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I'm a high-school athlete. With our intense practice schedule, I'm always tired and worn out on game days. Is there something I can eat pregame that will keep me energized without slowing me down?
- Nihal*

Your overall diet may be slowing you down on game day. During intense training, it's quite possible that you're not eating enough calories to compensate for the ones you're burning. One sign that you're not getting adequate calories is weight loss.

During training, as always, it's essential to eat a balanced diet and not skip meals to ensure you're getting adequate nutrients and maintaining energy levels, and to avoid fatigue.

An excellent pregame meal or snack will have lots of carbs, some protein, and very little, if any, fat and fiber. Fat and fiber are important elements of a balanced diet, but may lead to bloating and stomach cramps during exercise. Try a sandwich with lean deli turkey plus a piece of your favorite fruit. The carbs will give you immediate energy and the protein will give you some energy later in the game.

No matter which pregame snack you go with, remember to hydrate before, during, and after your game for peak performance.

Of course, being tired on game day can be a sign of not getting enough sleep. Most teens need at least 8 to 9 hours of sleep each night.

Reviewed by: Mary L. Gavin, MD
Date reviewed: October 2013

*Names have been changed to protect user privacy.

 
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Related Resources:
American Council on Exercise (ACE)
ACE promotes active, healthy lifestyles by setting certification and education standards for fitness instructors and through ongoing public education about the importance of exercise.
ChooseMyPlate.gov
ChooseMyPlate.gov provides practical information on how to follow the U.S. government's Dietary Guidelines for Americans. It includes resources and tools to help families lead healthier lives.
National Center for Nutrition and Dietetics
Offering nutrition information, resources, and access to registered dietitians.
National Sleep Foundation (NSF)
NSF is an independent nonprofit organization dedicated to improving public health and safety by achieving understanding of sleep and sleep disorders, and by supporting education, sleep-related research, and advocacy.