Want to compete at your highest level? Don't skip food on tournament days. Sounds easy enough, right? The problem is, eat the wrong food and you'll see your performance seriously decline. Unfortunately, the uncertainty, the energy, and most likely the anxiety that comes along with competing in a tournament all contribute to athletes missing the mark or not eating at all come tournament day. If you want the physical edge on game day, make sure to pack these four foods:
1. Fresh Fruit & Dried Fruit. Nothing is better than the sugar and fiber locked into fresh fruit. On tournament day it’s quick and easy to eat and it gives you a slow surge of energy, not a spike. Dried fruit is great too--loads of fiber. Just make sure you get the kinds with little to no added sugar, or even better, cane syrup instead of sugar.
2. Nuts. Nuts pair with dried fruit nicely, and they, too, will give you sustained energy. Nuts like almonds are packed with nutrients: omegas that battle inflammation, antioxidants, protein and magnesium.
3. Protein Bars & Powder. I rarely ever recommend protein bars, but on tournament day they are acceptable. They are loaded with protein, carbs, and often times sugar that is going to keep you going throughout the day in-between matches. There is a huge selection out there, so make sure you know how to read ingredient and nutrition labels to make the right choice. Protein powder pre-scooped into your shaker cup and ready to go is like a loaded weapon as well. You can’t beat fast digesting protein downed in about 30 seconds. It's proof that there is always time to ‘eat’, even on tournament day!
4. Acai. What would a tournament be without acai? Not a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu tournament! This super food native of Brasil is well-known throughout the BJJ communities and has become widely popular not only for it’s delicious taste, but also it’s health benefits. It's got tons of nutrients, including iron, calcium, fiber, and vitamin A. Along with blocking damaging free radicals and fighting inflammation, lab studies have also shown the nutrients in acai to have positive effects on ailments associated with oxidative stress, heart disease, and cancer.