Are you someone who practices carbo-loading "before the big day," by eating tons of pasta the night before your event? It may be time to rethink your strategy. Although carbo-loading before a big race/event/game is simple in concept, carbo-loading involves more than just eating a couple plates of pasta the night before your big day.
Everyone is different and there isn’t necessarily one plan that’s best for everyone, but it’s possible that eating large amounts of pasta before an event is actually hindering your performance, not helping it. If you’re not used to eating high amounts of carbohydrates, you may actually feel sluggish and slow during your event.
A Better Method:
Start trying different meals and see what sits best in your stomach well before the event. Are you training for a marathon? Around your peak week, try eating some of the meals you think will work best for you. That way, when the big race comes around, you will be confident that your meal choice will work well for you – eliminating any surprises as well as reducing some anxiety about the meal.
During the week before the event... write out your plan. You should now know what types of foods work well for you and what foods you need to have on hand before the event. If you’re eating out, don’t forget to make reservations and/or make sure that they’re open.
A couple days before the event... start consuming more carbohydrates. The majority of your diet should be carbohydrates now and this is when it’s best to start sticking to meals you’ve tested before and are comfortable with.
The night before the big event... DON’T OVER DO IT! Although your meal should still be carb heavy, be careful not to over eat. The quote "You want to wake up race day hungry -- not full from the night before," directly applies here.
Pre-race/pre-event... Eat the pre-planned meal you know will sit well in your stomach and fill you up, but not stuff you. Toast, bagels, yogurt, oatmeal are all popular pre-race meals.
Carbo-loading should be an important part of an event schedule, but it’s not always as easy as eating a lot of pasta the night before your event. I recommend trying a variety of foods and finding what works best for you.