You’ve poured your blood, sweat and tears into practicing a cheer routine over and over again for the upcoming cheerleading competition. You are physically ready to dance, tumble, stunt and yell your heart out to get that first place trophy. But have you put much thought into your diet the week of competition down to the actual day? This is a surprising detail that a lot of cheerleading teams dismiss as they do not understand the importance of nutrition and how it will effect them when they perform. It’s easy to get stressed before the big competition and either be to stressed to eat or eat too much. Both will throw off your cheer performance completely and effect your outcome of winning dramatically. It’s important to remember that what your putting into your body that entire week leading up to the competition will either be a disadvantage or a game turning advantage. So what does your body need the week of competition and how do you get it? Your body will need the maximum amount of stored energy that it can pull from when you are putting your all into the routine. Think of your body as a car that needs to fuel up before a long drive. Your need to fill up your glycogen stores for the maximum amount of endurance and energy by increasing the amount of carbohydrates your body. Your food amount intake should remain the same as you usually eat. However, you should be eating complex carbohydrate foods with low glycemic indexing. Examples of complex carbs include wheat pastas, wheat breads, healthy cereals, and baked potatoes. Increase the amount of complex carbohydrates, decrease the amount of high protein foods such as fish, eggs, and meat, and try to minimize the amount of fat intake. These foods should should be proportioned into small meals or snacks every two to three hours. What does your body need the day of cheer competition and how do you get it? The day of competition, you’ll want to keep up the complex carbohydrate intake in small meals or snacks, while keeping your intake on fiber, fat, and protein low. You can choose from wheat bread, healthy cereals, oatmeal, fruits, fruit juices, plan crackers, boiled rice, potatoes, pasta, muffins, and carbohydrate drinks that have high electrolytes such as Gatorade. What about right after the competition? After the competition, your energy level will be low and your glycogen stores will be used up. You’ll want to eat something that will raise your blood sugar levels up quickly. Foods that are higher on the glycemic index such as watermelon, potatoes, brown rice, bagels, etc are perfect for raising your blood sugar. In conclusion, remember that what you put into your body the week of your cheerleading competition will help determine the outcome of your scores. Eat healthy complex carbohydrates, less protein and fat in small meals every couple of hours, and you’ll have plenty of healthy energy to pull you through the performance.