When exercise lasts longer than 1 hour, the body’s blood glucose levels start to decline. After 1-3 hours of exertion, stored muscle and liver glycogen also diminishes. When this happens, the body can’t respond because it is literally “out of gas.”
To prevent this energy shortage, it is recommended that athletes eat a diet high in carbohydrates and low in fat with adequate amounts of protein. The distribution of these macronutrients should be:
- 60-70 percent from carbohydrates
- 10-15 percent from protein
- 20-30 percent from fat
Remember, there are no quick fixes in nutrition. Athletes are encouraged to pursue nutritional conditioning as a goal, rather than focus on just the pregame meal.
See the next page to learn more about an athlete's four basic nutritional needs.