In 2018 it is estimated that 138,321 new cases of cancer will be diagnosed in Australia meaning that most of us out there have been touched by cancer in some way. Cancer Council Australia does much needed fundraising all year round to assist in cancer research, prevention and support services. Relay for Life is coming up on the 13th-14th of October at Mingara Athletics Centre and many Central Coast locals will relay between 3pm Saturday till 9pm Sunday. While it is great to see that thousands of Aussies participate in Relay for Life every year, there are some important nutritional aspects to consider to make sure you are fuelled to enjoy all the fun but moving event has to offer.

Before the event

As the event starts in the afternoon it is important to top up stores 3-4 hours prior, in this instance around lunch time. For example, you could have a pasta or rice-based dish, or homemade pizzas or burgers. Avoid high fatty takeaway foods at this time as this is more likely to cause gastrointestinal upset and won’t fuel your body effectively.
1-2 hours before the event for those doing a long stent of relay >60-90 minutes it may be ideal to have a smaller snack such as an English muffin with jam or honey to top up your muscle glycogen (fuel) stores.

During the event

Depending on the intervals you are Relaying for or you are hanging around for the whole event water may be all you need. However, if the exercise is of high intensity and >45 minutes chances are you will need some additional nutrients in particular carbohydrates and fluid. This may be a sports drinks or something like chopped fruit, piklets with jam or honey for example. Fluids are vital during the event as the negative impacts on performance are seen at as little as 2% loss of body weight, so make sure you have water bottles nearby and consume from them regularly!

After the event

Well first of all make sure you take the time to give someone a high five for your amazing effort! But it’s time to refuel and repair! Carbohydrates, protein and fluid are all important post event. Something like a fruit smoothie, Up &Go Energize can be a great idea to begin rehydrating while providing protein and carbohydrates. Then have a nice big breakfast (its 9am!) so something like eggs and avocado on toast with a fruit smoothie, and extra water.
Find out more about our nutrition and dietetics services here.

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Thanks to Coast Sport Dietitian Ali for preparing this blog. You can find out more about Ali here.

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