View Full Version : Feed and drink intake before training

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Darryl Cowens
08-11-2009, 11:39 PM

As mentioned in my first post I'm new to training (once I'm settled I may fill in more about me etc)... For a few weeks I will probably just look at doing one class a week until I get more settled and get to know people better etc, then hopefully then move up to two classes a week.

Has anyone got good suggestions for what to eat and drink, when during the day, and how much leading up to a training session?. I'm conscious that if I'm full of food I'm probably not going to feel well once my body is rolling around, but I've also noticed from sitting in for one or two sessions at other dojos that once or twice I felt pretty dehydrated at the end of it.

Also, any beginner advice on balance and nausousness? I was ok last week taking it pretty slowly at my pace, but I have once or twice felt like I've pushed myself a bit during the rolls and ended up a bit giddy and nauseous..



tim evans
08-12-2009, 12:20 AM
One of the reasons you may be getting sick or dizzy during rolls is your not breathing out during your rolls I never realized this until during techniques I would be real tight not relaxed once I started breathing it flowed much better.also sllowww down a lot of beginners like myself go way to fast and were winded after a few techniques

Eva Antonia
08-12-2009, 02:33 AM

I tried both training after breakfast, after lunch and before dinner; it doesn't make much difference. After warming up or latest after the first 1, 2 techniques my body forgets completely if it is warm or cold, hungry, thirsty or full (drunk I didn't try:rolleyes: ).

If they allow you in your dojo to drink between techniques then the easiest would be just to bring a bottle of water and drink when there is a little rest. If not...I suppose you'll get used to it.

Wish you much luck,


Walter Martindale
08-12-2009, 03:43 AM
When you're new, and the class is "vigorous", you'll probably want an empty stomach. That's achieved by eating a "normal, mixed" diet - one advocated by sports or other professional dieticians, more than two hours before training "full on." This should generally not include soda pop or energy drinks, because of the caffeine and sugar (and the other addictive rubbish in energy drinks). Complex carbs from vegetables and fruit, some animal protein (if not vegetarian), some "carbs" (spuds, pasta, brown rice - stuff like that). These "real" foods take longer to absorb to the bloodstream than pop, candy, or other crap, and don't contribute to the insulin overshoot that happens about 45 minutes after eating a high glycaemic index meal - insulin overshoot leaves you with low blood sugar and feeling shaky (been there, done that, long before the sports nutrition courses), but the increased blood sugar level from the "real" food goes up gradually, doesn't peak as high as the sugar high, and doesn't cause the pancreas to overreact and kill off your blood sugar - result - you get to train for a longer time without running out of "go".

If you're a little more experienced and class is vigorous, you may be able to get away with having something in the stomach, but - if you have a nervous stomach at all, you aren't digesting it while training, you're just storing it until you can stop training and re-start digestion or until you suddenly get rid of it - we hope into a bucket or other suitable receptacle. Normally during exercise, blood flow is shunted away from the digestive tract, and your absorption of everything is slowed down.

Fluids - there's lots written on this in sports science literature and its still a bit confusing - different experts give different advice - first there was the "drink LOTS of water" group - that leads to people having to pee a lot, then there's the "hyponatraemia is bad" group, that says drink only to prevent getting thirsty - don't bloat yourself.
If you pound back a litre of a "sports drink" straight up (such as gatorade, powerade, etc.,) about an hour before training, and micturate (pee) just before putting the do-gi on, you should be OK for hydration until the end of about 60-90 minutes of training. then you'll NEED fluid - again, preferably in the form of a litre or so of a sports drink.

Please note - this is what I would advise a rowing crew I was coaching in preparation for either racing or for a hard training session (say, 5 intervals of 5 minutes at 90% max boat speed, with 5 minutes active rest between intervals, or six times 2000 m at 90% - anyone who doesn't think that's hard has never rowed before). The advice is based on what I've received from sports nutritionists ever since I was competing myself in the early 80s, and hasn't really changed that much.

Some work has shown that if you drink anything within about 10 minutes of starting a race, and if you're at all nervous about said race, the fluid you consumed 10 minutes before the race is still in the stomach (not the blood stream) at the end of the (rowing) race, 6 or so minutes later.

I am not a sports dietician, just a professional rowing coach who used to wrestle, then did some judo, and now practices some aikido. Hope this helps

08-12-2009, 07:42 AM
Definitely have some water on hand to make sure you stay hydrated during class.

You may also want to have a light snack a little bit before class starts (an hour or two).

But, a lot of this really depends on your body and how you react to things.

I would also suggest you get checked out by a doctor sooner rather than later. Nausea from dizziness is a symptom that could mean something else is going on, and better to be safe than sorry. Getting a mini physical is a good idea especially if you haven't been very active before.

Not to scare you--I get nauseous when I get dizzy too--but it is just a good idea to be under a doctor's care.

08-12-2009, 08:44 AM
I try not to eat anything heavy less then two hours before a class. If I'm not up for diner that early I have a light snack ,low carb preferably, and then a protein bar about an hour before along with some water. The last thing I want is any high carb meals right before a workout as it will knock me down energy wise.

I also do a protein shake right after a heavy work session be it my regular work or Aikido. This helps me recover very nicely.

Fluid intake is an ongoing issue for me. I grab a little water right before a class as I sweat pretty easily. For longer sessions in the heat Sensei generally does give us a water break at some point. Avvoid loading yourself up too much in the middle of a work though as it can also slow you down.

I try to really focus on hydration during the day, especially on work days. And if its a day I'll be working really hard and sweating I'll add in a sports drink. Usually I dilute one serving in a gallon or so of water depending on the day.

08-12-2009, 09:55 AM
I haven't ever trained in a dojo that allowed water bottles on the mat, or that allowed students to walk off the mat to take a drink whenever they wanted, but ymmv. I'd plan to be well hydrated before class so as to not need water during, if possible.

A light snack with some protein a couple of hours before class works well for me -- a rye cracker with some peanut butter does the trick. A lot of calories is not really needed. Then a light dinner after and you're set.

Marc Abrams
08-12-2009, 10:28 AM
You literally have to experiment with what works best for you. There is no hard and fast answer. I actually do allow my students to step off the mat and drink water during a class. I see this as a sensible precaution that has never been abused. No food in the dojo is allowed and no drinks and foods are allowed on the training surfaces.

Marc Abrams

Janet Rosen
08-12-2009, 10:48 AM
Walter's advice is good.
Where I currently train and where I trained just before that both permit water bottles on the periphery of the mat and etiquette assumes adults will drink or toilet as they need to :-)
The thing about water: the latest info I've read is that you don't want to continuously sip, as it just sits in your stomach. Take a good deep drink.
Personally, when life permits (which is usually...) I like to eat a small balanced meal about an hour and a half to two hours before training (protein, some fat, usually carbs in the form of veg or fruit), and then drink a bunch of water or unsweetened iced tea (or hot tea in winter) between a half hour and an hour before training.
My practical rule of thumb on dehydration is: if you need to pee every 2 to 3 hours and its not very concentrated (dark), you are ok. If low sodium/potassium is a concern because you are sweating a lot, I recommend salt and potassium tablets (or just pour salt and salt subsitute on your hand and lick it off, then drink water) because a lot of sports drinks that are full of sugar don't actually have that much electrolytes (if they did they'd be soooo unpalatable...)

Nick P.
08-12-2009, 01:41 PM
I can tell you I wont be making the mistake of having 2 cheese burgers prepared on the barbie like I did this past Monday only about an hour before class; haven't made that mistake in a loooong time. Bloated Waza.

Darryl Cowens
08-14-2009, 10:12 PM
Thanks for the replies..

Maybe nausea is a bit of a strong word, but at a couple of dojos that I previously had an introductionary lesson at, I did on one occasion at each feel a bit dizzy and at the point of feeling a bit giddy.

Frustrating that time has caught up with me (I'm 33)... as I was a gymnast as a kid for years, so warmups and rolls aren't exactly foreign to me.

Anyway, so far so good at the new club that I'm at, as they are really good at not pushing me too hard or pushing me to do anything I'm not comfortable with.

As for drink bottles... they appear to be happy with them here. Sensei himself had a quick sip on more than one occasion the other night.

Although I officially haven't signed up yet, I'm loving it so far... and I'm 99.9% sure I'll stay..... :)

08-14-2009, 10:34 PM
It really depends on you. I usually eat something (breakfast, toast, bagel, etc) before each class because I am always hungry. :) I also drink water before I go and I take 2-3 bottles of water with me if it is hot out or 1-2 if it is cooler out. You may want to take a sports drink if it is really hot out and your class is more vigorous. Sometimes eating a small amount of food with salt (handful of pretzles) to help you retrain more water while you are at class.

I guess you should just see what works for you. I used to prevent from eating before class, but now I find that if I don't, I get hungry and sometimes I feel a little out of energy or lethargic without it.

Walter Martindale
08-14-2009, 11:03 PM
If it's hot and you're training for more than 60 minutes, full strength sport drinks are formulated to keep high performance athletes working at a high level. After about 60 minutes your muscle glycogen stores get low unless you've done something to spare the glycogen, such as every 30 minutes or so glug back 300 ml of full-strength sports drink.

The fluid rehydrates, and it's isotonic with your blood stream so it is absorbed quickly, but because it doesn't dilute the blood, it also doesn't stimulate the kidneys to get you to pee it out - resulting in better rehydration..

The body regulates osmolality, not weight. the complex carbs in sports drinks (more complex than sody pop, that is) doesn't cause the blood sugar spike, causes a (more or less) gradual increase in blood sugar, which is taken up by the muscles and reduces the dependency on stored muscle glycogen - essentially prolonging the duration of your working at "pace".

That's why international and perfeshunal athlete use the stuff...
They can train at a higher pace for longer without running out of gas and backing off the work - the training effect is more pronounced, and they gradually get faster.

Try it - please don't believe me - try it. Keep notes.
Consult a sports nutritionist and/or a sports physiologist (with proper training) and get the straight goods from them. As mentioned before - this works with the athletes I coach. I'm too old to work at that kind of pace any more, but still need rehydration to keep the ticker working.


Lyle Laizure
08-15-2009, 11:04 AM
What to eat or drink throughout the day, I'm not sure. I suggest not eating anything one hour before practice. No alcohol prior to practice goes without saying. Depending on how long your practices are you may want to keep a granola bar in your gear for a quick snack during a water break.

Janet Rosen
08-15-2009, 03:40 PM
If it's hot and you're training for more than 60 minutes, full strength sport drinks are formulated to keep high performance athletes working at a high level.

Walter, a question: does Gatorade qualify as an appropriate full strength sports drink or is there something you recommend?

Walter Martindale
08-15-2009, 08:37 PM
Walter, a question: does Gatorade qualify as an appropriate full strength sports drink or is there something you recommend?

Hi Janet. Gatorade works, Powerade probably (it's a matter of taste). Rowing NZ's national team uses a product called "xceler8" or something like that - which has a little protein in it, too. apparently a "recovery" drink should have a bit of protein to help absorption...

Not sure where you can get the product outside of NZ...

While the "sports drinks" work - their powdered form is probably more economical to use. It's probably a really good thing to avoid all those "energy" drinks like Red Bull or other bilge solutions...

Darryl Cowens
08-15-2009, 09:47 PM
Interesting you mention Powerade, as I drink a bottle of that now before and after training, and in recent years have bought it for days at work which are more physically strenous than the norm.

Can't say I've ever tried Gatorade, but often Mizone is instead on special.. (Most places tend to alternate their Mizone/Powerade specials)... I'm less of a fan of Mizone.. probably because it has less sweeteners.. :D

As for those so called energy drinks, cough... caffeine bursts.. I think it is dangerous the way the youth have taken to them... I've heard my 'stepsons' friends even bragging because they have drunken 3 times the daily limit and feel great.. the scary thing is you can now buy instant shots of it over the counter at dairies :(

That said, I do like the occasional bottle of Lift myself... but it does disturb me just how much of it, and how much soft drink kids of today drink...

08-15-2009, 10:15 PM
Gatorade isn't bad. I was encouraged to drink it for tennis as we would practice for 4 hours or so every day. I myself prefer the G2. It is made by gatorade, but has less sugar. I like he taste better. May want to give that a try. :)

10-15-2009, 11:23 AM
I'm not sure if what I'm doing is adivsable, but on days I'm going to practice, I make sure to pre-hydrate throughout the day, and have an espresso about an hour before class. Works well for me, since the caffeine in the espresso doesn't seem to dehydrate me, and helps me stay focused without getting all ADHD ;)

Janet Rosen
10-15-2009, 11:50 AM
I'm not sure if what I'm doing is adivsable, but on days I'm going to practice, I make sure to pre-hydrate throughout the day, and have an espresso about an hour before class.
It makes more sense than taking ibuprofen:

Carrie Campbell
10-15-2009, 12:14 PM
I found hydrating throughout the day is best. I also drink 0.5 L of water right before practice and another 0.25L at our 5 minute break between classes and the other 0.25L or so after practice. Water bottle donations keep our refrigerator stocked.

Foodwise, if I'm hungry before practice, I'll eat something light just so I don't get weak after 2 hours. If I'm not actually hungry and just debating, it's better not to eat before practice, and wait until after. It didn't use to matter for me, but seems to more and more.

10-15-2009, 12:43 PM
I play it by ear - if I'm really hungry an hour before class, I'll get something with a fair bit of protein. If not, I'll usually wait it out and have something as soon as I get home.

I've found that if I'm super-hungry before class, I don't necessarily feel hungry during practice, but I do find it more difficult to concentrate. However, it's a tricky balance, as I find the same if I have too much to eat right before class too.

10-15-2009, 01:05 PM
I found hydrating throughout the day is best. I also drink 0.5 L of water right before practice and another 0.25L at our 5 minute break between classes and the other 0.25L or so after practice. Water bottle donations keep our refrigerator stocked.

lots of water before practice, small bladder, hakama....:o been thinking about going commando with hakama. :)

Carrie Campbell
10-15-2009, 02:21 PM
Lol! oh my. :o Perhaps not so much water that we can't complete both classes in relative comfort; everyone's different.

10-30-2009, 09:55 PM
I'm a fan of eating a light meal, two hours before crunch time. I take a water bottle with me because we can keep them at the side of the mats and use them when appropriate.

As for getting dizzy when rolling...I was taught to breath out on the way down and breath in as you stand. It works for me.

All the best.