eat 30-60 g of carbs, as it will give you more energy by boosting your blood glucose levels. These carbs can be in the form of low-fat muesli, white bread sandwiches, sports bars or gels and lollies and it’s recommended they’re taken at the beginning and regularly throughout exercise. It’s important to accompany this with regular fluid intake, drinking liquids such as diluted fruit juice, sport drinks and water to prevent dehydration.
Eating after exercise is just as important as before exercise. Moderate to high GI carbs can be eaten in the first half hour after exercise to boost the glycogen in your body. These carbs can be found in juice, low-fat milk (flavoured or non-flavoured), muffins, crumpets, yoghurt, cereal, sports drinks, pasta, fruit or sandwiches.
Research has shown that you can achieve a more sustained energy release by eating low GI foods before exercise, while moderate to high GI fluids and foods aid the body during exercise and in recovery.
Preparing for an upcoming sporting event can be an exciting, energising experience, as long as you get to know your body and what it needs. We hope this breakdown on supplements, diet and training will be the first step in you achieving your best performance to date!

Disclaimer: The information contained in this website is provided by the SPAR Group Ltd for general information purposes only. Any reliance you place on such information is therefore strictly at your own risk.