The best half-time foods for athletes
It’s currently nearing the end of many sporting seasons and a lot of our clients are preparing for finals and finalizing their nutrition protocols – So we thought this was the perfect time to discuss half time foods!
At half time, you’re already fatigued, it’s getting difficult to move your muscles and you’re not sure how you’re going to push even hard in the final half, and without proper nutrition, it is SO hard to combat this fatigue. In fact, having adequate nutrition during training has been found to prolong the time it takes for fatigue to set in, meaning you can work harder for longer and perform at a higher level.
How to maximize your nutrition at half time?
1. Ensure you are rehydrating.
Dehydration causes your blood to thicken and deprive your muscles of
the nutrients it needs to perform or train hard.
Water is generally all you need. In some cases, on hot days and during long training
sessions, sports drinks or electrolyte drinks can be helpful.
Sports drinks and coconut water
Sports drinks provide some added electrolytes to aid absorption but work largely on the principle that they taste good, so you’ll drink more. They also contain sugars which can be a helpful way to get some carbs in during your session (more on that soon!). Similarly, coconut water contains some electrolytes but not in the specific ratios needed to make a big impact on absorption. It does, however, taste amazing so you’ll probably drink more of it.
Electrolyte drinks (ie Hydralyte) contain a specific and calculated amount of electrolytes to enhance water absorption through your small intestine (it’s usually only absorbed in your large intestine). These are most effective in extreme conditions, however, for the majority of the time, plain water will be adequate.
2. Refuel with carbohydrates
Carbs are your muscle’s favourite source of energy. We store carbs as glycogen in both our liver and muscles. However, once your carbohydrate stores are used up, your body uses less efficient means of creating energy such as breaking down fats or proteins, which means that you can’t train as hard or it all just begins to hurt more!
Research suggests ingestion of 30-70g of carbs per hour of training. It might also be worth topping up if you are working hard for a long period of time.
If you’re topping up on the go you are going to want something that is processed quickly in your gut and won’t leave you feeling sick!
Some great examples:
Gatorade = 36g carbs per 600mL bottle
Sports gels = 22g carbs per gel
Dried fruit = 30g carbs per 40g serve (eg snack pack)
Cliff Blok = 24g carbs per 30g serve
Lollies = 30g carbs in 40g serve (eg Allen's Lollies)
Fruit juice = 22g carbs per 400mL
As always with blogs, this is just general advice and for specific individualised advice, please seek advice from Hannah our Dietitian!